Top tips from MBA Recruiters

For many, simply considering the prospect of applying to study on an MBA program means they are seeking to upgrade their career. For those that follow through and successfully apply, preparing for their new future as soon as they begin their MBA, perhaps even before, can provide a flying start in the competitive jobs market.

If you're wondering how best to make yourself appealing to MBA employers, then who better to ask than the recruiters themselves. Here, four recruiters share their insight and advice to help future MBAs prepare for the job hunt when they graduate. From building an online profile and networking in your sector, to showing you are a creative thinker and sharing your individuality,these tips provide the inside track on securing your ideal post-MBA job.
Some MBA graduates only apply to the most prestigious brands such as McKinsey,Bain and BeG for strategy consulting roles and then get disappointed if they don't get their 'dream job' whilst missing out on other opportunities with consulting firms. There are scores of consulting firms, which are 'under the radar'. Do your research online and find out about the myriad of smaller and mid size firms. Find out about their specialism and where your particular skills could be relevant. Richard Stewart, Mindbench
Motivation is Key MBA graduates need to be motivated and have a clear understanding of why they want to work in a particular industry or company. I also look at their ability to motivate others. Lois Wilson, MBA recruiter
Gain relevant experience through internships
One of the greatest challenges of breaking into management consultancy is that many employers expect candidates to have prior consulting experience. For many MBA candidates looking to transition into the industry this can be particularly challenging. Try to get internships in smaller or mid-size consulting firms during your MBA or after your MBA.Speak to the alumni of your course working at these firms and find out whom in the organization could be potentially interested in hiring paid or unpaid interns. Richard Stewart, Mindbench
We look to candidates to demonstrate they have practical business delivery experience in Hudson & Yorke's niche arena and in relevant target markets for the role. Recognizing the achievement that is an MBA, we require a rounded business experience to support client-facing engagements. Having only an academic focus at MBA stage delivers a different type of candidate. Kate Mitchell, Hudson Yorke
Interview Situation MBA graduates often think employers just want to see the breadth of their knowledge gained during studies. Wrong. They will interview you for how you see yourself apply this knowledge in their company and will be looking for practical proof that you have done it before. So have a set of examples of how you did on the project and what was developed in reality. Aleksandra Iwicka, Grafton Recruitment
Network in Your Preferred Sector
Building contacts and relationships in the area you are looking to develop your career in is a key skill, often not fully utilized by MBA students. It takes time to foster and maintain a strong network so undertake it as a long term life exercise, whether you are actually employed currently or not. Speakto fellow students, alumni and companies coming on campus to find out about their experiences at particular firms of interest. Find out about industry events happening and approach thought leaders and client contacts there. Richard Stewart, Mindbench
Display both Self- and Cultural Awareness
We need to see an understanding that not everyone has been on the same journey and to see evidence of the ability to integrate and contribute value to a diverse team. In the ever challenging world of recruitment having an MBA is becoming almost a given, and in some instances is a requirement, so we need to see the person behind the learning. Kate Mitchell, Hudson Yorke
At a career fair, all too often MBAs will begin with 'what can you offer me?' This is not a welcome opening gambit! My advice would be to switch this over to what the MBA candidate can bring to the recruiter - tell us about your background, your strengths and where your interests lie. Lois Wilson, MBA recruiter
Develop a Strong LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is like your new business card, just with a lot more information, publicly available and searchable for potential employers. Keep it up­ to date and have a good level of detail on your profile, highlighting your key achievements and responsibilities. By doing this you are more likely to come up in recruiter’s searches as someone who may be relevant to contact. Richard Stewart, Mindbench
Demonstrate Your Creative and Innovative Thinking
We look for evidence that individuals are able to think creatively and certainly beyond MBA learning, to develop innovative solutions that can be applied to real client situations. It is important to see evidence of the ability to receive information, collate it, process it appropriately (i.e. not simply based on one or some models most recently learned) and provide quality outputs that meet client needs. We look for understanding that one size most definitely does not fit all and that using only formulaic approaches have limitations. Kate Mitchell, Hudson Yorke
Find out what skills employers are looking for when hiring MBAs. Read more

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