“O” is for Offer – FTMBA

“O” is for Offer – Highlights & Thank You

By Patricia Reich

Thank You Leadership Fellows

From my perspective as an educator and career developer, the most important aspect of the “O” is for Offer success, is that all second year students participated, either in the pre-event survey or by attending the two-hour peer-to-peer seminar. The all-in attitude matters, because 100% participation is the (only) way that we as a community can ensure that every job-seeking 2018 MBA has a great job at graduation. Well done.

Reminders from Recruiters

During the first half of the “O” event, several MBA recruiters shared their points of view on what it takes for candidates to win offers. Here are some highlights:

Demonstrated Interest

  • In the profession – be sure that your resume includes evidence that you are investing the in the target career; your focus on the profession should be evident in the clubs you join and lead, pro bono work you’ve done, classes you take, projects you complete, etc.
  • In the company – employers track touchpoints; an impersonal job application does not say as much about your deep interest in a particular company as a networking campaign designed to get to know individuals and the collective corporate culture.

Eager, Can-do Attitude

Companies are motivated to pursue job candidates who have achieved in a variety of areas; who are eager to take on challenges; who are hands-on when it comes to solutions and successes. Don’t overuse “we” in response to behavioral questions. Interviewers want to know what you, yourself, have done and what drove you to do just that to the highest standard.

Strong Analysis

Interviewers look for a candidate to demonstrate specific understanding of the company’s market position. When preparing for interviews, consider what is on the company’s web site, then do a further analysis of that. Assess information about the company from across media and from research you’ve conducted yourself with alumni in informational interview conversations. This, in combination with examples of analytical problem solving will give interviewers insights into how you manage new information and learn. Analytical thinking and learning agility are critical in the highly ambiguous global workplace.

International Mindset

Global businesses value people who speak multiple languages, who have a multi-national mindset, and the ability to communicate effectively across cultures in order to reach agreements that take the work forward.

Interview Performance

Companies choose the very best candidates to make offers to: those people who are well prepared to do the work, who have demonstrated the highest interest in the company, and who are a good fit. 

  • Since past behavior predicts future behavior, behavioral interview responses are critical in the hiring decision. Be specific. Companies have your credentials, but need to know how you behave in the workplace. Again, don’t overuse “we.” Be sure to explain what you specifically have done and include plenty of context, so the interviewer can compare your previous situations with situations likely to occur with them in the future.
  • Case interviews are pass/fail. You will not advance, if you do not show a solid performance on the case. Prepare for a variety of case formats.
  • Interviewers appreciate candidates who are able to roll with the flow of the interview conversation. Be there. Be present. Show the ability to think, live, in the moment.

Job Applications

In the case of university recruiting, resumes are always reviewed by the human eye. Experienced recruiters are better able to infer from your resume content, than those who are less experienced, so be explicit wherever you can. Make sure that your resume addresses the majority of position requirements posted. Employers could get into trouble if they were to hire individuals whose resumes do not match the qualifications sought, so they don’t.

Larger companies are more likely to use automated resume review techniques. Artificial intelligence techniques are also less likely to make inferences from your content.

One third of hires come from employee referral. Referral programs are a great sign that the company is a great place to work.


Only 57% of job candidates negotiate. Respectful requests for offer improvements are always okay. Negotiation of base salary is more likely with smaller firms, than with larger firms who are hiring entire MBA cohorts, where offers are governed by salary ranges in order to ensure internal equity. In larger companies, there may be a better opportunity to adjust the signing bonus, than the base salary. In any case, don’t focus solely on salary but also on variable pay and opportunities for career growth, which could prove more valuable than cash, by multiples. Never negotiate based on personal circumstance; instead focus on what brings value to both you and the employer.

Be courteous to every single person that you meet.