From the monthly archives:

June 2010

Business has become increasingly globalized, and business schools have been quick to capitalize on this phenomenon, luring more foreign students to cross borders and attend their programs.

In the UK, for example, there are more foreigners in MBA programs than British students, according to an article by Philip Delves Broughton, published in American Chronicle. The London Business School has students from more than 120 countries. Harvard Business School asserts that 35% of its students are from outside the United States.

Foreign students coming to America are often eager to break into Wall Street. Many of them to bring the prestige of an American University “brand name” back home. Or they want exposure to the American way of doing business which dominates so much of global business.

But is plunking yourself down overseas, if you’re American, for an MBA program somewhere else really worth it? What do employers want? Are you better off just building your network where you live?

Philip Delves Broughton, who’s written a book about the subject, suggests that it is worth the effort. With so many large firms (including investment banks) operating multiple offices around the world, speaking a foreign language and being familiar with other cultures is increasingly a “must-have” for potential top executives.

“You may well stand a better chance of working for a major investment bank if you’re willing to forgo London (or New York, for that matter) and start work in Shanghai, Hong Kong or Mumbai,” he writes.

Studying abroad demonstrates both willingness and a recognition of the global nature of business and global flow of capital today. What’s more, the foreign experience can help even if you end up working at home. Broughton points out that more and more foreign money is pouring into our country these days.

What’s your opinion? Have you thought about or acquired MBA training or investment banking job experience overseas? Add your comments below.

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Overall employment rates may still be lagging. But there are signs the job market for new MBA grads is picking up steam, according to a story in the Financial Times.

Both recruiters and top b-schools report that many industry sectors have increased their “just-in-time” hiring for open positions.

New York University’s Stern School of Business reports that 80 percent of their graduate students found jobs last year within three months of graduation, and they expect that number to go up. At UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, the career services director puts their figure closer to 85 percent.

A survey conducted by the Graduate Management Association Council in mid-March indicates that 55 percent of companies plan to hire business school grads this year. That’s an increase of 5 percent over last year.

Perhaps more encouraging is the fact that ’09 grads aren’t competing for the same investment banking jobs as this year’s crop of MBAs, as much as people once thought they would. By now, many of them have found positions, leaving the field open for ’10 grads, says Pulin Sanghvi, director of career management at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

To help new grads, many business schools are reaching out to recruiters, hosting more alumni networking events and career fairs, and offering one-on-one counseling to students.

What about your firm? Are your plans to hire MBAs on the upswing? Add your comments below.

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Fitting into the corporate culture at a new firm can mean many different things at different places. It can mean hiring people with the same background as other team members. Or, idealistically, identifying the characteristics of a person who is most likely to help achieve the organization’s overall goals.

Yet all too often, “cultural fit” is a smokescreen, polite code words for hiring “people like us,” according to an article in Recruiter, an online magazine for UK recruitment professionals. People tend to hire others who fit their own image of the right candidate, a practice that perpetuates the culture that exists at the firm.

If you can’t do anything about more closely resembling the physical characteristics of the interviewer, or the majority of people at the firm, then you’d be wise to do your homework and uncover key phrases about the firm’s culture ahead of time. According to Andy Crossey, vice president and head of Capgemini’s HR consulting team in the UK, having the right “cultural fit” means having the ability, or inclination, to fit in with ‘how we do things around here.'” So you may want to blend key phrases about the firm’s culture into your interview answers.

Hiring “people like us” does not necessarily mean building an organization of clones. The recent banking crisis pointed out the shortcomings of the herd mentality. It has also pointed out the need to build a culture that has more of a long-term view rather than a focus on short-term profits.

What’s your opinion? Do you think the pressures to conform are overwhelming once you have joined an investment bank? Are contrary opinions quashed? Add your comments below.

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Challenging for the lead in Mergers & Acquisitions

June 7, 2010

Anyone looking to get an investment banking job advising on mergers and acquisitions might be well advised to check out Credit Suisse Group. The Wall Street Journal reports that firm has shot up the rankings and now sits at number two in the world, just behind M&A behemoth Goldman Sachs. The Swiss bank has advised […]

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