Job Hunting with an MBA
The original article about Hamish Forwood-Stokes an MBA who is doing an internship at Splittable in London, hoping to get a full time job appeared in the Financial Times see link below.
The article argues that private equity firms do not tend to hire directly from business schools and that large technology companies prefer graduates with knowledge of the start-up industry.
What Hamish is facing is the classic chicken and egg situation of job-hunting. I can concur…. when I did my MBA many moons ago, I was facing the same problem. At the time after having completed my MBA I could stay with a small Management Consulting firm if I wanted to, but felt it was too small for my ambitions. Instead I wanted to go to a big firm in FMCG in strategic management or marketing. Now try to stay with me on my train of thought and the point I’m going to try to make.
So what did I do to get the job I really wanted? Well the truth is I am after many, many years almost where I want to be, but not just yet.
From MBA to Starter Job to Job You Like
After my MBA I did stay at the consulting firm for a few more months while job hunting. Most marketing jobs refused me, despite having an MBA with a major in International Marketing and Business Planning. What was lacking? Experience. Well how the….do you gain experience if nobody gives you a chance.
So after many discussions with family members, advisors and friends I ended up doing a Chartered Accounting Course. With an MBA you know about P&L’s and Balance Sheets but with Chartered Accounting you lear about the iceberg below the surface and find out that there is nothing more creative than accounting. After two out of three years, despite passing all exams I was fed up and quit. I started job hunting again and within a short period of time I got a job at The Gillette company! Hooray!!
Using the “Foot in the Door Approach”!
I finally arrived at a big brand FMCG company. They did not hold my MBA against me, and thought my two years of Chartered Accounting would help me greatly in my role as Internal Auditor!? Yes you are reading this right, with all my aspirations as an MBA to land a job as General manager or Marketing Manager I landed a role as Internal Auditor. OMG, what the …..what?!
It was the best move I have ever made, at least until now. I became a favorite Expatriate on the fast track and after jobs as Administration Manager, Financial Controller, Regional Controller and Director of Business Planning for the International Group (Asia, South America and Eastern Europe) I had received the best education, the best experience I could have had. Working in various jobs in different countries and in different Gillette product divisions could not have been better.
The next 20 years I started my own food manufacturing company and sold it successfully in 2014.
Did I Make The Right Choice?
The choice I made in 1988 to accept a job at (relatively) low pay for a job I really did not want has paid back big time, not just financially, it made me who I am today, and gives me the perfect foundation to be a Startup Advisor, using my MBA skills.
So judge for yourself what Hamish is facing and think about the moves he could make. To land a great job (in the end) and build a fabulous career does not depend on an internship, paid or otherwise.
“Recruiters tend to ask how your behaviour is from the minute you set foot in the building,” she says. “You never know if the person whose face you accidentally slammed the door on is the person deciding on your fate.”
Source: Financial Times – Business Education