The slow economy has motivated a growing number of students to head straight into business school while waiting for a job. There are good and bad reasons to go to business school. Either way, if you are already on your way to a MBA program then it’s important to know how to make the most of your MBA Education for your career success.
The MBA is a degree which values real life experience perhaps more than other graduate programs. This makes it increasingly important to continue gathering work experience, such as internships, freelancing and volunteer work, to backup your education throughout your MBA education.
To make the most out of your MBA education, here are three tips for how to best balance between academia and practical learning to build your career during your MBA rather than wait until you graduate.
Tip #1: Building a Lifelong Network
Business school is the perfect place to either start or continue building your network of personal connections. When possible, make connections with professors who are often leaders in the executive world as well as the institutional life of the university.
Another great resource to take advantage of is the various clubs and organizations. These present opportunities for gaining leadership experience and mingling with the potential professionals who you will likely be working with in the future. US News & World Report’s Article Business School Tips for Success recommends clubs as a “gateway to meeting influential business leaders at speaker events or crafting cutting-edge ideas.”
Also don’t overlook the value of developing relationships with your peers in the MBA program. Not only can you find good partners for navigating the number of team projects thrown at you in classes, but you can also establish a core network of budding professionals who will be launching their careers along with you.
Tip #2: Gain International Experience
The nature of the business world is rapidly expanding to accommodate a global economy. Utilize opportunities at your MBA school that offers you international experience. This often happens through your MBA program’s overseas partnerships and study abroad trips for research or consulting projects. Many schools such as Harvard also offer immersion trips for their students to take advantage of school breaks. Other universities like Stanford Graduate School set up programs that allow students to work overseas during summer internships.
International experience during business school will not only look good for your resume but also will broaden your experience and your network.
Tip #3: Start Your Ventures at School
Forbes magazine ran an article on their website about the top lies that B-school students succumb to. Among these were the false assumptions that upon exiting grad school business students would “be more creative and entrepreneurial than before.” The piece noted that many students hope that their graduate courses will teach them how to start a business when in reality, “You just need to start a company.”
While it can be difficult to manage class projects and work or other activities that you are engaged in as a student, starting your business ideas now rather than later can lead to success. Many famous entrepreneurs started while still in college. If anything business school can lead to “analysis paralysis,” says Eric Jackson a writer for Forbes. So start your ideas now while you have the resources of a university campus and you are not totally dependent on the success of a startup for your income.
MBA can be an excellent education if you know how to make the most of it inside and outside the classroom. If you are in an MBA program and are hoping to launch your career after you have earned your MBA, I say, stop waiting and start building your career now while still in school.
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