Better MBA Training for Losing an Investment Banking Job

An MBA may do a fine job of training you in the financial modeling and decision-making skills you need for an investment banking job. But it does a lousy job at training you for what to do if you ever lose that job.

That’s the premise behind a recent Linked-In post by Hank Blank, an advertising and marketing professional who spends a fair amount of time speaking to groups in transition about networking. Most executives, says Blank, are poorly prepared for the shock and drastic transition to unemployment. And professionals with the best degrees from the best schools can have the hardest time making that transition.

“I think that the majority of MBA schools probably think they don’t need courses on what to do when you are in transition because they think their curriculums and degrees will make their students bullet proof,” writes Blank.

It’s worth preparing for the alternative, especially given that the unemployment rate in the U.S. is hovering around 9.2 percent. Blank also cites an article that says if you’re around age 30, you have a 90 percent chance of getting fired over the next 20 years.

Getting a new job today requires a lot of street smarts and excellent networking skills, says Blank. And those skills are not being emphasized in today’s MBA programs. Instead, schools should have courses on how to build and cultivate a lifelong network of contacts. Schools need to impress upon MBA grads that networking is a lifelong pursuit and not something you only do when looking for a job. Your database of industry contacts may be worth as much to your career as your business degree.

Blank also says schools should teach students how to develop their own personal websites and marketing materials. How to use LinkedIn and other social media to their greatest advantage. And schools should teach how to build your “personal brand”, which is something that stays with you and gets constantly updated, no matter which investment banking firm you may be working for.

“What is more important for you?  That your kids have an MBA or a strong network?  It’s time to change curriculums to compete in the new world,” Blank says.

What’s your opinion? Do you think business schools do an adequate job of preparing grads with the practical job-hunting skills they need throughout their career? Add your comments below.

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