As job recruiting for full-time MBAs begins, 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 can I position myself for success?
- How will the economy affect my career options?
Unfortunately, these questions have no simple answer. The information coming out of consulting firms—which are traditionally big MBA employers—is less than positive. According to a spring article in the Wall Street Journal and a more recent article in Poets&Quants, start dates for the Class of 2023 are being pushed back by major consulting firms, and overall, full-time hiring for the Class of 2024 is lighter than in past years.
But the full picture can be a bit more complicated and sector specific, and we know that the job market can change rapidly.
To better understand what kind of job market you might face, consider these factors:
What are your professional goals? Are you making a big career change? Which organizations are you targeting? Do they hire a large number of MBAs?
Experience and skills
What functional and industry expertise do you have? What are your strongest skills? What types of problems can you solve, or what contributions could you make to a prospective employer?
How well can you connect the dots between your experiences and your desired position?
Does your MBA program have strong relationships with its alumni and with your desired employers? What type of career coaching support is available?
What are the business and hiring trends in the industry you hope to enter? What challenges are your target companies facing? How much hiring have these companies done in the past 12 months? Have they had any layoffs?
Personal resources and attributes
How strong is your network? How comfortable are you reaching out and leveraging that network? Will you hustle in the job search?
Setting realistic expectations and positioning yourself for the best opportunities will require that you develop an informed perspective on your target industry.
Start with these steps:
Speak with representatives from your school’s career management center.
They are often in close contact with major MBA employers.
Connect with people currently employed in your target area –
– and with classmates who just completed internships at your target companies.
Identify and read industry-specific business news
Discover related trade publications and websites.
And finally, remember that regardless of the strength of the job market, you always need to position yourself as a compelling candidate. The following mbaMission blog posts offer actionable advice on standing out in a positive way:
- Four Key Qualities of a Successful Job Seeker
- Storytelling: Talking About Yourself to Potential Employers
- Five Ways to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Job Search
- Impressing a Hiring Manager Requires (a Lot!) of Preparation
For more career advice, download our free career guides, which have been written in conjunction with industry insiders who provide intriguing perspectives on the fields.