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With many MBA internship offers coming out in the next few weeks, we wanted to share our advice on evaluating job offers. (Note: This advice is applicable to MBAs receiving full-time offers as well as to MBA graduates who are job seekers.)
First, and most importantly, in your excitement of receiving an offer, do not accept it on the spot. Instead, be gracious, express your excitement, and clarify the timeline for making a decision.
Second, as you evaluate the offer, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want to get from this job? What are you going to learn from this job?
- Does the job meet your career goals—in the short term and/or in the long term? Does the job meet your target career criteria (e.g., work content, culture, compensation, location, brand name, career growth)?
- What, if any, are your reservations about the job? What information can you gather or questions can you ask (and of whom) to help address these concerns? What is the perception of the company in the marketplace? Is your experience a good match for the role? How much of a stretch will this role be for you?
- Does the compensation package fairly recognize your contributions (e.g., experience, skills, and seniority) and job responsibilities given the realities of the marketplace? If not, understand whether negotiation would be appropriate for this role, and if so, how you want to approach it. Also, note that for many internships, compensation is not negotiable.
- Do you have a strong internal network (advocates and/or alumni from your MBA program)?
- How do the important people in your life feel about this job offer?
Third, take your due diligence to the next level. Set up conversations with people who are currently working at the firm as well as with connections who are former employees. Carefully craft the questions you want to ask. Consider some of the following:
- How did you decide to join Firm X? What were you looking for from your internship/career? Where do you see your career going in the next three to five or ten years?
- What about working at Firm X has met and exceeded your expectations? What has surprised you most about Firm X?
- How can you best describe your career to date at Firm X?
- What makes employees succeed at Firm X? What differentiates great employees from good employees? How would you be evaluated?
- Who would be on the team? What is the management style of your supervisor?
- What are the strategic priorities for the role and for your department? What are the obstacles/challenges in addressing those priorities?
Here are a few final tips on offer evaluation and management:
- Carefully review the entire written offer.
- Remain responsive to any inquiries from your future employer about your decision-making process (even if you do not have an answer yet).
- Write down the answers to the above questions. Use a pros/cons list, and consider also using a ranking and weighing system.
- Check out LinkedIn to understand the career trajectory of both current and past employees.
- Keep up with recent news and social media postings about the company.
- Communicate your decision to your point of contact at the firm as well as to any advocates and mentors who answered your questions and/or supported your efforts to secure this position.
Have you been admitted to business school and want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!