Thursday, January 5, 2012

Career Services - MIT Sloan Fellows Program

This is going to be a long post..!!

'Career Services' or the lack of it in the program is one of most common questions I get from prospective applicants, specially the ones who are self-funded. When I applied to the program, I also had doubts about post program placement but here are a few things I have learnt over time.

Career Services & Placement Services - 2 different pieces

At the outset, it is important to note that the program does not offer Placement Services for Sloan Fellows but it does offer Career Services through the Career Development Office or CDO. 

Difference between the two is you will not get an opportunity to recruit on campus (through the CDO) even when companies are lining up to hire 2-Yr MBAs for fairly junior positions. But you get assistance to build your resume, individual sessions with the CDO Director, seminars with headhunters, access to alumni database and openings posted on the MIT Sloan Career Site. How helpful are career services vs. the placement service depends on where you are in your job search. 

Why no Placement Services.?

Reason why Placement Services were/are not offered is because historically the program has had more sponsored candidates than self funded candidates. Secondly, the stage at which Sloan Fellows are in their career (avrg exp. of 14 yrs), it is difficult for the school to have standardized placement services. 

But then the other side is in a class of 100 people, 50 are sponsored, 20 want to be entrepreneurs and then only 30 people are looking for jobs. So to place 30 people should not be a big deal for the school as they have the entire infrastructure in place (for 2 Yr MBAs) when it comes to placements.

Should you decide your school/program based on career/placement services..?

Absolutely not..!!

After graduating from a top school like Sloan you should be able to find your way. Networking is the most abused word in B-schools, but what it means is that you need to start reaching out to people you already know and also the ones you do not know who can be helpful in your job search. 

At the end it always comes down to the individual and the effort you put in your job search. Make no mistake that it does take a lot of time. Other schools like Stanford and LBS do offer placement services but after speaking to fellows there I got a feeling that it still depends on the individual and not the school. 

My recommendation for Job Search

If you get selected and join the program then:

a) Start early. 

Whether it is getting your resume in shape or reaching out to people, you start as soon as possible. People who struggled to find a job from earlier batches did not start looking till Feb/March, which in my opinion was really late. Executive hiring takes time so start early.

b) Keep your current job 

As a back up if you can and come on a sabbatical. This is one of the best advice I got before coming to the program and I followed it.

c) Play to your Strengths

If English is not your strength and you look for a job in US, you are competing against people who have English as their first language. So play to your strengths and not weaknesses

d) Avoid too many changes

Change of country, industry, function, role all at the same time will make things more difficult for you. For eg. if you have spent 14 yrs in Healthcare in Europe and now you want to transition to Banking in US, it is going to be extremely difficult. But if you want to remain in Healthcare in US but want to take up a larger role, its going to be relatively easy. 

Lastly, all of the above are subjective to each individuals profile, strengths, weaknesses, age, experience... the list goes on..!!



26 comments:

  1. HI, thanks for taking the time to put all this information together it helped me a lot.
    I have been accepted for 2013 class, so I will be there by the end of may. This post is very important for me. Do you think that it will be hard for a Fellow to find a Job? I asked my company for a sabbatical but they dont want me to live my position... So I think that I will be on my own.
    Do you think that the experience is worth the risk?

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  2. @ Sergio - Thank you for your comment and many congratulations. This is a big achievement and you should be proud of yourself.

    Your question is very relevant. If your company is not willing to give you a sabbatical you should still take this opportunity to come to school. I am not sure what your background or no. of years of experience are but as you have been selected for this program, my assumption is that you have over 10 yrs. experience. And with those many years of experience you should be able to get a job through your network/contacts.

    And again, the kind of job you get is directly proportional to the effort you put in in your job search. Either ways, this will an experience of a lifetime and it is worth taking the risk.

    I could be wrong, but looks like you are from Colombia. If you are interested, I am happy to connect you to other fellows from Colombia.

    Good luck with your decision..!!

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  3. Thanks, for your answer I am form Argentina , But have worked in Colombia , and now I am in Ecuador. I am the Marketing Vice president of a Telco with 18 years of experience.
    I am 42 and will be 43 by the end of the progam.
    Your comments are very supportive and helpfull for me.
    My host for april is Colombian and I have alredy meet and Argentinian friend there.
    Sergio

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  4. @ Sergio - This is great. People with experience similar to yours also come to this program to take some time off from their work to introspect and to figure out next steps in their career.
    Good luck.

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  5. ECLS, really appreciated all of your input!

    Could you please drop me a line for me to request some information about MIT Sloan Program? my email address: jfluid@gmail.com Thank you in advance!

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  6. @jfluid - thanks for your comment. just sent you a mail. thanks.

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    1. Hello, thank you for this post. I found it really helpful. I am interviewing at MIT on Friday, and I am interviewing with LBS. One of my concerns has been the post job search. Like you Sergio I plan to leave my job to come to the program and I am self funded. I hadn't actually considered asking for a sabattical, because I am looking for a different opportunity on graduation, howver I will give that some thought for a security perspective. Wherever I go, I am bringing my entire family (husband and 3 kids) with me as well, so being employed shortly after graduation is important.

      Experience - 18 years
      Industrial - Wireless Communications
      Age - 41
      Country - Canada

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    2. Hi Johanna,

      You obviously have significant experience and people in similar situation really cannot rely on the placement services of the school. So you should really not worry about getting a job through school. However, you should already have a strong network of people that can help you get a job. After MIT (I cant comment on LBS) this network of yours will only become better. For eg. the CEO of Sprint Nextel is a graduate of the MIT Fellows Program. He came to speak with us during fall. He was instantly accessible and since they have been in similar situation they do tend to respond positively when any of us write to them.

      Good luck for the upcoming interviews.

      Best regards,

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  7. Hello,
    Thanks for your posts. Not sure if you will respond any more.
    I am in the process of applying to the MIT Sloan Fellows program.
    Just wanted to know if the resume should be of 1pg or can it be 2 pages.

    Thanks in advance,
    Krish

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    1. Thanks for your comment Krish.

      For the fellows program a 2-page resume is fine. As people applying to this program have more experience a 1.5/2 page resume is acceptable. Remember to bring out the leadership & innovation aspects in your resume & essays.

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  8. Hi,

    I noticed that MIT's one year Sloan Fellows MBA program is not ranked in any 1 year MBA rankings. Will greatly appreciate your thoughts on how this program compares to the 1 year MBA from Kellogg and Cornell.

    I agree with you that lack of career services alone should not deter any potential applicants. But I do believe that if one is paying 130K plus for tuition alone, then it creates the expectation of receiving more value in career placement than currently being offered at this program.

    Regards,
    MIT Sloan Fellows Applicant

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    1. Bravo zip,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, Sloan Fellows program doe not feature in any rankings. I did not consider Cornell's program when I was applying. I did look at the Kellogg program. What put me off about the Kellogg program was the amount of classes you had to complete before the program and the school provided little or no support regarding that. I was looking at a more immersive experience than just finishing some courses outside school to get ready for the actual MBA.
      On the other hand, I have not seen any executive program really geared towards providing on campus placement. When someone comes to an executive program with 10+ years of experience (various backgrounds, roles, seniority), it becomes very difficult for the schools to place those candidates. Earning an MBA does not change your profile entirely and companies hire you looking at your past experience. MBA though gets the first foot in the door.
      Recently, placements for self funded candidates at the SF program has been a challenge so one should really think through before spending $130k on tuition alone.

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    2. Dear ECLS,

      Thank you for your honest response. I have to agree with you on Kellogg. Taking 5 classes that you've already completed in undergrad is rediculous. So I have taken Kellogg off my list which is now restricted to Cornell, MIT and INSEAD.

      Judging from your blog, it does appear that the quality of education in this program is comparable to MIT's 2 year program. So at least you get that out of it.

      I also agree that job search for any manager with 10+ years experience has to be more of a self-directed effort. I am not worried about getting a similar job post-graduation. I am more concerned with understanding how this particular MBA will help me get to the next level (i.e. if you are a manager, does the MIT MBA help you sell yourself as a Director/VP).

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    3. I would rate the quality of the SF program higher than any other program at Sloan (for that matter even the 2 yr MBA). Reason being, all the top professors like to teach the Sloan Fellows more than the MBAs. This is only because the fellows bring a lot of real world experience into the discussions.

      To your question, this program will prepare you to take a Director/VP level positions by developing your skill set. In other words it will teach you the tools to be successful at Senior positions when you get there but it will not really make recruiters look at your differently after graduation.

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  9. Hi , very valuable discussion.i am 45 and have 23 yrs of work ex and am yet to start the process. Am I too late ? Also is there funding available for sloan fellows or is it totally self funded if not sponsored ? Also which one is better the stanford one or MIT sf program ? And lastly is there a lot of quant / maths in the course ? Pl reply

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  10. @ Salil,
    Thank you for your comment. The average age of the class is 38 years but the range was 31 yrs. - 48 yrs. in my class. You can of course apply to the program. It all depends on what your motivations are to join the program. Is it just academic experience, making global connections or just taking a year out to think about the next steps in your life/career.
    Funding is available through the MIT Federal Credit Union upto $170,000. Between Stanford and MIT, MIT is the flagship program and the Director who runs the program is an alum himself. I found the MIT program more suited to my needs. You can find a detailed comparison on my blog. There is decent level of quant in the course but there are resources who can help out in case needed.
    Hope this helps.

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  11. Hi ECLS,

    Can you please share eligibility of MIT FCU Loan? I am an Indian national. Would I be required to find an Indian co-signor (noted that they don't insist upon US co-signor)or guarantor or collateral? And, whether they fund 100% of cost upto US$ 170k or insist upon some margin money, i.e., student funding X% of the cost from its pocket. Coming from India and the tough lending norms of banks here, it is difficult to believe that they will fund just on the basis of MIT Sloan admission offer. Will they?

    PS: I am myself a career corporate banker with 15 year work-ex. Age - 38.

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    1. @ AA,
      Thank you for your comment. You will be able to secure a loan from MIT FCU after you get an admit from the program. The upper limit of the loan is $170,000 and you can get this loan without a co-signor. However, having a co-signor will help you get a reduction of 0.5% in the interest rate.
      Looking at the currency conversion rate of $/INR, it does not make sense to take any loan from an Indian bank. Even people who can fund the program take loan from MIT FCU because of competitive interest rates (5% to 6.5%).
      Hope this helps.

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  12. Hi,
    I have 13 years of experience in semiconductor field with a PhD from a very reputed institute in UK.. As you already mentioned, my main concern is finding job after spending 130K + USD.... Do the candidates get opt/cpt after graduating.. How hard has it been from your personal experience and other fellows to get H1B sponsorship..

    Thanks a lot for your help....

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    1. Ruchir, thanks for your comment.

      All the international students get opt which is valid for a year. When I graduated in 2012, only a few companies were sponsoring H1B for international candidates. The situation has improved since then but I would not call it ideal by any means. Finding an appropriate job after the program can take anything from 3 to 6 months. Hope this helps.

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    2. Hi ECLS, Thanks for your comment. Another thing I was wondering was whether the Sloan program would fall under the STEM green card scheme that is under discussion.

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    3. Fellows program awards you an MBA or a M.Sc in Management. I am not sure if the program would fall under the STEM category as the only requirement to get an M.Sc is a thesis.

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  13. Hi ECLS. Did MIT conduct a background check on your application after you matriculated?

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    1. Hi Patrick,
      MIT did not conduct a background check after graduation.
      Thanks.

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  14. Really nice thing you had posted here. And i hope this strategies will help the people for hiring process. Thank you and also i am expecting much more post from you. So please keep update like this.

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