August 22, 2017, by Carla

The Post-MBA Job Hunt: What I Wish I Had Known…

In this blog alumna Liz Corbishley (MBA 2016) shares some valuable insights on the job hunting process. This blog was originally published on the NUBs Postgraduate Careers blog on March 24, 2017.

Yes the MBA is tough, but the difficult time is not over when you hand in the management project: it is just beginning. If you’re reading this mid-MBA, I’m sure it’s not what you want to hear, but I wish I had known. 

Save some of your emotional energy for the end. ENJOY the MBA summer… by this time you’ll have made some excellent friends and it should be a mixture of hard work and hard partying.  And, whatever you do, make sure you have at least two weeks holiday between handing in your project and even thinking of looking at job sites!

Network network network

Take people out for coffees.  Make sure you pay for these coffees, which engenders a sense of gratitude or obligation.  Reach out to people you haven’t been in touch with for years.  To friends of friends.  To old work contacts you have business cards for, but can’t entirely remember what they do.  Before each meeting make sure you know who they are, and know how you and your skill set match their needs.

Try to make sure you have a number of in person or Skype meetings each week that are not part of formal application processes.  This gives a sense of being productive and moving forwards.  Don’t be embarrassed – people like it when you ask for advice.

Meet with everyone

Even if you think it won’t come to anything. It probably won’t, but it will give practice and you can make mistakes and learn where it doesn’t matter.  I did a lot of this.

Be prepared for poor HR processes

Some jobs are advertised even when they already have an internal candidate confirmed. Your application won’t be considered, but there is no way for you to know this in advance.  There are long, drawn out processes – the longest for me started with an application in June with discussions still going on in December.  There are multiple rounds and written tests.  For my current job, I went through five formal rounds of interviews and one informal chat before being offered the position.

You can’t job hunt all the time

Set aside a certain amount of time each week to check the top 10-15 websites – I found LinkedIn the best – and to do any job applications.  Apart from that think of what you have missed out on doing during the MBA. Get fit again. Cook healthily. Try not to feel guilty about any of it.

Have regular check-ins with someone in a similar situation

I skyped once a week with a good friend who had just graduated from the IE MBA programme and was also job hunting.  We would talk about what we had done, what we were going to do next, and generally moan to someone who understood without feeling like we had to put a brave face on and pretend everything is okay.

Don’t stop learning

The MBA is such an amazing year of learning a huge amount of information: don’t waste this momentum.  I enrolled on coursera courses, started learning French with Rosetta Stone, listened to podcasts and TedTalks… anything to keep the brain alive.

It will all be worth it!

When you are unemployed it seems to stretch on forever, but as soon as you have a job it won’t seem that long after all.  Don’t settle for something that isn’t right – unless you really need the money, in which case only commit for a short time.

Don’t forget the support available to you through the Postgraduate Careers Team at Nottingham University Business School. Discussions around my next career move and feedback on my applications were hugely helpful.

Liz is now working in a director role for an American non-profit organisation.  She is based in Nairobi, Kenya, with significant travel around the region.  Her focus is largely on supporting strategic growth and scaling impact through managing partnerships, technical assistance, innovation, and research.

Posted in Alumni StoriesApplying For JobsPostgraduate Taught Students