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Job prospects in Warsaw, Poland with top-10 MBA


PolishMBA1
24 Jun 2015  #1
Hi All,
I wonder if there will be anyone who could evaluate job prospects in Poland for a pretty unusual profile.

-a person originally from one of the Slavic Eastern Europe countries who speaks fluent Polish and has work authorization in the country
-has extensive international work experience and graduated from one of the top world MBA schools (I'm talking top 10 in US or LBS/INSEAD/IMD in Europe)

What are the chances of returning to Poland upon graduation and taking a decent leadership role in international company or a role with top-5 management consulting firms in Warsaw (McKinsey, BCG, Bain, AT Kearney, Accenture)?

It's an unusual case cause top MBA graduates even from Poland tend to choose other countries to work upon graduation. Or on the other hand people returning to Poland from top schools are usually Poles.

I see a lot of profiles of INSEAD/LBS alumni in Warsaw working in top consulting firms, but the thing is they all are Poles and have been working in those firms before embarking on MBA.

If someone knows similar cases and can give any advice - it would be much appreciated.

Thanks
cms 9 | 1,272
24 Jun 2015  #2
yes if your Polish is fluent then you should find something good - but recruiters are likely to focus more on your work experience than on your MBA - if you havent been in a leadership rope in the West then I think that might be considered a risk factor.

Depends really what sector your work experience is in - if banking, real estate, finance, marketing or supply chain then there are big shortages of qualified people.
OP PolishMBA1
24 Jun 2015  #3
Hi Cms,
Thanks for reply. There's an extensive Western leadership experience so it should be fine. But I'm a but surprised of your statement that work experience might be more thought after then MBA. That's basically the point of my question. Does a really top shelf MBA (like Columbia, Harvard, Duke, INSEAD and like) add any value in Poland at all? Cause in the West it makes all the difference alone. Is the market in Poland not mature enough for that?

As for sector - that is technology management.

Thanks
cms 9 | 1,272
25 Jun 2015  #4
Yes a premium is given to work experience because management in Poland is more hands on than in a mature economy - you will be working with people who are very smart and hard working but lacking experience and lacking savoir faire in how a big corporation works - on that basis you will be more heavily involved rather than just giving direction.

Also one of the key reasons for hiring an expat is to leave a legacy of well trained staff - your MBA won't help you with that very much. So I think recruiters will also look at what projects you have completed and what achievements you have on your CV.

In my own case, then being honest, nobody here has ever really asked me about my MBA - I had a great time doing it, am part of a great network, learned a lot of things that I still use every day but work focus has always been on my ability to get things done in Eastern Europe.

In terms of recognition of your MBA then you will get more with a US company than a European employer - there is still quite an anti American streak in European public life and if you showed a German or French company HBS or Dartmouth on your resume they would assume you spend most summers sipping white wine on Cape Cod - perversely you might get more kudos if you went to a good public school like Michigan or Virginia. If it was from Stanford or Insead etc then that would be good too.

And nobody from Duke would get past the front door of my office :)

anyway good luck - as I said with Polish, tech experience, no work permit issues and an MBA then you are in a good place.
OP PolishMBA1
25 Jun 2015  #5
Hi cms,
Thanks for such a knowledgeable reply. Let me clarify the situation a little bit so to avoid any confusion. I currently live and work in US. I have everything I described above except for MBA. I'm currently trying to figure out would it make sense to get an MBA to increase employability in Poland. So if I will decide to do that - I'll be recruiting to Poland directly from the campus. Giving the profile and GMAT score I got - top 10 schools in US (maybe except H/S) and INSEAD/LBS are well within reach. But the question is would it be a smart investment or it makes sense to try to start Poland job search straight without going to MBA.

And - if to get an MBA - INSEAD/LBS would be a wiser choice keeping Polish recruitment in mind than US schools, right?
cms 9 | 1,272
26 Jun 2015  #6
If you want to do an MBA then do so while you are single and have time - it almost always pays off and you will learn a lot.

Not sure about LBS/Insead being your only options - both are going to have an expensive living cost attached. On the other hand if you can add a bit of French to your skills then that is extremely marketable in Poland. Why not also consider doing your MBA in a tech city - could be Stanford (if your GMAT is that good) or Cal, MIT Sloan etc. That would give you an excellent network and keep you at the cutting edge for a year.

If you are looking for your MBA to be a springboard into Poland then also see what links your school has to Poland - in that case you will probably find more luck in towns with big PolAm populations like Chicago Booth / Northwestern / NYU Stern or maybe U.Toronto which has a good business school.
OP PolishMBA1
27 Jun 2015  #7
The thing is that MBA budget equals to a very decent apartment in Warsaw, paid upfront, no mortgage. And sadly I don't have money for both at the moment. So I'm trying to evaluate would MBA give an advantage in Poland that would be worth it. For career prospectives in US I have no doubt that MBA will definitely pay off. But will it in Poland - that's the question.
DominicB - | 2,672
27 Jun 2015  #8
The biggest problem you may encounter working in Poland, and the figure that should be the key to your decision, is that your savings potential in absolute dollars may be quite a bit lower than in richer countries. Wages are generally much lower, and cost of living is somewhat lower, so that the relative cost of living is quite high.

It would probably make sense if you got a job in the West for a Western country and get transferred to Poland at Western wages. However, that is unlikely to happen until you have some serious senior-level experience behind you, either as a specialist, a manager or a consultant.

So what you should be comparing is how many dollars you would have in your savings account at the end of your stay in Poland versus how many you would have if you were to spend those years working in the West. If this amount is comparable, go for it. But if it's substantially lower, there is little point.
OP PolishMBA1
27 Jun 2015  #9
Hey Dominic,

I totally realize that returning to Poland will result in substantial salary cut. But I have sentimental and personal reasons for it, so it's OK. As of transfer to Poland from Western company it's a solid plan but the downside of it is that it's highly uncertain. You can be waiting for a decent transfer opportunity for years, that's not quite what I can rely on.
DominicB - | 2,672
27 Jun 2015  #10
I totally realize that returning to Poland will result in substantial salary cut.

You missed the point, because you,like most young people, are focused on EARNINGS potential (salary) instead of SAVINGS potential, and you are probably not taking into account the rather high cost of living relative to wages which greatly limits savings. You might be resigned to the fact that your salary may be a third or a quarter of what you would make in the West, but what is more shocking is that your savings potential could well be a tenth or a twentieth of what you would end up with in your savings account.

As an example, someone working in the US can often SAVE more per year than a corresponding Pole EARNS per year, and sometimes much more. When you think in terms of saving up to establish a family, buy a home, send the kids to good schools or retire comfortably, working in Poland can be an extremely unwise choice, personal and sentimental reasons notwithstanding.
OP PolishMBA1
27 Jun 2015  #11
When you think in terms of saving up to establish a family, buy a home, send the kids to good schools or retire comfortably, working in Poland can be an extremely unwise choice, personal and sentimental reasons notwithstanding.

Following your logic how then the Poles get by? Actually I'm very well aware of the cost of living in Poland cause I've been living there before moving further West (that's where I learned to speak Polish). I have a lot of Polish friends also who doesn't seem to struggle even having pretty mediocre jobs. Thanks for the advise indeed, but I totally understand and realize the consequences of this move from budget prospective and it doesn't scare me much. The wages in MNCs in Warsaw are pretty decent to my taste especially on higher positions, while of course being lower than in the West. That I wouldn't argue with.
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
27 Jun 2015  #12
Following your logic how then the Poles get by?

She takes 600 euro he takes 700 euro. They have 1300 euro pcm. They have to spent for rent 100 euro.

Brand new Passat 2015 cost 21775 euro. But there is no special edition for Poland half in price like their rent.
DominicB - | 2,672
28 Jun 2015  #13
Following your logic how then the Poles get by?

First of all, you are not a Pole, and the rules that apply to them simply do not apply to you at all, so don't even start thinking along those lines. They have family ties that bind them to Poland, they have the home court advantage, and they have extensive networks of family and friends that enable them to save a considerable amount of money, and to help them advance in their careers.

Second of all, hundreds of thousands of Poles have been so discouraged by the lack of good opportunities in Poland, especially for young people, that they go abroad to work that they go to the richer countries of Western Europe to work. A forklift driver in a warehouse in the UK can make a lot more than a physician in Poland, for example.

Poles are struggling a lot more than their counterparts in the West. Wages are much lower and savings potential is drastically lower. The Poles that stay do so because they either have snagged one of the few decent jobs available, or because they do not want to leave their families behind. Or because they are to demoralized to have the time and energy to look for better jobs abroad.

Sorry, but you are vastly underestimating the downsides of living and working in Poland. There is a very good reason that so many Poles go to work abroad, and why so few people from richer countries come to Poland to work. There is nothing you have written that would make me think that your coming to Poland to work would not be a major mistake, again, personal and sentimental reasons notwithstanding. It is difficult for me to imagine that any personal or sentimental gain you would experience working in Poland could ever offset the huge drop in savings potential and personal advancement that you would suffer.
JollyRomek 7 | 481
28 Jun 2015  #14
It is difficult for me to imagine that any personal or sentimental gain you would experience working in Poland could ever offset the huge drop in savings potential and personal advancement that you would suffer.

If you can not imagine why someone would chose a certain place over "potential savings" then you must be a very lonely person living a sad and miserable life.
DominicB - | 2,672
28 Jun 2015  #15
The wages in MNCs in Warsaw are pretty decent to my taste especially on higher positions, while of course being lower than in the West. That I wouldn't argue with.

Again, wages don't matter as much as savings potential, which is a function of cost of living in relation to wages. For a prospective MBA, you seem to have some difficulty grasping that point, as many younger people do. When you get older and approach retirement, you will realize how important savings are.

Let me put it another way If you work in the States for ten years, and then retire early to live in Poland and live off of your savings. you will be in a better position than if you had worked 35 years in Poland and retired at age 67. That's 25 years of extra retirement at better conditions. That is the magnitude of your sacrifice for "personal" and "sentimental" reasons. It's not just the overall lower wages.

The other big sacrifice will be opportunities to improve yourself and your qualifications, which are MUCH more abundant in the West than in Poland.

If you don't mind my asking, what is the nature of your personal and sentimental ties to Poland. If it is a romantic partner, it will be far, far easier for her to advance herself and make a living in the West with you than the other way around.
cms 9 | 1,272
28 Jun 2015  #16
Dom you are being ridiculous - the guy has a 700 gmat score and is already to applying to the best MBA programmes - why the hell would he need to improve his qualifications after that unless he wanted to be an academic ?

management salaries in Poland are lower than in the west but probably by 20-30 percent, there is no way they are one third or a quarter as you say.

savings potential is every bit as viable here as in the US. I went to an alumni function a few weeks ago and with everyone in their mid 40s I did not feel I was seriously disadvantaged against people who had stayed in the US, and in fact in most cases much better off. However there is any case there is more to life than savings potential. if that was all that mattered in life then maybe we should all just go and drive trucks in the tar sands of Alberta. by coming here young you will get plenty of accelerated mgmt experience, have a good chance of meeting a nice girl, make some good contacts and yes be able to put some capital behind you.

i know you are spending your own time to give well meaning advice but in this case you simply don't know the field you are pontificating about, and its become tiresome reading the same misanthropic advice on every thread - whether its a bangladeshi dishwasher or an american accountant.
OP PolishMBA1
29 Jun 2015  #17
DominicBIf it is a romantic partner, it will be far, far easier for her to advance herself and make a living in the West with you than the other way around.

I know it's the most common reason but not in my case. As for ties - nothing really special, but I really love the country and the people, I have a lot of friends there, and it's very close to home so I can visit frequently.

cms - the guy has a 700 gmat score and is already to applying to the best MBA programmes

A bit higher than that actually :)

And as long as we are talking savings and stuff - we can really try to discuss around actual numbers.
Salary of 20.000 PLN gross + bonus in management position seems pretty reachable in Warsaw (I used to get 15k before I left). That is around 70-75k USD. Average salary of a Columbia grad 3 years after school is around 130k USD. That of course is higher but the cost of living doesn't come even close either (being substantially higher in the US than in PL). Real estate is without any doubt way more reachable in Poland even with lower wages. So even the long term potential savings topic might be questionable. Also not to be forgotten 26 vacation days per year in PL versus virtually non-existent time off in US. 10-15 days per year is a joke and even them you can't really take most of the time while holding a demanding position.
InPolska 11 | 1,821
29 Jun 2015  #18
@Dominic: You also refer to "savings potential" but you know, in Europe, we don't see things the way you do in the US. In Europe (at least in most countries thereof), people receive free education, free health care, and can expect some kind of protection from the State and therefore are not so anxious about their savings. In Europe (even in Poland), people do not need to take mortgage to finance surgery or save at children's birth to finance their college education. Of course, in Europe the average person means to have some savings for rainy days but it is not as crucial as in the US.

I personally save a little bit every month (for rainy days). I have a private medical insurance (Luxmed 760zl/year) and in case of an operation or big health problem requesting hospitalization, I do it in the public sector, for which I do not pay anything....

Also, like just written above, in Europe, people have paid holidays (usually between 5 and 7 weeks), maternity leaves and other benefits Americans would never dream of (they believe that such social benefits are ... "communist" ;) so let the Americans struggle! ).

I agree though that Poland is not among the best place to be in terms of work and other things...
CMC
1 Jul 2015  #19
PolishMBA1, get your head out of the clouds. Get serious. Poland is in a poor economic situation. Are you planning to stay for a long time or is it just for a short stint? If its for long term then you're making a BIG mistake.
terri 1 | 1,620
1 Jul 2015  #20
The stint will be as long as he has a girlfriend. The minute he does not earn REAL money, the girl will drop him like a hot potato.
OP PolishMBA1
1 Jul 2015  #21
CMC -PolishMBA1, get your head out of the clouds. Get serious. Poland is in a poor economic situation.

It's a long term. Plan is to settle down, buy apartment and all that things. Why is Poland in bad situation? To my information it's actually doing very well (well relative to overall EU situation). I wouldn't argue however that US is doing way better.

And to people who didn't bother to read the whole thread - a reminder. I don't have my head in the clouds. I've been living and working in Warsaw on management position in MNC for 2 years and I speak fluent Polish. I'm very well aware of everyday living there.
gmat2017
6 Aug 2016  #22
Merged: Anybody preparing for GMAT in Warsaw?

Hi,

Is anybody preparing for GMAT in Warsaw? I am asking because i think it will be great to prepare for it together.

Just reply to this post if you are, we could get started.

Cheers!!


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