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Advice For Grads Entering a Post-Pandemic Job Market

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the future more unclear than ever.

As b-schools have announced plans to shift part of the fall semester online and MBAs revolt over tuition, only one thing is for certain: the class of 2020 will be seeing a very different workforce than what they imagined two-years ago.

Business Insider recently spoke to career advisers and professors at top b-schools such as Harvard, Stanford, and Carnegie Mellon on what advice they have for MBA grads in a post-pandemic job market.


Experts say, now more than ever, it’s critical for MBA grads to play to their strengths and value when searching for a job.

“Focus attention on the relevant skills and experiences you have that are a direct match for the job or company,” Stephen Rakas, the executive director of the Masters Career Center at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, tells Business Insider. “Directly relate your candidacy to how you will help the company to solve their current problems, target new customers and new markets. Be curious about their challenges, and ask probing questions that demonstrate you’ve done your research.”


For many, this time may be filled with uncertainty and anxiety. But, experts say, this pandemic can push new grads to think about the big picture when it comes to their goals.

Kristen Fitzpatrick, the managing director of MBA career and professional development at Harvard Business School, says new grads should develop career criteria, something she calls “the must-haves in your life so you don’t get locked into something without knowing why.”

Asking yourself “why,” Fitzpatrick says, is important. But it’s also crucial to ask yourself “how.”

“If your goal is to eventually break into private equity, focus on the research and modeling skills necessary to be successful in that sector. Corporate M&A gets you a step closer in that direction,” Fitzpatrick tells Business Insider. “Want to be a product manager? Build up your creative problem-solving, project management, and cross-functional team skills.”


The pandemic has hit hard for many industries such as hospitality, transportation, and entertainment.

Experts say MBAs in affected industries will need to wait it out, but in the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to explore other industries.

“If you are dead set on these industries (and perhaps you should think about waiting), then focus on subsectors that are relatively less impacted, like virtual travel experiences and direct-to-consumer retail,” Jamie Schein, the assistant dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Career Management Center, tells Business Insider.

Sources: Business Insider, Poets & Quants , Poets & Quants

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