Getting Hired As An MBA Grad
Getting into a business school is just one part of the challenge. How will you translate your learnings and resume to a hiring manager at your dream job?
Elizabeth Whitehead, a contributor at US News, recently spoke to a few experts on how MBA grads can improve their odds of landing a dream job.
Keeping a Positive Outlook with Interviews
One piece of advice is to keep a positive outlook with interviews.
Naomi Sanchez is the assistant dean of MBA career management at University of Washington Foster School of Business.
“One thing we emphasize is not getting derailed by a difficult interview,” Sanchez tells US News. “I’ve had students who’ve been told their answers are not good. Don’t lose your composure. Continue trying to respond in a positive manner. Engage with the interviewer.”
Indeed, interviews are a chance to make a connection, more of a test of emotional intelligence than your skills.
“By the time a candidate is called into an interview, their skills have already been vetted on paper (or the electronic recruiting system),” says Krystal D’Costa, a contributor at Scientific American. “Successful teams in the workplace are those where there are minimal personality conflicts. For this reason, while skills matter—and will certainly be a factor in being able to keep the job once you’ve gotten it—the interview is really an exercise in emotional intelligence.”
Demonstrate How Your Work Will Translate Into Value
While it’s one thing to have desired skills, it’s another to demonstrate how you will apply those skills as an employee.
At AT&T, it’s more important for candidates to demonstrate specifically how they can add value to the company.
“We seek candidates who are passionate about AT&T and can identify where he or she can add value in the future – like a young woman who registered for one of our “meet and greets” recently,” Jason Oliver, vice president of talent acquisition at AT&T, tells US News. “In an initial conversation, she discussed AT&T’s mobility product suite, asking, ‘Have you ever thought about making a differentiated marketing offer?’”
From that conversation, Oliver says, the candidate explained her proposal to the company.
“The impressive component wasn’t the proposal per se – it was the fact that she came prepared, felt comfortable pitching her idea, and was passionate about driving our business forward,” Oliver tells US News.
Having the skills or ideas is one thing but demonstrating how you (as a candidate) can propel a business to grow is another.
Don’t Overdress, Don’t Underdress
How you dress can play a huge factor in a company’s culture.
At IBM, how a candidate dresses can leave an impression of how they’ll fit into the culture.
“Culture plays a big role in recruiting,” Allison Fether, vice president of human resources at IBM, tells US News. “We want to see if applicants fit into the ‘new IBM.’ If we tell you to wear business casual, don’t show up in a three-piece suit. Folks have even shown up in suits with the tags still on, while the interviewer is wearing jeans and a T-shirt.”
Fether says the best strategy to solving confusion about dress code is “if you’re uncertain about something, ask your recruiter.”