5 Tips to Help You Stand Out from Other MBA Graduates

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You worked hard to earn your graduate business degree, but simply having one won’t make employers want to hire you. The problem is that too many students have degrees. In fact, universities produce 74 percent more of those graduates than they did almost 15 years ago. Graduates can’t receive the full value of their degrees or earn jobs with high earning potential unless they stand out with employers. Separate yourself from the crowd before and after graduation with these tips.

Get Internships

In 2013, the vast majority of employers that hired MBA students for internships also hired at least one of them for a full-time position after the internship period ended. These businesses also considered internship experience a top priority when choosing interview candidates. MBA candidates need high grades and real experience to impress companies, and taking internships based on your unique interests will distinguish you from other graduates.

Start Specializing

Stanford MBA students call it “spikiness,” the ability to excel at three or four skills instead of developing a spread of general abilities. Spikiness can help define you as a professional and prime you for tailor-made jobs in your specialties. Growing industries, such as those in computer systems, need these specialized students to address growth-related challenges; graduates with general skills, on the other hand, may not be able to market themselves to these businesses.

Build More Relationships

An MBA degree should expand both your business knowledge and your network. Strong contacts in desirable industries can give you advantages over other graduates. They can provide personal recommendations, insider tips on job openings, and insight on how to stand out as an applicant. Networking has paired well with the trend of MBA recruitment as more graduates look for jobs that are a better fit for them. So instead of just sending out resumes, start connecting with people too.

Look Beyond Your Paycheck

While an MBA student in the 1980s or ’90s would have looked for jobs based on brand names or salary, more graduates search for work that will directly supply them with business experience. Beyond small startups or nonprofits, more business students are starting their own companies and learning trade skills for building and managing businesses. As MBA jobs continue to expand across industries, the market favors those who can find jobs that fit them best. By searching for jobs based on your unique fit with a company, you will be setting yourself apart from other MBA graduates.

Build Soft Skills

Recruiters want the right combination of soft skills and personality when they search for new hires—yet many MBA graduates struggle to convey authenticity, humility, or self-awareness during the interview process. Instead of just looking at high grade point averages, companies now look for the candidates that fit best with their culture. The best way to show your uniqueness next to other MBA graduates is with practice; learn how to sell your strengths and don’t be afraid to put your personality on display.

You shouldn’t just rely on your MBA to land a job. With the right blend of skills, experience, and contacts, you can easily separate yourself from other graduates.

Ohio University’s Master of Business Administration Degree

Nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Online MBA” program, Ohio University’s online MBA degree program includes a concentration in Strategic Selling and Sales Leadership. Courses focus on building customer relationships, quantitative skills necessary for sales professionals, and sales leadership.

Other program concentrations include accounting, business analytics, executive management, finance, health care, operations & supply chain management, strategic selling & sales leadership, business venturing & entrepreneurship.