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6 Job Search Strategies for MBAs
6 Job Search Strategies for MBAs
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Earning an MBA is a great way to expand your horizons, chart your own path to leadership and help you innovate to overcome the business challenges of tomorrow. But to execute on that vision, you'll need to find a company that shares your values, and gain the kind of professional experience that can open the door to multiple career paths, instead of confining you to just one.

Ready to launch a dynamic career, one in which you can lead bold innovation, impact the lives of people everywhere—and leave your mark on the world? Here are six job-search tips to help MBA students get there.

Get the Process Started Early—Very Early

Most MBA programs last two years, but prep work for the inevitable job search should begin on day one. And, literally, it can—because in industries like finance or consulting, for example, recruiting firms often show up on campus soon after you arrive.

Another piece of advice: Treat your classmates as the colleagues and professional references they very soon will be. And be sure to spend time outside the classroom each day researching and learning about the latest news in the area you intend to specialize in. Being able to demonstrate a highly nuanced, up-to-date understanding of your focus area will pay dividends down the line when you meet with recruiters.

Put Your Passion First (Not ROI)

Right now, the average total cost of a top-tier, two-year MBA program in the U.S. is in the range of $130,000. Meanwhile, graduates of some schools average as much as $151,070 in student loan debt upon completing their degrees. Yet, while these factors might tempt some MBA students to seek the highest-paying jobs possible, no matter how grinding, that's not necessarily the recipe for success. Why? For starters, studies have linked working long hours with depression and a host of other negative health outcomes. Plus, there's research to suggest that you're more likely to seek out challenges when you're engaged in work that you're passionate about.

That's exactly what you'll get when you launch your career with Johnson & Johnson: challenges and opportunities. While taking on complex, real-world problems, you'll have dynamic experiences that open the door to many career paths—instead of confining you to just one. We also prioritize work/life balance and are on track to have the world's healthiest workforce. And because Our Credo governs everything that we do, you'll find that community-driven values are at the heart of our global impact.

Stand Out at Recruiting Events

Think of recruiting events as information-gathering opportunities. That means the focus should be less on you than the company itself. So be prepared to ask questions: What kind of perks and benefits does the company offer? Does it make mentoring a priority? What about volunteer work and PTO? How is the company supporting work/life balance?

And when it comes time to share your interests and background, you should prepare a short spiel to deliver to recruiters. After summarizing your background, shift the focus to your professional purpose—a short overview of what you're looking to achieve and how your background has prepared you to get there (for examples, click here). Try to keep this part of your conversation brief: Three to five minutes should be plenty of time.

Once the conversation is winding down, be sure to exchange contact information with the recruiter. This will allow you to follow up and have a more in-depth conversation about the opportunity and your candidacy. It's how you'll build the relationship that you can later leverage for an interview.

Want to connect with Johnson & Johnson at an on-campus event? Check with the career resources center at your school to find out when we'll be in your area.

Make Use of Your Entire Network

Anywhere from 65% to 85% of all jobs are found as a result of networking, so your alumni network is one of your strongest assets. Take advantage of whatever alumni directories, clubs or organizations your school offers, and whenever you identify roles that interest you, search on LinkedIn to see if people from your school currently work there. If they do, don't be shy about contacting them.

At Johnson & Johnson, we make it easy for you to search your LinkedIn network for referrals when you apply for a job with us—just look for the "Get Referred” feature on our Careers site and on LinkedIn. It helps you quickly search your LinkedIn network for Johnson & Johnson connections and request a referral for a given role.

Finally, remember that your alumni network isn't limited to your peers in your MBA program. If you've built strong relationships with professors or deans, touch base with them and ask for guidance. And, of course, there's your undergraduate network, too. Attending an alumni networking event, which many universities host in major cities on an ongoing basis, is a great way to connect and find new opportunities.

Prioritize Ongoing Professional Development

Fresh out of B-school, most grads land midlevel, junior management roles—and that's fine. But you should be aware that there are other opportunities, like the Leadership Development Programs (LDPs) at Johnson & Johnson, uniquely designed to help accelerate the career growth of MBAs. These programs provide you with ongoing training and professional development while exposing you to real-world business challenges impacting the future of healthcare.

Hone Your Executive Presence

Whichever path you choose, remember that many companies hire recent MBAs because they want someone with leadership skills, as well as the flexibility to be shaped and molded. In other words, these companies are looking for their next generation of leadership. So, in your interviews, do your best to exude what is sometimes called "executive presence" by demonstrating that you are a poised and confident team player. And remember: Something like 55% of communication is nonverbal, so it’s not only what you say, but how you say it, that counts.

Join Johnson & Johnson Today

With these six tips in mind, your job search should be off to the races. And if you're looking to make an impact in the world—while building your career with a company that lives its values every day—find out how you can join Johnson & Johnson today.

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