As I write this article, a lot of us are sitting in our cozy abodes, wishing for the pandemic - CORONA, to end.
While some are busy learning a new technical skill, some still eagerly waiting for the results to be declared for their B-school admits. For any B-school aspirant this, according to me, is the ideal time to network with the seniors. Given the time at hand, this will particularly help you get a better idea about the college you are planning to get into. Networking with them will not only help you prepare for your CAT interviews but will also build a long term rapport with them.
I certainly cannot predict the future about the current situation but through this article, I shall try to do my little to answer the question looming on your heads - What you can do once you enter a B-school?
Join a club/committee:
Try finding out about the clubs and committees on campus and how do they recruit. Speaking from my personal experience, you will cherish this phase. For the sake of not being a party pooper, I'm going to leave this for you guys to figure out for yourselves. It goes without saying that it will add value to your profile but more than that, for two years you will have a family away from home. Not just your batchmates, but your committee seniors will always be there to guide you.
Multiple CACs operate differently, starting from getting companies onboarded to helping you prepare for the placements. Some help in keeping the spirits high on campus- like the cultural committees through their various year-round events. Many colleges have dramatics and literary clubs to help the artists in you showcase their talent. Fest committees shall make sure that the college attracts maximum crowds during the fest and the batch as a whole step up for the show. Not restricting myself to just academics or placements, sports are given equal weightage in any B-school. Sports committees take care of your sporting needs and provide you with the opportunity to represent the college at various levels. This is not exhaustive but mentions a few of the many CACs your college might have.
I myself am a part of multiple committees and clubs at IIM Lucknow and I can proudly vouch for the fact that being part of any of these will change you inside out. You grow together and pull each other up when needed. Your team will have your back whenever needed. And that is the kind of bond that will last throughout.
Participate in competitions:
Your initial days at campus would be relatively easy to manage. Multiple competitions would happen then. They can range from a simple quiz competition to an activity-based event to big case competitions. First-term would be the time when you can capitalize on this and grab some really catchy CV points for your summer intern applications. This will also happen to be the time when seniors shall be participating in a lot of case competitions. So, getting in touch with some seniors and picking their brains to get maximum results with the least input would be a good idea. You will get opportunities to work on some live projects as well in the first year itself. Being a part of any live project will help you better understand the real business problems (be it supply chain design problems, business development, marketing campaign design projects, etc.) and would help you scuff your rough edges. Bonus? You might end up with a PPI opportunity for yourself!!
Try to keep yourself occupied with any of the events going on campus and if you succeed at it, speaking strictly from a recruiter's point of view, it will show them that you have explored your MBA life till now- A good plus-plus for your profile keeping summers in mind.
Work on your communication and presentation skills
Great presentation backed by eloquent vocal skills will definitely help you in the long run. In the shorter version, they will help you get past any interview even if you take a technical slip during the conversation with the interviewers. Basic MS Excel and MS Powerpoint skills are required to leave a good mark in your project/class presentations. You may look up for tutorials on YouTube. In my opinion, Tutorials Point covers all the basic aspects in great detail.
To work on your communication you may read news articles, watch any TV series, listen to the news, or anything that gives you the confidence to present your content properly. Clarity of thought with a good content presentation is a gold mine in the MBA world.
Build your resume
This might seem too trivial but starting early will give you an advantage. Resume preparation will be the first hurdle in your quest of getting a good intern. Connect with seniors now or once you reach your campus and start with the resume-building ASAP. The earlier you do, the more time you will have to refine it. Start preparing your resume based interview questions. Try doing this with your seniors as they have been through the placement process before and know what companies look for in a candidate. Additionally, prepare technical, CV based, situation-based and HR based questions well in advance.
Take up a certification that suits your interest
You'll meet people who have already figured this part out. A few might be clear about their specialization in finance, marketing, operations, etc. and will be planning accordingly. If you are clear with the same or have some inclination towards any specialization, the following certifications might come in handy.
• Marketing: Google Adwords and Hubspot Marketing and Sales Certifications are some of the most recurring names I come across in the resumes.
Google Adwords will help you with search engine marketing, display advertising, video advertising targeting, etc.
Hubspot has certifications in Inbound, Content, Email, Social media marketing. These certifications will give a headstart to your MBA career.
• Finance: Some of the most sought after certifications that some of you might already be aware of - Charted Financial Analyst (CFA) and Financial Risk Manager (FRM).
CFA consists of three levels - CFA I, CFA II and CFA III. While CFA I has no minimum work experience requirement, completing the certification requires a minimum of four years of professional experience.
FRM tells you how to manage risk, money, and investments. These professionals are expected to have expertise in the area of taking calculated risks as required in the finance sector mainly in investment banks, corporations or asset management firms.
• Operations: Six Sigma certifications tend to be expensive but if implemented with some practical experience can be of great value. At the organizational level, it helps to reduce risk and eliminate errors and defects, professionally, you will end up with great job opportunities.
Though, as part of your MBA program, you can start with Six Sigma Green Belt certification. You shall be able to understand advanced analysis and problems affecting quality. Green belts lead projects and assist black belts with data collection and analysis.
And the most awaited one
NETWORKING!! For those of you who have mentioned it as one of the primary reasons in your answer to Why MBA!! here's your chance to actually do it. All the points mentioned above have one thing in common- CONNECT. Whether it is with your seniors, your batchmates - who might happen to know others in the industry, the alumni - who happen to be the seniors of your seniors in the CACs or alums who visit on alum talks or the guest lecturers, you can network with all of them. Get in touch with them. Build your LinkedIn profiles and connect with them. This will be a great opportunity to know what is happening on the outside. Plus, a strong alum network will always help you during your professional trajectory.
I hope that this article helps you in enriching your experience at the college of your choice. Some content has been researched but a lot of it comes from my personal experience. Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments. Would be glad to hear from you.
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