I Was Valedictorian in My MBA Program

I am an Indian woman living in France. I put all my eggs into 1 basket, moved lock, stock and barrel, to France to pursue an MBA. And, I did. I’m the valedictorian in my batch. It’s been 3 and half years since my graduation, and I couldn’t find a job. I’ve exhausted all my savings.
Moving back to India is not an option. Now, I’ve put myself in a corner. I’m feeling stuck. I really don’t know what I’m asking for. I just want some advice to get myself unstuck.

Thank you!

Dear Elavarasi,

It sounds like you have had a very difficult few years. You worked hard and followed what you assumed would be a road to success, and to your dismay, success is still elusive. No wonder you are feeling stuck!

You clearly recognize that you need to do something different from what you have been doing. However, you gave us very few details other than that you were an excellent student and that you haven’t been getting the job offers you expected, so we are not sure what you have been doing.

Have you been living completely off your savings, or have you been working in a totally unrelated field, such as being a barista or sales clerk? If you have been living off savings, what has filled your days?

We have just published our book, The Holistic You: Integrating Your Family, Finances, Faith, Fitness and Friendships. You wrote about your financial realm, but how are the other four parts of your life advancing? You moved to a new country – did you focus only on your schooling, where you obviously excelled, or did you also find a faith home, put effort into friendships, keep yourself in shape, and think about plans for a future family? A major point we make in our book is that the best chance for success in any of the 5Fs comes when we put work into all of them.

To give you an example, if you developed strong friendships while in school, those friends would be a major source of recommendations as positions open in their own firms. They could give you feedback on mistakes you might be making in interviews. They would be a source of strength when you are feeling down.

Specifically, when it comes to a job search, you are in a worse situation than you were as a newly-minted graduate. Here is one important tip: It is easier to change jobs than it is to get one while unemployed. Is it possible that you turned down some jobs that could have been starter positions thinking that you would get a better offer? At this point, you may have to be willing to look for something that is not at all close to what you hoped for just to get a foot in the door.

Our advice will definitely take you forward but it might not be what you want to hear. Nonetheless, the most important thing right now is to start creating revenue by starting to work at a job. Almost any job. Right now. Even one that is well below the qualifications of an MBA. One of the best ways of growing is by being regularly promoted by employers who realize that your capabilities and willingness to take responsibility far outweigh your current position.

We commend you for realizing that you need a new plan. While you might read this and say to yourself, “I need a top-notch job. Why are they talking about friends?” we encourage you to expand your focus. Keep moving on all of the 5Fs—changing course is easier once you are in motion.

You are clearly not seeing open doors. If you have a belief in God, remember that He can provide salvation in the blink of an eye. Do your part by providing Him with as many opportunities as you can and recognizing that the path He opens for you may not look anything like the one you were expecting. Start counting afresh from now, not from 3 years ago.

We hope to hear from you in a few months with good news.

Move bravely forward,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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