Individuals who graduate with Masters of Business Administration degrees often have their eyes on a particular dream job. They may have gotten their degree in the hopes that it would lead to offers for private equity jobs, for example, or for venture capital jobs.
Unfortunately, dream jobs don't always come knocking as soon as one obtains their degree – but a recent report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that it may be best for graduates to wait for that dream job to arrive, no matter how long it takes. The news outlet recently reported that second-year MBA students at a number of schools are currently rejecting "safe-bet offers" and other job opportunities to instead wait for their dream jobs – even if that means they have to graduate into unemployment.
The Wall Street Journal noted that the change may be coming as a result of the fact that many MBA students are now taking technology jobs and positions at startup companies. The news outlet noted that such positions are often filled closer to graduation than more traditional finance jobs. Interviews with a number of current MBAs and career-services officers illustrated to the news outlet that the amount of individuals waiting for ideal employment, as opposed to taking the first job offered, is starkly increasing.
Actually, the Journal found that the "wait-and-see" approach was already taking hold last year: in 2013, more than 85 percent of MBA grads at Berkeley's Haas School of Business had a job offer upon graduation, but less than 75 percent of them had accepted that offer. This creates a differential of roughly 10 percentage points. The school reported that the differential has historically been much closer to 4 percent, illustrating a quickly-changing approach to employment by MBA graduates.
"I'm not nervous," explained Ellen Cory, a second-year student who has already turned down some job offers to wait for her ideal employment instead, said to The Wall Street Journal. "I'm not behind for the type of position I'm trying to get. I've seen classmates get a lot of great jobs. And I have confidence that I will be able to find a job that satisfies me."
Maeve LJ Richard, assistant dean and director of the career management center at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, told the Journal that the pressure to find employment quickly has been replaced in students and graduates with a new pressure – to "explore a new passion, experiment in entrepreneurship or work for a startup."
The statistics back up the belief that students are better off waiting for their dream job than they are accepting the first offer that comes along. A poll conducted at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business found that students who accepted positions after graduation in 2013 reported higher levels of professional satisfaction than did those who accepted jobs before graduation, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"The current student population is definitely willing to wait for the right opportunity," Jennifer Bridge, director of recruiting at University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, explained to the news outlet.
The top schools to go to – before you obtain an MBA
What the Wall Street Journal report makes clear is that obtaining a job requires great patience – and great preparation. Part of that preparation is finding the right place to study for your undergraduate degree, whether you're obtaining it in a business field or something else. Luckily, Forbes – citing data provided by PayScale – recently issued a report detailing the undergraduate colleges that offer the best "return on investment" to their graduates.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top schools on the list are private institutions that focus on preparing individuals for technology jobs and engineering jobs. Number one on the list is Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., according to Forbes. The return-on-investment there is roughly 8.8 percent, on average: students can expect to earn roughly $980,900 in the 20 years following their graduation from the school. The "typical starting salary" for a graduate of Harvey Mudd College is more than $73,000, as well.
The California Institute of Technology was ranked second on the PayScale list, according to Forbes, providing graduates with a 20-year return-on-investment of $837,600, according to the report. In third place was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which offers graduates a 20-year return of $831,100, on average, as well as an average starting salary above $68,000.
If you're planning on obtaining your MBA in the future, you're going to need to make some tough decisions regarding when and where you accept an offer for employment. Yet you'll also need to make tough decisions right now – deciding where to spend your undergraduate years can and likely will have a massive effect on the school you attend to obtain your MBA.