The millennial generation brought with it many new trends, one of which has been an increase in career moves. Gone are the days of working for one company for 30 years and then retiring. But should you be concerned about career flip-flopping when it comes to getting admitted to b-school or landing a job afterwards?
There are far fewer gold watches being given out anymore at retirement parties.
While your mom, dad or grandparents may have logged the proverbial quarter century with one company, you yourself have likely already had more jobs than all of them combined—and you’re still in your twenties. Let’s face it—the short attention span world of 21-st century career climbing means you statistically won’t be staying in one place for long.
On the one hand, this keeps things interesting, and diversifies your experience.
On the other hand, it can make you seem disloyal, restless or incapable of holding down a job. The latter can communicate that you don’t get along well with others, a potential application killer at top b-schools.
Having a checkerboard career is generally nothing to worry about as long as you can weave a sensible narrative about why you made the various moves. If you can find the thread which ties it all together, you can often make a varied background seem dynamic vs. disloyal and enriching vs. disengaging.
One key thing to know is that your career before the MBA and your career after are two entirely different things.
Zigging and zagging up until b-school can be okay, but you should become more intentional about your career moves after your graduate. This is one reason why adcoms want to know what your career vision is, because they want to accept folks who have their plans laid out and will follow a trajectory after the MBA. This is not to say you can’t make career moves, but does say that those moves should be part of a long term plan and not just to try something new.
No matter what you did before business school, it’s what you do after that counts. You will add increasingly more value to your degree (and to your school’s alumni pedigree for that matter) if you establish a solid, upwardly mobile career trajectory post MBA. They’ll generally forgive you for what came prior.