Guest post by MBA Crystal Ball.
If you are hoping to use your degree to change careers, then it can be quite a roller-coaster ride. Here are a few basic principles to keep in mind to make the entire process a little less frustrating and a little more productive.
A career change could come in various shapes and forms. It could be an industry change: from IT to Strategy Consulting, from retail to investment banking, from manufacturing to real estate. Or it could be a role change: technical to functional transition. Or it could be a complete transition of industry AND role.
In typical MBA style let’s lay out a 3 X 3 career transition model (we are tired of 2 X 2 matrices). Well, it isn’t model really. In simple terms, it’s essentially a matter of getting answers to 3 broad-based questions across 3 phases.
Choose the right post-MBA career option
What is it about the new field that excites you?
What skills and capabilities do you consider as your strengths in your pre-MBA career and how can you leverage those in your new role?
How much do you know about the new role/industry and how can you fit in?
Choose the right MBA program
What are the gaps (academic/practical skills, industry contacts, role clarity) that you are hoping to address during your MBA program?
Are there specific opportunities, courses or contacts that you can build or develop during your course at this specific business school?
Have other alumni already done what you are trying to do or are you the lone ranger who’s all set to make history?
Choose the right approach to facilitate the transition
What can you do before your MBA program starts to lay down the foundation?
What can you do while the MBA course is still on?
What can you do after the MBA course is over when you can focus completely on the job search (if you haven’t got that dream job yet)?
Of course, a one-size-fits-all approach would never work here. So look at each of these questions as the starting point. Use them to drill down further in each area to come up with an additional set of questions. Ultimately, as you gain clarity in each area, you will figure out an approach that fits your specific profile and goals. If it all sounds vague at this stage, try it out to see what we mean. And yes, having a plan B always helps.
Don’t rely upon an untested approach just because you get a good gut feel about it. Validate that approach by talking to as many alumni as you can who share a similar storyline. Find out what challenges they faced and how they dealt with them. More than just sharing ideas, these interactions can also be a tremendous source of inspiration.
Good luck, folks.
MBA Crystal Ball has been helping Indian candidates get into the top MBA programs across the globe. MCB consultants have successfully managed career transitions into competitive areas (strategy consulting, mergers & acquisitions). Apart from the regular MBA admissions consulting services like essay editing, interview preparation, rejection analysis, MCB’s flagship product (called the MCB report) is now being sold by international partners in multiple countries.