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Graduating MBAs Must Show Patience, Flexibility in Job Search This Year, Economist Reports

Though the job market has improved this year over last, newly minted MBAs should not view the degree as an instant ticket to a new career, a recent article in the Economist warns.

Where firms were once furiously snapping up the most talented students from top schools as fast as they could, even without specific positions in mind, the economy has forced them to return to the basics, hiring MBAs only when a slot becomes open, according to the Economist article. Graduates this year, as a result, find themselves competing fiercely for available positions and needing to consider options their predecessors might not have.

No longer can a fresh MBA graduate count on the “classic triple jump,” a simultaneous change in function, role and location, Derek Walker, head of the careers service at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, told the Economist. Instead, they may have to accept changing only one of the three and then proving themselves within a given firm before attaining the other changes, he says.

This year’s grads may also need to be more flexible in terms of where they look for jobs, the Economist article continued. While recruitment at consulting firms is almost back up to pre-recession levels, finance positions – long the other top destination for MBAs – have dried up, according to the article. This leaves recent grads needing to be more flexible and consider options in other sectors.

But according to Oxford’s Walker, there may be advantages in this. Firms from sectors other than finance are generally better at developing students’ careers, he told the Economist.

Many business schools also report that more students are showing an interest in entrepreneurship or in working for start-ups. Though it may be more risky and perhaps pay less initially, Michelle Antonio from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School tells the Economist that her students feel like they are pursuing something worthwhile.

For the full Economist article, click here.

Posted in: MBA News

Schools: Oxford / Saïd, UPenn / Wharton

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