Strategy

A job site just for MBAs

Personal, school connections still lead grads to most jobs, but MBAJobs.ca aims to add online avenue.

A new job site aimed at the MBA market is looking to add a high-tech element to a process dominated by old-school methods.

Launched in May, MBAjobs.ca is a Saskatoon-based operation that allows MBAs to post their resumés and to look for employment. By focusing exclusively on MBAs and their potential employers, the site will make it much easier and quicker for both sides to get what they want, says founder and president Maggie Austring.

“If an employer is looking for someone with a very specific background, such as business development in the finance industry, they would have to receive a lot of unqualified resumés from the mass job market,” she says.

MBAs experience many unsuitable employment responses from the mass job market as well, added Austring, who holds an MBA herself. “When I got my MBA and was looking for jobs, it was really frustrating. In the case of about 95% of [employer responses], you would get ones you didn’t want.”

With MBAjobs.ca, she says, both sides’ required needs are centralized in one place. She also notes that MBAjobs.ca fits into the ongoing trend of the employment process moving online.

“The Internet has totally changed the way we do things. More than 80% of job seekers find jobs online. … It’s how people find jobs and [employees].”

At one of Canada’s top MBA schools, however, the majority of graduates are still finding their jobs through traditional, low-tech methods, according to one official.

“We bring in 150 to 200 companies a year [to meet with students], which is a lot of choice,” says Joseph Palumbo, executive director at the Schulich School of Business’s Career Development Centre. “So most of my students will not bother with something that is Web-only, unless the preferred channel of jobs — which is face-to-face, on campus — doesn’t work for them.”

The site, which also caters to experienced MBAs with considerable work experience, offers various opportunities to help job-seekers make their resumés stand out. They can, for instance, choose to submit articles they have written to showcase to prospective employers their expertise.

Tricia McKinnon, a recent graduate of the Rotman School of Management, thinks the site will be a practical tool for job seekers. “If it’s a lot more targeted [to MBAs], I think that makes sense.”

As of yet, however, nothing can replace personal interaction between employer and prospective employee in the recruitment process, says Palumbo.

“You want a lot of interaction because it’s through interaction that people decide where there might be a good fit for them or what’s the best culture. And sometimes direct job opportunities appear.”

Winnie Mittal earned her MBA in 2002 and now works as an associate brand manager for Johnson & Johnson in Toronto. She agrees that the bulk of recruitment is still carried out along traditional lines.

“A lot of hiring is done through recruiters, contacts and connections you get through school,” she says. “Big companies rarely post their jobs online, which makes it hard to rely on Web sites…. [Posting a job online] is almost like a last resort for employers.”

Mittal adds, however, that MBAJobs.ca could be useful for MBAs who are job-hunting outside of the core September-to-April stretch when employers are actively recruiting on campuses. The site would also be aided by an affiliation with a top school.

“I don’t think on its own it would gain that much accreditation. If it could associate itself with Rotman or Schulich it would help them a lot.”

Some see the site’s ability to connect employers and MBAs from different regions as a big benefit.

“It’s great [for employers] to have access to all the MBA students in the country,” says Colleen Collins, Academic Chair of the Management of Technology MBA Program at Simon Fraser University. “From an employer’s perspective, that’s a dream.”

Providing students with access to a nationwide job board will help them as well, Collins added. While schools like hers have ties with employers in their own geographic areas, it’s tough for them to help MBA grads connect with potential employers in other locations.

“We have contacts with the local employers but even then, there are employers that are looking nationally and students are looking nationally,” she says.

Schulich’s Palumbo, however, says his school is trying to make it easier for its students to look for jobs beyond Canada’s borders. It’s here that he thinks an Internet MBA job board could offer the biggest benefit to job-seekers.

“The more international in scope the postings, the better it will serve today’s MBA students,” he says. “I’m looking specifically for a site that will open my students up to more [job opportunities] around the world. I’m not so concerned about Canada because I think most of our students have that covered.”