Harvard Business Review: Generalists get better job offers than specialists


Jennifer Merluzzi, assistant professor of management at Tulane University's A. B. Freeman School of Business, is interviewed in the June 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review about her research on specialization among MBA students seeking jobs in investment banking. Merluzzi and co-author Damon Phillips found that specialists were less likely to receive multiple job offers than candidates with broader backgrounds and experiences. Specialists also received smaller signing bonuses.

Among MBAs, there’s now a strong emphasis on building a consistent profile as a finance person or a marketing person. You end up with many similar people in the market. Specialization becomes commodified, giving you less bargaining power, because you’re easily substitutable. Plus, when the firm is used to hiring a lot of people like you, it’s easier to calculate your value compared with someone with diverse accomplishments.

To read the interview in its entirety, visit hbr.org:


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