While it is true that the best companies come to b-schools for summer and final placements, it is also true that some of the best and motivated students come to these colleges. While ambition and competition is a good thing, it does invariably result in many people missing out on their company or sector of choice. Given that an MBA is one of the few sure shot chances of changing sectors or applying to a few select jobs, a lot is at stake for students. Not to say anything about the very high fees. So how do you deal with an inability to land in your preferred company during summer placements?
- PPO wherever you intern: First and foremost, do your best to get a PPO. The importance of this cannot be understated. Regardless of whether you accept the PPO or not, it conveys to potential recruiters that you did your job well. Of course, not getting a PPO is by no means the end of the road. But a PPO does definitely simplify things when you apply during final placements.
- Part-time work on the side: This should be done keeping your desired company/sector in mind. Take up live projects. Do part-time internships. Anything that ups your profile AND gives you genuine experience in your preferred field. That is because an appropriate profile will help you in getting shortlisted, while genuine knowledge and experience will help you in the interview.
- Earn certifications: This is more relevant to Finance. Some of the more popular ones are CFA, FRM etc. Do not blindly go for a certification. Consult a senior first as to the usefulness of these. For people looking to change sectors to finance and without relevant work experience, this almost becomes a hygiene factor.
- Win case competitions: This helps in no small measure. There is no dearth of competitions in a b-school. Best way to keep track is to regularly check your college mail. Be it marketing, finance, strategy or operations, there are ample opportunities to distinguish oneself. These provide 2 possible benefits. One is the endearing option of a PPI. This is a splendid way of ensuring you are in the running during final placements. The other advantage is that it adds immense value to your CV.
That being addressed, it is not uncommon that one ends up being placed finally in a company different from what you wanted. How to deal or address that is outside my purview and experience, to be honest. But the fundamentals remain the same. Wherever you do end up, perform exceptionally well. Build up your profile on the side. Keep networking with the right people and have an eye on opportunities. Like people who did their MBA several years back keep saying, where one eventually ends up is often different from one's first internship or job.
So take heart and keep rising!