Building a List of Post-MBA Target Companies

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Once you have identified your target post-MBA career, it is time to build a list of target companies. Typically, we at mbaMission recommend starting with eight to 15 companies—a robust list, but one that is not too overwhelming.

The first step is to identify the criteria by which a company does (or does not) make it onto your list. Your criteria might include some (or all) of the following items:

  • Industry
  • Product or service
  • Reputation/brand strength
  • Size
  • Location (and/or headquarters location)
  • Typical functional roles available*
  • Culture*
  • Training/development (i.e., investment in employees)*
  • Current hiring needs*
  • Relevance of your skill set/experiences to the company*

* These items may be difficult to assess without talking with people who work at a potential company of interest.

Second, consider utilizing some of the following resources to identify potential target companies:

  • Search LinkedIn. There are two ways to find companies:
    • Search for companies based on a specific industry/market by typing your search criteria, such as “Greek yogurt,” into the search box to find companies that relate to or produce Greek yogurt.
    • Go to a company’s LinkedIn page, and then look for the “People also viewed” section on the right side of the screen.
  • Check out industry-specific trade publications (refer to our previous blog on company research for ideas) as well as local business journals ( and business publications ( Also, some research companies offer helpful overviews of marketplaces and major players ( and
  • Seek recommendations from friends, colleagues, and networking connections in your target area of interest. Think about vendors or clients who could suggest potential target companies.
  • Consider companies that have hired students or alumni from your undergraduate and/or graduate programs.
  • Leverage business databases offered by your educational institution to current students and alumni.

Third, enter your list of target companies in an Excel file, and then organize them by your level of interest and/or your connection to the firm. This ranking will influence when and how you approach each company.

Finally, begin conducting research into your target companies. Look for contacts (i.e., people you know who either work there or are acquainted with employees at those companies) who might be willing to conduct an informational meeting with you.

Identifying the right target companies for you is a critical part of your job search process. Our career coaches are happy to help you navigate the above steps and to brainstorm companies in your areas of interest. Contact us for a free career consultation today!

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you 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!

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