By Meredith Brown
As a society, we have equated having an education with qualification for jobs. And more unsettling, this higher education status that we so covet now doesn’t necessarily lead to a dream job or provide fulfillment.
While business school is an investment, in the literal sense of the word, today it has a stereotype among often fidgety millennials as an investment that, in the end, just satisfies one item on an employer’s checklist.
Business school students should start viewing their college experience as more than just an investment in an education but also an investment in their dream, their career, and their future.
From their first day of class, business students should consider their passions and how they can apply the full educational, extracurricular, and personal experience of business school toward achieving their dream job.
1. Invest in Your Career Development From the Start
It is never too early to go to your college or university’s career center. Develop a relationship with the knowledgeable staff who make their living connecting students with their dream internships and jobs. They can help you start building out a strategic plan toward your ideal career or dream job. Meeting with an advisor can help you in a variety of ways:
- Discuss the programs and classes that will most benefit your career path.
- Plan out summer breaks and semesters around elective or required internships, including the potential companies.
- Research what your dream or target employers are looking for.
- Ask about clubs or off-campus organizations to get involved with that will enhance your resume toward a particular career field.
- Make your goals, aspirations and dedication known early on in your business education. Building a good relationship could plant a seed for your name to be dropped at the right time, to the right person.
2. Invest in Making Coursework Count Toward Your Dream Job
- When possible, tailor your assignments and projects to the industry you wish to pursue post-graduation. You can begin to develop a portfolio that will be useful when applying for internships or jobs.
- Take advantage of time designated for projects to research the career field, or even company, you feel passionate about.
- Present creative angles for projects or essays that align with your intended career to help establish your personal brand with professors, peers, and potential networking connections around campus.
3. Invest in Your Personal Brand
- Prepare an “elevator speech” that quickly and concisely tells a potential employer the unique capabilities you would bring as an employee at the company or job you want to enter and why you chose that direction. Any chance someone gives you to to talk about your dream job, take it!
- Start a blog that focuses on your desired industry. Weave personal experiences together with things you’ve learned about your dream field through research and your educational journey.
- Get active on social media. Join LinkedIn discussion groups, publish LinkedIn Posts, and interact via Twitter with your dream company, recruiters, and individuals with social status who could potentially be beneficial connections.
4. Invest in Extracurricular and Volunteer Activities
- Join professional organizations that relate to your desired industry and seek out leadership positions when possible. Employers will want to see your early interest in the industry or company on your resume.
- Attend networking events held on and off campus; you never know when you’ll meet someone who can help you get noticed by a future employer.
- Look for volunteer opportunities in your community related to your dream job to gain experience in your desired field, help you determine it’s right for you, and show your dedication through altruism.
5. Invest in Actually Learning
- Appreciate the knowledge you’re gaining from your assignments. I was so obsessed with my GPA that each exam, essay, and critical lesson was just a catalyst to get me to the letter grade I needed, and then move on. Take time to learn and absorb the material.
- Don’t be afraid to use your school’s tutoring center. There is no shame in asking for help; in fact, developing this habit will help you in the workforce where asking questions is valued.
- Take advantage of your professor’s office hours so you can build a relationship with them, learn the material in a less-pressured setting, and demonstrate your dedication to learning.
6. Find Someone Who Invests in You
- Identify someone in your life who has an interest in seeing you succeed. Look to their successes—and failures—to help guide you, and ask questions about their experiences.
- Don’t feel like you need to formally ask someone to be your mentor. The best mentor-mentee relationships are organic, so be mindful of relationships and their potential for growth.
- Broaden your definition of a mentor. Mentors are often professors and coaches but can also be friends, bosses, co-workers, and family members. Having different people to go to for guidance gives you stronger foundations and offers more diverse perspectives.
Finally, invest in yourself. It doesn’t matter how much someone else believes in you, what grades you get, or the awards you earn. None of these things will ever be able to propel you toward achieving your dreams or goals unless you believe in yourself. It’s the difference between someone who reaches their dreams and someone who is just in reach.
Webster University in Athens has an excellent MBA program. For more information, please refer to www.webster.edu.gr