A Guest Post by Jessica Socheski
With the tough economy and depleted job market, many graduate students feel uncertain about starting their careers. In order to position yourself into a great spot for landing a job post graduation, there are four important things that smart MBA students should already be doing.
1. Informational Interviews
Informational interviews can be great tools for anyone from undergrad through their masters and even doctorate programs. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, an informational interview is “an opportunity for you, the job seeker, to learn about someone else’s job, organization or company. It is not—and this is critical—an opportunity for your to ask for a job.”
Informational interviews are useful for several main reasons:
- Expanding your network
- Identifying the right job/field
- Learning practical steps to end up in the career you want
- Gaining insight and resources
While meeting, you can ask about the interviewees’ personal experience to point you in the direction of a career you will find exciting. And while establishing a connection with the interviewee, you can also receive recommendations for other connections to approach which will help grow your network.
Now, while you’re still in school, is the perfect time to reach out to professionals in your field or at companies you admire. Your status as student makes interviewees predisposed to invest time with you because you are a student seeking to learn rather than a job-hungry graduate searching for employment. And if you are attending South University online school or a similar online degree program, then establishing these human contacts is especially imperative.
2. Freelance Projects
Law students have full time internships and medical residents can earn up to $100 an hour while still in training. But business students have to work a little harder to find employment that will increase their work experience.
Fortunately, freelance projects offer a great way to gain real world skills while still in your graduate program. Though online freelancing is a relatively “new development,” Dan Mullaney, the founder of MBAProjectsearch.com sees freelance opportunities as an important piece in bridging the gap between school and real-life opportunities to gain an income and necessary practical experience. Freelance opportunities also provide a chance to build your portfolio to show to future employers after graduation.
3. Read the Reports and Reviews
Another key to preparing for the professional world is to make sure you are reading the right journals and periodicals. Subscribe to the obvious publications like Fortune magazine. And though it seems that your time is already packed with course reading, spend an occasional chuck of time brushing up on influential industry blogs and reports. Being well-read in your field is a significant step towards demonstrating your up-to-date knowledge as well as dedication to the industry. And studying up on current shifts and trends will also prepare you for entering the job market and effectively handling those tricky interview questions.
4. Don’t Wait for Innovation
Finally, don’t make the mistake of assuming that at graduation the academic president will confer upon you innovative ideas along with your diploma. “What you are being taught in school is analysis,” writes a faculty member from the University of Washington, Sandeep Krushnamurthy. “You are being taught tools and techniques. Analysis is just one of the ingredients in the recipe.”
Keep developing your other skills and interests while completing your MBA program. These ideas combined with your classroom learning will spark the passion and ability to become an innovator and a dynamic professional.