The main weight on the mind of any serious MBA applicant is where they'll end up after graduating. Not only ambitious, they know it’s a huge investment. And, as Executive Dean of Aston Business School Mike West testifies, students have more right than ever to look for the best careers services:
B-schools know that you know this – which is why they their careers services claim to be so formidable. But for your $30,000 fees or more, it’s well worth checking out exactly what they offer. I'd suggest that it’s important to pin down your b-school on the following:
- What is the school's record on placing its grads?
- Does the school help its alumni find work?
- How does the careers service help students find work?
- How soon did students find work last year?
- How did they do this?
- And how does this compare with rival schools?
With this in mind, there are plenty of ways to do your own detective work into the quality of a school’s careers services.
You’ve naturally already looked at the school website, but it's always far better to use your initiative to get hold of current students (hint: many schools have members on BusinessBecause...).
Another method is to find out how employers regard business schools. You can also check independent websites: QS Top MBA ranks global business schools according to their popularity with employers, and our CompareMBA page has plenty of info on graduate placement records.
Further to this, many b-school careers sites have pages aimed at employers, which can be very telling…
A reassuring proportion of top schools understand they need to make applicants feel fully informed, and so you can generally expect them to be candid.
AGSM are leaders on this front, providing their own employment breakdown of the last class - including remuneration by industry, job location and the number of students employed within three months of graduating. Of course, AGSM can afford to boast about many of its figures. But It’s reassuring to see a thorough annual report like this, especially in the current economic climate.
The Fletcher School at Tufts University goes a step further by offering raw stats for both career destinations and its most recent round of internship placements. There's also an impressive (albeit selective) list of past employers split into public, private and non-profit sectors.
Warwick University now produces a dedicated careers brochure for MBA students. The report contains includes some highly detailed analyses of their most recent class. Much of the data is insightful for any future MBA grad – including a very nice geographical breakdown of salary differences.
EMLYON Business School has gone as far as building careers guidance into their curriculum. Aside from the usual careers fairs and advice seminars, the course features workshops in the sports and arts aimed solely at cajoling students into realising what sort of person they are and (therefore) which direction they should take.
In terms of online advice, the measure for all others to follow is The Open University. As a distance learning institution teaching a huge number of career-changers, they’ve developed one of the most impressive jobs websites going for MBA students.
Given that the school can only facilitate your job application, there are no guarantees. But a good look at numbers and figures can at least tell you who's safest to rely on - which means doing your research!