Dear Mom and Dad,
Graduation is just around the corner and I am looking forward to seeing you! Before you arrive, I was thinking about all the questions you’re probably going to ask me and my friends. I realized that some of these questions might cause some uncomfortable moments, so I wanted to answer your questions before you get here (then you don’t have to ask them when you’re here!). Based on my answers, you can probably figure out what the questions are.
1) No, I don’t have a job.
2) Well, the job market is really bad. The media isn’t exaggerating. Now, I know I could have started my job search earlier and I have been networking a lot. The CMC director (who totally rocks, by the way) told me that companies didn’t really started conducting serious interviews until April. Before then, most companies were laying off people and had hiring freezes. Plus, I had to complete my graduation requirements. It would have been a disaster if I didn’t graduate AND didn’t have a job.
3) Don’t worry. I am not alone. About 30% of my class hasn’t received an offer and another 10% is looking for a better offer than the one they have. It’s pretty similar at other top business schools, and even worse at less prestigious schools. Many of those who have jobs are returning to the prior employer or summer employer, returning to the same career as before business school, or starting a company (which is not technically “employed” unless they already have funding, I guess). It’s harder for students like me who want to do something different than before b-school and/or in a new location. It’s especially difficult for international students due to the U.S. employment climate or due to the challenge of doing a long distance job search far from their home countries where they plan to return.
4) It was similar in 2002-2004, the period after the dot-com boom. The CMC director (did I tell you he rocks?) says that this recession is even worse because it has broadly penetrated many industries. That downturn was more concentrated on technology, venture capital, i-banking and some consulting. The hopeful news is that in the last recession, most of the graduates had jobs within 3-9 months after graduation and had moved on to really good jobs after a couple of years.
5) I am prepared for this and expect to move jobs a few times in this first phase (1-10 years) after b-school. As the market improves, there will be good opportunities and given my MBA education, I am well positioned to seize those opportunities when they appear. I certainly have a much bigger career vision than to work for just one employer and stay there for my entire career.
6) Yes, I know it sounds so uncertain and risky. But that’s life these days. One of the big reasons I came to b-school was to begin to build the knowledge, frameworks, tools, experiences and network to be prepared to face a dynamic world of opportunity. That’s one achievement of which I am certain. Don’t worry, I have learned how to think about managing risks and I will be applying these frameworks to my career choices. Although it’s a little nerve-wracking right now, I really am excited about my future.
I hope these answers address your most pressing questions. I am glad that we have all that out of the way. Now when you get here, we can focus on celebrating with our family and my friends. You are going to LOVE my friends!
This outstanding school has provided me an amazing experience where I have not only learned about business, but much about myself. Thank you so much for all your love and support.
Your loving son,