Getting MBA jobs at top firms today can be competitive.
In 2018, Deutsche Bank reported 110,000 applications for just over 600 positions, around 177 applicants per position. Goldman Sachs, in 2016, was estimated to have an acceptance rate of 1.6% for its summer analyst program.
What can MBA graduates do to stand out?
Employers now want more from MBA graduates than a degree in general management alone.
According to a 2017 UK survey, employers want more specialist skills. 65% of employers surveyed identified the lack of a skillset which would aid specific vocations, such as accountancy for in finance, or brand management for the luxury industry.
It’s no wonder then that business schools, like EMLYON Business School in France, are incorporating specializations into the MBA syllabus.
For six months in the second half of the EMLYON MBA, students can follow a path into a specific industry, tailoring their MBA experience to their own career needs.
Students choose one functional specialization—from International Strategy, Marketing, Finance, and Digitalization—and one contextual specialization—from New Venture Management, Entrepreneurship, Luxury Brand Management, and Life Sciences.
As part of the EMLYON MBA, students also take part in an Entrepreneurial Leadership Project (ELP), a consultancy placement in the industry of their choice.
Consequently, EMLYON boasts a 92% employment rate for its MBA graduates, the second highest in France.
We caught up with two EMLYON MBA graduates to find out more:
Priyanka Maurya, Class of 2017
Priyanka’s aspirations for standing out from the crowd in the luxury industry drew her to the MBA at EMLYON. Working in the world of fashion and cosmetics, including for Estee Lauder, she found her relatively limited work experience was holding her back.
“I wanted to become a successful business woman, and, one day, a CEO,” Priyanka says.
What stood out from the EMLYON MBA syllabus most was the opportunity to advance her knowledge of the business side of luxury—a business which she had entered after her Bachelor’s with limited formal training and experience.
Priyanka’s specialization was in International Strategy and Luxury Business. Not only was she excited to study the luxury industry in France, a global center of luxury, she also had the chance to move away from cosmetics specifically and towards a wider understanding of the luxury world.
The specialization included modules on brand management and consumer behavior—all through a lens of ‘luxury’. Priyanka notes that this equipped her with a sophisticated understanding of the nuances of luxury, and the factors that distinguish it from ordinary consumer business.
Part of breaking into the industry was through practical experience and network-building during her time on the MBA at EMLYON Business School. Priyanka’s ELP consisted of a seven-month consulting placement at world-renowned luxury brand Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessey (LVMH), where her focus was on marketing and global talent management.
She now works at Fast Retailing, a multi-billion-dollar Japanese clothing retailer which includes brands such as Uniqlo.
Yuan Liu, Class of 2018
Yuan (pictured) was also pursuing “a career breakthrough” when her attention turned to the MBA syllabus at EMLYON. Her background was in finance, having studied her bachelor’s in business administration and finance, and had worked at various companies in the US and China in risk management.
“I was looking for some fresh air,” Yuan recalls.
With some experience of working at multinational companies, Yuan was drawn towards the specialization in International Strategy and Multinational Enterprise (MNE) as a means of enhancing her profile.
This included a seven-month ELP working at Circle, a money sharing and crypto-currency application. It was here that Yuan’s interest was piqued by fintech and the exciting and growing blockchain market.
This practical experience led naturally into Yuan’s current role as an investment manager at Olymp Capital—a venture capital firm based in Paris focusing specifically on blockchain resource development.
Every day, Yuan deploys these specialist skills which she learnt during her specialization on the MBA at EMLYON Business School. “I flip back to my old MBA slides to find something that overlaps with my ongoing work,” she says.