THIS ARTICLE WAS UPDATED ON 26/JUNE/2020
When we hear about someone doing an MBA (Master of Business Administration), we always think about them doing a professional and high-level course, and that is right. Going to business school is a bit of a paradox. The student is working towards his future, but in many ways is also reentering his past.
For many individuals, getting an MBA is a goal itself. It’s a great goal, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. An MBA is a stepping stone and a student’s first post is an MBA job. Both, one’s MBA and the first job should be seen not as a final destination but as the beginning of a very long journey. Their career is and should be, an ever-changing and evolving piece of their life. As one gains experience, completes projects and develops his brand, his career should grow in conjunction with his expertise.
This article aims to provide future MBA students with some advice on what they can expect from and during the course as well as how they can go about their lives once they have graduated. These tips aim to help the MBA student how to navigate the rough waters of his career.
Several business-school graduates have taken admission to MBA colleges because they want to change the industry in which they are currently working. However, one should always keep in mind that it is not that easy, both in terms of getting the initial job out of school and succeeding at it.
If the student wants to get into finance or consulting, recruiting firms will often be on campus soon. Some consultants began recruiting for summer internships as soon as they can get around to it. This means that the student should keep in mind two main things:
Firstly, he should concentrate more on his core subjects like accounting, statistics, strategy, etc during his first semester. This will mean that he then will have a more solid base during the first round of internship interviews. Secondly, if some concepts are fairly new to the student, then he should take an online course during the summer so they aren’t cramming while networking or interviewing. This furthermore, helps to get one used to being back in college.
You should dress up decently when you are going to attend the class but here is no need to dress like a banker or a businessman unless you are presenting or meeting with a potential employer at the college.
High-ranked business schools arrange a preposterous quantity of matter and workshops intended at helping students for interviews and network. If the student knows how to talk to people, and they have already done it in a business setting, then they should not waste their time. If anything, training on the network can sometimes teach the student the wrong skills.
The business school consists of a lot of group projects that culminate in presentations. If the student is comfortable being the point man or woman, then he or she can often get away with doing less of the grunt research work, as many experts and former students have testified.
As you know popularity matters everywhere, even in MBA college. Making actual friends is important. Real relationships with classmates matter as MBA graduates often need favors. If you are popular in your batch or with a popular group then you get several advantages. Professors interact more with such students and they get to learn more from others. They are given priority in almost everything.
Even in the first semester, one has so much free time on his hands than he can do a full-time job even if he is doing all the readings and work. But the student should be prepared for everything. He should invest his time in something knowledgeable and that can help him gain experience in the field he’s going to choose. He can read books or improve his communication skills but should not waste his time that will give no benefit in the future. This is why an MBA is not a part-time course but a full-time one if you’ve taken admission into a full-time one.
Top business schools often recommend numerous clubs, daily networking occasions, near-nightly talks, and lots of additional activities. The student should not be pressured into taking part in everything and spreading himself too thin. He should assess the value of every opportunity selfishly and accordingly move ahead. He should be involved in such activities which will help him improve the skills that he believes require improvement. Being involved in everything that is not required will only waste his precious time.
While the student does need to take part in every event, taking a leadership position in that event will improve his leadership qualities and will also be beneficial for the industry group he is targeting. Above all, it will add weight to his resume and will give the student direct access to deans and working alumni.
The goal of networking events is to chat with a recruiter for a minute or two, but ultimately to get their card so the student can “thank them” and start a real dialogue. Don’t expect that the recruiter will remember you in the future as you only get a few minutes to chat with them and they have to interview hundreds of students in a single day, so there are very fewer chances of a recruiter remembering you, so you should not waste time in buttering him, instead, just focus on the work that you want from him.
The student should think about what he plans to do with his MBA degree and if there are alternatives to accomplishing that goal, especially if the student is taking out loans on his behalf. With the expense of an MBA and two years of lost salary, most MBA graduates lose out on a lot of money if they don’t plan properly. Planning properly before taking admission to the MBA is very crucial as your future depends on it. You should have no regret when you are holding your MBA degree as it will only demotivate you and distract you from your goal.
The first job one gets after his MBA is not the job he will be doing for the rest of his life. The first job is a great starting point, but it doesn’t have to be his final destination. However, this doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t take care to get the best possible job after graduation. He should be intentional about his choice and should make sure to choose a job that will help him move forward towards his ultimate goal, whatever that may be. Choosing a job related to the field which is your goal is very important as it will give you experience in that particular field and give you a higher position in your dream company.
The truth of the matter is that there is never just one path to achieve one’s goals. There are multiple paths that one can take to get him where he wants to be. The worst thing one can do post-MBA is “stop” because he is so worried about making the “right” choice. One does not need to have to decide the rest of his life upon graduation. Instead, it’s important to make purposeful choices and allow himself to change directions and make different decisions on his journey. One should use a strong rationale when he chooses his jobs but he should stop putting so much pressure on himself. As long as one has an end destination and wants to continue to move forward, he will get there. He should not stress over the pace of his gait but should just keep moving forward in the right direction. One should know what is his field of interest and give his best in that particular field. Never put the effort in every field as it will only let you give fewer efforts in the right place.
Ideally, everything one does post-MBA should be in the direction of his goal. Yes, there are many different paths to get one to his endpoint, but every path should still take him in the general direction of his destination. For example, one should not jump into a career in finance if his dream is to eventually start his own business. It is important to make career decisions that provide one with the skills, training, reputation, and contacts to reach the end of his journey.
Just because one has an MBA doesn’t mean that he does not need to keep his eyes open for new opportunities and ways to develop. One of the best reasons to get an MBA is because one is looking to grow, learn, and develop his skills. That shouldn’t end when one graduates. One should always work on himself to get better instead of being at the same level, his entire life. If you want a job then you should get new skills and if you want to own a business then you should work on improving your skills to expand your business.
Staying safe might be easy, but it won’t help one on his post-MBA career path. Taking a calculated risk to leave his current company and jump to a job that will allow one to expand his skill set is necessary for his career. Taking risks is also about thinking outside the box. One does not have to start a career at Goldman Sachs post-MBA. Instead, one can explore a variety of career options until he can find what suits him the best. Take those risks that will help you improve, not those that’ll degrade your present self. Take risks to move higher but never take risks to fall.
When one is not on the right track, they need to know it and call it quickly. One of the worst things one can do is stay on the wrong career path because they’re not paying attention. Risk-taking means that one won’t always make the right decision, and that’s okay, as long as one can recognize his mistakes quickly and work to get back on track. There will be some parts of his journey that don’t fit into his grand plans. Part of the learning process is figuring out when he is in a position that doesn’t work for him and assessing how to get out of it and move forward. Over time, he will get better at making the right choices and avoiding the wrong ones but never lose your concentration from the path towards your goal.
It is important to challenge oneself to stay in touch with their network, even when they don’t need to. In addition to staying connected to fellow alumni, it is vital to engage with them and to be vocal. One should tell people that he is looking for a new opportunity. Mentors, sponsors, advocates, and classmates are vital to one’s journey. One should make sure he always makes connections and builds a highly-valued network of individuals who will be his helpers along his career journey. They’ll be worth his time.