MBA & Can't Get A Job

by David
(USA)

I am a 37-year-old male with an MBA and have been unsuccessful at transitioning my career focus.


I am what many call a "generalist", with an assorted background of customer service, accounting, finance, PR, auditing, and medical office management.

I would like to put my MBA "to use" and am interested in consulting or marketing, however I have found it nearly impossible to obtain an entry-level management position. I search listings daily, volunteer with several business organizations, and regularly network at events.

I believe my age may be a disadvantage, so how can I get my foot in the door in a new function? I do not want to go back to accounting or finance.

I would like to know how I can just get a "bite on my fishing line" where a respectable employer will let me into a new function and provide training so that I can start utilizing my real potential.

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MBA & Can't Get A Job
by: Cherry

It must be incredibly frustrating for you to have put the time and effort into getting an MBA and then finding you are still stuck on the threshold of the new career you are seeking. What was your objective when you took the MBA? Did you see it as an automatic passport into a management role? In truth, this is not often the case. Your MBA is the cherry on top of the cake of who you already are and what you already have to offer.

I wonder if the crux of the matter lies in your last sentence. '...where a respectable employer will let me into a new function and provide training so that I can start utilizing my real potential' This sounds to me as if you may be waiting for an employer to take a gamble with you, to recruit you on the basis that you will need more training to enable you to work at your best. So you are going to cost them money before you can deliver anything useful...? Hmmm, not a very enticing prospect.

Remember that job search is a selling exercise and you are the product. You wouldn't sell a car by telling your prospects that it has some nice features and if they are willing to do a bit of work on it, it could be a great little runner, would you?

I think when you approach potential employers either through a formal job application or through informal networking, you really need to emphasise what you can already do. You have got years of varied work experience and a high level academic qualification so you will have lots of skills and knowledge to sell. You need to give the impression that you are ready to hit the ground running and that your skills and experience are relevant to the recruiter's needs. Any hint at further training needs should be kept low key. Basically any employer wants to take someone on who will be competent to just dive in and get on with the job.

My guess is that you need to really work on building up a picture of what you have got to offer already and really believing in what you can do. Take a look at the exercises in the Who Am I section of the HTCC website. http://www.how-to-change-careers.com/career-change-assessment.html

Yes, age may be an issue, but if you assume it will hold you back then it will. 37 is not old but it does mean you have a mature understanding of the workplace which a 24 year old will not have. Sell your age as a positive rather than see it as a millstone. And you talk about being a generalist almost apologetically. A generalist background can be a fantastic foundation for a management role as you will really understand what your staff are experiencing in their roles.

So your mission, (if you choose to accept it!) is to focus on selling who you are and what you can offer in a strong and positive light and this will make you a much more convincing prospect for any potential recruiter.

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Older MBAs
by: Henry

Age may be a factor, but I'm hoping that it's not an important factor. I've just turned 40, and about to finish my MBA. I'm now looking for jobs also and I think I'm in a similar situations. I am getting some interviews, though not as many as I'd like.

But I think the challenge is expectation. Many older MBAs expect senior level management position (e.g. senior consultant or manager). I was already a senior engineer before my MBA, thus if I wish to switch to consultancy or switch industry whilst remaining in a relatively senior role (or even a step up), then I'll really need to shine in an interview.

With age and experience, should come with confidence, thereby, thus if you think age is a disadvantage, then it's gonna be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I would network network and network. Use your career services. Use your alumni network. Use LinkedIn. Then network a bit more. A key take away for me from the MBA is the soft stuff, people skills, structured thinking, people management, negotiation, leadership etc......

Good luck, and good luck to myself too :-)

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Having an MBA is not enough
by: Anonymous

I'm 49 and overweight. So my skills, background, and my MBA are in the shadows. Employers are discriminating but will never admit it. I am either over qualified now or on the threshold of not enough "working" management experience. I call BS. I bet if I lost weight and got botox injections everything would change. We live in a superficial world and your written resume or how great you interview is not enough. This whole "looking for the right fit" is garbage. Employers want people who physically look like they fit with their organization and will take someone with the exact same experience but better looking any day of the week.

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Work on what you can change
by: Cherry

Hmmm, you sound pretty angry and bruised and I guess that is not surprising if you have faced many rejections. However, I can’t agree entirely with your comments.

There are lots of layers to selection decisions and I would not deny that how you present yourself at interview is an important part of the process. But there would be no point in recruiters selecting on looks alone – there has to be a skills fit with the role or the job would never get done adequately.

So your task is to make sure you match their needs in as many ways as possible by working on what you can change. That means being very clear about what you can offer them in the way of skills and experience and also tackling what you can change in the way you come across. I can’t say that I would recommend botox, but your weight is something you can definitely do something about. The ball is in your court.

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BBA, MBA to BSN
by: Anonymous

I am in similar deep problem. I have a BBA in Accounting and MBA in Business Management. I definitely and absolutely do not want to go back to Accounting. I hated every aspect of the constant job insecurity and office politics that comes with it. So, I have taken a very bold step and transitioning to Nursing. So far, I love every aspect of Nursing and felt very strongly this is where I need to be. I am doing my BSN program and will graduate next year.

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