What I wish I had known before starting my MBA

By Santosh Jangiti

As a recent graduate of the Simon School, I can vouch for the fact that the MBA program was a truly exhilarating experience. Though the workload was daunting at times, the fun, challenging learning environment as well as a great bunch of friends made it thoroughly enjoyable. After looking back at the past two years, I would like to share a few recommendations I learned from my experiences: 

Your job search begins on Day One:  The main reason most students go to a b-school is to switch careers or for better job prospects. Hence, it is essential that you start your search on day one to secure a summer internship and to begin the quest for a future full-time job opportunity. The Career Management Center will be your key resource to assist in this process; however, each student must take individual responsibility as well. During orientation week, I met a classmate who already had a summer internship and classes were not even in session yet!

Once you are enrolled in a b-school I recommend setting up job alerts for an “MBA intern” on major business specific job sites. It is also important to have your resume finalized by the first week of class. During the first couple of weeks of classes you should be utilizing the Career Management Center to learn about the various career fairs that are available for you to attend. Second year MBA students can be helpful resources to narrow down the selection of career fairs to attend that are best suited for your goals.

The job search is a timely process and it can be challenging to balance this and the demands of the coursework. The reality is if you are serious about getting the most out of your MBA, you will need to learn to manage your time effectively so that you can do well in classes and search for a summer internship and full-time job position.

Network and Network some more: When I first began as a student at the Simon School, I was not really comfortable talking to complete strangers about a job. I had to make a conscious effort to practice networking and after the first few failed attempts, I learned to master this skill. If you are someone who needs to improve networking skills, try networking with second year students or recent graduates until you get comfortable. Building a good network of contacts is going to be essential not just for your post MBA career but your career in general.

One piece of advice I have for all first year students is to make an effort to get to know the alumni you are in contact with. Instead of networking with alumni for the sole intention of trying to get a job, learn about the person’s background and what they are currently doing. Even if they don’t have a current job opening, a genuine interest in their work will lead to a relationship that is bound to pay off in the long run.

Create a social media presence: In today’s web world, the best way to market the brand called ‘You’ is to blog, tweet or at least be an active participant on the appropriate LinkedIn groups. Look at social media as an additional tool to build your network. If you are someone who is interested in venture capital, try to read and be an active participant on blogs like those of Fred Wilson or Brad Feld. At the same time, share your insights and try to build a powerful brand for yourself over the two years of the MBA program. Once you have a network in place you will be amazed by the opportunities that open up.

Meliora!!

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