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MBA Recruiter Interview: Dell

What does Dell look for when hiring MBAs?

Dell is a top technology company that hires MBAs for the fresh ideas they bring to the business. It is also a company for MBA hires to grow and move through Rotations to different business functions. Despite its large size, Dell’s university relations and diversity manager for North America, Maria Crabtree, says that the company runs like a, “large startup” That encourages innovation and creativity.  In this interview, Crabtree discusses what Dell looks for in its MBA hires.


Why does Dell hire MBAs?

Our goal at Dell is to hire individuals that have recently gone through educational training, such as MBAs, because they are full of fresh ideas. We often look for MBAs that have received training in specific areas, such as supply chain or marketing. By hiring MBAs with expertise in specific areas, we know that we’re bringing in team members that have had the appropriate training necessary to add value and succeed.   

Why do MBAs want to work at Dell?

Dell is known as a top technology company and from a marketing professional’s standpoint that is huge. But we also put a big emphasis on hiring new graduates. In fact, Michael Dell has committed to making sure at least 25% of all new hires come from universities, which is part of Dell’s 2020 Legacy of Good plan. In fact, 32% of our external hires in 2015 were people who just graduated from a university.

MBAs joining our team are usually given fairly senior-level roles where they will have the opportunity to contribute and make an impact immediately. There are also plenty of opportunities to grow and move within Dell − someone can join the company doing supply chain, and then switch to something completely different. It’s part of our culture and a reason why people stay at Dell for a long time. Look at it this way − I’ve been at Dell for 10 years and I’m considered a newbie!    

What are the most common job roles for MBA graduates at Dell?

There are many teams that MBAs can join at Dell. For example, they could be hired into senior non-management roles within: marketing, supply chain, business operations and services.  In operations, students are brought into supply chain management roles. Whereas, marketing hires are brought into product marketing and marketing operations.

What do you look for when evaluating a candidate’s résumé and experience?

We love meeting people who are passionate about solving challenges and really want to improve the customer experience. On a résumé specifically, we look for any previous experience in the specific field that they are applying for.  

For instance, on the marketing side, we look for people who have been in a marketing role prior to getting their MBA (this could encompass anything from a full-time job to an internship). That way, we know that they’ve gone through all of the basic training and have the skills necessary to join our team. Seeing their previous experience also allows us to think of specific questions to ask during an interview.

How many MBAs intern at Dell? Of these interns, how many leave with full-time job offers?

It’s hard to put a number on it. Our goal is to hire 100-120, but it doesn’t mean the number can’t be larger.

We strive to offer a full-time role to all interns that perform well. To see if an intern is a fit for the company, we give them a real-time project that will allow them to show their abilities and make an impact. We also look at how they engage with team members – collaboration, honesty and trust are key.

How many MBA students do you typically recruit each year from the US? How about globally?

Globally, we hire approximately 200 MBA students. About 100-150 of those are hired in the US. 

Which business schools do you recruit from and why?

We proactively recruit from over 15 MBA programs. Our intention is to look for candidates in both local and non-local schools (Dell is headquartered in Texas). Some examples of schools are: UT Austin, Texas A&M, ASU (Arizona State University), BYU (Brigham Young University), Duke, Howard, MSU (Michigan State University), Morehouse College, Penn State, Rutgers, UTK (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), Berkeley, University of Michigan, UNC (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), University of Virginia Darden, Northwestern, and Purdue. We also look at the ranking of the MBA program at each particular school and the number of graduates that come out of their program each year – the bigger the number, the better. Although we reassess schools every year, we do also like to return to schools where we’ve had great success with recruiting.

What steps should MBAs take in order to make a good impression? Conversely, what are some common mistakes MBAs should avoid when contacting recruiters?

We notice when candidates do their research about the company. To make a good impression, graduates should read into the company and our recent announcements. Knowing what’s going on in a company is huge. Also, just being able to communicate effectively what they are interested in and what their longtime goals and areas of interest are is great.

A common mistake is exactly the reverse – not knowing what you want and not doing your research on us before interviewing. 

What are the biggest misconceptions that MBAs have about Dell and the tech industry?

From my experience, recent graduates in general associate large companies like Dell with strict processes. But really, Dell operates like a large startup and encourages all team members to leverage technology in innovative ways that will make a difference in the world. 


Now that the Dell and EMC combination is final, does this mean both companies will follow the same MBA hiring approach?

Absolutely, the new company brings together our best approaches for attracting and developing talent, and we are really excited about the future of our MBA hiring program.

Written by Nicole Willson

Nicole is the SEO manager of TopMBA.com, as well as a contributing author. She holds a BA in history and sociology, and a master's in library science. Aside from her work for QS, Nicole is a long-time contributing editor and administrator for WikiHow.

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