Kellogg serial, day four: Jorge

Over the course of the week, Which MBA? will be following the fortunes of five MBA students from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, as they graduate into one of the toughest jobs markets in memory.

An MBA at Kellogg is exhausting; in a good way. From the first day on campus, I have been busy attending classes, writing papers, listening to speakers, leading clubs and student organisations, participating in events, networking, studying, occasionally spending time with my wife and, of course, recruiting. While the experience has been incredibly interesting and enriching, the recruiting process has turned from what was supposed to be a smooth and fun career transition—as it was for fellow Spaniards who previously went to Kellogg—into a challenging quest for El Dorado: a job offer.  

I came to Kellogg to jump from consulting to a business leadership programme at a big player in the retail, consumer goods or manufacturing industries in the US. I wanted to set off on the path to becoming a successful strategic thinker in a general management position.

Despite my efforts and several on-campus interviews, I wasn’t lucky enough to get one of these highly sought-after positions. The setbacks made me rethink my strategy. Were there aspects of my background story I could work on? Should I have done more informal interviews during the recruiting process? Some of the other hurdles I faced were pure externalities—namely, the recession and my being a foreigner.

Instead of taking a completely new direction and defining myself as a career switcher, I am now trying to leverage my previous experience when looking for positions that nonetheless are aligned with my long-term goals. For example, I have been interviewing with a non-profit environmental organisation about managing a project for a big American retailer. Something way off my radar months ago, this is the sort of opportunity that would allow me to grow into my desired professional direction while still taking advantage of my previous experience as a consultant and engineer.

During the recruiting process I have learned the importance of being flexible, quick and open. I have also learned that, unlike in the recent past, an MBA looking for opportunities to do something completely new, with no previous experience in an industry, may be chasing a mirage.

Kellogg serial:
Day one: Daianna
Day two: Reeves
Day three: Eddie
Day five: Sultan

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