Back in 2001, Laetitia Veleba fought her way into the high-pressure world of the credit trading division of a major investment bank in London. Like many young, ambitious professionals, she decided an MBA could help her take the next step up the investment banking job ladder.
Obviously bright and driven, she was fortunate enough to be accepted by five schools, and chose Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. There she found the beautiful campus, high caliber of professors and students and location a welcome break from urban London.
Veleba rejoined the workforce in 2007 as an associate at a major investment bank in London, where she worked with a leveraged finance team. But the clouds were already gathering. Britain’s infamous Northern Rock was already imploding. More and more people in London’s financial industry were being let go. Veleba herself survived six waves of cutbacks (or “redundancies” as they’re called in England).
Finally, the pink slip arrived for her. But unlike so many other out-of-work bankers, Veleba landed on her feet in about a year, with a new position at a credit fund. When jobs were scarce, her MBA came through.
“I had a support system that helped me get through the crisis: my Tuck network,” Veleba writes in a blog posting for US News. “This is what an M.B.A. program is really about. I picked up the phone and cold-called alums – recent graduates and senior bankers. They shared their experiences and advice and even recommended me to other alums and colleagues. They offered to do whatever they could. I was one of the family.”
“While my M.B.A. provided the skill set to be successful, it also provided a network to help nurture the confidence necessary to survive the past year.”
How about you? Has your B-school or undergrad network opened doors or led to hidden opportunities for you? Let us know in the comment box below.