The nature of the modern job market means conventional pathways to employment just don’t cut it for MBA candidates and graduates, according to career coach and recruiter Roisin Duffy.
The director of Blue Sky Careers said the employment market for executives was only now beginning to awaken since the pandemic began, but it was far from teeming with opportunities.
“If I was an executive who had just completed an MBA, I would not be waiting for Seek, Indeed or Career One to publish the job I want,” Ms Duffy said.
“The conventional routes to employment are not going to score jobs for MBA candidates.
“If you’re thinking of doing an MBA or you’re in the middle of one, surely you have an idea of the companies you want to work for.
“MBA candidates have to really start targeting those companies, using their MBA as leverage, and getting out there and connecting with people.
“Use any form, means or manner that you can to connect with people who could be your prospective employer or indeed, influential in your career.
“People have to deploy a strategic mindset and not expect this market to dish jobs into their lap just because they are academically more accomplished than others.”
The Time To Start An MBA Is Now
Ms Duffy said an MBA remained a highly sought-after qualification by many employers and warned against delaying the commencement of a program until the pandemic had passed.
“If you have a level of motivation and aspiration, waiting to do something beyond COVID is just an utter waste of time to me,” she said.
“We live in a very unpredictable and uncertain world. It’s COVID today and it could be something else tomorrow.
“So don’t long for something in five years’ time without putting the steps in place now to achieve it.
“Start reaching out to people as soon as you start your MBA, not when you finish it.
“The connections have to happen in tandem with an MBA along with career research and the targeting of companies.
“The minute you start that MBA, put it on your CV that you are currently studying and get out there, connect and tell targets you want to work for them and why.”
Bring your A-Game If You Want To Do An MBA
As a career coach, Ms Duffy said she directed people to study an MBA if she thought they had leadership and executive promise and the time and commitment to achieve it.
“I tell people to do an MBA where I can see they bring their A-game and can go all the way,” she said.
“To me an MBA signifies an executive, somebody who is serious about their career.
“If you have exceptional leadership potential, then I think an MBA is the qualification we seek on a CV.
“But just because you have an MBA does not mean you’re going to be the best hire.
“It’s about a configuration – if someone has company smarts, is good with people, has a good level of ambition and competence, then put an MBA behind it all and that’s a powerful combination for a prospective employer.”
Don’t Start Something You Can’t Finish
Ms Duffy also has a key piece of advice before beginning an MBA.
“Don’t start something you’re not going to finish,” she said.
“I’ve had people who start an MBA, get halfway through and their lives get busy and can’t finish them.
“A half-finished MBA is not something you can put on your CV because it asks more questions than it answers.
“Study at a time when you have support from family, know you can apply yourself, enjoy the experience, and actually finish it.
“Ambition will start you, but aspiration will see you through to the end.”
Ms Duffy publishes a podcast series where you can listen in for informative topics offering support and insight on how you can start ‘Living Your Career’. Check out the podcast series by clicking here.