Posts Tagged ‘Personal development’
Your Net worth is directly proportional to your Network.
Kingsley Aikins from Networking Matters, who we met during the course of the first semester, stressed on the importance of networking driving home the point that in a real world scenario, your ‘social capital’ could be your catalyst of change. Is that true? Let’s see.
Everybody in the class aspires to land up with a good job with a great pay and people had started networking actively from the beginning of the second semester although we have the career office, which we are hopeful, will weave the magic wand someday. Our approach to networking is quite straight forward.
‘Spray and Pray’: This happens to be the most common and preferred way of networking. The modus operandi is quite simple. Through your active connections, references or LinkedIn, get in touch with ‘somebody’ who generally would be a professional at a management level in a brand well reckoned and then plan a chat over coffee. You go for the meet with the halo of Smurfit shining right behind and expect ‘your man’ to open a few doors instantly for you. With optimism running high, you kiss good bye and get home to tick one more box in your to-do list and the story ends. What happens there after, I have no idea but is this networking? Not the right way.
Networking is a tool well utilised only when you learn to weave it the right way. Now, having been a recruiter all my life, here’ an approach that I advocate:
- Be clear about what you want: Chart out a career map and if not an exact one, at least know what you want to do in life. That’s a fair expectation I would have from an MBA grad. Only then you would know who to connect with.
- Start small, start easy: Your peers are your primary contacts. Based on your canvas, look for people with similar backgrounds in the class and connect with them. Talk about your aspirations and be cognizant about theirs as well. Look at common goals and initiate self-help group to do things like sharing information, jobs, events etc. Expand your reach to the EMBA’s as they could be a better bet given the fact that they are current in the market.
- Use a ‘warm’ handshake: When you zero in on a company of interest, look for contacts who would know a ‘somebody’ up there. Owing to the sheer might of references and in this globally connected village, I am sure you would find an alumni, friend’s friend/girlfriend or your earlier employer who would know somebody there. Use the contact to initiate a warm handshake rather than cold calling.
- Do not meet everybody and anybody: The ‘spray and pray’ attitude might actually boomerang as people might start seeing you as desperate and that will dilute your brand. Also, you might end up with making too many connections that might not be of great use to you, not to mention the time and resources lost.
- LinkedIn: It’s a great tool but is a doubled edged sword. Initiate contacts and try meeting up people locally. Be careful as your profile is public and as you keep adding contacts, the rest in your network would know who you are connecting with. Example, do not add the ‘recruiter’, recruitment manager’ and ‘head of resourcing’ of, say ‘ABC’ in a short span of time. The first guy to accept; say the ‘recruiter’ will also know that you have added his boss and his boss’s boss to your network. You do not intend to give him ideas, right? For connecting with people who are out station, use ‘InMail’ which will cost you but will also leave the impression that you are serious.
- Consultants: Do a market research to see who are the specialized search firms or consultants who hire in the space that you want to get into. Once you have a list ready, start connecting and try meeting them. Top notch search firms say an ‘Egon Zender’, ‘Hendrick Struggles’ ‘Spencer Stuart’ might not be open to see you as they work on active mandates and will be hesitant to meet a ‘student’. By the end of May 2013, you should have built a network of consultant who should be able to relate to you and will be open to pitch your profile for any suitable opening which might come up there after.
- WIFM factor: When you meet somebody, the person who is sparing time to meet you might be a well-wisher and can be of help but also remember, there is nothing called free lunch. The guy on the other side of the table will always be interested in “What’s in for me”. So to evince interest, send the message beforehand that the meeting could be a ‘mutually beneficial’ one. You will see better responses.
I go back to the example that Kingsley had given about the guy he worked for, Tony O’Reilly (I hope I got the name correct) who used his rugby connection to build a business spread across those countries that he played in. Networking is an art just that you need to know who to tango with. That million dollar job that you aspire for will not get advertised but will get finalized at a golf course or at a black tie dinner table. In the words of Ashutosh Sinha, my senior colleague in Deloitte, Be ‘IN’ it to ‘WIN’ it.
- Sundeep Patnaik, FT MBA 2012-13
Before going to UCD Smurfit Business School to pursue an MBA degree, I have heard a concern that if a person might be able to accumulate MBA knowledge by taking a few business classes, reading journals and business books on their own and interacting with experienced people, etc. Does it worth rather than getting the qualification from an accredited MBA program in terms of knowledge and ROI (Return on Investment)?
For six months here, I realize that what the MBA program taught me was not only business knowledge but chances for self-actualization, especially when I interacted with others. Thus, for the concern above, I would say that taking part in a well-designed program is worth value compared to other alternatives. Through a variety of personality tests and career coaching sessions, I had opportunities to understand what type of person I am, how I could improve myself and what kind of sector I should follow to. For instance, the game about 4 types of animals, including peacock, dolphin, owl and panther together with the psychometric test called SDI drew me an overview and well explanation about people’s characteristics. The Myers Briggs test (MBTI) gave me the concept of personality and cognitive styles through 16 categories. Although I did this test several years ago, only when I entered the MBA program, did join some teamwork activities, could I be fully aware of my mind, my thought and my weaknesses which I might never know if I were not here.
Beyond academic and business knowledge, as an international student from an Asian country, I have chance to jump out of my comfort zone to discover new things, including different styles of thinking of my classmates and the diversity from different cultures. For example, I was all the time confused about Muslim women when I see they always cover their faces and their bodies until the day I had chance to work with my intelligent and creative Muslim classmate from Malaysia. Gradually, I realize the hidden charm behind her hijab. In addition, my thought that all Muslim women are faint and frightened was gone when she invited me to an interesting party of Muslim people. I was impressed that every woman there was confident and warmhearted. That was the moment I realized the inner beauty of their religion and their souls although they are covered by the hijab.
Waiting for the International trip to Brazil and preparing for the 5 month left of the program, I hope that I can experience more interesting and new things. “Happiness is a journey, not a destination”. To me, an MBA is a kick-off for my future plan and my lifelong learning journey.
- Hue Pham, FT MBA 12/13
Spring is in the air and as thoughts turn towards Summer days and the Galway Races, the more forward-looking and future-focussed among you are looking even further again and asking yourselves “is this August the right time to start my MBA journey?” I was in that place exactly 12 months ago and as we steer towards the end of Semester 2 (and Year 1) I can happily announce to any prospective MBA candidates that there is light at the end of the tunnel!! Last August in our induction week, the MBA experience was quite accurately described as a “conveyor belt of work” and looking back this description was pretty much on the button. However, it’s important to realise you’re not the only person standing at that conveyor belt since you have your team-mates beside you for the most part and this makes the workload more than manageable. I had the added complication of commuting from Galway each week and this does make team-work a little more challenging since getting face-to-face time is limited to Friday mornings or Saturday afternoons. In addition, our company at the time was entering probably its busiest time as we were concluding a clinical trial in Germany so there were trips to Europe to add into the mix as well. But endless emails and conf calls every week usually keep things on track and there’s nothing like an imposing deadline to focus the mind!!! You don’t have to be Dublin-based to enjoy the full experience of MBA life at the Smurfit School.
The point of all of this for me is as follows. A misapprehension on my part before the MBA started was that it was just a continuation of what we did as undergrads, i.e. attend lectures, write reports and do presentations and (hopefully) regurgitate as much as possible at the end-of-semester exam. To a degree this is accurate but there is a much bigger picture around the whole MBA experience. Yes it’s about gaining knowledge in areas that are new to you, e.g. Supply Chain Management, Corporate Finance, Accounting, etc. but it’s about developing yourself even more so. But what exactly does this mean? It’s about understanding how you interact with others, why you react in a particular way when that imposing deadline is tomorrow and you’re still a million miles away from where you need to be, do you motivate your team or do you strike fear into them, how do you react when one of your team-mates is along for the ride? Are you able to handle the stress and pressure of juggling multiple priorities and deadlines whilst still maintaining perspective and some semblance of balance in your life? It’s about learning about yourself in scenarios that are typical of what you will inevitably face on a continual basis in your working lives but you perform this self-examination in a safe environment for 2 years before you cut lose again. It gives you an opportunity to ask hard questions of yourself and fix the things that you want to fix. Don’t assume that there is an expected right answer to these questions. The only right answer is the one that’s right for you. Ultimately you want to be a better motivator, a better manager and a better team-player because it’s just easier that way.
When you look to your right and see no end to that conveyor belt of work, if you’re a strong motivator and a strong team player it makes it so much more manageable when everyone wants to take a piece. As we say in Irish “ní neart go cur le chéile”, – strength in numbers folks!!
- Brendan Cunniffe, EMBA Weekend, 12-14
As the Smurfit Full Time Class of 2012 near the closing stages of the MBA programme, they get an opportunity to put into action all the new tools, theories and techniques that they have learned over the year with the Smurfit MBA Consulting Initiative.
It’s an opportunity for the students to go out implementing their new working styles, make contacts and apply their learning’s over an intensive seven week period before presenting their findings to the companies and Smurfit staff. In addressing the organisation’s business task, students immerse themselves into the business environment and develop a solution that is ready for implementation.
Armed with workshops in advance on management consulting skills, research methods, leadership, project management, presenting to boards and more, students have the opportunity to improve their analytical, problem solving and communication skills by developing a solution to a real problem faced by an organisation.
These projects are an exciting time not only for the students, but for the companies involved also. This year we were once again massively over-subscribed by companies looking to gain the insights of a team of MBA’s, with many unfortunately ending up disappointed.
The students on the other hand now have the opportunity to join some of the world’s leading names across the Technology, Life sciences, Financial Services, Digital Media, FMCG, Not-For-Profit, Aviation and Energy sectors. Companies such as SAP, Microsoft, GSK and many others are this week welcoming a team to assist in solving strategic problems in their organisations.
This year also sees an exciting partnership with the Walton School of Business in the United States whereby their students will collaborate with ours for an incredibly exciting global project for Henkel.
We wish the students well as they step back into working life over the coming weeks, I know they are relishing the opportunity to get their teeth into real strategic issues and an insight into what their future working lives will be as executives in organisations large and small.
- Brian Marrinan, MBA Careers