Networking and Careers After an MBA

Networking and Careers After an MBA

Marie Field looks at how, in the MBA arena, networking throughout your internship can lead to a long and enriching career.

Job survey statistics vary from country to country but many researchers report that upwards of 60% of all jobs are found through networking. The interesting part is that a massive amount of available job positions go unadvertised, as they are filled strictly through networking opportunities, as opposed to online or print adverts.

In the MBA arena, where competition is immense, many MBA students or recent graduates are realizing that without networking, job prospects appear scarce. So how can you start? With an internship. Emmanuel Hembert, Principal at consultancy firm A.T. Kearney, reports on the success many of the company's interns experience: "There is no limit to how many summer interns we will offer full-time positions to; it really depends on the performance of the intern. If they all excel we will make all of them offers, as it is clearly less risky for us to hire someone we already know than a person we have hired through the normal recruiting process. At the London office I would say that there is an 80% acceptance rate of interns to full-time positions within the company."

While some new employees may have received offers based strictly on their work performance throughout an internship, others have taken the route of getting to know some of the inside players. This can also come in extremely handy if you don't want to work in that same company for which you interned. Maybe it wasn't a good "fit" or you found yourself less interested in the company's projects than you expected. Instead of just settling for what the company has offered you, strive for what you really want, and think long-term.

Head of QS Global Workplace, and MBA career specialist Tom Harrison discusses the benefits of networking while interning: "While you might easily be offered a job where you interned, you could also be limiting your options greatly. Getting to know the insiders can lead you to a much wider range of job prospects. More often than not the bigger players in the company have connections with clients and colleagues in a variety of companies and cities around the world."

Diana Hogbin-Mills, founder of TalentMax and Life Coach who often speaks at events like QS Leadership Forums, reinforces the importance of communication with those with more professional experience. "Get yourself a mentor," she says. "This could be a contact in the company. Make it more than a transactional relationship and get to know this person well."

Quick networking tips for interns 

Don't be a wallflower - get noticed by joining in as many company activities as you can. Attend lunchtime football or after-work drinks. Politely introduce yourself to people around the office, even if you do not work directly with them. "Successful interns are very hands-on, analytical people, with good strategic minds," according to Emmanuel Hembert from A.T. Kearney. This applies to a variety of situations and not simply work projects. Locate who the "important" people are and come up with a game plan to get to know them.

Be yourself. Everyone can spot the intern who tries too hard. What you may think is attentive, others may see as desperate. Get offline for a minute. Many executives receive hundreds of emails in their inbox each day, and accordingly, sorting through them is often done half-heartedly. Don't be another email. Pick up the phone and call people. Voices are not forgotten. Not only is this a more personable approach to networking but the person on the other end will likely appreciate the extra effort you've made to greet him or her.

Written by QS Blogger
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