According to the

2012 Corporate Surveyors Survey Report
published by the Graduate
Management Admission Council (GMAC), 79% of U.S. companies planned to
hire MBA graduates last year; this figure represented an increase of
seven percentage points from the previous year. Demand for Master of
Accounting degree-holders was particularly high in 2012, having
increased from 23% to 28% in the span of one year. Additionally, small
companies (fewer than 1,000 employees) represented the largest
proportional increase for MBA graduate demand; the report also notes
than an increasing number of smaller companies are seeking students who
earn specialized credentials, such as a Master of Management. Another
GMAC report, the

2012 Global Management Education Graduate Survey
, found that 62% of
students who earned an MBA last year had solid job offers by the time

they graduated.

Roughly 1 million U.S. students are currently enrolled

in MBA courses, and more than 150,000 graduate each year. While these
programs prepare learners for a wide array of professional options, most

MBA grads tend to gravitate toward the same career pathways.

1. Consulting

Rather than joining a corporate firm, many MBA earners opt to work as

business consultants (or analysts). These professionals collaborate with
leaders of other organizations to help them optimize daily operations
and build productivity within their own workforce.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
, management
analysts earned a median salary of $78,160 in 2010; this field is

projected to grow 22% between 2010 and 2020.

According to

Poets & Quants
, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of
Management produces more consultants than any other business school.

Roughly 40% of Kellogg’s 2012 MBA graduates
accepted consulting
positions; more than 150 degree-holders alone were picked up by the
school’s top four employers, all reputable consultancy firms (McKinsey,
Boston Consultant Group, Bain & Co., and Deloitte). Other U.S.
institutions that produced a large quantity of consultants included
MIT’s Sloan School of Management (33.7%), Dartmouth College’s Tuck
School of Business (33% of graduates), and Emory University’s Goizueta

Business School (31%).

2. Financial Services

Financial professionals help companies and firms effectively manage

their funds and conduct business within a predetermined budget. Some
specialize in managerial finance and collaborate with executives to
explore strategies that link profit and effective leadership, while
others focus on corporate finance and keep tabs on various monetary
resources (including cash-flow and stock) within a given firm.

According to BLS data
, financial managers earned a median salary of
$103,910 in 2010; experts predict this field will grow 9% by the end of

the decade.

U.S. News & World Report ranks
the Wharton School of the University
of Pennsylvania as the nation’s leading b-school for finance

Poets & Quants found
that the average Wharton MBA grad earned a
median salary of $120,000. Roughly 17.5% of that schools MBA students
who focused on financial services entered the field of investment
banking and brokerage; other popular career pathways for Wharton grads
included private equity and buyouts (9.58%), investment management
(6.72%), and hedge funds (3.70%). In terms of overall ranking for
finance-oriented MBAs, Wharton was followed by the University of Chicago
Booth School of Business, New York University’s Stern School of

Business, and the Columbia University Business School.

3. Entrepreneurship

For more than a decade, the global corporate environment has been

defined by the abundance of startup companies and firms, so it’s not
surprising that the leading MBA programs have begun to offer courses and
degree specializations that prepare students for careers as
entrepreneurs. The BLS notes that the

number of new companies
(less than one year old) peaked above
650,000 in the mid-2000s before dropping to roughly 500,000 in 2010,
owing greatly to the economic recession that kicked off in 2007. But as
the market begins to rebound, experts predict the number of

entrepreneurial ventures will record an uptick in the coming years.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the F.W. Olin Graduate School

of Business at Babson College offers the

best MBA program for future entrepreneurs
. The program stresses core
competencies for startup leaders, such as ethics, business integration,
teamwork, and creative thinking. Another perk is the relatively small
class size (just above 400 students per class), less than half of many
major competitors, which allows each learner to receive more
individualized attention from faculty members. Other top-ranked schools
for entrepreneurial training included the Stanford Graduate School of
Business, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Harvard Business School.

Leveraging Your Skills to Launch a Successful Career

One of the most appealing aspects of an MBA degree is the wide range

of careers available to newly graduated students. These opportunities
increase exponentially for those who choose to earn a specialized MBA in
one of the fields mentioned above, or other areas such as marketing,
human resources, information technology, or international business. Each
MBA student is encouraged to thoroughly assess his or her individual
skill set in order to choose a career path with the greatest potential

for high earnings, professional opportunities, and career success.

First, U.S News & World Report advises students to

determine which type of MBA program
fits their learning profile. An
executive MBA (EMBA) program is typically the best fit for individuals
with professional experience who are looking to advance at their company
or use advanced credentials to find a new employer. Accelerated MBA
programs allow students to earn their degrees in as little as one year;
in exchange, the coursework is fairly rigorous. And thanks to the advent
of online education, plenty of distance-learning MBA programs are
currently offered to students who prefer less classroom time, more
flexibility, and the freedom to learn at their own pace. Once a student
has chosen the type of program that best fits their needs and
preferences, then he or she can explore the different specialization

options available in that particular format.

Students should also enroll in courses that will help them excel in

the field of their choice. Each MBA program has a fixed curriculum
designed to expose learners to the ins and outs of business management,
but elective courses give students the chance to build skills related to
their specialization. Naturally, some students will be unsure about
which specialization to pursue; these learners are urged to perform a
self-assessment. Do they have a knack for providing valuable business
advice? Consulting is likely one of their strongest skills. Do they
enjoy crunching numbers and balancing budgets? A financial management
career might be their most suitable option. Are they innovative thinkers
whose business approach might be considered unconventional? These are

strong candidates for post-graduate entrepreneurship.

Regardless of specialization or program format, the most successful

MBA graduates are the men and women who recognize their inherent talents
and build on these skills in business school. Before you enroll in an
MBA program (or even begin narrowing down your list of possible
schools), identify your strongest attributes and consider the value they
might serve within today’s corporate sector. This self-inventory will
greatly inform the decisions you make as a graduate-level business

management student.

An MBA Grad’s Guide to Résumés and Cover Letters

Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is an

important step toward pursuing the business-oriented career of your
choice, but the hard work certainly does not end once you’ve graduated.
Job searching is a process that can be tedious, time-consuming, and, at
times, infuriating. However, a carefully crafted résumé and meticulously
written cover letter will help ensure your employment queries ultimately

yield lucrative results.

This article will explore some of the effective strategies young professionals use when preparing these two important documents.

Tips for Building an Impressive Résumé

A résumé is much more than a document that lists your past positions,

marketable skills, academic history, and other achievements. It is an
individual report card that potential employers use to weigh you against
other candidates for openings within their company or organization. The
number of professional opportunities available to you and your chances
of landing a desirable job title significantly depend on the information
you choose to include ― and omit ― from your résumé. Here are some
résumé-building tips from some of the nation’s leading

profession-oriented publications:

1. Tailor your résumé to each application

Every company, firm, and organization follows a unique protocol when

it comes to hiring new talent. Samantha Zupan, a spokesperson for

tells Forbes
that job applicants should research different hiring
policies to ensure the best results. “Companies like Google and Facebook
include specific insights into their interview process,” she says. “For
example, on the Google careers page, they let you know that one of their
recruiters is the first to review your résumé and that they look first
at your qualifications and experience.” Furthermore, the résumé should
reflect the skills and qualifications for each job opening; if the
position is in the field of marketing, for instance, then the résumé

writer should focus on sales-oriented skills and experiences.

2. Use keyword placement strategies

USNWR writer Alexis Grant encourages résumé writers to

review job vacancy announcements
, and then use the same buzzwords in
the body of your résumé. This tactic not only shows hiring officials
that the applicant has thoroughly reviewed the criteria, but is also
qualified to hold the position. In addition to the job announcement,
candidates should study the language used on the company’s official
website, similar positions at other organizations, and social media

profiles for professionals in the same field on sites like LinkedIn.

3. Be concise

Bloomberg Businessweek writer Roxanne Hori

characterizes a résumé
as a “finite piece of real estate” that’s
brief and to-the-point. Concision should not be a problem for most MBA
graduates since their work experience will be somewhat limited, but job
candidates who have trouble trimming down their information should

strive to keep their résumé to one page in length – no more, no less.

4. Follow the STAR format

USNWR writer Jada A Graves says MBA graduates should write their


with four pieces of criteria
in mind: situations, tasks, actions,
and results (STAR). These experiences go beyond previous salaries and
professional duties, and speak to an applicant’s value in terms of
day-to-day operations. “It’s a good model to use for planning the
content to include in your résumé,” notes Get Hired Stay Hired founder,
August C. Cohen. “But when you start writing the résumé, you should

condense that information and only focus on the highlights.”

5. Select a time-tested format

Job-seekers should steer clear of unconventional résumés and stick to

styles that historically win over hiring officials.
According to a
published by Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of
Business, MBA graduates applying for post-graduate work should use the
Times New Roman font and set their type size between 11 and 12. Left and
right margins should fall between .75 and 1.25 inches, while top and
bottom margins should be set between .5 and 1.25 inches. Your name,
address, email and phone contact information should be prominently
displayed at the top of the document, and all headings (employment,

education, etc.) should be capitalized and bolded.

6. Edit exhaustively

Nothing will relegate your résumé to the garbage can faster than

typos, misspelled words, grammatical errors, and other mistakes spotted
during the editorial stages. Job candidates should review their résumé
several times to make sure the draft is spotless. “Any small mistake and
there’s no reason for employers to keep your résumé in the pile,” Brad
Aspel, director of career education and advising at Columbia Business

tells Bloomberg Businessweek.

Tips for Writing a Stellar Cover Letter

Cover letters should always supplement – never mirror – a job

applicant’s résumé. Think of a cover letter as your formal introduction
to a hiring official; it should engage the reader and confidently
explain why the author is qualified to fill a particular job opening.
While equally important as a résumé when it comes to employment
searches, the cover letter demands an entirely different approach.
Today’s professional experts encourage job seekers to adopt the

following cover letter strategies:

1. Address the letter appropriately

“To whom it may concern…” is considered a polite introduction for any

letter, but MBA-holding job applicants should take a more personal

The Vivian Giang of Business Insider recommends
directly addressing
the company’s hiring official or recruiter. This individual’s name may
be included in the job listing; if not, the applicant should “take the
extra effort” and contact the company by phone or email to obtain the


2. Effectively introduce yourself

Your cover letter’s introductory paragraph should never start with a

sentence like, “My name is , and I am applying for the _
position.” Instead, the

Arizona State University Career Preparation Center recommends
you use the first few sentences to establish the reason why you’re
interested in working for that particular organization. How are your
interests tied to that of your prospective employer? The introduction is
also a good place to mention the website, faculty member, or employee

that referred you to the opening.

3. Use bullets to summarize experience

A cluttered, disorganized cover letter will simply not help your job

search efforts.

USNWR writer Rebecca Thorman suggests
using bullet points to
highlight specific qualifications in your cover letter, and then
organizing your information under these headings. “Not only does this
give you a logical and easy way to structure your letter,” she notes,
“but it also allows a prospective employer to see that you’ve researched

the position and clearly understand how you will bring value.”

4. Conclude with confidence

Forbes warns job applicants to avoid excessively long closing

paragraphs, but a simple sign-off is equally ineffective. Without
sounding boastful or too self-assured, conclude the letter by
establishing when and how you plan to get in touch with the recipient.
Also be sure to provide all of your phone or email contacts; this
information will also be listed in your résumé, but including it in your

cover letter demonstrates you value the hiring official’s time.

5. Submit letter as a PDF

Format is crucial for cover letters. If hiring officials are forced

to convert your letter into a different format in order to read it, then

Forbes contributor Seth Porges argues
many will simply move on to
the next applicant. Additionally, conversion from one platform to
another may produce formatting errors, which are unsightly and may cost
you the job. The best way to avoid both of these problems is to use the
PDF format; accessing these files does not require any conversion, and

the author can control how others view the document more easily.

Sample Résumés and Cover Letters

There are plenty of online templates, writing tutorials, and other

resources to help MBA graduates craft attractive résumés and informative
cover letters. Please visit the following academic sites for more


Sample Résumés

Sample Cover Letters

  • Lerner College Career Services Center ― Business Students Guide to

    Cover Letters
  • Cover Letter Samples: Wharton MBA Career Management

  • Guidelines: MBA Thank You and Cover Letter ― Washington University

    in St. Louis, Olin Business School

    In addition to the

    resources mentioned above, any current MBA student should visit
    their business school’s career center for more information about
    résumé and cover letter-writing. These two skills play an equally
    important role in your eventual career, and mastering them early on

    will increase your potential for post-graduate success.

    Assessing a Company, Interviewing and Landing the Job

    Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs prepare students

    to enter the workforce as qualified corporate professionals, but
    simply earning a degree will not guarantee post-graduate employment.
    Individuals must research available job opportunities in order to
    learn more about prospective employers, establish themselves as
    strong candidates during the interview phase, and then close the
    deal by taking extra steps to ensure they appear competent,
    resourceful, and, above all else, hirable. This article will explore
    strategies for MBA graduates to use during the crucial final stages

    of their job search.

    Part I: Choose Your Opportunities Wisely

    Long before you update your résumé, write a cover letter, and

    submit a job application, you should take the time to get to know
    your prospective employers. This effective approach will help you
    decide whether or not a particular position (or employer) is a good
    fit for your skills, qualifications, and professional future.

    According to a report
    published by the University of
    Washington’s Foster School of Business, new graduates should weigh
    different opportunities against the same set of criteria that takes

    the following four categories into account.

    The Position: Most job announcements include a

    detailed description of typical daily duties and responsibilities
    that are expected of the employee; you should review this list, and
    determine which of the skills you learned in business school (if

    any) will prepare you for each task. Also research:
    • The company’s hierarchical structure, particularly the supervisory chain that includes the position of interest.
    • The system used to evaluate your performance.
    • In-house resources and work groups designed to improve your productivity.
    • The weekly and hourly schedule you’re expected to work, as

      well as the amount of business-related travel associated with

      the position.

    The Company: Not all employers are created

    equal, and job seekers should ensure their applications are being
    submitted to reputable, profitable companies. Research the company’s
    history, as well as some of its key competitors and (if applicable)
    the parent organization, in order to familiarize yourself with its
    current corporate standing. Here are a few other factors to

    • The overall diversity of the workforce, as well as the diversity that exists at the company’s executive level.
    • The future of the company, as indicated by quarterly

      performance records, recent acquisitions, and other metrics that

      measure stability.
    • The company’s set of values, as demonstrated by the organization’s representatives and day-to-day operations.

    Potential for Advancement: Most MBA grads pursue

    senior-level positions, but the opportunity to advance even further
    within the company is still an important variable. Where does the
    employer stand on promotions, lateral movement across different
    departments, and awarding senior positions to current employees?
    Also research the company to see if they offer advancement programs,
    such as tuition reimbursement for college classes, professional
    certificates, training seminars, and other continuing education


    Compensation: The importance of salary and

    benefits will ultimately depend on the individual applicant; some
    exclusively seek out high-paying jobs, while others value other
    qualities of the position (such as potential experience and company
    culture) over the amount on their paycheck. Regardless of your
    standards of compensation, it’s important to consider the following

    • The amount you’ll initially earn as a base salary, and when to expect your first raise(s).
    • The earning potential, or maximum amount you can expect to take home before receiving a title promotion.
    • The company’s policy for rewarding bonuses, and the

      percentage of the workforce that stands to earn a bonus each

    • Health insurance, 401K options, and other benefits that reduce your overall cost-of-living.
    • The company’s policy for providing moving expenses if you’re expected to relocate in order to accept the job.

    Once you’ve done your homework and narrowed down your list of job

    possibilities to a few strong candidates, then you can begin the
    next step of your employment search: submitting applications and

    scheduling interviews.

    Part II: Make a Great Impression on Interviewers

    Many job applicants dread the interview stage. The idea of a

    face-to-face meeting with a future employer’s hiring official or
    human resources specialist is intimidating for some and downright
    excruciating for others. However, MBA graduates have a particular
    advantage: their advanced academic training has prepared them to
    enter a corporate environment and discuss business strategies with
    confidence and authority. Job interviews are essentially performance
    evaluations, and career experts encourage job candidates to leverage
    their MBA skills during these meetings in order to make a positive
    impression on hiring officials. The following strategies will help

    you excel during the interview process:

    1. Stage a mock interview

    The way you respond to an interviewer’s questions will speak

    volumes about your character, professionalism, and level of
    experience. For this reason, many job candidates have found ‘mock
    interviews’ effective. However,

    Glassdoor blogger Donna Fuscaldo notes
    that the goal of these
    exercises should not be to “develop pat, ready answers” that sound
    overly rehearsed. “The goal in doing mock interviews is to raise
    your confidence level, to familiarize you to the interview process,
    and to develop an ease that will enable you to manage this type of
    situation to the best of your abilities so that you and what you
    bring to the table can really shine,” she writes. Use the mock
    interview to develop thoughtful answers that demonstrate your
    business expertise. Invite a friend, family member, or other
    acquaintance to play the role of the interviewer; ideally, whomever
    you ask should have a business background and be familiar with this
    type of interview scenario ― particularly ‘curveball’ questions that

    interviewers traditionally tend to ask.

    2. Choose the right wardrobe

    Most young professionals understand the importance of wearing

    smart attire to a job interview ― but

    career coach Mark Strong recently told Forbes
    that one in five
    job candidates simply doesn’t dress for success. “Some dress on the
    dumpy or casual side,” he says, “while others are too made up.” The
    key is balance, supplemented by extensive research. The applicant
    should look into the company’s dress code, and then try to match the
    same outfit that employees wear to the workplace everyday (err on
    the side of formal). For many job seekers, a “power outfit” is a
    good investment, as are comfortable (yet work-appropriate) shoes ―
    but posture and body language are equally significant. Finally,
    remember two cardinal rules: always dry clean the outfit you plan to

    wear, and avoid using fragrances on the day of the interview.

    3. Initiate positive contact

    Diane Borhani, national director of campus recruiting for

    Deloitte in Chicago,

    tells Bloomberg Businessweek
    that job candidates should “display
    a positive energy and attitude” throughout the entire interview ―
    but it’s important to note that the interview begins as soon as you
    enter the office. Greet the receptionist with a smile, chat with
    other job applicants in the waiting room without being disruptive,
    and maintain a friendly attitude toward everyone else you encounter.
    Then, once the interview has commenced, engage the hiring official
    by initiating a conversation about the job. This demonstrates you
    are not only an effective, friendly communicator, but also someone

    who has thoroughly researched the position and the company.

    4. Ask the right questions

    According to a December 2012 CareerBuilder survey of more than

    2,500 employers, 32% of hiring officials said “not asking good
    questions” was one of the most common job interview blunders. Forbes
    staff writer Jacquelyn Smith believes

    candidates should avoid questions
    about salary, time off, or
    benefits; if you are awarded the position, these details will be
    covered, and it’s considered bad form to discuss them during
    interviews. Also refrain from asking about basic functions and
    operations of the company; these questions indicate you haven’t
    researched your prospective employer. Smith says interviewee
    questions should cover company culture, potential projects, office
    hierarchy, expected schedule, and other points that reveal your
    curiosity about the position and your desire to understand how the

    organization works.

    Part III: Go the Extra Mile

    The interview is finished, you’ve shaken hands with the hiring

    official, and you’re walking out of the office with confidence ― but
    in the days and weeks that follow your interview, it’s important to

    remain proactive and engaged with the company.

    First, you should promptly send an email to the person who

    interviewed you ― within one business day, if possible. Graciously
    thank the hiring official for the opportunity to meet, and let him
    or her know that you’re available if any follow-up questions are
    required. Also make reference to one or two discussions that took
    place during the interview; this will “jog their memory of your

    career coach Christine Hassler writes
    in The Huffington Post.
    End the note by indicating when you will contact the hiring official
    again. Two or three business days later, send the same individual a
    hand-written note that reiterates the same sentiments. “If there is
    something more personal you discussed in the interview, like a
    shared hobby or a future trip they are taking, this is a good place

    to reflect upon that,” Hassler writes.

    Generally, a job offer will be made to the best candidate within

    a few days of the interviews ― but hiring officials may take weeks
    to arrive at a decision. In any case, it’s important not to fret
    while you’re awaiting a response. If the predetermined contact date
    arrives as you still haven’t received any word from the company,
    place a call to the hiring official and inquire about the position.
    Be brief and polite; at the end of the call, thank the individual
    for their time. “I recommend not calling first thing in the morning,
    right after lunch, or at the end of the day as these are times

    people tend to be busier,” Hassler writes.

    Adopting effective strategies before, during, and after your job

    interview will bring you one step closer to a successful career in
    the highly competitive corporate sector. Companies look for
    candidates who are confident, knowledgeable, and courteous to fill
    senior-level positions, and conducting yourself with expertise and
    professionalism will reflect these qualities and increase your
    chances of landing a desirable position. The rule of thumb for
    interviews is simple: you earned that MBA, so show hiring officials

    you know how to use it.

    So You’ve Got the MBA and Landed the Job…Now What?

    You’ve completed an MBA program, mastered the art of résumé- and

    cover letter-writing, aced your job interview, and landed a
    senior-level position at a reputable company. In other words, you’ve
    made it ― but now the real work begins. This article will explore
    some in-depth strategies that MBA graduates can adopt in order to
    thrive in their new position and use this foundation to build a

    successful career.

    1. Make a lasting first impression

    Amanda Augustine, a career expert at TheLadders, tells Business

    Insider that the first three months of new employment are “an
    extension of the interview process,” so it’s a good idea to
    establish a positive reputation from day one. She recommends first
    getting to know your closest co-workers, and then branching out and
    introducing yourself to employees in other departments, particularly
    “office veterans” who can help guide you during the first few weeks.
    Initiate positive contact by joining your colleagues for coffee in
    the break room or suggesting a lunch outing. As you’re making social
    connections, it’s also important to demonstrate your knowledge and
    skills to your co-workers; make it your mission to excel at every
    job you’re presented with, and ask for feedback when the tasks are


    2. Build your professional network

    In a Telegraph UK article titled, ‘Networking:

    The Key to a Successful Career‘, author Judith Perle notes the
    importance of maintaining an extensive network throughout your
    career. In addition to establishing a good rapport with the co-workers
    in your office, business professionals should reach out to other
    individuals in their field. Attending seminars and conferences is
    one way to effectively build your network; these events are designed
    to facilitate introductions between professionals with mutual
    interests, and just one brief conversation could lead to successful
    collaborations down the road. Online platforms like LinkedIn are
    also good network-building tools that also allow you to help others
    build connections. Once the network is built, Perle encourages you
    to “nurture” it. “Even the most superficial relationships are based
    on trust, and that takes time to build,” she says. “So make an

    effort to stay in touch, and strengthen the tie.”

    3. Develop career capital

    In order to launch a successful career, you must identify and

    cultivate your skills and attributes that define you as a
    professional and are most valuable to your company. These traits are
    collectively known as your ‘career capital.’ Cal Newport, an
    assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University,
    likens career capital to the economic principle of supply and
    demand; “It follows that if you want a great job, you need something
    of great value to offer in return,”

    he recently wrote in Forbes
    . In order to develop career capital,
    employees should always strive to take on projects that are outside
    their comfort zone, reduce the time they spend on activities and
    projects that won’t improve their skills, and always strive to work
    toward a goal ― any goal, as long as it’s a realistic expectation
    for someone in their current position. Most importantly, he urges
    workers to be patient as they accrue career capital. “Almost by
    definition, in order to become valuable in a market, it’s going to
    take time,” Newport writes. “So you need patience, tolerance for
    working on things that are hard and making progress that’s slow over

    a period of years — not weeks or months.”

    MBA programs equip students with the knowledge and skills

    required to succeed in a corporate setting. However, earning a
    degree and launching a successful career are two entirely different
    things. Employees who remain proactive in their work and engaged
    with their co-workers are ultimately seen as the most valuable
    individuals in their organization ― and fostering this positive
    image is a process that should begin on the first day of your new