7.3. By Industry

Traditionally, some industries are more favorable than others in hiring non-US citizens out of an MBA program. A few guidelines:

– Consulting: Usually will not hire non-US citizens for work in the US. They only do so on exceptional occasions, like when they find a person with an extraordinary skill or extremely good in solving cases. Another exception is Information Technology: due to the shortage of people knowledgeable in business and IT, they will consider breaking the rule. On the other hand, they usually hire heavily for the country of origin (usually interviewing is done off-campus, so be alert).

– Investment Banking: I-bankers will usually not stop because of a minimal detail like a work-permit. However, be aware that because of strong competition, you will need a very good set of skills to get in (especially communications and interpersonal skills). A good number of foreigners are hired every year, and although they may be hired for any job, they usually are considered for operations related to their region of origin (like International Equity research, or International Private Banking, for Latin America, Europe or Asia). Tip: if you are good at selling, and have a considerable network of high-net-worth individuals in your country, the people from Private Banking will love to hear from you.

– Banks: National banks, like Citibank and Chase Manhattan, hire a lot of foreign MBAs. Regional and super-regional banks, however, tend to have a policy of not sponsoring non-US-citizens for their work visas.

– Marketing: Large consumer product companies, known as marketing powerhouses, tend not to hire foreign MBAs (although it is not in their policies). They usually hire for your home country.

– Finance: Corporate finance departments for large manufacturing and service companies usually hire a good number of foreign MBAs. Very often (but not always), the positions are related to the home country (or region), but based in the US. Tip: Research very carefully the companies to find out what kind of project they are working on in your country (or nearby countries) and learn everything you can about them.

– Operations: Operations is one of the areas that hire more foreign MBAs. This is partly because many foreign MBA students have a technical background (usually engineering) and these type of jobs are less desirable for US candidates.

– Car manufacturers: Usually do not hire foreign MBAs. However, these companies are so big and have so many departments, that some people manage to get hired. Be prepared to negotiate and work hard to get hired.

– Oil: Most do hire foreign MBAs. Their operations usually require staffing and managing projects all over the world and even remote locations in the US, like Alaska.

– High technology: Some do but most do not. They are flexible, however, and you might get hired even when they say they won’t if you demonstrate the appropriate skills. High technology companies usually hire a lot of foreigners for highly specialized technical jobs, leaving few possibilities in management.

– Government and Non-profit: Don’t bother.

The tables showed in Appendix A, list some of the companies that have hired international MBA students in the past, as well as some who generally do not.

Follow the economy very carefully. Although businesses have been soaring across the US for the past few years, watch out for individual industries and focus on those doing very well (and forget those in consolidation or restructuring).

Follow the stock market. With the Internet, it is easier than ever (try sites like Microsoft Investor at http://investor.msn.com or My Yahoo at http://my.yahoo.com). Not only will you get a feel of how the industries are doing, but you can follow stock prices and news for the companies you are interested in – a must in preparing for interviews.