I’ve Got an MBA, Now What Do I Do?

If you have recently earned your Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree you are likely now focused on cultivating a career suited to the accumulated knowledge you have just learned. Graduates who put effort into developing sought-after skills, marketing themselves to recruiters and building valuable networks are in a prime position.

Achieving your MBA can help assure recruiters you understand the vocabulary of business and how it works. Some companies, such as major consulting firms and big brand enterprises, may consider an MBA a requirement to work. Others will see the degree as one of several important factors on your resume, indicating business acumen and expertise.

An MBA can serve as a valuable stepping-stone, but you’ll also have to learn how to carry yourself in an interview. It’s okay to be confident but not overly confident and arrogant. This is just as risky as not knowing enough for the job market.

This is particularly the case for individuals who have little or no business experience, such as those who transition straight from an undergraduate degree into an MBA program. The number of individuals doing this is on an upswing, rising 55% since 2007.1 The executive job market is tight in many sectors, so it’s important to hone strong leadership and communication skills with the right MBA program. This can provide a real advantage in the job market.

Another way to stand out among fellow job seekers is to build a pipeline of business contacts and tap into social media sites such as LinkedIn. Also, attending industry networking events and joining economic and civic-minded organizations to meet successful individuals, preferably in your field of interest, are ways to gain exposure. For example, the Rotary Club chapters throughout the U.S. hold regular networking and other events.

Nurture these relationships -- one of them may recommend you for a job someday or even offer you one. Who you know is just as important as what you know.

Before you graduate, contact alumni in the business field you’re thinking of joining. Learn to cultivate relationships during your job hunt. Ask questions that will stimulate the person’s fond memories of business school, such as, “Did you take Professor Stevenson’s class on managing foreign exchange volatility?” As long as these communications are sporadic and brief, most alumni will take the time to reply and help out however they can. Stay in touch with fellow students, particularly the ones who graduated before you, as well as professors, as both may hear of a job opening that suits your professional interests and skills. Use your university’s career services center. The center’s job is to connect graduates with employers. Be specific about the career you’re seeking.

Here’s another important bit of advice: A resume is not a one-and-done document. Tailor your resume to the companies where you’re applying. A resume aimed at a business-to-business firm should be different from one aimed at a consumer products company. The same applies if you’re looking for work as a financial analyst as opposed to an operations research analyst, which are two of the six hottest jobs right now for MBA graduates, according to U.S. News and World Report.2

Before the interview, research everything you can about the company, its business model and its industry. This way you can ask intelligent questions of the recruiter, clearly demonstrating your interest, knowledge, and work ethic.

If you haven’t achieved your MBA yet and are considering one to advance your career, Widener University offers an AACSB accredited program that equips you with specialized skills that put you in demand.

To learn more about Widener’s Online Master in Business Administration (MBA) program, call 844-386-7321 or complete the request more information form and a Program Manager will contact you right away.