Just graduated, and want to get your dream job! What if you don’t land the perfect gig using your brand spanking new MBA? Here is my advice on dealing with that dream job post-MBA!
“What if I don’t get the job of my dreams?” “Quit worrying, there are plenty more jobs out there.”
Some people might say that first jobs are what really define how successful a person will be later on in their life, but the truth of it all is that there have been many success stories from those who had less than ideal starts and slow starters as well.
Over the last few months, Business Schools across the country have been concluding their Placement Season. Graduating MBAs are busy doing the math to determine the likely ROI of the past two years in context of their Confirmed Job Offers. Many are struggling with the disappointment of having failed to secure the elusive “Dream Job”. An “unlucky few” have been placed in industries unrelated to their backgrounds and interests. Some have already begun updating resumes while others are planning to pass up on their confirmed offers, preferring to find a more exciting job on their own.
As I teach at a B. School, I hear these conversations frequently.
So, what’s my advice?
The importance of the first job in long term career success is over rated. Countless executives got off to a flying start in the job and company of their dreams, but never really made it to the finishing line. Equally, there are many examples of slow starters who muddled around in less than desired first jobs but built enviable careers. Eventually, what you take out of each role, assignment, project, et al is more important than the brand you handle. New MBAs should focus on maximizing their learning and delivering world class performance; never mind the company or its career value.
Which brings me to my second point.
How critical is getting product category / industry specific experience for those set on certain sectors? I’ll agree that someone keen on say FMCG would not be building “relevant experience” working in Banking or IT. Again, the assumption is that these sectors would be a waste of time professionally. That’s where I disagree. Every role creates space for professional development including managerial and inter-personal skills, the ability to negotiate, delivering against tight deadlines and coping with job pressure. Each of these, to name a few, are vital skills that shape long term managerial and leadership excellence. To be sure though, the faster you can move to your chosen industry the better.
Finally, to those who plan to reject the campus offer and find something on their own.
Here is a simple fact of life – The odds of getting a job are always higher for those who currently have a job. Prospective employers will find you if you have a business card with an official e-mail address and office phone number. Corporate executives all hang out at the same industry events, training programs, conventions and of course, post p.m. clubs, bars and restaurants. If you’re on the circuit, you will connect and be connected. One thing leads to another and your next “dream offer” is just around the corner.
Remember, you don’t want to be one of those who has to explain why you didn’t get placed on campus.
So, get started. Wherever, doing whatever and for however much. Just get the most out of it.
It’s not for nothing that the old saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” still makes sense.