What can I do with my MBA?
Choosing a career
When deciding on your next move after your MBA, a good starting point is to reflect on the areas of expertise - in terms of sectors, industries and business functions - and the transferable skills you already have and the opportunities that might utilise these.
These opportunities may be in related areas or you may be planning to use your MBA to achieve a change in career direction. In the latter case, you will need to assess how your existing skills and experience may be relevant to a new area. Building up your experience, reputation and networks in a new field can take a while and you may need to give yourself more time to reach the level of seniority and remuneration that you aim to achieve than you would need in your existing field.
Think too about what you have to offer employers in addition to your academic qualifications and professional experience, and what else is important to you in life.
You can break these issues down into topics such as:
- Your interests
- Your values
- Your skills
- Your opportunities – the job market for your subject or area of interest
- Other criteria – such as location, salary or work-life balance
The resources below will provide further information and exercises to assist you with making a career choice. While none of them are MBA-specific, all are useful in evaluating your values, interests and skills. Careers advisers can offer personal support and guidance to help you make these decisions:
- My Prospects Career Planner A powerful program to help you choose a career by helping you to identify your skills, motivations and interests. Based on your answers to the questions asked you will get a list of occupations that match your profile and an explanation of the reasons behind this match.
- Target Careers Report A career planning tool which aims to help you get started on your job hunt. You'll work through interactive questionnaires that assess your career strengths, personality and abilities and, based on your responses, you'll get a list of jobs that may suit you.
- Windmills Interactive Open access website with useful exercises to help evaluate values and skills. Aimed at those with professional experience.
- "What can I do with my degree in …?" These web pages are general resources, chiefly aimed at undergraduate students, but some of the employer links and job descriptions may also be helpful to MBA students.
Tips for successful career planning
- Get to know yourself, your interests, skills, values and personality.
- Remember that you are an individual and that the choices you make are your own. Nobody else can choose a career for you.
- There is more to you than your degree.
- Take time over your decision – your career is worth it!
- Talk to other people – they can often help you to see yourself more clearly - but make your own decision.
- Use your analytical skills to investigate and evaluate your options.
- Be flexible and open-minded.
- Don’t be misled by preconceived or stereotyped pictures of jobs: these are rarely accurate.
- Use your networks (see our Creative Career Search booklet for further information).
- Make use of all the Careers and Employability Service resources: talks, workshops, careers events, online resources and individual one-to-one careers guidance.
- Don’t panic!