Category Archives: MBA

Why Should You Be Hired?

“Why should you be hired?”  The dreaded interview question right behind “Tell me about yourself”.   If you are unable to confidently answer why you should be hired, then an employer certainly will not know either.

Employers seek confidence supported by tangible evidence answering why you are the best candidate for any given position.  Often times, interviewees come down with a dangerous case of timidity and humility during interviews which results in disaster almost every time.  The source of your job search marketing campaign is you and employers look to you for confident answers to their questions.  Balance that humility with confidence.  As you plan for your next interview, take an inventory of your approach to answering questions.  Humility is highly admired, but do not portray yourself as overly humble at the risk of showing lack of confidence and ability to succeed in the prospective position.

When responding to why you should be hired, delete the following from your answer:

1. I feel, I believe, I think:  If you are not confident in your ability to succeed, then the interviewer most certainly will not.  Ask yourself this question: How would you feel if a surgeon told you he felt like he could remove your appendix?  Know what you can do.  Be confident in your ability.

2. To gain experience:  Employers do not hire to just give people experience.  Employers hire employees who can deliver positive results.   You should be hired because of what you can do not because of what you want to receive.

3.  You want to see if you will like the career:  Once again, employers hire people who can deliver results.  You may not have direct experience in a given career, but you do have skills.  Identify the transferable skills from your past and confidently connect your past success into your future success.

Always show confidence in what you know you can do coupled with the humility of what you seek to learn.  Be a solution.

 

Career Answers Every Prospective MBA Should Know

MBA Admissions activity is in full swing.  Programs are in the process of traveling the globe to recruit the best of the best. Work experience, GPAs and GMAT/GRE scores are top of discussion in MBA Admissions offices.

If you are planning to get your MBA, think of what you can offer as a candidate and future business professional.  It’s not enough to say that you want to advance your career and are open to any career path.  What do you want to do with your future?  How do you plan to achieve your goals?  Develop a marketing plan which includes a targeted value proposition message that you can deliver to both business school programs and potential employers.  The job market for MBAs is competitive, so any potential MBA must be ready to meet this competitive challenge not just in the classroom but also in the job market.

As you start to think about seeking an MBA, make sure you have solid answers to the following questions:

  1. What is your value proposition?  What do you have to offer?
  2. How can you contribute to the education of your fellow classmates?
  3. What are your goals?  You don’t have to have specific answers, but a successful prospective MBA must be able to talk future direction.
  4. Why do you want to transition into management? Career changers coming from a non-business background have to provide a better answer than to just want to make decisions and manage people.
  5. What indicators for success can you demonstrate to a potential MBA program as well as a future employer?  Prove your skills that transfer from your former career or position into the career path you plan for the future.

Whether you are changing the trajectory of your career by seeking an MBA or planning to completely change careers, start with your skills as place to start building your “employability” case.

As you attend MBA recruiting events both around the world and on campus, be confident in knowing what you can provide a potential program.  You must be able to talk about why you want to get your MBA and how the program and future employer can benefit from your knowledge, skills and experience.

 

Seeking H1B for Just a Few Years

It is a common career goal to work in another country for a couple of years for that global experience.  International students come to the US for an education and hope to stay for at least a few years for this very reason.  US Citizens look for international experience themselves for this very reason.  After that time, they typically plan to return to their home country to be close to family and their home.  From a completely internal point of view, that is natural and perfectly acceptable.  For employers, it’s an entirely different story.

It costs thousands of dollars to recruit, hire, train and replace employees in today’s marketplace.  In many positions, it takes almost a year if not more for a candidate to get up to speed with all of the ins and outs of a position and company.  It is expensive to hire and retain the best in today’s market.  Therefore, it is incumbent upon the employer to identify talent who will not just succeed in the short term but also long term with a career with that organization.  It’s just good business sense.

What should international students do about this news?  They should structure their career decisions and job search plans to match that of business’s need today.  You may eventually want to return to your home country one day.  Someone within the United States might take a position in another state with the hopes of returning closer to home one day.  But, don’t forget that as a job seeker, you are marketing a product to a prospective employer.  The employer is the buyer.  As the manager of your job search marketing campaign, you must align your goals with the needs of business today.  You want to be employed in a profession that matches your goals, strengths and experience.  At the end of the day, business hires people who can help the company make money.  They want to hire people who can learn the company and stay long enough to make a profitable impact on the organization.

The sweet spot for any career manager is to identify where your goals and skills overlap with those of a prospective employer.

 

Career Rx: Take a Break

I just returned from a wonderful vacation break and agree that some time off is the best prescription for recharging the career batteries.  While not many people are happy to see their vacations end, it is always nice when a person can return to work with a clear mind to create and tackle new ideas and projects.  I am no exception.  I did something I very rarely do when on vacation…I did not check my email.  GASP!   Did I pay a heavy price when I returned from my vacation?  Oh yes.   An astronomical number of emails awaited my immediate attention upon my return, but I stand firm in saying it was worth it to unplug.  And let’s face it, it is probably good for our colleagues and clients to have us re-energize.  *SMILE*

Whether you truly enjoy what you do with your career or not, you will be susceptible to burnout if you do not find a way to relax your mind.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about my work while away.  Of course I did.   But the break was exactly what the doctor ordered for me.  Now I am back renewed.

How often do we tell ourselves that we cannot take a break?  Do you tell yourself that you can’t take even a few days to relax your mind?  We have brainwashed ourselves into thinking that we can not separate.  Technology and those handheld devices have changed our lives in a million ways and not always good.  But, you know what?  Those little devices do, in fact, have an off button.   I was shocked to see that mine worked.

Even if you do not have the funds to travel, have you ever thought of taking a few days for a StayCation?  Just stay at home?  Yes!  I’m a huge fan of StayCations myself.

No matter what works best for your lifestyle, it is important for you to take time to clear your mind and rid yourself of the dust that can fill your head.  We spend such a very large portion of our lives at work; therefore, it is important that we pay attention to keeping ourselves energized and focused.

Career Management is about navigating opportunities for advancement, and part of that navigation includes identifying and addressing opportunities for improvement.  Every battery needs to be charged at some point, and your mind is no exception.  Take a break and unplug every now and then.  You will love the results.

 

8 Tips to Overcome a Negative Internship Experience

Written by guest blogger:  Jessica Newcomb, Assistant Director, Graduate Business Career Services, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” What a succinct and striking piece of advice that rings true in many life situations. You can never go wrong by focusing on the opportunities in front of you. However, many students have completed 4 or 5 weeks of their internship by now, and some are finding themselves looking around and thinking that other interns were given better projects or are somehow having a better experience. If that statement describes you, consider taking these steps to turn it around.

1. Reach out to other interns. Ask how they approach their supervisor and continue to make connections in other areas. Remember that you don’t necessarily know about the backgrounds and unique skill sets of the other interns.

2. Talk to your supervisor. Do not throw up your hands and resign yourself to spending all of your time on the internet or looking out of a window. Instead, make a commitment to yourself and take a personal leadership role. Suggest ways to expand what you are doing or offer to take on another project. Describe your skills in better detail, and your supervisor will likely learn something he/she didn’t know before.

3. Find out what training exists. Ideally, you are aware of training programs for interns at your company. You may be currently pursuing that training or have completed an onboarding process of some kind. If that is not true for you and you are wondering how you might plug into opportunities, ask your supervisor or others in your department, area, or company. Take advantage of everything the company has to offer because the internship will be over before you know it.

4. Be a voracious reader. Read business journals and articles and seek out additional knowledge that can help you in your full-time job search. Be aware of trends in your industry, growing companies, and keep looking where others are not. Find materials written by leaders in your field or great business leaders in general.

5. Reconnect with your career coach. Contrary to popular belief, career services office are open for business over the summer. While a lot of planning is underway for the upcoming year, we are still here to answer questions and offer advice.

6. Look ahead. You may not want to work at the company for which you are interning. Even if you want to work there, they may not extend a full-time offer for a variety of reasons. Take advantage of being in a new city to meet with contacts and gain insight on where you might head next, and keep your ear to the ground for opportunities you may not have considered before.

7. Offer to be helpful. This point applies to contacts within your internship employer and outside of that company. Everyone is attracted to the person who offers to take something off their plate or contribute in a meaningful and unexpected way.

8. Develop a new skill or ability. Don’t leave things hanging out there on your future “to do” list. Get busy now making sure that you are ready for the job that you want. Self-assess and talk to others who are successful in your area.

If you find yourself feeling a little lackluster about your internship experience, remember that you have a lot of control over that experience. Be proactive and make the most of your internship experience.

Career Prep Before the MBA Program

It’s the time of year when prospective MBA students are looking towards leaving their current employers and transitioning back to the world of academics. Almost every reason a prospective MBA student has for applying to B-School comes down to career. Whether they want to dramatically change professions or the trajectory, MBA candidates seek to change something in their careers. As with any new initiative, people start out extremely motivated and ready to work. At the beginning of their programs, most MBAs aggressively nod their head at advice from their career coaches and promise to stay actively engaged in their job search. Naturally, this energy starts to wane after the grind of academics kicks into high gear. After students begin to realize the amount of time and energy their academic program requires, they start to prioritize their time which sometimes results in the job search being moved down the list. Some students move their job search down the list farther than others, but suffice it to say that job search energy will decrease to some degree within the first month or two of an MBA program.

Knowing the importance of a successful job search in addition to the importance of successful academics, consider implementing the following early to get ahead of the job search process:

  1. Connect with your career advisor (coach) this summer to begin identifying your goals, strengths and weaknesses in regards to your future career goals. Learn what areas in regards to your job search that will require coaching and refining, so you can spend less time making mistakes this fall. National Career Fairs and internship postings start popping up on the calendar very early; therefore, MBA candidates must be prepared to compete effectively in the market.
  2. Start writing your resume NOW! Refrain from taking your original resume and adding a few updates. Start from scratch and construct a targeted resume that presents your professional brand. Seek professional advice from your career coach and learn how to write a new resume that connects your past accomplishments and experiences with your future goals and the skills needed for success with a potential employer.
  3. Join the professional organization most respected in your field of study. Anyone returning to school for a career in human resources should join the local and national chapters of the Society for Human Resources Management. Be sure to not just stop at joining the organization and looking for the next national conference. Engage with other members. Contact the organization officers or board of directors and ask questions on how you can get involved. Look for ways to connect and learn from others in your chosen profession. Share information with other members through a LinkedIn group or Twitter. Show the membership that you are eager to learn and someone to meet. The best way to do this is to focus on being interested in others. Be interested in career paths, companies, and latest trends in HR, etc. Help others help you.

One of the worst things that a potential MBA student can do is wait until the last minute to start thinking about how to activate the search for an internship. The typical professional job search can take upwards of eight months. Waiting to start your job search until the time you begin your academics will most definitely ensure that one of the two will have to suffer. The best job search approach is one that is steadily active and involves great initiative. Start today by seeking ways you can kick start your job search before you arrive on campus and establish a activity rhythm that will sustain you during the busiest of times. Don’t miss the perfect opportunity due to poor planning.

 

 

 

 

Contacting Employers the Old Fashioned Way

Who would have ever thought that the use of telephones and the US Postal Service would become old fashioned to job seekers? On the flip side, who would think bringing back these old fashioned resources in finding employment could be considered creative? Today’s younger job seeker is amazed at the idea of calling a potential employer over the phone much less sending a resume and cover letter through the mail. The very idea of printing a resume, printing a cover letter, signing the cover letter, addressing an envelope with a stamp, stuffing then sealing that enveloped and finally walking this envelope to the mail box is almost inconceivable in today’s job market.

“Pounding the pavement” has become a lost art in seeking employment. Too many have flocked to the comfort of the online application process. As I have said many times, applying for a position online is a task. An effective job search is a process. As a job seeker, what are you willing to do in addition to applying online to secure your targeted job?

When looking for innovative or unique ways to be noticed by potential employers, why not first return to these two basic techniques used from the not so distant past:

Pick up the telephone: The internet provides easy access in finding general telephone numbers to every business in the world. Call employers. You can certainly call the HR department, but you will probably be more successful by calling the department in which you want to work. Emails can often time get lost, but phone calls are rarely lost or overlooked.

Mail your resume: Typing resumes and cover letters on bond paper and sending these job search packets through the mail used to be the most widely used practice for job seekers just 20 years ago. Today, very few job seekers take the time to print resume and cover letters to mail much less know what bond paper is in the first place. In addition, we are more likely to read the mail we physically receive over every email we receive. The volume of mail we receive at the office has dramatically decreased. Job seekers stand a very good chance of their letter being opened.

Applying online will get your resume into the company applicant tracking system. While some companies do look at these resumes for identifying talent, candidates must take extra steps to be noticed unless you believe in the needle in a haystack theory. In order to prove your interest and commitment for the job to employers, think about returning to basics if you will. Purchase a book of US postage stamps, stationery paper and envelopes, and good ink for your printer. The walk to the mailbox will be good for you. In addition, use the Internet to find a few phone numbers and dial the telephone. Dare to be innovative by returning to what many consider “old fashioned.” You might be surprised with the positive feedback you receive.