Understanding the MBA Job Market: Fall 2020

This post was written by our resident Career Coach, Elissa Harris. To sign up for a free 30-minute career consultation with Elissa, please click here.

With the start of job recruiting for full-time MBAs, many students are pondering questions such as the following:

  • How competitive is the job market?
  • Who is hiring? What types of opportunities are available right now?
  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the job market? 
  • How can I position myself for success?

While we know that recruiting will be conducted remotely, there are no simple answers to the above questions. Gain perspective on the depth of the job search challenges ahead of you by evaluating the following factors:  

  • Career interests: What are your career goals? Are you making a big career change? Which organizations are you targeting? 
  • Experience: What functional and industry expertise do you have? What are your strongest skills?
  • Job search knowledge: How well can you connect the dots between your experiences and your desired position? What is your network’s size, strength, and relevance? How comfortable are you with reaching out and building new relationships?
  • School support: Does your MBA program have strong relationships with desired employers and its alumni? How is your MBA program generating new job opportunities for students? What type of career coaching support exists?
  • Marketplace realities: What are the business trends in your target industry? What challenges are facing your target companies? What are your target companies’ recruiting processes? 

You can gather more on the state of the job market by talking with people currently employed in your target area, listening to lectures, and/or reading trade publications and business news. Recently, the Wall Street Journal published two articles on this topic that we think are worth reading:  

  • M.B.A.s Are Usually Swimming in Job Offers by Now. Not This Year.” reports that many traditional MBA hirers are relying on their intern pools to fill their full-time needs or are taking a wait-and-see approach versus recruiting now to extend additional offers to second-year MBA students. The article further states, “A recent survey of more than 1,000 employers found that companies across an array of industries planned to hire nearly 60% fewer management positions this year, shrinking the number of landing spots for newly minted M.B.A.s along with other white-collar workers….”
  • The New Rules for Landing a Job in the Covid Era argues that job search success will come from clear and realistic career goals and target firms, extensive networking, and comfort with a fully virtual recruitment process. Figure out how to bring the best version of yourself to the process. Kyle Ewing, Google’s director of talent and outreach programs, suggests, “There’s an opportunity to bring more of a human connection, even in a virtual environment.” 

As you dig deeper into answering the four questions at the beginning of this post, you should focus less on the competitiveness of the market and more on your ability to take advantage of the opportunities available to you. For additional advice on executing an effective job search during the pandemic, check out a few of our recent blog posts:

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