I recently read a blog post about life after the MBA. The writer had identified 10 things that would have been helpful to know before attending business school. While it was an interesting post, it was troubling in that the topics the writer raised—especially centered around employment—were things I would hope an individual applying to business school would explore before starting the application process.
If you are considering applying to business school and are concerned about the costs and benefits from a career standpoint, here are some things to consider:
• Review the employment statistics for the schools to which you are applying. These should be readily available through the school’s website. In reviewing those statistics, be sure to look for industry and job function breakouts. If you’re wanting a job in the movie industry, and the school is not based on the West Coast, you need to ask questions of someone in admissions or career services to find out how students get jobs in the industry. If a program is not based on either coast, it should not be a deal breaker for you getting into the industry if the school has well-placed alumni in the industry.
• Find out the type of job search support the school’s career center provides. What are the workshop topics presented? Do they have workshops that meet your needs? Are they willing to add new workshops to their repertoire?
• Consider how much time are you willing to invest in the job search. As wonderful as the program you are going to attend may be, jobs do not fall from the sky. You need to own the responsibility of finding a job during your MBA journey. Schools provide resources to support job and career exploration, but it is up to the job seeker to use these tools and resources to find the right role.
Finding the right job, like finding the right MBA program, is a matter of fit. You’ll need to work with your MBA program to find the best job fit for you. Every school wants students to graduate and have the right employment opportunities available to them. I would be surprised if you would find many administrators who would say they wanted students to take any job that came their way.
The writer of that blog post lamented that business school did not help him figure out what he wanted to do in life. My take on this is that business schools have plenty of resources to help those who are willing to silence the noise around them and take advantage of those tools.
Instead of jumping to the conclusion that these resources don’t exist, explore and ask questions of lots of people. Find out if what you are seeking is offered through your school or the university. If not, someone may be able to tell you where you can find it—you may have to dig a little bit more to find the answers to your questions.
Most important, use the time in business school to step away and focus on the self-reflection you need to do to find the right role for you.