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Finding a job during Covid-19 series: Israel Zaga, Market and Securities Services,Citibank.

Updated: May 10, 2021

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: Israel Zaga

Professional background: Corporate Banking

Where you are from? Mexico, Mexico City

School: MBA, Warwick Business School / Exchange MBA, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

Graduated: December 2019

Company: Citibank

A Formula for a Full-time Job

How I used networking and patience to land a role in Citibank...

When I started writing, I realized I was writing the same old boring article, so I thought, why not share my experience, and write what happened to me in the most honest way I could.

Coming back from the MBA I thought that landing a job was going to be a walk in the park, but the reality was completely different. As we all know, the pandemic hit hard and companies instead of hiring started playing a new game called ¨how to survive¨ making more with less.

These are three to do´s I believe will help you in a personal way get you closer to the role you are looking for and find your ideal post-MBA job during COVID-19, or at least they helped me:

1. Patience and Positive Thinking

In the beginning, everything is a path strewn with roses where you think that in a couple of months you will land your dream job. But the interesting part comes here, as time goes by and you start having your first interviews or casual talks you realize is not going to be that easy as you thought it would be.

Suddenly, a terrible thought comes to your mind and you start thinking, am I the problem? Am I not good enough? The answer is NO.

There is a reason you got accepted at the University you wanted, there is a reason you quit your job to pursue your MBA dream. So, it is important to understand that the problem is not you and accept that we can´t control everything (like the job market). This acceptance will make those painful days more bearable and it becomes a game of patience and positive thinking. Can you imagine the MBA colleagues that graduated in 2009 just after the financial crisis? Well, the Covid crisis has had a similar impact on MBA graduates and graduating during a recession makes it way more difficult to enter the labor market. The good news is that most of those guys have a job already. My point, sooner or later you will land a job.

Until then, it is crucial to try to stay positive every day and remind yourself that you are not the only one in this phase. Although we all have bad days and those are ok too, a positive mindset is a choice we make daily and always remembering that tomorrow is a new day, another chance for a job interview, and perhaps the opportunity you were looking for.

2. Networking

There are several elements that if played together, the expectative of having a job will increase. Looking for a job should become your full-time job meaning that you must put in the hours and the effort, but again, mainly these three elements:

FTJ= P+S+(3N)

I believe this formula helps to summarize what helped me to land a job at Citibank. Now, if you are developing patience (P), as we talked about before, and I assume you already have the skills (S) one of the key elements, then what will differentiate you from others is how you build your network (3N).

Networking has a lot of myths like ¨it only works for extrovert people¨ or ¨it only works if you have a lot of knowledge or experience to bring to the table¨ but this is nothing further from the truth. In my opinion, networking is a skill that you can develop (If you are interested in this topic I wrote an article covering only how to network ¨The Power of the Network¨). Now, going back to the formula, I wrote a 3 on it, this means that every time you have a talk or event with someone you have to make sure you get three new contacts from that person and so on. In my experience, most people are willing to help for the simple reason that they had been in your situation before, and they will contact you with their network. In the end, you will realize that you built up a larger and more interesting net of potential employers every time times three.

In December 2020, after months of looking for a job, my former boss put a good word for me at the MSS (Markets and Securities Services) Division where I landed a role as Assistant Vice President in Corporate Banking. At the end of the day, I developed patience, kept studying (skills), and used my network to use his to get a job.

3. A final reminder

Finally, it is important to be consistent and work by a disciplined schedule. Plan your calendar and do the right follow-up with your network. And again, patience will work along your search to avoid making hasty decisions. Trust me, in a blink of an eye you will land the right role, in the meantime, take advantage of your time and go learn something new, you won´t regret it!

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