Post-MBA Career Triple Jump Becomes Harder

Students should lower their expectations says Cass Business School careers manager, but many of them disagree

This year's MBA graduates will find it tougher to make a sought-after career “triple jump” according to a senior career manager at City University's Cass Business School.

The definition of a post-MBA triple jump, according to Cass’s Caitriona Conway, is when an MBA student makes three jumps in one go post-graduation: “Changing to a more favored location, switching job sectors and moving into a different function.”    

However, the cooling job market has made the triple jump a lot harder than it was a couple of years back. Conway advises students to think long-term: “You need to be equipped as much as possible, because you can't make all three jumps in one go. So be realistic.”

Cass Business School's Caitriona Conway, Business Development Manager for Careers

Some current MBA students remain optimistic about making the triple jump. The quality of a summer internship plays a big part in your chances of success says Abhishek Banerjee, an Indian student from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University: “I think having internships made us very, very happy.”

Banerjee is doing an internship at DSM Venturing, a Netherlands-based firm that invests in start-ups in the Life Sciences and Materials Sciences sectors. The 28-year-old is working as an investment strategy associate in the firm's branch in Delhi, India. He trained originally in computer science and worked for Oracle and Canon before coming to Rotterdam for an MBA.

Though some aspects of his new role are challenging, particular cold-calling high-end business clients, he is looking forward to changing his function from business consulting to investment strategy.

“The bottom line of any good business is to add economic value to the organization without compromising human ethics. Hence, as long as one is able to highlight relevant skills... these kinds of jumps can be made,” he says.

When his internship with DSM Venturing ends, Banerjee is set to go on exchange to Duke University, where the medical school runs classes on commercializing and sustaining small businesses. 

Hussam Masri, a former product manager for a leading international technology vendor, is one of the lucky few to have made the triple jump. Masri originally trained as an engineer in his native Jordan and worked there until he came to Cass Business School in London.

Having graduated with an MBA this summer, the 26-year-old has the option of leaving his previous engineering function to join an MBA leadership scheme at a healthcare multinational elsewhere in the Middle East.

Of the three jumps, Masri says the industry jump is the hardest of all: “Because you'll not be using the vertical knowledge that you had before, your next role can be more challenging.”

The Chevening Scholarship-holder, who is part- funded by the King of Jordan Fund for Development, has ambitions to make another triple jump in the future. Masri is determined to take part in the social and political development of his country and envisions setting up a Jordan-based firm specializing in social entrepreneurship projects some day.

However, a triple jump may not interest everyone. Charles Xue, who is studying Risk Management and Financial Engineering at Imperial College Business School, reveals he has never heard of the term career “triple jump” and doesn’t consider it a “serious life goal”.

Xue, 25, from Shenyang, China, plans to “try his luck” in the UK after next month’s graduation but “probably will settle in China in the long-run”. His dream job would be working in a “world-leading bank as a risk-management specialist,” and Xue has little interest in moving into a different job sector or function: “To me, every big bank is pretty much the same.”     


Alexandra Dean

Tuesday 11th August 2009, 04.42 (UTC)

good point. a lot of people aim for the triple jump cs they think it's what they ought to be doing but a lot of them find themselves in a new city in a job/company they don't feel too comfortable in. it happened to me when i switched from government to banking be careful what u wish for!!

Tuesday 11th August 2009, 05.09 (UTC)

Actually location jump is not always the easiest as some may think, because it's always extra work to sort out visa, settling in a new city, adapting a new culture ect... I would say sector jump comes nature after being "equipped" with that golden pass, well apparently not so much as of now according to Ms Conway!

Wednesday 9th September 2009, 02.20 (UTC)

The triple jump is a coveted career move, especially in Southern California where the location of where you work can be the difference between a high quality of life and an incredibly stressful life. MBAs, besides giving its graduates the option to participate in one of the jumps, also help open up new career doors that are otherwise closed and offers more mobility - for example, a doctor who is wanting to operate/run a hospital might invest in an online MBA healthcare degree in order to do so.

Wednesday 23rd September 2009, 04.28 (UTC)

Do MBAs nowadays still desire the so called 'triple jump' ?

I understand, an MBA opens new opportunity and teaches skills that will enable you to perform new functions. But if students are quitting their jobs and doing an MBA because of their frustrations with their current jobs and desire a function / vertical change; they will only be disappointed again. Unless students clearly understand the role they wish to play, and have a passion for the new role / vertical they stand to lose. With a lateral shift, you cannot leverage your previous experience except in a limited fashion and irrespective of what role is promised to you; you will end up making a fresh start close to the bottom.

A few years ago all of us wanted to be in Investment Banking even though we had software experience. 5 yrs later, come to think of it, I changed streams purely out of frustration and promise of better renumeration rather than a clear interest and goal.

Wishing you all the best...

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