Early June 2019, the Imperial College Business School Career Service asked me to perform an interview about how my career consultant, Andreia Ferreira, and I have built a strong career plan during the MBA. While the final video footage is being produced (and will be posted on this blog!), here are the key steps of this professional transition strategy.
Define what I want to do
I think that most MBAs have either no idea about what they want to do post-graduation or, if they do, what they believed to be their future will dramatically change. Andreia helped me to narrow down both what I want to do in terms of position and industry I want to work in. I remember telling her that “Andreia, what I like is car and plane”. You know what? I was wrong! Actually, I am passionate about everything that can be driven or piloted, any vehicle that transports something or someone from A to B in an urban environment. As a result, my objective post-MBA is to work as a business developer to develop new opportunities and manage relationships in the future of mobility.
Create and develop a strong network
I moved to London end of August 2018 without a single professional contact. Andreia taught me how to target and connect with people to create, from scratch, a brand-new network. “Do not underestimate the power of your Student status and Imperial e-mail address” she told me in September after the intake. She was so right! Throughout the year, I meet, chat and call probably over 100 people directly active in the mobility industry. These efforts are fruit-bearing as I am able today to connect some dots for my contacts, generate business opportunities and offer consulting services, on top of my MBA, to support entrepreneurs and start-ups with their business development and marketing strategy.
I have been told at the very beginning of the MBA to “focus on your personal branding and pay attention to your online presence”. What a valuable piece of advice! Creating a strong branding took me such a long time and I am still very much focused on this matter. Together with Andreia, we developed a professional LinkedIn profile, an impactful CV and I started writing articles about business tips and mobility news. These readings were popular enough to push me to build my first website. Please feel free to pay a visit and provide your feedback!
My best pieces of advice for (prospective) MBA Students
To conclude this article, I list below my top tips to make the most out of your relationship with your career consultant (CC):
- Do not expect your career consultant to provide you with a job on a silver plate: Leverage their network and industry expertise by challenging your CC with relevant requests. Some examples are asking for an introduction to a common contact (it worked very well for me!) or playing the devil advocate on what you believe to be true.
- Do not choose a career path by default: Challenge yourself and make sure you are following the path YOU really want to follow. Avoid staying in a job or industry just because you know it. Your CC can challenge you.
- Network, network and network: You can find more details on my networking tips and experiences in my previous articles but keep in mind that networking is a 2-way relationship and you have more to learn from hearing your contact rather than flooding the discussion with your words. Ask your CC for advice.
- Leverage your student status and e-mail address: being a student is a privilege and a serious advantage when it comes to connecting with people and companies, so leverage it.
- Work on your personal branding: Be present online, share articles on LinkedIn, comment posts on social networks, write an article, create your website, polish your LinkedIn profile… there is an unlimited range of possibilities to stand out of the crowd and being noticed by your next employer or colleague.