Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What a price a job? £700 says MBA graduate

At the height of the economic crisis in Argentina, desperate contestants battled it out in a bleak reality show called "Human Resources" where the ultimate prize was nothing more glamorous than a job.

Things haven't got that bad in Britain yet but one young MBA graduate became so fed up with sifting through newspapers every day for the handful of relevant recruitment ads that he decided to take matters into his own hands.

So Daniel Tudor, an ambitious 26-year-old Oxford graduate, gathered together his last £700 and took out an advert in The Economist, offering his services to all and sundry.
"British man, 26, Oxford graduate, now with added MBA...looking for interesting work anywhere..," it read.

As Daniel had recently completed an internship at The Economist, the ad sales department kindly gave him a discount on the going rate but £700 was still a pretty expensive gamble for a man without a job.

"It was pretty much all I had in the world", he jokes down the line from his parents' house in Manchester, where is currently residing after completing his MBA at Manchester Business School.

Unfortunately for Daniel, he was looking for a job in two of the sectors hardest hit by the financial crisis, media and finance. While he had worked for a while as an equity sales trader in South Korea before starting his MBA, his experience almost counted against him, making him over-qualified for a graduate scheme but under-qualified for a senior role.

So, almost eight weeks later, has his audacious move paid off?

As well as some expressions of interest from a hedge fund, an African current affairs magazine and a biotech startup, he also received a few stranger responses including "one fine gentleman from India who assured me that we could start a business together and become tycoons like Donald Trump".

After following up some of the saner leads, Daniel has now landed a three-month internship at a socially-responsible investment fund in Zurich, which may lead to permanent, properly-paid work if things go well. So well done, that man.

However, Daniel says he probably wouldn't advise others to follow his lead. Advertising your services in a newspaper or magazine may be a bold move for the first movers but it is an economic action subject to the law of diminishing returns - the more people who do the same, the less impact it will have.

"Part of the reason people wrote to me was that they saw it as an imaginative move," he adds. "I wouldn't say it was so imaginative, but that's the way they saw it, at least. And that effect would be gone if a lot of people started doing it."

You can check out Daniel's blog here and watch him perform on Mastermind in July.
If you have a better job offer for Daniel, feel free to let him know via the comments.

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