Dev credits his MBA internship with healthcare IT firm Agfa for his current job as a internal consultant for Baycrest Hospital and Health Services. “When I went for the interviews, it was definitely a huge plus point because everyone knew of Agfa … If I hadn’t done the internship, it would have been impossible to have made the switch; it showed my passion for the industry, and a lot of the interview questions focused on the projects I worked on for Agfa.”
It’s a testament to Dev’s determination that he didn’t give up under the intense financial pressures on MBAs to secure jobs immediately after graduation–that pressure is often higher for international students, he says. Fortunately, Dev was able to sidestep India’s exorbitant interest rates, which range from 14% to 15%, by saving up for his MBA before coming to Rotman. However, he still graduated with about C$47,000 in loans from the Royal Bank of Canada. Dev watched some of his peers settle for jobs to pay the bills. “A lot of students come for the dream job, but then it becomes the reverse: They have to take a loan to get an education to get a great job, and then they take up whatever they can to repay the loan. They don’t reach the objective of the main goal of doing the MBA,” he says.
Although Dev says he wouldn’t want to relive the MBA triple jump, he’s very glad he did it. “Getting what you really want or being close to what you really wanted is what makes a $100,000 MBA worth it. Otherwise, why pay all the money to do the same thing which I was doing before the MBA?”
Country Jump: Sri Lanka to Canada
Industry Jump: Finance to Consulting
Function Jump: Trading to Consulting Strategy
For Melita Cyril, 26, the challenge of triple jumping wasn’t moving to Canada, or even trying on a new job title. Rather, it was breaking into the extremely competitive consulting industry.
Born in Sri Lanka, Cyril completed her undergraduate degree at the London School of Economics (LSE) and joined Lehman Brothers after graduating in 2007. She then spent three years as an interest rate swaps trader at Credit Suisse in London. But when her then-boyfriend, now husband, accepted a job in Canada, she jumped at the chance to “start fresh” and carve out a career as a consultant.
After unsuccessfully applying for a few jobs in Canada, Cyril decided to pursue her MBA at Rotman. “I was new. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have a network, and I thought this would be a great way for me to get to know more people and build my network in a new country,” she says. Plus, Rotman’s two-year program allowed for a summer internship, so she could dip her toes in consulting without making a commitment to the full dive. “The key thing is the internship,” she points out. “We’ve all worked multiple years in industry before, so … we want to make sure that the next position we take is a near right one, if not the right one..”
Cyril landed an internship with global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney. The experience confirmed her new career choice. But breaking in wasn’t an easy victory. Out of some 263 students in her class, Cyril estimates that at last half were interested in consulting initially. Roughly 60 students would apply for one or two consulting spots at each of the big firms. “It’s highly, highly competitive,” she says. “Some students do have a consulting background, and they want to basically switch to a different or bigger firm, which means if you don’t have that background and you have something completely different, it is definitely more challenging.” Cyril thought about turning back several times and prepared herself for careers outside of consulting. “I did have options B and C to go with option A,” she says. “Sometimes it becomes a numbers game, and you’re just unlucky.”
Luckily, Cyril never had to follow up on her secondary career choices. After graduating in May 2013, she accepted an associate consultant offer from A.T. Kearney. Looking back, Cyril has her own recommendations for MBA triple jumpers: “We, in general, have to work harder because there is a lot more to prove,” she says. “So make sure you have a very good story and that it all adds up, so you can really sell yourself and sell someone on why you want to make this big jump.”