Posted by: Francesca Di Meglio on June 15, 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 Juan Manuel Meneses Buchanan
It was a hard ride, but as I hoped, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It is amazing how time has a way of making things work out. What seems erratic and disorganized turns out just the way it is supposed to. In the end, you have a bigger and broader new order. As I have said before, I am from Lima, Peru, and I have always wanted to study abroad. For me, the MBA was the perfect opportunity to fulfill this need and at the same time enhance my professional life. From the beginning, the journey was difficult. But when I was accepted to London Business School, my dream business school, the one I wanted most, it felt like the start of something special.
My first obstacle during the MBA was to secure a summer internship in a top-tier investment bank. When I received the Lehman Brothers offer for the summer internship in London, I thought that everything was running smoothly, like a well-oiled machine, just as I had imagined as I wrote my application essays. Then after 10 weeks of hard work at the internship, the full-time offer arrived and I wanted to pinch myself because things were going so perfectly. At that point, my life was as I had pictured it. In addition to my professional achievements, I was getting married in Peru just a few weeks later on Sept. 13.
Then, while I was on my honeymoon on September 15 word spread about the chapter 11 of Lehman Brothers. Everything was upside down – no more Lehman Brother’s offer in London and the worst job market in the last 30 years.
I was job hunting, and things seemed bleak., especially because there were more finance jobs in London being eliminated than there were openings. My original idea was to stay in London for a couple of years before my wife and I would decide to have children and return to Peru. But nothing turns out exactly as you plan it. But surprises are always showing up and just three months ago, we happily found out that my wife is pregnant.
That changed the ball game completely. I decided to start looking for job opportunities in South America to be closer to the family. Then, things started to look brighter. In comparison with developing markets, emerging markets were hit but not as hard. Furthermore, prepared people, such as MBAs, were still actively needed. It was great to feel wanted.
After that, I realized that bad things come in packs but so do good things. Now, my biggest problem was choosing among great job opportunities, which is actually a nice problem to have. I finally decided to follow my heart in an industry that will keep challenging me and make me part of a strong team. I will be in charge of the foreign exchange position for BBVA one of the biggest players in Peru. BBVA, a global bank, will also give me the chance to explore different opportunities in the region and worldwide.
Well, that was my ride on the way to this new job and new role as husband and father. I’d like to think that things happen, and we must learn from them. We must be dynamic, adapt, and change. We must strive to live our amazingly fast-paced life in a way that makes us as happy as we can be. If you’re looking for a job, I am sure you will find one. Just try to find one that you like.