Anyone who has one’s eye on an MBA has to think ahead first: Where can I work after it and what do I want to achieve?

A MBA is no longer a guarantee for success

Before you set about a Master of Business Administration (MBA), you should ask yourself one of the most important questions: Which employers best suit my career? Sometimes the company is sponsoring a scholarship and in return of a contract agreement. In all other cases you should carefully consider to which companies an MBA will open the door and see if the desired company needs graduates with an MBA.

As some employers already have a shortlist of business schools from they prefer to recruit people with an MBA. Before choosing the cadre, you are well advised to inquire the targeted companies whether they hire from any specific MBA educational institution. For example, some consultancies have preferences for certain business schools.

MBAs offer Networks beyond school

An analysis of the structure of 3000 members of SAMBAplus, the Switzerland’s largest school network of international MBA Alumni, doesn’t surprise at all. In general, the largest Swiss companies are also the largest employers for MBA graduates. But there are exceptions. Therefore, you only find a few people with an MBA in the strongly nationally oriented companies such as Migros and Coop. Thus, the larger and global the company is, the higher the probability that MBA graduates are recruited.

Even in SMEs there are people with a MBA. Again, the more internationally aligned the SMEs are, the more often there are MBA graduates in their ranks. Another indication of accessibility is to have a look at the CVs of top management: if the CEO studied at the London Business School, it can be assumed with great probability that the company hires graduates from such institution.

Executive-training after the MBA

Not just by focusing on a original cadre, you also have to be aware of a new educational institutions -in fact, a good amount of MBA graduates return to the Business School after a few years in working life. They do it with the intention of entering another alumni network and gaining an additional perspective. The spectrum ranges go from shorter training seminars to longer part-time programs such as the Advanced Management Program (AMP). Moreover, these alumni organizations offer new career opportunities and support in career development.

Rather, the goal determines the path. When choosing the MBA program and the career will address yourself, thereafter not necessarily the journey is the reward. Two steps you should always be thinking ahead: With which employer do I want to work after my training? What do I want to achieve in business? Will I continuously keep on educating myself? How do I expand my professional network? How do I prepare for unexpected professional challenges such as job loss or job relocation?

by Benno Marbach, founder and President, Swiss Association of MBAs (SAMBAplus)