Seven Career Moves Every First-Time MBA Needs to Make

Seven Career Moves Every First-Time MBA Needs to Make Right about now, most first-time MBA students are obsessing over their coursework and the amount of studying they’ll need to cram in each day. While getting your
MBA is a time-consuming experience, it’s important to focus not only on academics but also on the other areas that will help you have a successful career. Here are seven career-related steps you should take as you start your MBA program.

Stay connected with your former employers and colleagues

Leave your boss and colleagues with a positive impression. Emphasize that you are grateful for the experience you have had with them and that you left because you want to grow and build on that experience. Even if you are certain you won’t work for them again, they still represent a great source of professional contacts and, perhaps, future clients. Think about requesting reference letters from your colleagues and endorsements for your LinkedIn (LKND) page. You can even go further: Become the company’s ambassador on campus or invite some managers to be guest speakers during your MBA program.

Assess yourself early and often

It’s never too early to start thinking about your first job after you graduate. Ask yourself career questions from the start: What are your values, motivations, preferred management style? Are you better suited for a multinational corporation or a startup? There are tests to help you figure out what’s best for you, like Insights or GMAC’s Reflect. The assessment results may reinforce your initial thoughts, or challenge you to think differently about where you would work best.

Interview 10 executives from different industries

We all have preconceived ideas about what it’s like working in certain sectors, but the best way to get an accurate picture is by speaking with professionals from different sectors. Ask them about their current challenges, work/life balance, the main players and competitors in their industries, promotion pace, and what their recruitment process was like. Use your network to select the executives. When you demonstrate an interest in their professional life, you will find that people respond.

Expand your network

Right off the bat, try to get to know as many of your MBA classmates as possible. For most MBAs, this cohort represents one of the most important groups of professional and personal contacts you will have in your lifetime. Ask them about their previous experience and their dreams. Some of them will be your friends for life, but all of them should be part of your future professional network. Remember that a good percentage of MBA graduates are hired or recommended by an MBA classmate.

Get social

LinkedIn is by far the most useful networking and research tool for MBAs today. While you can be hired by an employer who is simply dazzled by your résumé, in the MBA arena it doesn´t happen often. LinkedIn provides lots of information about companies, vacancies, professional profiles, and, most important, who knows whom.

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