When you complete your MBA, you will no doubt feel a huge sense of accomplishment. Enjoy it - you earned it! After putting in the hard yards, you’ve finally achieved your goal. The next logical career move after the MBA is to use your qualification to get you where you want to go. There is a common misconception that the MBA is the golden ticket to your ideal job – it’s important to understand that this is not always the case, and like your MBA, you’ll have to earn your way there through hard work. That being said, the MBA will certainly put you in good standing for roles that you may have been overlooked for or overlooked yourself before your studies. Using the below tips, you can plan to effectively navigate your career after the MBA.
Consider your post-MBA job as the beginning of the journey
Many view their career after the MBA as the final destination, rather than a beginning of a journey. However, unless you are at a late stage in your career, chances are the first job you land post-MBA will not be the job you are in forever. Just like before your studies, you will need to continue to climb the ladder in order to identify and reach your dream role. That being said, you won’t be climbing the corporate ladder forever. No journey is simple, and it’s likely you will face challenges, but ultimately your calculated career decisions should lead you to your goal.
Set high yet achievable goals
Throughout the MBA, you will fine-tune your career direction and learn more about yourself, your strengths and where you’d like to end up long-term. When planning your career after the MBA, it’s important to set strong and practical goals for yourself. While I encourage you to reach for the stars, your goals should be achievable, otherwise you’ll be left feeling a little disappointed. It’s a good idea to map out what further experience you will need to reach your goal, or what the next logical step should be. We rarely get our dream job right away, however it is achievable with planning, experience and the right qualification in hand.
Find a mentor and learn from their wisdom
The MBA will have shown you that lifelong learning and a willingness to consider new ideas is essential for long-term success. Post-MBA, it is beneficial to find a mentor that you can relate to and who can provide you with relevant advice and guidance. Not sure where to begin? Put the question out to your networks and use the contacts that you made throughout the MBA to guide you. A mentor will help you identify your next steps after the MBA, and keep you on track towards your goals.
Don’t settle for a job you don’t want
When you take the first step in your career after the MBA, it’s important to take it for the right reasons. Consider whether the role is right for you and whether it will put you on track towards your goals. While we can never have too much experience, you want your first job post-MBA to at least put you on the path towards the direction of your desired destination. If you are unsure whether it is the right step for you, consult your mentor, a peer, or reach out to the AIB alumni network.
Be prepared to take risks
At times it will be necessary to take risks to build the career you want. This definitely does not mean taking risks for the sake of it, but taking calculated risks can pay off. You never know what opportunities can come from new ideas, so weigh up the risk factors and make your decision from there.
Read more: Taking a Career Risk
What do you think?
Do you have any other post-MBA navigation strategies to add to this list? I’d love to hear advice from other MBA graduates – if you could share your top tip, what would it be?
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB.