After getting a diploma, MBAs might think they have it all figured out. However, the best education is only one building block of future career success. No matter how well you did in b-school, it’s important not to get complacent. It’s easy to over-value your education credentials, especially with GMAC surveys reporting that 99 per cent of employers end up satisfied with their MBA hires.
A piece of paper might help you get noticed by the best employers, but it won’t help you get the perfect job. For that you need to be proactive, creative, and utilise your networks of fellow MBA alumni.
Here’s advice from four MBA graduates who’ve gone on to career success Follow their advice, and you can too:
Huma Gruaz, President and CEO of Alpaytac Marketing Communications/Public Relations
Nothwestern’s Kellogg School of Management Graduate
Understand that your MBA is an important step towards your ongoing education but not the final one: To excel in what you do or to be an outstanding leader, you need to have the ongoing thirst for learning – not only from written or spoken material but from daily life experiences, your supervisors, subordinates, successes but most importantly mistakes. Having this mind-set will enable you to grow professionally in an exponential way while having a wiser attitude towards any challenge that may come your way.
One of the main advantages of going to a top MBA school is the amazing network opportunity. I never turn down when a Kellogg MBA grad approaches me. Use your networks and do not be embarrassed to pick up the phone and call alumni in your fields to get career advice. Go to network events and try to meet as many people as you can. Also, always follow your alumni newsletter/publications to identify companies led by fellow alumni which may be a good for your skill set.
Shawn O’Connor, founder of Stratus Prep and Stratus Careers
Harvard Business School Graduate
Forget that you have a top MBA when applying for a job. One of the biggest mistakes I see is applicants relying too much on their educational credentials, thinking that these alone set them apart and should automatically get them the job.
While many executives have advanced degrees, they have also seen throughout their careers many excellent workers who did not have an MBA, so they want to make sure you have the humility and understated self-confidence to be able to contribute meaningfully to the firm, regardless of your educational pedigree. Let your resume speak for itself, and do not just point out where you went to business school.
When you run into a problem or need advice, utilise your close network to ask what they can do to help first. If your direct contacts cannot help, have them leverage their own networks. One of them will undoubtedly find someone perfectly suited to assist you.
Lisa Chen, Director of Marketing Forte Foundation
Wharton Business School Graduate
Network before you need to. It’s always awkward to write the “Hi, we haven’t spoken in 10
years, but I saw you had a job opportunity…” email. So challenge yourself to stay in touch with
your network, even when you don’t need to. In addition to staying connected to your fellow alumni, engage with them. Be vocal. Tell people that you are looking for a new opportunity.
A friend from business school recently launched a new startup that is now growing very fast. When he was looking for investors and other founders, he reached out to his active network – those people whom he had been in touch with on an ongoing basis. Now that the company is doing well, he is flooded with emails from long-forgotten friends looking for jobs, but he’s already filled his roles.
Rob Bernshteyn, CEO of Coupa
Harvard Business School Graduate
Leverage what you learned from that MBA program. Hopefully the good ones will tell you that no process necessarily has to be followed by the letter, if you want to go find opportunity somewhere, go ahead and do it.
Call or email the CEO of whatever company you want to work for and explain to him or her how you’re going to be able to provide the kind of value that they would be seeking versus going to an approach of “well this is the way it’s done.” You know the whole idea of a top MBA student is that they’re going to figure out new ways things are going to be done in the world. You might as well start by finding your job that way.
What advice would you give MBAs who overly-rely on their degrees? Share your networking tips in the comments!
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