According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, this year some entering MBA students have already received job offers from consulting companies with their business school admission letters, even before the semester officially starts.
Several firms, including top U.S. consulting firm McKinsey and Bain, mention that they will be offering 2023 internships for students who are anticipating to start business school this fall, and others have committed to offer full time jobs to the graduating class of 2024.
Is that too good to be true? If students can get a job simply with an offer letter, why go to business school? Not to mention, business school tuition can be quite expensive.
According to some recruiters, the hiring decisions were made after interviews, trainings, and in-depth conversations about their career goals with candidates. The company expects students from these reputable MBA programs to have gained knowledge from the courses by the time of their graduation. Even in the time of a recession, many companies need to hire employees to expand their businesses and are planning for these positions.
Recruiters also mentioned that the competition for securing diverse talent is fierce. They reach out to candidates they want to recruit through some organizations for women, minorities, and underrepresented student groups, and extend offers to these target candidates in advance.
Some students mention that engaging with companies before starting business school allows them to build professional networks in advance and focus on coursework once their studies begin. Universities, on the other hand, are concerned that students may face limited possibility in exploring other job opportunities after graduation. Another concern is that students who received offers in advance may break their promises when other opportunities come along, hurting the relationship of trust between the program and recruiters.
Keith Bevans, Bain & Company's Global Head of Consultant Recruiting, said having seen what other firms are doing, they have expanded hiring for such pre-MBA internships and full time positions this year.
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Tyreese Brewington, a summer associate at Bain this year, received an internship and full-time job offer at Bain when he began his studies at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business last fall. Before he attended business school, Brewington was an engineer.
Brewington became a participant in Bain‘s pre-MBA program through the recommendation of his mentor. As part of the program, he analyzed data from a survey and then presented his findings to several partners. Days later, Bain offered him a summer associate position for the year of 2022, and within weeks of starting his studies at Darden, the company offered him a full-time position upon graduation next year. According to UVA, about 10 percent of students at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business received summer internships before starting school this year.
Kristin Altenburg, Associate Director of U.S. Campus Recruiting at McKinsey, said they started early hiring last year after finding out that some exceptional candidates had already committed to other companies. Nearly 400 people have joined McKinsey's diverse pre-MBA program.
Students who have just received an MBA offer are extremely proactive in the pre-MBA program. A student who is starting at Emory University's Goizueta School of Business in the fall says he has signed up for webinars at four consulting firms this summer on company culture and the interview process.
These webinars are open to all incoming MBA students. "I don't want to miss out," he said, "while I don't go to these meetings to get attention, there are always opportunities."
Class of 2022 graduates will be facing the hottest job market in recent years, but competition for the best jobs certainly remains fierce. Pursuing business school have been shown as a promising career path, but job opportunities and career prospects may still be different for different business majors, learning experiences and backgrounds, and so on.
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