MBA recruitment season is upon us and accompanying this has been a steady stream of questions from potential applicants to Manchester Business School in the hope that I will give them the killer answer that will make their mind up whether to commit or not.
I am, of course, more than happy to help. However, with the winter term starting to rev up with internships search I may not have the time to get back to people before their interview or decision deadline. To this end I’ve compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions that will hopefully help anyone who is currently going through the process:
- Will I get a job at the end of it all? This is by far the most common query. It is also the most difficult for me to answer, especially as we are only two terms in and not at the sharp end of full-time job search yet. From speaking to the class above and also to career services I do know that the UK situation is tough. With the changes in immigration rules non-EU nationals will almost certainly need sponsorship from a company to stay on after the course (unless you can get a special entrepreneurship visa). However, there are many people who are managing to achieve this so it is far from impossible. This situation will be pretty much the same for all business schools in the UK. What I would say is don’t come here with the idea that you’ll easily pick up a job in the UK and live here happily ever after.
- What should I prepare for my interview? It is taken as given that all successful candidates can show great career and academic achievements. What really floats the recruitment team’s boat, however, is what candidates have proactively achieved elsewhere. You should prepare your story with what you have accomplished in spheres such as charity, sports, not for profit, etc. Many of the MBA’s in my class have demonstrated significant achievement in these sort of areas. The other thing you should be clear on is why you want to do the MBA. Even if you are not certain where you want to be after you graduate you should be able to speak convincingly about some sort of career plan.
- How does the course prepare you for an entrepreneurship path? None of the core modules are entrepreneurship focused although they will certainly be of use in running a business (particularly Accounting and Finance). However, you can do an entrepreneurship project as an elective. Also, there are two optional competitions that give an insight into the world of the entrepreneur: In VCIC you play the role of venture capitalists. You are required to select one plan out of four to invest in, pull together a company valuation and negotiate with the relevant entrepreneur. The winner of the school competition then gets to represent MBS at the European final. The second contest involves writing a business plan based on your own idea. You then sell this to a panel of VC’s with the winner heading to Athens to represent the school at the European Business Plan of the Year.
- How much interaction do you have with the rest of Manchester University and its respective societies? Effectively zero. Although everyone agrees that it would be a good idea, classwork and the MBA clubs tend to take up most of our time so people don’t tend to have the inclination to reach out to the wider university.
- What are the motivations of your fellow students? Hugely varied. There are, however, a few rough groupings that people fall into:
- “Jobbers” – those who have a specific goal as to the industry they want to work in post MBA, usually banking or management consulting with the latter being the most popular at MBS (probably unsurprising given the focus on live consultancy projects during the programme). This makes them pretty focused on their goal and they are often active in the relevant club.
- Sponsored students – these students have had their fees paid by their current employers (usually a government related bank or oil company). Their goal is to return to their home country/company and get a big jump up in position and salary. This sometimes means that they are more interested in enjoying living in the UK and are less committed to optional competitions or to killing themselves on the academic work or projects.
- Entrepreneurs – those who want to set up their own company post-MBA. Not the biggest segment of the cohourt but tend to be pretty clear on where they will be in five years.
- The “not sures” – this group includes myself. These people have reached an impasse in their career and are looking to the MBA to either jump them up a level or provide a route into another industry sector. These students throw themselves into every opportunity but often stretch themselves thinly, potentially affecting their academic grades.
Hope this is of use. Please feel free to leave a question in the comment box if you have any more for me. I’ll then share the answer with all my readers.