Getting into a Management Associate Programme (Part 1)

Having offers from different MNCs during my university days makes me strongly believe I can share a few words of wisdom on how to get past the first selection stage of a Management Associate programme. I am focusing on Management Associate Programme because it is a great career launcher for young graduates. Also, it always looks good on your resume if you show you were recruited into a MNCs Management Associate programme as organisations normally look for the best candidates in the market to join such programmes.

Initial Stage:

First let’s talk about educational background and what exactly is the desired CGPA that companies go for. There is this notion among local graduates that Malaysian MNCs and Consulting firms only hire overseas graduates as they believe they have better quality and capability. This is a yes-no situation as companies go for overseas graduate normally due to the fact that they believe quality of education is better and English proficiency is higher. However, companies also understand their responsibility towards the society and as social leaders it is important to give opportunities to all, hence they do hire good local graduates as well.

Now that the university question is settled, let us talk about CGPA. Most companies will set the minimum requirement as having a CGPA of 3.4, but don’t get too excited just yet. Sorry to burst your bubble but if 1000 applicants come in and 500 have a CGPA of 3.7, then even if you have a 3.4 you will not be considered. Moral of the story, do study hard and try to do your best in university.

However, does that mean a 3.4 has no chance at all? Well no, because if the selection committee sees a 3.4 that has very good co-curricular activities compared to a 3.7 that has no co-curricular activities, then they will choose the 3.4. This is because at the end of the day companies want a well rounded person and not a book worm that only knows how to mug, regurgitate the knowledge and score.

Hence, while in college do make sure you participate in some activities that can help groom your personality. Even if you were not the president, vice president or treasurer of the club, if you were a committee member in a few clubs it reflects well on your resume. WHAT is presented in your resume and HOW it is presented is key as it determines if you get past the initial screening stage.

So the first thing to remember is what exactly is the entire selection process for a Management Associate programme. It would normally look like this:

Stage 1: Resume Screening » Stage 2: Phone interview » Stage 3: Online Assessment » Stage 4: Assessment Centre » Stage 5: Face to Face interview

The stages I have shown here are indicative, some companies may not do phone interview and skip to online assessment and some companies will have multiple levels of online assessment. But the key thing to remember is you will be doing all the stages mentioned above in one form or the other.

So now that you know the stages, let us focus on you clearing Stage 1. Resume screening is the crucial stage as it determines if you even have a chance in the rat race for a good job. Some tips on what makes a good resume:

  1. No longer than 1.5 pages (You can stretch to 2 pages but anything more and in the bin it goes)
  2. Key items to highlight (Name, DOB, University, Degree Specialisation, CGPA, co-curricular activities and Accomplishments)

The recruiters have tons of resume to go through and hence no time to read everything you have written. For a first cut, we only consider the University, CGPA, Degree Specialisation and if you have any accomplishments and co-curricular activities under your belt.

Do remember always present in a format that is easy for the reader to pick out the key details. Never underestimate the power of colour in your resume. I am not expecting your resume to be a wonderland of colours but do use right colours to highlight key information (any volunteer work you did, honours and awards in the university). You can also use tables and boxes to structure your resume points and highlight relevant sections.

I still remember a colleague of mine who rejected some candidates on the sole basis of them not making the effort to print their resume in colour. My colleague felt the black and white was boring and just chucked the resume to one side.

Lastly, it is very important to always proof read your entire resume. There is nothing more annoying that a resume highlighting high CGPA but has spelling and grammar errors.

If you want to know the format or way to structure your resume check out the link below:

Also, here is a write-up on using colours to accentuate the attractiveness of your resume:

 So I hope this post will be helpful to those preparing for your job search. In the next post I will be sharing tips about how to ace the subsequent stages of the selection process. Have a great day ahead. 🙂


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