Posted by: Louis Lavelle on March 26, 2009
With the economy in turmoil, many MBA graduates are finding the job search tough going. To give readers some insight into the strategies they’re pursuing and the difficulties they face, BusinessWeek has recruited four out-of-work MBAs to write about their experiences for a new feature called “The Hunt” that will appear periodically on the Getting In blog. Comments, as always, are welcome.
By Bryan Glover
I know many people are experiencing the same frustration I am, and I sincerely hope this blog can help relieve the feeling of “aloneness” that can permeate a job hunt. My bio has more information about who I am and my background, but I thought it appropriate to share with my audience a synopsis. I finished my MBA program in December and had been working part-time during my final semester at a company that had said my job would become full-time after I graduated. Unfortunately, I was notified on my graduation day that I was going to be laid-off.
I would describe myself as a driven, intelligent, hard-working generalist with a diverse background and experience at a number of world-class companies. My career goals may sound a bit vague and fuzzy for a 35 year-old MBA graduate, but they work for me. My overarching goal is to find a career that I enjoy and that is challenging. I can better tell you what kind of organization I want to work for than what position I want to have in the future.
My job hunt can best be described as a series of peaks and valleys up to this point. Almost weekly I will hear from a potential employer whether it be a phone interview or in-person. I have been offered jobs only to have the company run out of money the week I was supposed to start. I have had one company contact me to set-up and interview, delay the interview one week, then ultimately fill the opening with an internal candidate. I had another company e-mail me to set up a lunch meeting, which went well, and then follow it up with a phone call that I couldn’t answer because I was in a meeting, and that manager not bother to return my voicemails.
My job-hunting approach has been multi-faceted. I have been networking, attending job fairs, sending resumes through contacts, and using various online job sites. I am treating my job search like a full-time job. In general, I will pick a site or sector a day and dive in. For example, one day I spent researching and applying to jobs with the federal government, the next was with my state, and so on. I have had a few offers so far that were at salary levels so low that I could not pay my bills if I took them. So, for now I am turning those jobs down with the hope that I can find a job in my salary range before my bank account reaches a critical level.
Emotionally, this job hunt has been trying. I think much of this stems from seeing so many of my classmates unable to find jobs upon graduation. Of the 27 people I graduated with, only three have been able to find full-time employment. Of those three, only one has found a job in a field and at a level that would be considered MBA caliber. One has gone to work for a non-profit and teaching GMAT prep classes on the side; the other recently took a job as a waitress. I think much of this is due to the macro economy, but there does seem to be a stigma against MBAs that plays out in not getting interviews/offers or in the form of low salary offers.
Things change day-to-day. I go through mini depression cycles weekly. I don’t mind rejection and I have been through lay-offs and bubble bursts before (I worked at a dot com when the bubble burst in 2001), but to see so many widespread reports of economic problems, the struggles of my classmates, the overnight evaporation of jobs, and the “we can be as picky as we want and you will take what we give you” attitude on behalf of so many employers is really souring me on this whole process and my future prospects when the economy does turn for the better. I am trying to stay positive because I expect to have 30 years of career in front of me and starting out bitter and resentful isn’t going to help me be successful. I will admit that some days are harder than others. I know a number of people who have been laid off in the past six months (over 30 in my network alone) and this weighs on me. While I know I am highly qualified, I also know that companies can be (and are being) very picky in their hiring right now.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to share any thoughts, questions, or feedback as appropriate.