Tag Archives: career change

MBAs: Using the Summertime to make the SWITCH

You’ve just graduated with your MBA and are looking forward to your opportunity to get into management.  While we may want to use the summer as a time of reflection and a little job searching for that new leadership position we so desire, graduates should be taking just a little time to  publish the history of their transition to leadership before contacting potential employers.  While top tier MBA programs are connected to companies that will hire their freshly minted graduates, smaller to medium enterprises, as well as startups, need experienced talent.  If you’re in the market for this type of opportunity, painting yourself as a new leader won’t get you very far.  Let’s take a look at what the summertime should hold for your activity plan.

As an MBA graduate, you likely have high expectations for improvements in your career mobility brought about by your increased understanding of the operational aspects of business life.  But these aren’t the expectations you should focus on initially.  Employers want to know your value proposition.  They expect you to add value to their business through such things as helping identify and obtain global opportunities, developing products and services, finding unique solutions to problems, utilizing exceptional communication and leadership skills, and building high performing teams.  Is this the value you offer?

Making the switch, or changing careers, is normally a stressful activity.  If you’re thinking that the MBA degree will be enough to convince employers you’re ready for management, you might be in for a surprise.  Relevant experience is more important than the degree.  You will need to be able to prove that you already have significant relevant experience as an MBA.  Otherwise, you’re viewed as someone the company will have to train.  Oh, training budgets hardly exist today.  Most companies focus on hiring the “right” people, which means they won’t train them.  Your proof of value starts with your resume and social network profiles.  If your resume doesn’t communicate much because you don’t really have the experience you need, here are some things you can do this summer.

Volunteer.  Small to medium sized companies need help.  Why?  Well, not every business owner is highly educated, formally speaking, on the many aspects of running a business.  There are plenty of places to find companies who need support.  You can contact a city’s chamber of commerce, small business service centers, SCORE, and many other groups setup to help small businesses.  All of these can be found with a simple Google search.  Finding projects will help broaden your expertise and provide success stories that you can offer to potential employers.

Learn to speak publicly.  Toastmasters is a great place to learn to speak and is fairly low cost.  They also have branches everywhere.  The best thing about them is that you can develop and practice any speech.  More specifically, you could have an audience that helps you tell your stories.  Maybe you can develop the speech that articulates your desire to transition into management and all the steps you have taken to make that switch, the things you’ve learned and the value it has to an organization.  Can you imagine how well this will sound once practiced over and over?

MOOCs.  Yes, I know.  You feel you already have enough education, especially after spending two years working on your MBA.  Well, I’ve graduated quite a few times and am always finding reasons to learn more.  Online classes, which are mostly free of charge, are a great way to build expertise on a topic that you might be interviewing for.

Consult.  Gaining experience rapidly is best done by freelance consulting.  There are numerous websites that can help you find projects to work on.  Just do a quick search online for MBA freelance jobs to find a lot of them.  I’ve worked with MBA & Company and people per hour.

These are just a few ideas on what to do with your summer, assuming you haven’t made the switch you planned on.  The business world is moving at a fast pace, requiring MBAs to learn more and more, all the time.   Remember the old saying about competition in the marketplace, “if you’re sitting still, you’re losing ground.”  Get busy building evidence of the value you can offer as a manager to companies.  You don’t have to be a fresh graduate with no experience.  Experience is too easy to get.  You just have to do something to get it.

Why Should You Get An MBA?

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I don’t just recommend doing anything because it is trendy, especially when it comes to spending a lot of your money and even more importantly, a lot of your time.  The MBA is a great tool for your career; that is, if you use it correctly.  If you don’t have an MBA, you may be asking yourself “how do I use the MBA?”  Well, it’s more than the degree we are talking about here.  Let’s look at this in more detail.

The GMAC 2014 Prospective Students Survey Report states that the MBA provides three key benefits:  skills, networks and brand.  Were these in your initial thoughts?  They weren’t in mine.  I thought education was about learning those quintessential skills that make you valuable to the business world.  Of course, I didn’t graduate from a top tier business school, where the mentality is quite different.  According to many top tier graduates I’ve worked with over the years, networking and branding are major subjects that are studied and perfected during the program.  Grades are not as important.   So, you can learn from the top tier programs that the “MBA Experience” is very important to future success.  If you just enter your MBA program with the intent of only learning new skills, you’ll miss out on two-thirds of the overall benefit of the MBA Experience.

We’ve looked at what MBAs do with their degree.  Take a look at our presentation. If you’re a basketball fan, you’ll love it.  It’s March Madness and the MBA_2015.

Naturally, not all MBA programs are equivalent when it comes to the experience.  Top tier programs will be more organized and geared towards the networking and branding aspects.  Most every other program will suffer in these areas.  And some programs won’t provide anything at all.  I would dare say that most MBA programs are in this category.  Sure, you can read a few articles that say MBAs are in high demand but economics would beg us to understand the supply side of this before making a decision.  The problem for MBA aspirants is that it is difficult to truly assess the supply and demand side of the MBA.  So, your only choice is to gather as much information as you can and make the best decision possible.

But where do you go for such information?  Often, aspirants seek information from the MBA programs themselves.    This is a good place to start but it shouldn’t be your only source of information.  After all, the problems you’ll run into with the MBA will be post-program issues.  Universities will have limited experience in this stage of your career.  For example, I’m a father of three kids and I’ve seen the birthing of each child but I can’t tell you what it feels like to give birth.  You have to go to the source for that; that is, the mother.  Well, if you want to know the impact the MBA has on your career, you need to ask someone who has had that experience.  In other words, ask the MBA graduates.  After all, they are the ones who are trying to build their career with the MBA degree.  Wouldn’t that be a good source of information?

Before you make any decisions about the next two years of your life and the destiny of a whole lot of your money, take the time to understand the impact the MBA has on your career by reading the stories of MBA graduates from around the globe.  Their experience will enlighten you and give you insights that will help you maximize the return on your personal investment.

We’ve taken the time to capture the knowledge of MBAs from around the world on many topics that affect MBAs directly.  These topics aren’t the kind of issues that get addressed during your MBA program (and never will be) but they are REAL WORLD issues faced by MBAs every single day.   Click below to learn more about What MBA Graduates Know.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I don’t just recommend doing anything because it is trendy, especially when it comes to spending a lot of your money and even more importantly, a lot of your time.  The MBA is a great tool for your career; that is, if you use it correctly.  If you don’t have an MBA, you may be asking yourself “how do I use the MBA?”  Well, it’s more than the degree we are talking about here.  Let’s look at this in more detail. The GMAC 2014 Prospective Students Survey Report states that the MBA provides three key benefits:  skills, networks and brand.  Were these in your initial thoughts?  They weren’t in mine.  I thought education was about learning those quintessential skills that make you valuable to the business world.  Of course, I didn’t graduate from a top tier business school, where the mentality is quite different.  According to many top tier graduates I’ve worked with over the years, networking and branding are major subjects that are studied and perfected during the program.  Grades are not as important.   So, you can learn from the top tier programs that the “MBA Experience” is very important to future success.  If you just enter your MBA program with the intent of only learning new skills, you’ll miss out on two-thirds of the overall benefit of the MBA Experience. We’ve looked at what MBAs do with their degree.  Take a look at our presentation. If you’re a basketball fan, you’ll love it.  It’s March Madness and the MBA. Naturally, not all MBA programs are equivalent when it comes to the experience.  Top tier programs will be more organized and geared towards the networking and branding aspects.  Most every other program will suffer in these areas.  And some programs won’t provide anything at all.  I would dare say that most MBA programs are in this category.  Sure, you can read a few articles that say MBAs are in high demand but economics would beg us to understand the supply side of this before making a decision.  The problem for MBA aspirants is that it is difficult to truly assess the supply and demand side of the MBA.  So, your only choice is to gather as much information as you can and make the best decision possible. But where do you go for such information?  Often, aspirants seek information from the MBA programs themselves.    This is a good place to start but it shouldn’t be your only source of information.  After all, the problems you’ll run into with the MBA will be post-program issues.  Universities will have limited experience in this stage of your career.  Look, I’m a father of three kids and I’ve seen the birthing of each child but I can’t tell you what it feels like to give birth.  You have to go to the source for that; that is, the mother.  Well, if you want to know the impact the MBA has on your career, you need to ask someone who has that experience.  In other words, ask the MBA graduates.  After all, they are the ones who are trying to build their career with the MBA degree.  Wouldn’t that be a good source of information? Before you make any decisions about the next two years of your life and the destiny of a whole lot of your money, take the time to understand the impact the MBA has on your career by reading the stories of MBA graduates from around the globe.  Their experience will enlighten you and give you insights that will help you maximize the return on your personal investment.   We’ve taken the time to capture the knowledge of MBAs from around the world on many topics that affect MBAs directly.  These topics aren’t the kind of issues that get addressed during your MBA program (and never will be) but they are REAL WORLD issues faced by MBAs every single day.