Whether you are returning to school for an MBA in the full-time, evening or online program you are making a significant invest of your time and money. As a good business student you want to maximize your return on the investment in your career. Even as you start the program, there are things you can do to maximize your future return.
Don’t Disconnect: You are busy attending classes, reading assignments, preparing cases and working on group projects. It can be very tempting to cut yourself off from former employers and colleagues. Resist that temptation. These are valuable networking connections and potentially your references for future jobs. Stay connected with former managers and colleagues via LinkedIn. If they don’t already know, tell them about the investment you are making in your in your future.
Expand Your Network: Use your time in school to significantly expand your professional network. Start with your classmates. Get to know them and learn about the companies they represent. Follow-up with guest speakers in class and take full advantage of all the networking opportunities offered by the Career Center. Conduct informational interviews to learn more about the roles and companies that interest you. Start making connections that will support your full-time job search later. Networking is the most critical success factor in a full-time job search. Build a strong foundation now. Don’t forget to leverage the alumni network as well.
Do Your Research: Between informational interviews and online research, learn as much as you can about the industries that interest you. Identify key companies in those industries and research them as well. Investing the time early to learn about industries and companies will help you focus your networking activities and will prepare for informational interviews. You demonstrate your interest and passion by being well prepared.
Leverage Career Services: Take the time to learn what Career Center services are available to you at different stages in your program. Attend networking events and workshops offered by the Career Center. When possible, build a relationship with a career advisor and keep the advisor posted on your progress.
Do not wait until you are ready to look for a job, start now. Invest in your career by building a strong networking foundation to support your efforts.