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Top MBA Recruiters: Apple

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Okay, let’s take a second to think about something: How many Apple products do you own? Macbook Pro, check; iPhone, check; Apple Watch, check; the list goes on and on.

Apple has created, produced and innovated such great products over the years that the company has really changed the face of the consumer electronics industry. The late Steve Jobs—a college dropout—gets a lot of the credit for Apple’s industry success, but there’s also a team of MBAs working for the Cupertino-based company, each making sure that the innovation doesn’t stop.

Ever since Tim Cook—an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School—took over as CEO, there has been a push to hire more MBAs at Apple. The tech giant has been hiring at faster rates since Cook’s appointment and is looking to hire candidates who have a strong understanding of consumer products, are passionate about Apple products, and are detail-oriented.

According to GradUp,

The answer to “Why Apple” should be more than just “I love my iPhone.” They hire for “attitude and not for aptitude.” As Carmine Gallo writes in his book The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty, the company is looking for talented, enthusiastic people who “take joy in helping others discover tools they can use to change the way they live, work and play.”

The hiring managers at Apple do not care about your clothes, tattoos or piercings. All they want is confidence, willingness to learn and ask for help, passion, enthusiasm about working in teams and a friendly warm personality. The company’s marketing team plays a very important role in almost all the decisions that are being taken in every department.

There are plenty of business school students eager to work at Apple. According to CNN, almost 17 percent of all MBAs say they want to work for Apple. Now, it’s obvious that MBAs at Apple won’t be designing apps or unveiling the newest iPhone, and you won’t be working at an Apple Store either. MBAs at Apple are extremely involved in the corporation, working in strategic business initiatives across a number of divisions, ranging from real estate development and design to finance and merchandising.

One of the best ways to get hired at Apple is through the company’s MBA internship program. The company recruits at leading business schools, including Harvard Business School, the Carey School of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Business, UC Berkeley-Haas, CMU’s Tepper School of Business and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

The interview process can be long and a little strenuous. After applying, there is a phone interview, in which you are told how you do or do not fit the job. Following the phone interview, there is an in-person interview, which can include two to six sessions with the hiring manager and other team members.

According to GradUp, the in-person interview features a panel of five people, and the conversation is very informal, but you still need to prepare for the MBA role you are applying for.

Interns at Apple get paid very well—internship reviews on Glassdoor show the average salary is around $35 an hour—and can also receive overtime. They are also granted access to some of the company’s notable executives, like Cook and chief designer Jony Ive.

An article on Business Insider also discussed a certain level of secrecy at Apple. One former Apple intern, Brad, was interviewed for the story, in which he explained that,

Apple’s goal is to “surprise and delight,” says Brad, so it’s key to keep their projects as secretive as possible. Apple also ensures that employees from different departments don’t find out what each other are working on by blocking off access to certain buildings on campus.

“Everything is totally locked down,” Brad said. “There’s no taking pictures on campus; it’s super crazy.”

This is an idea they instill into interns and employees on day one in what Brad referred to as “secrecy training.” (As it turns out, that’s not just to prevent leaks. It’s actually a management technique, which you can read about here.)

Sometimes, Apple employees will work on a product without even knowing what it is. Brad said he spoke with an Apple employee who worked on the original iPad back in 2010. This person said he or she had been working on 9.7-inch displays for one or two years without knowing exactly what they were for.

“They didn’t know if it was a big phone or a small laptop,” Brad said. “They had no idea. It wasn’t until the product release where Steve Jobs went on stage and showed the iPad that they realized this is what we worked on for the past two years.”

Most who look for an internship at Apple are looking for full-time employment there. They tend to be “Apple people” through and through. Apple employees also tend to be extremely loyal and usually stay at the company for anywhere between 25 and 35 years, according to Business Insider.

And at Apple, the education doesn’t stop. The company features Apple University, an “education initiative” headed by former Yale School of Management Dean Joel Podolny, in which top-level executives are said to teach up-and-coming leaders using case studies from the company’s key decision-making moments. It’ll be like you MBA never ended.

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About the Author

Max Pulcini
Max Pulcini

Max Pulcini is a Philadelphia-based writer and reporter. He has an affinity for Philly sports teams, Super Smash Bros. and cured meats and cheeses. Max has written for Philadelphia-based publications such as Spirit News, Philadelphia City Paper, and Billy Penn, as well as national news outlets like The Daily Beast.

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