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Inside View: Expedia

Margaret Buj talks to us about what roles MBA graduates fill at Expedia.com and what package they should expect

Margaret Buj talks to us about working for Expedia.com. She's had over eight years experience in the recruitment sector.  In the past  she has recruited for companies like Microsoft and Cisco Systems.

She’s also an accomplished interview coach with over five years of coaching experience. Currently she recruits for Expedia.com. Whilst at Expedia she's placed candidates in the UK, France, Germany and  even a few in the US.

When we asked her how many MBA candidates Expedia.com hire a year, Margaret told us, “it’s less than 50%. I mean this is to be expected, as there is a limit to the number of MBA positions a company like Expedia.com can have.” She went on to tell us that Expedia hired MBAs for their marketing and merchandising roles. However, MBAs do fill quite important roles when they are hired. The most common roles an MBA would fill are at director and senior management level.

When discussing the qualities that Expedia.com looks for she said, “Ideally when we hire MBAs we want someone who has great analytical skills. We hire MBAs because it’s always good to hire people with a broad education.”

However, Margaret did specify that simply having an MBA isn’t always enough, “when we hire MBAs we still look for people with at least four to five years experience. We rarely hire an MBA graduate who’s got less than three years experience.”

She went on to talk about how having experience is always more important than education at the higher end of the job market. On the other hand she did note, “having an MBA and the right skills gives you an edge on the other candidates.” Margaret specified that someone with over five years experience in consulting or e-commerce and an MBA from a respectable business school would be a very attractive candidate.

We then asked her what she meant by a ‘good business school.’ She responded by saying, “well I can’t give you an exact list of names right now but for example London Business School is one that we hire from quite a bit.”

She told us she couldn’t tell us which business schools Expedia.com won’t hire from, “it’s not as simple as that,  as we have to factor in the experience level, on the other hand hiring managers have so many business school graduates to choose from that they tend to choose candidates from only the best ones.”

Margaret went on to say that “don't be deterred if your business school isn't the best. If you’ve had several years experience in a company like McKinsey and you’ve applied for a consulting role, no matter where you got it your MBA will only be a positive thing.”

When we asked Margaret about what kind of roles MBAs apply for she said, “sometimes I find MBAs just indiscriminately applying for everything. This can be very off-putting. Some of them don’t even change their CVs!” Margaret went on to talk about the importance of customising your CV.

She said that, “80% of the CVs we get from MBAs don’t get much attention, as people haven’t gone to the effort of customising their CV to our job spec in enough detail.” Moreover, she said that MBAs shouldn’t just blankly apply to as many jobs as they can because it won’t help, “if we’re looking for an MBA with an e-commerce background, then having a finance background won’t help.”

We then asked Margaret what it’s like to work for Expedia.com. She said, “the roles within Expedia are extremely varied, even the MBAs we hire have very different experiences to each other.”

Furthermore the company in recent years has gone through an aggressive expansion. Margaret tells us that last year alone, “Expedia hired worldwide over 2,000 people, which is a very big number considering the total number of people in the company is about 9000.”

Margaret also said that Expedia is moving from its current location in Covent Garden to a larger office in Angel. This is because there simply isn’t enough room in the Covent Garden office anymore. She predicts the company’s future will be a healthy one if recruitment figures are anything to go by, “this year I think we’ve hired roughly 1700 people which is a good sign.”

We then asked Margaret what benefits working at Expedia offered and what kind of remuneration package an MBA graduate could expect. She responded by saying, “You have to bear in mind that our roles are very diverse and that each person will have very different conditions.”

On the other hand she did give us a rough idea of what most MBAs could expect, “if you’re hired at a senior manager level you can expect between £55k and £90k. If you’re hired at the director level you’ll probably be offered a salary between £80k and £100k.

She went on to talk about the benefits that everyone at Expedia.com can have, “everyone is entitled to a travel allowance that’s between £6000-£9000 depending on their needs.” She also mentioned that Expedia.com offered all of the standard insurance covers along with a wellness allowance.

Margaret said that when it comes to the office atmosphere, “it’s a really open environment and everyone has a good level of communication with everyone else.” She talked about how at Expedia most people have a good work life balance and that there are times when people have to work harder but generally speaking it’s quite steady.

Finally we asked Margaret what advice she could give to MBAs at the interview stage. She said that, “we get candidates who come in completely unprepared. This is a bad move as we have competency-based interviews, so you should make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to do these.”

Also she told us that candidates should think ahead and think about their experience and clearly structure cases where their experience is relevant. Finally she told us that, “if you don’t have a pen and aren’t taking any notes then we get a little concerned. Just make sure you’re clear and concise, we always appreciate that.”

Comments.

Friday 18th November 2011, 15.53 (UTC)

By

I can't believe people would apply for a job without customising or restructuring their CV for the specific job role - seems like a waste of time to bother applying!

Friday 18th November 2011, 15.54 (UTC)

By

Hi Harriet, Indeed, it is a complete waste of time, but I get so many applications from people who clearly send the same application to other companies. Probably later they are wondering why they are not getting many interviews... Warm regards Margaret

Monday 21st November 2011, 12.27 (UTC)

By

Dear Margaret Thank you for the very wise words, it is great to hear potentail recruiters of MBAs echoing all that we tell the students while in their MBA programme. I would love the opprotunity to connect and talk, to see if any of our Ashridge MBA graduates would have a suitable profile for Expedia. kind regards Shadi

Monday 21st November 2011, 13.48 (UTC)

By
Margaret Buj

Hello Shadi, I'd be happy to connect, my email is t-mbuj@expedia.com You can also view all of our vacancies on www.expediajobseurope.com Best regards Margaret Buj

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