MBA graduates looking to land a job in today’s challenging market should focus on their potential impact to employers instead of relying heavily on how they look on paper, a panel of HR executives stressed Tuesday.
“We look for that learning agility,” said Bridget Boyle, vice president of human resources at Roche Diagnostics. “We look at your experience up to this point, good and bad, and how you can take those experiences and apply it to decisions in the future.”
Roger Nieman, vice president of HR at E&A Industries, and Eric Orme, chief operating officer at AIT Laboratories, joined Boyle during a panel discussion before a group of Evening MBA students in Bob Grimm’s Career Management course. The executives discussed how they identify talent and how future MBA graduates can distinguish themselves from the pack during their job search.
Grimm, a clinical associate professor of management with an extensive history in corporate HR, works closely with MBA students on polishing their resume, presentation and interview skills. Professional development remains a key component to the Evening MBA experience, especially as the market has become much more competitive.
“If we hire you as an MBA, we expect you to perform immediately,” said Nieman, who has hired several Kelley Indianapolis graduates in the past. “(As an MBA) you can’t go backward. If you don’t move forward, we move you.”
Orme emphasized the differences MBA graduates will discover when working for a company the size of AIT (450 employees) compared to a larger corporation like Roche, which has about 3,000 employees in Indianapolis. Getting a job can depend on how you approach the interview.
“We want you to come in to an interview and talk about what you’re going to do for us in the next nine months,” Orme said. “Don’t sell me a strategic way you’re looking at my market. Tell me why you’re a low-risk hire. Tell me ‘I’m going to do this in the first 120 days, and I have the potential to do this and this.’”
Nieman added, “I’m always sizing up potential. I don’t care where you’ve been. I only care what you’ve learned from it and what you are going to do for me.”
Orme also advised the students to explore the culture at a potential employer. AIT, for example, changes frequently as it experiences rapid growth (more than 30 percent each of the last five years). This creates a company culture that is constantly in flux.
“Our core fundamentals don’t change, but the culture ebbs and flows over time,” Orme said.
The HR executives also confirmed what has become regular practice for hiring managers: checking a candidate’s social media presence, including Facebook.
“We definitely go out and try to find things you probably don’t want us to find,” Boyle said.