CHOOSING THE JOB – When, Where and What?

( For MBA Students):

There are two general things to think about at this stage – your career path and the next job. Before you decide which job – or jobs – to apply for, you should have given some thought to your career path. There is a special section on this in these advice pages. We suggest that you look there now or soon.

For what follows here – we assume that you now have decided what type of job in what type of organisation will fit your career intentions. The issues for you now are to do with specifics – in particular – when? where? and what?

When to apply?

Put your details on this site as soon as you can - and get some control over your job seeking process and schedule

However if you are near the start of an MBA program don’t start applying for specific jobs straight away. Few organizations will offer you a job to take up at a much later date – so apply when you are well into your MBA program. If your School organizes recruitment ‘fairs’ then find out when recruiters from organizations will be visiting your School and make sure you apply for any specific jobs that you are interested in before these begin. As a general rule – the end of your program should be ‘in sight’ before you start applying - as organizations will want to know how your have been getting on with your program- eg your average grades etc –and they may want to get references on you from the School – so you need to have been there long enough for people to have got to know you. Generally - 6 months form the end of your program is about the right time to start applying


1.      Watch what the others are doing, and apply around the same time - not later.

2.      Try to avoid getting into a situation in which you have to prepare for and attend interviews when you want to be concentrating on exams etc You know what your deadlines and critical times are – external organizations don’t!.

3.      Be prepared for time consuming processes. Possible employers may expect you to meet with them lots of times – so try not to get involved at times which do not suit you

Where to apply?

You need to research the organizations that are potentially of interest to you. Not only is this necessary at this stage – but it is essential also in preparation for any applications and subsequent interviews.

Start this process early – there will be lots of other things that you need to do later.

Look at the organizations on this site. Use this as your starting point - because these are the organizations that are interested in people like you. Also look at local/national papers and business magazines to find organizations that might be of interest to you – not only the ones that are advertising for staff – but also those with general advertisements

Now do your research.

Your potential sources of information include the following-

The Organization’s Web page – for the ‘official’ info. (Print off the key pages for possible future use)

Your Library – check the business directories, on-line and CD ROM databases for company information and search the on-line newspapers, business journals and abstract services for references to the organization. (Print off the key pages)

The Organization – if you are really serious about an organization and need more info after you have done the above – call them and ask (eg for catalogues, annual reports, etc)

The Alumni of your School – if there is a database or directory you may find some people who do or have worked for the organization. Contact them and ask them questions (They will probably be pleased that you have found them)

Some of the things you may be aiming to find out during this search – of value in making your choice as well as in preparation for any interview may include –




Growth and profitability record- eg in comparison to their business sector

Background of senior staff – eg do they have an MBA and where from?

Human Resource policy/practices – eg any management development programs


1.      Don’t confine your interest to those organizations that are currently advertising jobs of the type that might interest you. Cast you net widely at this stage. Not all the good jobs are advertised

2.      Don’t rely solely on the organization’s own information- or only on factual information eg from annual reports. Get inside info, comments and judgements from press reports. (It’s the snippets and the up-to-date info that will impress if you go for interview)

3.      Use your networks – ask around

4.      Make notes – create a dossier on each organizations – they may be useful later – eg at an interview

5.      Pool/share information with other people on your program. (This is not yet a competitive situation)

6.      Get negative info as well as positive stuff – you are most likely to get it from press /journal coverage – it will be of value to you in any interview

7.      Also collect information – as above – about the sector in which each organization works - eg activities of main competitors , etc

What to apply for?

Often you will have to decide what job, or what type of job, to apply for in the organization you have chosen. However, if you have little or no work experience this may not be the case – an organization will probably consider taking you on to give you some initial training etc before they or you decide in what part of the organization to work. So you can skip this stage

If you have a choice to make - we are back to considerations of your career path. In thinking about your career you will have assessed your strengths and weaknesses

You will want to be able to use your strengths in the job – but will know that you are unlikely to develop your career unless you also have the opportunity to learn new skills –and perhaps rectify some weaknesses. So your choice of what to apply for will be influenced by your desire to strike a balance between familiarity and challenge. You will also be wanting to ensure some ‘linear’ direction to your career – so unless you have been totally unhappy with any earlier job, or unless you have chosen to take an MBA in order to change the direction of your career - your new job choice will be intended to move you forward

Look at the jobs on this site (and also of course the local/national papers). You may find something that fits your requirements, but don’t assume that these are the only jobs that exist. Not everything is advertised

Tips –

1.      Aim high – not low. An organization may offer you a job slightly below what you applied for – but will rarely offer you one above.

2.      Have a good reason to apply for the job- if your are interviewed you will be asked this question

3.      Know what the job will do for you as well as what you can bring to the job

4.      Know what the job involves – if necessary ask

5.      Find our whether it is a new job or has been/is currently being done by someone else. If the former, why? If the latter where is the person going – up?

6.      Talk to people who have done this type of job before (alumni, faculty?)– and get an inside view

(make a note of their names, job title and organizations – it may be useful to drop this info into any interview)