With COVID-19, MBA students may be wondering how realistic their goals are? Is it still possible to change careers? How long will it take me to find a job after my MBA?We interviewed those who have recently secured jobs to discover how the market for jobs for MBA graduates looks post COVID-19, asking them:
What they did to find a job during COVID-19
Their experiences of the market and hiring freezes
How the pandemic shaped their post MBA job expectations
Name: Purva Jain
School: Warwick Business School
Graduated: September 2020
Role: Product Manager
What were your plans before your MBA and how were they impacted by COVID-19?
The primary driver for pursuing MBA was career progression and getting an impactful role where I could contribute to organisational objectives and growth. Covid-19 made me realise the importance of strategic agility, flexibility and responding to changing situations. Pre-covid, I was targeting roles in consulting and technology. When Covid hit the majority of consulting firms froze recruitment. I kept networking to get a better grasp of the market. By early July, I realised that there were many more opportunities in tech than consulting. I diverted my focus mainly to tech. I spent 70-80% of my effort searching for tech roles, learning about job requirements, and up-skilling myself to better fit the opportunities available.
Did COVID-19 make the search harder?
Yes, no in person catch ups, coffee chats or other networking opportunities made things hard. To compensate for this, I started pinging people on LinkedIn and it seemed like everyone adapted to virtual networking quickly. I received more responses than I did pre-Covid. I had virtual coffee chats about industry trends, opportunities, transferrable skills for certain roles, etc. I also joined Lunchclub.ai and met many new people over Lunch meetings.
At what point did you secure your role?
I applied for my current role in August and got the call for the first round of discussion in September. I found the company through job posts on LinkedIn, they had very impressive growth in the past few years and I thought it would be a good opportunity to use my knowledge and skills to contribute to this. I researched the company and job requirements. I also spoke to people from the company to learn more about it, as well as people working in similar roles elsewhere. This proactive approach helped me get through 5 rounds of interviews in 4 weeks. These were initially supposed to be conducted in the London office, however, we had to switch to virtual interviews due to the situation in the UK. I realised that the virtual interviews are very different than the in-person interviews. Whilst eye contact, body language and attire are vital for in-person interviews, for virtual ones the basics were good wifi, proper lighting and background and thinking out loud so that the interviewer knows what you are noting down (since they can't see it), etc.
Job hunting is hard at the best of times - how did you stay motivated?
I am an international student and need sponsorship to work in the UK, which made it even harder. My motivation was networking with all the kind and beautiful people out there. The more I spoke to people from different areas the better informed I became. This helped me to focus my energy on appropriate roles and acquire the right skills.
What advice would you give to current MBAs job searching?
Be agile: In uncertain times, plan A might not work so have a plan B/C and be prepared to switch gears at the right time. Be proactive and be aware. Reach out to people on LinkedIn, Slack, LunchClub and invite them for virtual coffee chats. This will help you be more informed about the market, opportunities and challenges. Be persistent. In uncertain times you may be reaching out to people or companies consistently with no success. Have persistence and keep trying one way or the other until you succeed.
For more stories from current and past MBAs on programs, careers, and MBA life, listen to The Modern MBA podcast, every Thursday, wherever you get your podcasts.