In the aftermath of your undergraduate career, suddenly a B.A in business or marketing seems out of touch with the upgraded, more polished prospects of MBA status. During your pre-graduate years, your image, both in person and online, only reflected an aspiring entrepreneur. As you embark on an MBA program, make the necessary upgrades to your professional image in order to truly embody the entrepreneurial style.
Clean up your online presence to reflect an entrepreneurial profile
When you’re in the process of applying for acceptance into MBA programs, your LinkedIn profile may include a mix of business-related activities, applicable real-world experience, as well as other extracurricular activities. While college involvement was at one time a testament to your engagement as a student, some of these endeavors have an expiration date!
Once you’ve become an MBA candidate, filter out any college activities that aren’t in line with the entrepreneurial career track you’re imagining for yourself. Provide more space for creative ventures and developing work within your program to be seen by potential investors and employers. Take advantage of the editing tool to assume the self-starting persona within your headline and bio. This is your business pitch to the world beyond academia. Write in the voice of a professional who already has a door open to their preferred industry.
Manifest your online self into real life
Although business is, in part, showy, don’t just talk the part of an entrepreneur online. It’s easy to inflate our image when hidden by digital spaces, but it’s not as easy to get away with it once college is over. Once an MBA candidate, there are new expectations placed on you, both personally and professionally.
In the era of innovative start-ups with relaxed dress codes, always aim to at least look business casual. Long gone are the days of 8 am classes and sweatpants. If you’re more of jeans and sneakers, Google-esque personality, invest in quality cotton blazers, or crisp button-ups and blouses with appropriate coverage. Subtle accents of color beyond standard navy, gray, and black also have a place in business and can help offset a too-casual appearance and maintain a professional, approachable vibe.
Additionally, grooming goes a long way to support an unconventional business style. Men, maintaining your grooming routine is vital to propelling new networking connections. A fresh razor is a sure way to back a fresh appearance. For women, simply paying mind to nail care can convey a strong consideration for small details. Don’t feel pressured to give in to costly spa manicures, investing in personal polish and files will similarly enhance your look. You don’t need to be stuffed in a suit to be taken seriously, especially if your entrepreneurial endeavors during your MBA are creative and unconventional!
As with social media engagement, consistency is vital when it comes to your appearance. The MBA candidate people meet in person should be seamless with the candidate they’ve encountered online. Utilize visual content for social media posts or a LinkedIn headshot depicting yourself in the same style you choose to showcase on a daily basis. Do research on your desired industry, take notes on the image of successful individuals within their field, and find connections between them and what aspects of their style you feel best to represent you.
Filter out your younger self from social media
LinkedIn aside, social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook are necessary tools for connecting your personal brand to your resume, and effectively translating it to the right audience. During undergraduate, you may not have placed the strongest consideration on your online content. As an MBA candidate, you want your entrepreneurial persona to be consistent across any associated networks.
Using your LinkedIn as a guide, filter out content that isn’t in line with the industry and values you convey in your professional tagline and bio. Maintain consistent social media engagement using posts that support your business savvy spirit. Individuals interested in investing their time in you will be less apt to do so if they aren’t sold on you as a person. Likeability and approachability are important pillars of credibility.
Also published on Medium.