How to recruit for a nontraditional job post-MBA

hospitality recruiting with HBS MBA Leticia Tavares

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

How to recruit for a nontraditional Job post MBA

When I started my MBA, I knew I would be making a career change – and not a simple one! My goal was to work in hotel operations and work for a well-known hospitality company, but soon I realized that not that many hospitality companies recruited on campus or even hosted recruiting events. Though recruiting for a non-traditional job was not an easy thing to do, I successfully found a summer internship and then a full-time career in Hospitality. I have some great recommendations for you on how to start or continue your search for a job in a nontraditional industry.

Develop your network
  • Contact Alumni who work in the industry you are interested in and set up an informational interview. My school’s alumni were very open to talk and extremely helpful during my job search.
  • Join a “Club” or “Organization” that focuses on your industry of choice. At Harvard Business School I had the opportunity to join the Hospitality and Travel Club in my first year, and in the second year I became one of the club’s directors. 
  • Organize a “trek” or join one. A “trek” is an off-campus event / visit or trip with the goal to learn more about an industry or companies within that industry. For example, I had the opportunity of co-hosting a Restaurant Trek in New York. We were able to meet with leaders from Sweetgreen, Eataly, Chipotle and other restaurant groups.
Meet your career coach early and often

I was fortunate to have a group of experienced career coaches available at Harvard Business School. If your school offers that as well, take advantage of it! I would start by identifying which of the coaches have experience in the industry you are interested in, or similar industries, and setting up monthly or bi-monthly meetings. With my coach, I was able to define my career vision, develop my job search strategy, work on my resume, cover letter and interview prep, and discuss offer negotiation.

Summer job

Finding a summer job in the non-traditional industry is very important. It will not only give you exposure to leaders in the company early on (to hopefully get a full-time job offer!), but also give you the opportunity to understand if that’s exactly what you want to do. Since pursuing Hospitality Operations was a big career change for me, I wanted to be able to test the waters by finding a summer job. Interning at Marriott, I realized I really loved the industry and operations, and ended up getting a full-time offer. 

Last but not least, have a plan B

Having a plan B that also aligns with your career aspirations is important. By meeting with my career coach and defining my career vision, I realized I wanted to create meaningful experiences to people. Although hospitality seemed to be the perfect industry, I could also see myself in operations in areas such as Retail. Sometimes the word “plan B” has a negative connotation. However for me it was more about finding another path that would also fulfill my career aspirations.

Are you pursuing a nontraditional career after your MBA? If you have any questions, contact me via e-mail or via Instagram. Best of luck in your job search!

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About Leticia Tavares

Leticia Tavares is a member of HBS Class of 2016, and hotelier behind Hospitality Vitae. She recently hosted her own #MBAchicTakeover sharing a day in the life as a hotelier and Harvard MBA grad. She offered insights on program selection, funding her degree, and making the most of her campus experience. Reach out to her via via e-mail or via Instagram!

Images by MBAchic and Leticia Tavares
Opinions and images are Leticia’s own and do not represent those of Marriott International or Harvard Business School.

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