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Old 06.08.2019, 11:12
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Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

So I would like to have your views and experiences about having a vitamoin B while looking for a job in CH. Here is my owwn case.


I studied here for the masters degree and I have been trying to get a job in any of the big 4 management consulting firms without any luck. On multiple occasions, I have been advised to have a vitamin B in order to easily find a job in this sector. Has anyone here with no experience and straight out of university ever had a job or an internship here without a referral within the company? I Personally find this very frustrating.



Any feedback or experience sharing would be highly appreciated.
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Old 06.08.2019, 11:44
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

What do you think Vitamin B is? I suspect you are using the wrong word...
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Old 06.08.2019, 11:47
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?
No.

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I have been trying to get a job in any of the big 4 management consulting firms
How many people do you think will easily get a job in a Big 4 without knowing anyone, in Switzerland or anywhere else in the world? Jup. Very few. It's highly competitive to begin with (for reasons I may never understand), so unless you a) have a huge amount of luck, b) have something that makes you stand out from the pack or c) jep, now someone to open the first door for you, then yes, it is difficult. Of course you can now keep trying or tell yourself beggars can't be choosers and try to find a job somewhere else that could eventually serve as a stepping stone into one of the Big 4s, if that's where you want to be.
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Old 06.08.2019, 11:54
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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What do you think Vitamin B is? I suspect you are using the wrong word...
B for Beziehungen.

Relationships.

A common saying 'round these parts. Is it less widely used elsewhere?

(In village life, the term 'Vitamin B' might be used - often wishfully - in discussions about getting around bureaucratic hurdles. Does it really exist? YMMV.)
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Old 06.08.2019, 12:18
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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B for Beziehungen.

Relationships.

A common saying 'round these parts. Is it less widely used elsewhere?

(In village life, the term 'Vitamin B' might be used - often wishfully - in discussions about getting around bureaucratic hurdles. Does it really exist? YMMV.)
So nothing to do with Marmite? I'm disappointed.
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Old 06.08.2019, 12:25
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

Build your network. Utilise every single contact you made during your studies here. Research all your lecturers, professors, students from your group, researchers in the faculty, guest lecturers. See who knows whom, who has collaborated with whom in which projects. Keep expanding and updating your own records of this network and the many connections between those people.

Invite some of those on your level out for lunch, one at a time, and ask them how they're faring and what they've been doing, and who they've met, since graduation.

Before you meet them, try to research their networks, too (schools, professions of parents or siblings, business interests, etc.) ... depending on what they've chosen to make public online.

For those senior to you, ask them if you may please have an appointment to come and ask them for some advice. If they agree to see you, make sure you've read up about their work before you get there. Take along your cv. Tell them what interests you (and if true why there's a connection to their work) and what you've been doing to try to find employment. Don't complain, but simply ask for suggestions of how you could better approach things to find employment.

After a few weeks, write to thank them for having taken the time to see you. Mention any part of their advice which you have already implemented.

When you do get a job, write again to let them know and to thank them for their suggestions when you visited them.

Bit by bit, you'll be growing your own Vitamin B.

And: if you don't already have a good command of German, then my advice is learn German, learn German, learn German. Even if a company's business language has been defined as English, the casual conversations in a coffee break can be so much more useful if you understand the locals.
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Old 06.08.2019, 12:58
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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What do you think Vitamin B is? I suspect you are using the wrong word...
It is used correctly. Vitamin B helps you to find job openings earlier than advertised (also applies to apartments). You can get a job that you have no opportunity to apply for. Otherwise I doubt it will help you much in securing a job in a big company as a nobody fresh from school. "Vitamin A" as in perfect straight A grades is more important. But those guys most often know some other guys and so on...

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Has anyone here with no experience and straight out of university ever had a job or an internship here without a referral within the company
A friend of mine did. But during the interview he learned that the position had to be filled twice. Immediately called a fellow graduate that he should apply as well, pointed out what was need in the motivation letter. The position was an expat stint in South Korea were the second student had an love interest. They are now married with children.
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Old 06.08.2019, 13:06
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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It is used correctly.
Not in English.

Tom
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Old 06.08.2019, 14:32
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What do you think Vitamin B is? I suspect you are using the wrong word...
Vitamin B is like a referral or becoming a protegee or being favored in one way or another. Using connections and social network to get jobs or joining a particular company.

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Not in English.

Tom
It is used only in the local context to mean connections. Of course vitamin B in English means absolutely something different

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It is used correctly. Vitamin B helps you to find job openings earlier than advertised (also applies to apartments). You can get a job that you have no opportunity to apply for. Otherwise I doubt it will help you much in securing a job in a big company as a nobody fresh from school. "Vitamin A" as in perfect straight A grades is more important. But those guys most often know some other guys and so on...

A friend of mine did. But during the interview he learned that the position had to be filled twice. Immediately called a fellow graduate that he should apply as well, pointed out what was need in the motivation letter. The position was an expat stint in South Korea were the second student had an love interest. They are now married with children.
Was this here in Switzerland or S. Korea?

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Build your network. Utilise every single contact you made during your studies here. Research all your lecturers, professors, students from your group, researchers in the faculty, guest lecturers. See who knows whom, who has collaborated with whom in which projects. Keep expanding and updating your own records of this network and the many connections between those people.

Invite some of those on your level out for lunch, one at a time, and ask them how they're faring and what they've been doing, and who they've met, since graduation.

Before you meet them, try to research their networks, too (schools, professions of parents or siblings, business interests, etc.) ... depending on what they've chosen to make public online.

For those senior to you, ask them if you may please have an appointment to come and ask them for some advice. If they agree to see you, make sure you've read up about their work before you get there. Take along your cv. Tell them what interests you (and if true why there's a connection to their work) and what you've been doing to try to find employment. Don't complain, but simply ask for suggestions of how you could better approach things to find employment.

After a few weeks, write to thank them for having taken the time to see you. Mention any part of their advice which you have already implemented.

When you do get a job, write again to let them know and to thank them for their suggestions when you visited them.

Bit by bit, you'll be growing your own Vitamin B.

And: if you don't already have a good command of German, then my advice is learn German, learn German, learn German. Even if a company's business language has been defined as English, the casual conversations in a coffee break can be so much more useful if you understand the locals.
Many thanks for the advice. But most of my former classmates are either still looking for a job or into sectors not directly related to the management consulting sector. Of course many others have either inherited their family businesses or doing something different.

Meeting the real guys that work in this field is also difficult because they either will want to mingle just with guys of their own leaque or industry events to which you like an outsider you hardly get access. I remember even inviting a some on Linkedin whom i thought could be of help and after visiting my profile they never even replied to the request. Wow really? if i was a director in a big company would this happen?

Learning german is a great idea and i have been doing so but usually costs and without a source of income and fresh out of school paying for such is usually rather expensive.

But i believe in luck and will keep the spirits high as I continue to look and do the necessary stuffs to land even an internship in any of the big 4.

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No.

How many people do you think will easily get a job in a Big 4 without knowing anyone, in Switzerland or anywhere else in the world? Jup. Very few. It's highly competitive to begin with (for reasons I may never understand), so unless you a) have a huge amount of luck, b) have something that makes you stand out from the pack or c) jep, now someone to open the first door for you, then yes, it is difficult. Of course you can now keep trying or tell yourself beggars can't be choosers and try to find a job somewhere else that could eventually serve as a stepping stone into one of the Big 4s, if that's where you want to be.
Well I used to think the same but i came across a few interns from Germany who were hired to come here for an internship in one of the big 4's. I also saw a girl who was offered a direct role in 2 of the firms she applied to and she had the delima to choose.

Why would they hire people from other countries while graduates from local universities are available and also as competent as the others from Germany, Austria or so? While their profiles might stand out as well. But whatever be the case I believe graduates from local universities should also stand a chance.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 06.08.2019 at 19:23. Reason: merging consecutive replies; please use the multi-quote feature
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Old 06.08.2019, 15:08
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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Learning german is a great idea and i have been doing so but usually costs and without a source of income and fresh out of school paying for such is usually rather expensive.
Yes, I know that some language school fees are expensive. However, there are many ways to learn German that are free or cheap.

Have a look through this forum. The search function isn't ideal, and you'll probably get better results from googling, outside of the forum, for example:
englishforum "learn german".

Here, for example, all the courses are free:
https://www.bildung-fuer-alle.ch/seite/stundenplan

Last edited by doropfiz; 06.08.2019 at 15:26.
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Old 06.08.2019, 15:25
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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Meeting the real guys that work in this field is also difficult because they either will want to mingle just with guys of their own leaque or industry events to which you like an outsider you hardly get access. I remember even inviting a some on Linkedin whom i thought could be of help and after visiting my profile they never even replied to the request. Wow really? if i was a director in a big company would this happen?
Yes, if you were a director in a big company you probably wouldn't have the time to look after your Linkedin profile. Instead, you would have a secretary or an assistant who would have, as part of his/her job, the task of making sure that the profile didn't collect thousands of links.

I would never suggest trying to contact a person much senior to you through social media.

Instead, use the online info only to become knowledgable about the person. Read what they publish, see which projects have won them approval or awards, find out with whom they are collaborating, their plans for the future, etc.

Then, write a mail or a letter. Write just one or two sentences about yourself, and specify what interests you about the senior person's work. Ask whether you may please visit for half-an-hour, to ask for some advice about planning what you should next study, and what they would recommend you do to start your career.

If the person agrees to see you, do not ask him/her to give you a job. Just ask for their advice about how to improve your market value, for their ideas about what you could do to become more useful or attractive to a potential employer, and perhaps whether he/she knows of upcoming projects about which you should learn. If things go well, and they seem to want to help you, ask them to glance at your c.v. and criticise it.

If the person offers you any advice or criticism, don't argue against it, nor justify why you haven't already achieved that thing. Just say thank you, oh, I see I hadn't considered that, or yes, I would learn more about that, and I could develop in that area. Take notes.

If the conversation goes very, very well and there is an evident, good rapport, ask them to tell you what they would recommend to their own adult child.

Make sure you leave within the arranged time (their minutes are expensive), except if specifically asked to stay longer.

Afterwards write down as many of that person's tips as you can recall, including their actual phrases. Go and see whether you can implement any of what they told you. Then, when you write to them to thank them, you can use their own wording to say what you have already changed.
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Old 06.08.2019, 15:29
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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B for Beziehungen.

Relationships.

A common saying 'round these parts. Is it less widely used elsewhere?
Not used around here. Perhaps Baslers just have no friends.
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Old 06.08.2019, 15:29
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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... i came across a few interns from Germany who were hired to come here for an internship in one of the big 4's. I also saw a girl who was offered a direct role in 2 of the firms she applied to and she had the delima to choose.
Contact those people. Ask to see them. Invite them out for coffee. Ask them how they did it.

Did they have a special qualification?
Did they write an excellent thesis in the area in which they were later hired? Do they have strong language skills?
Do they know what was the tipping factor was, that caused the company to offer them the internship or direct role?
Now that they're "in", what would they recommend that you do, to improve your position?

If they're Austrian or German, then presumably they speak German. I believe that's a plus.
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Old 06.08.2019, 15:42
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

Yes it is possible. I didn't know how lucky I was at the time, but I was.

I came to Switzerland with an education & decent career experience...but not in finance, consulting or pharma. I continued to send my CV to all of the major companies without success.

At my first job, the hiring manager received a large stack of CV's, handed the pile over to her assistant, and asked her to invite whoever answered their phone in for an interview. I was at happy hour, decided to answer my phone anyway...and the rest is history. I have been hired at three major industry companies since without knowing someone in the company first...it can happen!

Best of luck!
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Old 07.08.2019, 17:21
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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Not used around here. Perhaps Baslers just have no friends.
It's called Vitamin D in your area. D for Daig, as in being part of it.
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Old 07.08.2019, 17:45
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

Your problem isn't who you don't know. It is what you don't know. Why should a big 4 in CH hire someone directly out if school who isn't fluent in German?

I've had a pretty good career in Switzerland so far and can honestly say this is the country where Vitamin B is of the least importance in my experience. What counts in Switzerland is German, experience, personality and education. Pretty much in that order.
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Old 07.08.2019, 17:59
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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Why would they hire people from other countries while graduates from local universities are available and also as competent as the others from Germany, Austria or so? While their profiles might stand out as well. But whatever be the case I believe graduates from local universities should also stand a chance.
I could've asked myself that same question a thousand times in some shape or form. Why would they hire that person from country Y when I am just as qualified and local, why this person from that university when my education was just as good, and many more versions of these questions. If you go down that road, one could also ask: why would they hire you over any Swiss who went to the same university as you did. See the problem with that thinking? You already have some minor sense of entitlement and somehow seem to think you deserve something more than someone else, but anyone else will be able to make that same argument with another set of criteria. Best you learn how to shut that down sooner rather than later.

Truth is: pre-screening is done God-knows-where based on some algorithm no one has any real control over, initial early-stage selection is random and coincidental and there's no logical reason why anyone would be chosen over anyone else. They probably get a few thousand applications per job, many of them of course nowhere near qualified, but the rest is selected coincidentally. Times where someone actually properly went through applications and selected and compared applicants properly have long gone (in big multinationals anyway, who seem to think they can choose as they please anyway)

Lastly, as already said, the big 4 are hardly the entire world, so why don't you just look for alternatives. Focusing on just four firms only after not having been successful with either so far is hardly a good strategy.
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Old 08.08.2019, 15:23
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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So I would like to have your views and experiences about having a vitamoin B while looking for a job in CH. Here is my owwn case.


I studied here for the masters degree and I have been trying to get a job in any of the big 4 management consulting firms without any luck. On multiple occasions, I have been advised to have a vitamin B in order to easily find a job in this sector. Has anyone here with no experience and straight out of university ever had a job or an internship here without a referral within the company? I Personally find this very frustrating.



Any feedback or experience sharing would be highly appreciated.
Yes, I would personally say it is necessary, unless you have a stelar or at least a decent CV, speak the local language fluently and your name can be easily pronounced by the Swiss...people will argue that, whatevs.

For some it will take a lot more time to be given a chance to start their career than for others. For various reasons. If you have graduated from a Swiss uni or other school, I think you have a very good card on the table. If not, despite you being a nice, educated, and competent person, you will have to be ready to insist and insist, to network, network, network, and NOT get discouraged in the process.
Seriously, let everyone you know that you are actively looking for a job in a certain field. Talk about your skills, professional experience, degrees etc. Do not let your pride stay in the way somehow.
If you are looking for a job in certain fields where they can't find specialists, you are very lucky. I recently talked with a relative of mine that literally immediately after graduation in kinetotherapy found a job in Germany. No experience, no nothing. It happens, it depends a lot on your field of expertise.
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Old 08.08.2019, 15:30
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

Some very few people are born in a pool of Vitamin B and they grow up eating it on a silver spoon for breakfast, lunch and supper. Those, however, are the minority.

The rest have to build up their own supply of Vitamin B.

Therefore, if you don't have any, then make some, using every avenue you know, and then learn about some new ways to go about approaching people. Do the hard slog of research and contacting and building connections.

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network, network, network...
Yes, exactly this.
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Old 08.08.2019, 17:24
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Re: Vitamin B: Is it that compulsory to have it in CH?

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B for Beziehungen.

Relationships.

A common saying 'round these parts. Is it less widely used elsewhere
I've never heard it in 10 years in Basel. I am, however, familiar with it's French counterpart of « pistonné » (literally, "to have someone pushing you")
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