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Welcome Guest

What can I do With My MBA ?

 

 

 

WHAT CAN I DO WITH MY MBA?

 

 

INTRODUCTION 

MBA students are a very diverse group and these web pages will inevitably not be able to address every individual student’s queries and concerns. You should look on them as a starting point and follow it up by using the various information sources to which they will refer you and by bringing any specific queries to us in the Careers Advisory Service.

THE JOB MARKET FOR MBA GRADUATES

  • … is strongly affected by the state of the global economy, particularly at the time of writing, with a 25% of companies not planning to hire MBAs in 2009*
  • … is, like MBAs themselves, very international
  • … includes a wide range of employers, with areas such as FMCG, pharmaceuticals, diversified industrial groups and even the public and voluntary sectors currently recruiting more actively than finance and consultancy (which have traditionally been the largest recruiters of MBAs)*
  • Many MBA students return, at least initially, to their previous employer (who may have sponsored them through the course)
  • The average salary for MBAs in 2008 ranged from approximately £60 – 75K (not including bonuses and other variable earnings)**
  • Approximately 12000 MBAs graduate each year from UK business schools alone
  • Much depends on the individual student – their experience and their skills – as well as their MBA

*MBA direct    **AMBA

YOUR OPPORTUNITIES

The above figures, of course, are very broad generalisations. The opportunities open to you, as an individual with an MBA degree, will vary according to what you want from your future career and what you have to offer employers. These factors may include:

  • Your reasons for doing an MBA – to develop your present career or to change direction?
  • The nature and extent of your previous employment experience;
  • The type of employment, and/or employer, that you are seeking to enter in future;
  • Personal factors, such as preferences for a particular geographical location, family considerations or (for non-EU students seeking employment in the UK and also for EU students seeking employment outside the EU) the likelihood of being able to obtain a work permit;
  • Your interests, values and personal skills.

It is therefore important to assess yourself on all these criteria before deciding on your next step.

EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS GAINED BY MBAs

The transferable skills derived from study for an MBA include the following:

  • Academic achievement: demonstrates application and high standards of performance;
  • Communication skills: listening, speaking carefully and clearly, the ability to put across your arguments fluently in writing; 
  • Analysis: distinguishing relevant from irrelevant information, identifying issues and problems;
  • Commitment: seriousness of purpose, demonstrated both by taking time out from your career on a reduced salary (or no salary) in order to improve your qualifications and by combining work and part-time study;
  • Practicality: realism, ability to set attainable goals;
  • Maturity: tenacity, independence, organisation;
  • Decisiveness: fact-finding skills, clarity, judgement, courage;
  • Intellectual creativity: the ability to develop new concepts and ideas;
  • Capacity for hard work: embodying self-motivation, self-discipline and time management;
  • Group skills: teamwork, leadership, ability to motivate others;
  • The mastery of IT skills: knowledge of statistical packages, spreadsheets, databases and programming languages;
  • Cross-cultural awareness: working with fellow-students from many different nationalities and backgrounds.

In addition to the skills outlined above you are likely to have developed the following skills to a high level through an MBA and through previous employment:

1.    The ability to overcome difficulties and to solve problems;

2.    To be independent and to have developed the skill of managing your own time and work;

3.    To be capable of original and creative thought;

4.    To argue your case with logic and not to be easily dissuaded by the views of others.

 

Our Employability Skills pages contain more information about skills and will help you to analyse your own skills.

DESTINATIONS OF PAST MBA GRADUATES

Below, we list some destinations of past MBA graduates from Kent Business School. The KBS site www.kent.ac.uk/kbs/alumni_spotlight.php?page_id=95 gives further insights into the careers of some of your predecessors.

Over the last three years the destinations of postgraduates in Business related subjects have broken down as follows:

 

In employment

90 %

Further full-time study

1.4 %

Time out/Unavailable

2.6 %

Unemployed

4 %

Other

2 %

(Figures from HESA www.prospects.ac.uk/links/wdgd )

Many students are likely to have taken these courses as part of work-based learning and returned to their previous employer upon completing their studies, or remained with them during their course.

“ It is not possible to separate out MBAs from other MA degrees in this area, but it can be assumed that MBAs are a very significant group in this area”

Examples of jobs and postgraduate study entered by recent MBA graduates from the University of Kent

 

Finance sector:

 

Talbot Underwriting

Business Analyst

Morgan Stanley

Investment Data Analyst

Sea France

Finance Controller

Deutsche Bank AG

Third Party Contract Manager

Systems corporation

Financial Controller

 

 

Education Sector

 

Deputy Headteacher

Secondary School

 

 

Marketing, Sales & Advertising sector

 

Adfero

Trials Executive

Software World Excellent

Marketing Manager

Marketing Manager

Silent Gliss Ltd

 

 

Healthcare Sector

 

NHS

Area Supply Contractor

NHS

Practice Manager

International Business Development Manager

Axa PPP Healthcare

Business & Performance Manager

Strategic Health Service

NHS

Chief Biomedical Scientist

 

 

Public Sector

 

Metropolitan Police

Systems Manager

Kent County Council

Assistant Audit Manager

 

 

Heritage Sector:

 

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust

Education & Community Director

 

 

Other sectors:

 

Design Consultants

Account Manager

Channel 4 TV

Accounts Administrator

The Scrine Foundation

Homeless Intervention Worker

Smith Medical International

Operational Manager

BT

International Data Specialist

 

 

Further study:

 

University of Kent

M.Phil Management

RESEARCHING CAREERS

Before making career choices you will need to investigate the options of interest to you in order to get to know the skills, abilities and specialist knowledge that will be required of, for example, a management consultant or a marketing communications manager. Getting behind the popular image (whether glamorous or grim) of a particular career will help you to make the decision as to whether this is the right choice for you.

A good place to start is Prospects Planner www.prospects.ac.uk/Links/Pplanner - a powerful program to help you choose a career. It allows you to answer questions about your values and interests and then to relate these to a database of hundreds of occupational profiles to get suggestions on appropriate careers. These profiles include factors such as working conditions and lifestyle implications (this may be especially important to you if you have family responsibilities), salaries, typical employers, vacancy sources and links to publications, websites and professional bodies that can provide more detailed information.

You may also find the “100 Jobs Exercise” useful. Developed by the Director of Career Development Programs at Harvard Business School, this is a process designed to help you identify themes likely to influence your career and life choices. https://alumni.gsb.stanford.edu/career/clv/pdf/The_100_Jobs_Exercise.pdf

Another useful site is Windmills www.windmillsonline.co.uk/interactive - a series of exercises designed to help you make career and life decisions

RESEARCHING EMPLOYERS

Again, many employers benefit, or suffer, from a very strong popular image of the organisation, its culture and what it would be like to work for.

Think, for example, of the different perceptions the general public (and perhaps you too) have of an investment bank and a building society; an airline and a road haulage company; a designer fashion company and a manufacturer of industrial workwear.

Some companies have a high profile because of a long-established history, because they make products used in just about every household or because they have a chief executive with a flair for publicity.

Focusing solely on the employers which you perceive as “glamorous” or “dynamic”, or simply on those which you have heard of as a consumer, could rule out a large number of excellent career opportunities so make sure you research the job market, and individual employers, thoroughly. Our web pages at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/EmployerSearch.htm  are a good starting point and Top MBA www.topmba.com/careers also includes an employer directory.

Because many positions advertised at MBA level have quite similar job titles it is important to read carefully job descriptions of advertised positions and to consider that position in relation to the organisation advertising it.

The role of a “Project Manager”, for example, can mean many different things according to the type of organisation and the type of projects to be managed and would be very different in an engineering firm, a financial services company and a local authority – as would the person specification for this role.          

An excellent way of carrying out this research into careers and organisations is to talk to somebody already working in them: this is known as networking.

NETWORKING

Networking is a key job-search tool for MBA students and graduates. Many surveys of MBA graduates indicate that 50 - 60% have found a new job by networking.

What is networking? Here is one definition:

"Networking is making links from people we know to people they know, in an organized way, for a specific purpose …."

That purpose may be to get a job or to obtain information. Networking is not simply a way of making potentially useful contacts: it can be used to help in your careers research and decision-making.

You may feel that, at the moment, there are no “people you know” who are likely to be able to help you begin networking. But just start to think about all the people you do know – and all the people they might know. Remember the "six degrees of separation" theory that any two individuals are linked by an average of six acquaintances.

Networking is a powerful job-search tool but needs to be used delicately and tactfully.

“It’s not about getting in someone’s face and giving them your business card but about getting to know people and having a common interest”
(an MBA graduate quoted in the Independent, 26/09/02)

You should start networking early in your MBA course. The following websites will help you:

MAKING APPLICATIONS

While many of the positions in which you will be interested are likely to specify that an MBA is a requirement or a significant advantage,  your degree alone will not be sufficient to secure you an interview. If the advertisement says “must have an MBA” then every other candidate to be considered seriously will also have this qualification. It is all the other things you have to offer – your skills, experience, personality and self-presentation – which will help you to secure the post.

You can find detailed information about completing application forms and constructing a CV in our booklet, “Making Applications” or on this website at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/applicn.htm

An e-book, “Top MBA CVs” can be downloaded from the MBAmatch website www.mbamatch.com 

There is also an example of a CV that might be used by an MBA student at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/mba.htm

INTERVIEWS

The Careers Advisory Service booklet, “Interview Skills”, is available from our office or on our website at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/intervw.htm   

This covers the essentials of interview technique, but the following example questions may be especially relevant to MBA students and graduates.

Questions you may be asked at interview

Questions about yourself: your background and your ambitions:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why did you decide to do an MBA?
  • What do you feel you have gained from the course?
  • How would the experiences you describe be useful in this company?
  • What are your main strengths and weaknesses?
  • What other jobs/careers are you applying for?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years time?
  • What were you doing between these dates? (asking you to explain any gaps in your career history, such as time out, travel or unemployment);
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would your friends/colleagues describe you?

Questions about your knowledge of the employer, or career area:

  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Why have you chosen to apply for this job function?
  • What would you bring to the job?
  • Who do you think are, or will be, our main competitors?
  • What do you think makes you suitable for this job?
  • What do you see as the main threats or opportunities facing the company?
  • What impression do you have of this company?
  • What was our share price this morning?

Questions designed to put you on the spot and/or test your ability to think fast, reason under pressure and keep calm:

  • Why should we choose you rather than one of the other candidates?
  • Which business man or woman do you most admire?
  • What makes you angry?
  • How many piano tuners are there in the UK?   (A serious question but not one where they are looking for a precise figure! Questions like these want you to logically arrive at a guesstimate breaking down the answer into a series of steps, e.g. number of households in the UK; percentage which have a piano; number of other pianos in schools, concert halls etc; how often does a piano need tuning and so on). This is a scoping question 
  • If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

Competency-based questions: questions designed to make you give evidence, from past experience, that you have the skills required for the job:

 

Describe a situation where you had to.....

  • show leadership
  • make a difficult decision
  • work as a member of a team
  • show initiative
  • introduce and implement change
  • overcome a difficult obstacle
  • persuade other people of your point of view
  • work with others to solve a problem

 

See our competency questions page for advice on handling this type of question. This site also includes a range of practice interviews including areas such as marketing, HR and finance

More interview tips and possible questions

A copy of the book, Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions, is available in the Careers Advisory Service – ask at the Reception Desk.

An e-book, “Top MBA Interviews” can be downloaded from the MBAmatch website www.mbamatch.com 

Our interview web pages include:

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Over 60% of full-time MBA students at KBS are from overseas (non-EU), and will have particular concerns and potential problems in job-seeking. You may wish to stay in the UK and work, to return to your home country or to work in a third country. Our web pages, “International Links” and Information for international students provide useful information.

USEFUL LINKS FOR MBA STUDENTS & GRADUATES

 

To find links to particular companies, see the I Want To Work In pages of this site www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin.htm  The following pages may be of particular interest to MBA students and graduates.

OTHER INFORMATION RESOURCES

The Careers Advisory Service has produced a booklet, Career Management Skills for MBA Students, which provides much of the information on this website in print format and also contains additional sections to help you analyse your skills and prepare an action plan. Copies are available from the CAS building www.kent.ac.uk/careers/opening.htm

The Careers Advisers for MBA students are Jenny Keaveney and Tim Reed. See our Staff pages for details of our careers interview and quick-query facilities.

 

 

Author: Reshma Farooki    



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