One of the most frequently asked questions of MBA aspirants as well as students is how to enhance your skills and create a strong profile for the business world. A B-school profile is not just about getting good grades, meeting deadlines for assignments and making catchy presentations, but it is more about intangible qualities. A good B-school offers its students ample opportunities to help them build their overall personality and skill set; however, there is so much you can still do.
Let’s start by a talking about the basic steps. Internship, for example, is one crucial factor in your MBA programme. Choosing the right internship can have significant impact on your profile. Doing an internship in your preferred industry and function is considered ideal. However, an internship is a small yet important duration for you as an employee. It tests your theoretical knowledge and ability to implement it in the practical world. It gives you an opportunity to explore your areas of interest even further. You can find out the lag in your skills and knowledge and ways to bridge the gap. A good internship profile grooms you for the upcoming placements. The objective of an internship is not purely academic; rather it is more professional. For a recruiter, it is not very important what you wrote in your SIP report, but what you did to achieve the goals and targets you were assigned with, they test your approach, problem solving, time management and many such other skills like how you are as a team player and your ability to take decisions. You should focus on learning and picking such qualities and finding out where you stand with such attributes. If you are a MBA student with previous work experience, it is good to have an additional focus on your people and project management skills during your internship. Keep interacting with your mentor and supervisor to understand the performance expectations, do your research about the profile and try being a contributing part towards the growth of the organization.
Another step towards building up an influential profile is to identify your strengths and weaknesses; your passion and abilities that you can follow, what hobby do you have? All these questions and its answers can encourage you to take your interests a step ahead. Are you a tennis player? Why not coordinate with the authorities to start a tennis coaching club at college. If you are a dancer, singer, likes gardening, loves to solve crossword puzzles, read or write or anything that you are good at, try to do something at an academic / organizational level that cultures your hobbies and interests, like starting a new online subscription magazine at your college or launching your own entrepreneurial venture. It is always a strong point to know the answer to the question, “what do you do for fun?” Make sure whatever you choose to do should be in mutual interest of your college.
Many students volunteer for some activities outside B-school. It could range from participating in any extracurricular activities, organizing events, helping in family or a start-up business or even doing community service. The key thing to keep in mind is, being a part of some leadership role instead of just volunteering for the sake of catching the eye of the recruiters. It is to be noted that being a leader does not always mean holding offices. It is more about creating impact and showing results. Bring in new initiatives, for example, arranging blood donation camps, organizing a fund raiser. Constantly create new learning curves for yourself and keep an eye out for organizational opportunities that need business skills. Try being a part of something exclusive by working on some project that might have some strategic importance for the management.
Among a plethora of activities important for a strong MBA profile, equally important is your intellectual/academic ability. Measure of your academic ability is usually done by assessing your GPA and other relevant qualifications like CPA or CFA. For students who do not hold high GPA scores, they can compensate by enrolling for some additional courses. There is a whole new world of online courses available for open learning. One such website offering online learning programs is coursera.com. You can enrol for a certificate course relevant to your MBA specialization like labour laws and relations, Banking and insurance, introduction to operations management etc. Such courses offer a perfect platform for candidates who want to enhance their profile. It gives you a chance to experience teaching lessons from professors across the globe through audio visual mode. They also help you analyze your interests and goals and even refine them.
You go to a B-school not just to learn the functional aspects of the business world, but also to get groomed for your upcoming professional life. And hence, it is required to not just have a strong IQ, but also a good EQ. The aspect of emotional quotient is about being multi dimensional. Be passionate about your chosen field. An emotional connect is equally important. Many of us join a course to merely acquire qualification, but by the end of it, we start facing dissatisfaction with our choice and instead get obsessed with something completely different. Having the right emotional quotient can make you successful, efficient and confident. Before choosing any field / specialization check with yourself if you have the necessary skills to be successful in that area, how would you like people to see you, and what you would really want. Be humble, modest and consider the ethical aspect of building a strong profile. It is not just what the recruiters want to see in you, it is about what you really are capable of showing.
Other than all these, it is important to stay in touch with your Alma matter. Keep interacting and communicating with your seniors, have them share their experiences during the MBA programme. Expand your network through them in the business world. Get clarity on the set of expectations from a MBA holder in terms of their intelligence and emotional quotient. Remember, you don’t have to tell everything about yourself. Focus on the key aspects of value about you. You might have an array of strong points from extracurricular to various leadership accomplishments. But you don’t want to overpopulate your profile with too much of competing information. Everyone is not the leading star but all of us have some traits and qualities as our strength. You should be aware of what is important in your profile and how you could extract it and sell it. Building a strong profile is not done overnight. It is an evolving process and activity.
Contributed by Isha Jajodia ( Class of 2010, IBS Gurgaon )