Monday, 28 May 2012

Employability - where do MBAs end up ?

I thought it was about the right time to try to answer the question about MBA careers I am often asked in my admissions role.  Unfortunately over the years we have not tracked in detail where our MBA students end up after graduating.  Some come from family businesses and return home for this.  Others are keen to get a couple of years work experience in London & head off to do this.  Others have their company support them (at least in allowing time off - relatively few are paid by their employers) & they return to their old companies.  Others want to use the MBA as an opportunity to break the glass ceiling & move up a level in their industry.  Some again look to move from their old role and industry  into something entirely fresh.  We have had entrepreneurs, corporate jobs, charities - I've been impressed how MBA graduates approach with confidence and maturity  the whole job finding experience - they tend to know what they want and go about getting it - even if this isn't falling at their feet.  (Let's be honest...the job currently market is ok - but not great.)

About a year ago, Fiona Redding was appointed to a new role in the School of Management as Alumni Officer and she has been building up a powerful alumni network organisation that means we are beginning to have a much stronger line of sight of our MBA's once they leave us, and hopefully we are offering a useful service to enable enduring MBA networking to continue well beyond the campus experience. 

Chart showing RHUL Management Alumni Industry specialisation as at May 2012

I am not a big fan of the statistics used to measure post graduate employability - often it asks "are you in a job ?" - to which the answer is generally yes - but this has not dimension of "the right job" or "the job you were hoping for".  Other programmes use a crude measure of salary uplift before and after the MBA.  Again this seems to measure 'success' and 'life changing learning' in a very short-termist fashion.  Hopefully one of the learnings that comes out of an MBA programme is a deeper understanding of the self & the need to find an appropriate balance.  The benefits of studying an MBA come out not the day after graduation, symbolised by a swanky company car, fat travel and entertainment budget and a 'with bonus' salary package - but unfold slowly over a 2 to 3 year period as difficult situations (managing conflict, working with challenging colleagues, dealing with ambiguity, making big presentations, winning customer tenders, handling stressful situations) are handled in a more assured and confident manner, often ending in very positive outcomes - when in the past these kinds of situations had left mental and emotional scars and resulted in periods of extreme discomfort.

Quite a few of our current and alumni students have profiles on social networking sites e.g. LinkeD-In - I think it is possible to view these and glean quite a bit of information about what people have done.  The following link shows the profiles of some MBA alumni and also on the right hand side is the offer on how to link up with the alumni network in your country.