When Adrian Chan enrolled in an M.B.A. program at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology last year, he hoped to use the degree to jump industries, from information technology to investment banking.
Mr. Chan, who majored in finance in his M.B.A., pictured himself structuring derivatives or selling equities at a top-tier bank in his hometown of Hong Kong -- and earning a lot more than he did as a software developer in his past jobs at Amazon.com Inc., in Seattle, and Oanda Corp., in Toronto. Mr. Chan, who'll graduate in December into the worst financial-sector meltdown in recent history, is now perusing IT job ads.
"It's a much more competitive job market," he says. "The employers who are hiring want people with experience, and there's lots of experienced people who've lost their jobs and looking for work. For those of us switching careers, it's going to be much harder."