Understanding the MBA Journey

 

“ I am pleased to advise that your application for a place in our MBA Program has been successful. Congratulations on this fine achievement ”

 

I still remember the night, more than two years ago when I received an e-mail with this message, it was like a dream come true. As you may expect, I spent the next hour singing, dancing, e-mailing and calling friends who were still awake at that late hour.

As with most people, even today, my understanding of the MBA was flawed from the beginning. While I didn’t really set any expectations for the MBA experience I did visualize myself as having a great job that paid well, was in the area of my interest and in a location that I desired by the end of the program. After all this was a highly prestigious school in its region and had partnerships with top business schools in the world.

Today, six months after I graduated the situation is starkly different and something I had never imagined. I have been unable to find a job yet, have only managed a couple of interviews and what beats me the most is that I have been turned down for the most ridiculous reasons possible. Heck, one of my interviews even got cancelled at the last minute because the company decided they didn’t want that position anymore. Tough luck you might say. I think so too.

However despite my current situation I would have still made the same choice if I could go back in time. My MBA experience was truly amazing and will most certainly be one of the most cherished periods of my life. I had opportunities to meet and interact with people from all over the world, develop a close circle of friends hailing from different countries and learn a bunch of subjects and terms that are important for any manager to know. However the most important things that I gained were self-confidence and a robust way to think about and analyze problems.

I could go on and on about my MBA experience but I would like to leave all MBA aspirants and current MBA students with some words of wisdom:

Pre-MBA

1. Don’t do an MBA if all you are looking for is a good job at the end of it. Do it for the experience, the learning and the desire to meet people from around the world

2. Don’t set high expectations for the future. If you are going to a highly reputed school your experience will certainly be excellent. Try your best to achieve what you want but don’t expect your dreams to come true just because you did an MBA.

During the MBA

1. Grades and doing well in your subjects is important but not as important as networking. Get to know your batch mates really well, make sure you know your professors well, be an active member of the student body and attend lots of club events

2. Get to know your Alumni and Career Services. They and your class network is all that you’ll take with you at the end of the program. Try to do this regularly throughout the program but definitely pick it up towards the second half of the program

3. Don’t rely on Campus Placements too much, if you get a job through that terrific but don’t count on it, unless you are studying in India.

Post – MBA

1. Be patient and don’t hesitate to ask. Ask your friends, family, school alumni, career services, professional networks, anyone you have ever helped and even people you meet for the first time for advice and help to find you a job. All it takes is one lead to get you a job.

2. Try to have a resume filler, something credible that you can show on your resume while you look for a full time job.

3. Finally, make sure you are active on Social Media and that doesn’t include Facebook. Most business students don’t have the time for this while in School and thus fail to make good use of it even after they graduate. LinkedIn and Twitter if used wisely can greatly help to improve your personal brand and connect with the right people, thereby improving your chances of finding a good job.

The image above presents the MBA Journey in Comic Form, to view it in better resolution click here

Here is another comic take on the MBA which is also true to an extent.

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