5.1.5. Researching/Selecting the companies

Selecting the companies to contact is a key step for international students, as not only you have to identify the companies you would like to work for, but also those with a higher probability of hiring you being a foreign national. Some guidelines:

– Select industries/companies with high likelihood: See the section “Work for Whom” for an overview of the companies that usually hire international students and those that usually don’t.

– Ask other students: After the summer internship, second-year MBA students have a good idea of which companies hire and which don’t at your school. Talk to them, talk to the placement office, and read the placement reports. Students from your country should be able to give you even better and more specific information.

– Select only as many companies as you can handle: Selecting a lot of companies seems to be a good idea – it will probably increase your probability of getting job offers; but not necessarily. Keep in mind that every company you choose to contact means time and effort, which you have to manage considering your academic duties. It is better to decrease the number of companies to increase the quality of your research, approach, and follow-up. Even better: select a few companies (less than 10) and individualize your effort with them; then select 10 or 15 more, and contact them with less personalization (but very carefully).

– Research your country’s economy: Find out which multinational companies are initiating or increasing their investment in your country. These will probably be looking for MBAs to work in the US in that country’s related projects.

– Look for functional areas where you have experience: Changing careers is a very often-mentioned reason for pursuing an MBA. However, finding a job in this new area is noticeably more difficult than for the area in which you have your undergraduate degree or significant work experience (companies usually value experience very much). If you are changing careers, don’t forget to contact companies for your original area as well, as backup. Once a company hires you, it might be easier to change to your target functional area after a while.

– Look for functional areas where your school exceeds: If your school is famous for one or more business areas, there will be more companies recruiting in that area than in any other area. Your chances will be significantly higher if your concentration falls within one of those areas.