Friday, December 23, 2011

Fewer jobs or increased competition?

The job market in the past couple of years has been very tight. For those who are re-entering the market fresh out of an MBA or those wanting to change jobs the prospect is not bright. A lot has been said and written about job shedding leading one to believe there are less jobs out there. Having gone through a job search recently I feel slightly differently about it.

There aren’t as many jobs as in the golden early 2000’s, that’s a fact. But I haven’t seen a drastic reduction in job posts especially in the past quarter. What I have seen is an exponential increase in competition for the same spots. Consulting firms and banks are back to hiring again and they are advertising a decent number of job posts. However, nowadays there are loads of talented people fighting for the same spots.
Having gone to some interviews I feel it is a lot harder to get the offer now then it was 3 years ago. Nowadays it is not enough to have a good interview. You need an outstanding performance to get that offer. The reason? There will always be someone out there who will have more years of experience than you, better or similar education than you and will be willing to get paid less than you. This is the direct consequence of all the job shedding, especially  in financial sector.

Even if recruiters really like you it won’t be uncommon to hear “we really like you, but there is this other person with 15 years experience in this particular area”. And we can’t really blame then, they are going for the risk free choice since they are spoiled for choice.

The job market is not stagnant. The problem is that there is too much supply of talent in the western economies and that shouldn’t change at least until later next year.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If could change one thing…

 ...about the Cambridge MBA what would it be? The answer for me is simple and very clear: the way Judge is interacting with its alumni community.
I have never attended other programs but from what I heard there is a tradition in many American top business schools of having a very strong alumni network that can be of great help in finding jobs or developing new ventures. The ability to send business ideas to a bulletin board might seem a simple thing but it can be tremendously valuable for someone wanting to start a new business. Unfortunately I feel a lot more could be done in this area and I would definitely invest in the alumni relationships.
Alumni relationships are not about setting up pub nights. It is part of it but it is a lot more than that. It is leveraging on the tremendous potential the alumni network has. It is about providing the means for talent to interact, for ideas to be discussed, for relationships to be established. It is about making sure every student, from the moment she joins the program, knows a lifetime bound is created.
Whenever I meet fellow Cambridge MBAs they are always happy to help out and have an incredibly generous attitude. They are always eager to chat and get to know more fellow MBAs.  So why is that our alumni community is not a lot stronger or active? Some part should come from our initiative. But I truly believe a bit part should come from the school. The school should have the systems and platforms in place to enable the community.
We all learnt the power of team/group work during the MBA. Imagine the potential that could be unleashed if the group is the whole alumni community!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The interview day - part II

Sometime ago I wrote about my thoughts on my interview day and you can find a description of the whole day here (

I receive many emails asking me about the interview so let me dwell on it a bit more and give you my take on it. 

Receiving an interview invitation is a great milestone in your application process so if you got that nice letter you should feel confident. I think that’s actually the hardest bit. If you were invited it means you have the profile they are looking for. At the same time they are not going to invite you if they have many doubts about you. I’d say your chances at this point are looking pretty good! 

The interview day is not meant to be a torture. In my view it has two main objectives: put a name and a personality to the application and sell you the Cambridge brand. 

Starting with the latter, you have to remember this is a two way process. Cambridge wants to best candidates and the best candidates are likely get offers from many places. In order to beat the competition for the best talent, the interview day is set up to allow you to meet the staff, future colleagues, the facilities and the city. I would advise everyone to attend that day and not just do it over the phone. It really gives you a good taste of how that year is going to look like.

The other objective is to get to know you better and see if you are the person who prepared that application. Remember that many candidates get help from professional services in order to create the best possible application. Like for any interview, you should prepare well but let me tell you that you are not in for a grilling session. Some questions may be challenging but the idea is just to get to know you, assess your personality and ambitions and whether there’s any mismatch between you and the application you submitted.
So my advice is be honest, relax and really enjoy it! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

The gift of boundary-less friendship

Spending a whole year of your life inside a pressure cooker with 149 other individuals is a challenge, no doubt about that. However by the end of the process you’ll have such strong bonds with those people that you can be certain you’ll have friends for life. This is one of the gifts the MBA gave me and anyone who goes through such a programme knows what I’m talking about.

These are special friends. They are different in nature from the ones I had before. They are scattered all over the world and I don’t talk to them on a daily basis. In spite of distance or irregular contact the interesting part is that whenever we get together it is like time froze. It’s like we are back to the Cambridge times. It’s like we never left.

That is an invaluable gift and the pictures show what happens when we get together three years after the end of the programme in some (not so) random part of the world.