“I just got a MBA in Finance and now I don’t know what to do. My experience has been mostly engineering so I have no finance experience, but I want to go into finance. The economy sucks. What should I do?”
The Harvard MBA says:
Almost every employer prefers to hire employees with previous relevant experience, and with good reason. All other things being equal, they’d rather hire a proven commodity. Therefore, you need a two-pronged strategy. One, you need to make sure that all other things are decidedly *NOT* equal. And two, you need to prove yourself in a hurry.
Ask yourself what you can do to stand out from other potential hires, and to prove your ability to do the job. For example, suppose you researched a company you wanted to work for, and discovered that they were working on an important problem. You could put together your own solution to the problem, complete with detailed statistical analysis and specific proof points. If you walked in the door with a 40-page report that specifically addressed their most pressing needs, you’d probably stand out, and you’d also go a long way towards proving yourself.
Another possibility is to volunteer to work for free. When the economy sucks, it’s tough for employers to resist free labor, and once you’re in, if you can make yourself indispensable, they’re not going to want to let you go.
Finally, you may want to consider working for a lower-tier firm. Certainly everyone always wants to work for a brand name firm, but you’re better off working for a no-name firm where you can pick up actual experience than sitting around filling out job applications that are doomed to be rejected. If you end up as a big fish in a small pond, expect to be poached pretty quickly.