Advice for International Students

I have graduated and haven’t started working yet. Needless to say, I am spending a lot of time pondering deeper questions of life and thinking about things I would do differently if given a chance. My MBA was one the bigger decisions I have taken in recent times. If given a chance to do it all over again, I will start with shortlisting the goals I want to accomplish through the MBA. Then I will shortlist the schools that will be the best fits for me to accomplish those goals. In the world of MBA, there are some broad classifications of jobs by function. As seen in the way professional clubs are named and career counselors are appointed, I would say that the broad categories are – Finance, Consulting, Marketing, Operations,Technology and miscellaneous. As an international student it;s important to really find out the jobs that you won’t be eligible for just because of work authorization limitations. I am sharing my perspective on this. This is not complete and exhaustive list but just the perception I built after spending two years in business school.

Finance is usually divided in Corporate Finance jobs and the core Finance jobs in New York. I don’t have much idea about this sector but from my perception, the international students have a difficult time getting the Wall Street finance jobs specially if you go to a school which is not deemed a finance school. Next comes Consulting. When I say consulting, I mean management consulting firms that further have a lot of divisions along the lines of functions and industries they serve. Consulting industry is among the more welcoming industry for international students with the exception of a few firms. It goes without saying that most of the consulting firms have  very stringent criteria for hiring anyone, international or not. Then there is Marketing. Now, this is one area where most FMCG firms have a clear policy of not hiring international students. It’s better to know this before you come to business school with high hopes of building a career marketing FMCG. However, there are marketing jobs with technology industry that are usually open for international students as well. The same is true for most roles in the technology industry such as product management and operations.

So, before you apply, figure out what do you want to do after your MBA and how will your current experience and the MBA help you achieve the goal. Then contact some current students to find out whether your target role at your target firm is an option for international students and try to get in touch with some alumni who have already done what you aspire to do. This process will make your first essay (usually about future career aspirations) sound very much informed. More importantly, you will start your MBA with a clear road map and a head start in your arduous journey to get through b-school to that dream job.