MBA Recruiting as Marketing and Sales

Zach Mayo, Co-founder at RelishMBA
Zach Mayo, RelishMBA Cofounder & COO

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By Zach Mayo, RelishMBA COO

Before I started my MBA in 2013 at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, I worked in B2B sales for a series of small businesses and start-ups. I sold modular furniture sets, web marketing services, and software. I never had a passion for sales, and went to business school (like most of my classmates) as a career-switcher, looking to leave behind the world of cold calls, warm leads, and convoluted relationship management software.

What I soon realized was that MBA recruiting was not like the processes I had gone through to find my previous jobs: it was like the job itself. I was a salesman again, promoting myself as a good hire to literally thousands of companies (most of which I’d never heard of). I had a Second Year tell me that I should be making 10 networking contacts a day, and that (despite the fact that I had built and managed a company-wide CRM system in my last job) I needed to get a lot better at Excel if I wanted to manage all those relationships.RelishMBA logo

But unlike some previous sales roles (and recruiting processes), where finding enough leads was a constant challenge, the pipeline of opportunities in MBA recruiting was so large that it was almost impossible to manage. When thousands of companies want to hire you, how can you be sure you’re looking at the right opportunities? And how do you sort through and manage all the information? Existing online platforms weren’t exactly optimizing the process, and exploring on-campus opportunities alone was overwhelming.

Over the last two years, another Darden alum, Sarah Rumbaugh, and I have been building an online MBA hiring marketplace called RelishMBA to help address this problem. What we discovered in conversations with hundreds of MBA recruiters in that time is that recruiting is a sales and marketing process for employers as well – and both students and recruiters need the sort of technology that I used as a salesperson to streamline the sales process.

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In breaking down the inefficiencies of traditional MBA recruiting, we identified four distinct stages in the recruiting “sales” process (think of it like our version of AIDA): Source, Filter, Engage, Convert (see the attached graphic). MBA recruiting focused heavily on the Engage step, with more in-person events and networking opportunities than one person could possibly manage. Although the application (or Convert) step was often as simple as a resume drop, there were no tools – and no time – to effectively Source and Filter so many firms, so students and companies couldn’t be sure they were Engaging and Converting targets with the best fit.

As a result of this hypothesis, we designed our platform as an exclusive network of MBAs and the companies that hire them (think: LinkedIn for MBAs only) combined with a simplified CRM toolkit (like Salesforce) and data analytics software suite (like Google Analytics). We help facilitate and manage all stages of the MBA recruiting process, and the platform is customized for graduate business school recruiting – so only relevant filters, tools, and data are included. This helps students, alumni, and employers to more effectively manage their recruiting pipeline, pursue only the most qualified recruiting leads, and spend less time on the process.

RelishMBA has come to be the platform is leading the shift from dedicated on-campus recruiting teams reserved for the Fortune 500 to virtual engagement across many schools for companies of all sizes, from the Fortune 50 to early stage startups.

Since expanding to 25 top MBA programs in June of 2015, we’ve grown our user base 7x and worked with MBA employers from the Fortune 50 to early stage startups. Access is free for HBS students and alumni. Visit today to sign up.


RelishMBA is an official Harbus Partner 2015-2016

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