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.”     

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