Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Search Begins!

The MBA job search is officially up and running after attending my first career fair in Washington DC last week. I have others coming up in South Carolina and Atlanta and am much more prepared for them after the first round. Looking for a job in Asia while being in the U.S. is harder than you'd think. These career fairs are stocked with all of your big-name companies, elaborate displays, free gifts and their HR recruiting teams for the USA. Most international positions are provided to seasoned, experienced people within the company. However, some have leadership development programs that offer rotations that could be international, depending on candidate preference.

All that being said, me looking for an international job in a domestic MBA career fair is just as hard as an international student looking for a company to sponsor their work visa in the U.S. However, I am very much inspired by the fact that all of these companies have expanding markets in China vs. contracting or stable markets in the U.S. My experiences in China and with the language was very much appreciated but they weren't sure they could use it in their current hiring systems.

What I learned:
- Go for more project-based firms (mainly consulting) instead of role-based firms because you can be assigned to projects anywhere in the world and are not usually held to a location.
- So make a consulting resume and a marketing resume.
- International headhunters also attend these fairs and are good targets.
- Starting from scratch, it might be easier to just go to China for the spring semester and continue the job search. (Disadvantage: Giving up the "expat" package.)
- A medium size might be better than a large company because they could be more flexible.

I got past the "meet and greet" in the exhibition to interview with two companies while I was there, both of them International Leadership Development Rotation Programs. As for that...well there's the two or three week wait to hear back. All total I researched hundreds of companies, had conversations with about 30, gave my resume to about 15, and had 2 first-round interviews. How's that for the funnel effect? Well, I'm positive about the whole thing and looking forward to the rest of this adventure. We shall see...