The Secret World of the MBA Recruiter

Unless you have a background in recruitment, pitching yourself to MBA employers and recruiters as you approach graduation can often prove hit or miss. As a result, gaining secretive insight into how the MBA recruitment process works, and what it is that recruiters seek can pay dividends come graduation.

"The biggest problem is that most candidates are working very hard to get a job they know almost nothing about," explains Stephen Pidgeon. "Imagine applying for a job when you actually don't know what that job is? How would you even formulate your answers for the interview?"


Pidgeon studied his MBA at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth before launching a career at McKinsey & Company as a consultant, vetting new recruits. He now holds the role of associate director in Tuck's Career Development Office, and has recently written a book focused on demystifying the recruiting process,
How to Get a Job in Consulting


"The next hurdle is that the recruiting process is full of opportunities for students to succeed or fail. Traditionally students focus on the case interview, and throw a huge amount of time and effort into practicing for it. But the reality is that by the time the interview comes around, companies often will have already formed a hypothesis about whether the student is going to be somebody they might want to hire."


Because of this, it is absolutely essential to quickly and concisely provide any potential recruiter or employer with your relevant key attributes that relate to the particular role you are applying for.
"Excellent analytical skills, out-of­ box thinking, creativity or strong communication capabilities have always been a must for a successful consulting candidate," says Dana Kreppke. a human resources manager at A. T. Kearney. "Nevertheless in the last years the emotional intelligence, EO, is becoming as important as 10.


"Clients realize very quickly that even the best strategic solution if it remains somewhere on the bookshelf. does not bring additional revenues or improve a client's market position. Nowadays change management capabilities, ability to work with people in a diverse, multicultural environment and strong people skills are as important as analytics."


War for talent has become a paradigm for all service companies


Making these skills clear to a recruiter can be vital, an.d ensure a much smoother ride during the recruitment process, as recruiters compete in search of the best new MBAhires.


"War for talent has become a paradigm for all service companies in the last few decades ... This is true even more for top management consulting companies and A.T. Kearney. Talented people are our key resource for generating the best solutions for our clients."


Klazien van Vliet, early careers resourcing director for the human resources department at Unilever, says that the company seeks out candidates that are able to progress within the company.


"What Unilever recognize is that MBA graduates and MBA alumni are a very talented pool of people and we want to actively tap into that talent pool, and that is why we post our existing vacancies in both management and senior management roles to these graduates and alumni.


She explains that, like with many potential MBA employers, following their specific recruitment processes will often work in an MBAjob seeker's favor.


"The benefits for anybody to reply through the global MBA recruitment channel rather than through a different source with Unilever, is that the global MBA recruitment channel is managed by a dedicated team who are on the lookout for MBA talent that will allow you to utilize your talent and experience from day one.


"Going through this channel will also provide you with an overall overview of all the opportunities we have around the world, so if you do look for international opportunities, this is the place to have a look what Unilver has on offer."


However, Pidgeon points out that many of the most sought after companies will not advertise their roles, instead preferring recruit on a school's campus. Here, attending a school that a particular employer prefers to recruit from is essential, as he explains, a "major obstacle for many people is getting in front of a recruiter.


"These are some of the most exclusive companies in the world, and they don't just hang out a sign saying 'hiring.' Many of them have defined channels they recruit from, and the biggest of those channels is to use a set of 'core' business schools. In fact, the ability to get an interview with a company like McKinsey is a big reason for many people to choose a top b-school.


"Once you arrive at such a school there will be a whole program of events that will allow you to get to know the company, get to know the many alumni who are already there, and start to practice your interviews."
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