While many students
come to HBS unsure whether they want to make a career shift, some students are
more certain about leveraging an MBA to make a change. That was certainly the
case for Lior Litwak (MBA 2015) – a software engineer and former member of the
Israel Defense Force – who came to HBS determined to pursue a career in finance.
What are you planning to do after HBS?
I am going to work at Morgan Stanley’s Technology Investment
Banking Group in Menlo Park, California, which is also were I did my summer
internship. At some point, after about eight years total working as an engineer
on deep drill-down software modules and leading development teams, I felt I
wanted to get a broader view of the technology industry than just the
development part itself. I wanted to gain a better understanding on how value
is created through technology, and how I can help companies create that value.
2. Why did you want to change careers?
I felt that through the financial side of the tech industry
I could both help create value and learn a vital aspect of business – finance. I
have focused my studies in both the RC and EC years on getting my hands dirty
with financial modeling and various coursework on finance, with the intention
of making the shift into the financial services industry.
Specifically, I chose investment banking since I felt it
would be the best fit for me to take my first few steps in the finance world.
The intensive deal-making atmosphere, combined with the breadth in types of
deals and financial products banks offer, made the decision to go into banking
an ideal one for someone taking his first steps into the world of finance.
How did your summer internship experience
impact your future plans?
My summer internship had a great impact on my decision to
continue pursuing a career in investment banking. I had heard quite a lot about
the considerable difficulties in sustaining a career as a banker – the long
hours, the travel, the unpredictability. While I was unsure what to expect as I
started my internship, gradually I realized that while the job may be
difficult, it is also intellectually rewarding and stimulating. Furthermore, I
really connected with the people in the Menlo Park office and enjoyed the
unique culture of the Tech Group, making it easier for me to decide to accept
their offer to return full-time.
Why do you think so many people pivot in
their careers after business school?
The business school experience is an ideal time for people
to reflect on their professional careers (as well as their personal lives) and
make sure they made the right decisions for themselves after college. Many
people realize that the job they initially shot for was either not for them, or
would not take them to where they saw themselves in 10-20 years. While in
business school, students expand their horizons, interact with people from
diverse backgrounds, learn about new jobs and functions, and can even get
practical experience in new industries through schoolwork and internships.
Specifically, HBS does an amazing job in presenting its
students with a broad set of opportunities post-school. It simply feels that
coming out of HBS, no industry is “blocked”, and every student can decide to
pursue a new career trajectory and get the resources necessary to make that
How can students get to know about different
industries and job functions while they are at HBS?
Make use of the vast and highly reputed alumni network
(they’re very responsive and helpful) the experienced personnel in CPD (especially the career coaches), and the programs offered by CPD (industry
lectures, official company events/interviews, career teams, etc.)
The student clubs are an incredible resource for those
trying to go through a career change. They offer industry-oriented lectures by
experts, company presentations, interview-prep days, and geographical treks to
visit companies at their respective industry hub. In addition, they post many
job offerings that are a crucial resource for those trying to break into an
What’s your best advice to someone coming to
HBS who is considering a career change?
Get a head start – understand what it is you want to get out
of the MBA experience professionally, and direct yourself toward the activities
required to help you succeed. This does NOT mean you have to know exactly what
you want to do after graduation, but it’s important to have a general idea and
to start expanding your knowledge in that new industry (e.g. start reading the
relevant news, books, etc.).
Talk with current students, especially second years! Learn
from the experience how they handled the job search and the career change.
Get involved in the relevant clubs and remain active. In
particular, helping to organize a conference could be a wonderful way to get to
know industry leaders and build relationships with them.