How to better utilize two years of MBA.

Whenever I remember good old days of college, moments of fun with friends & craziness flash in my mind and bring a broad smile on my face. Whenever I talk about my college days, I always say that, ”two years that I had spent in IBS, Gurgaon were the best years of my life!”

Undoubtedly building wonderful memories and having fun is an integral part of college life and perhaps the most important but there is more to it. Now reading this you would say, oh no don’t want another session of ‘Gyan’ we already get that a lot. But having spent 6 years in corporate world and working with some big companies of world, I would like to share with you my opinion on what you should certainly do in two years of MBA. Something which would help you in making a strong foundation of your career.

wellbegunishalfdone

You must have heard the saying, “Well begun is half done” that certainly holds true. If you lay the correct career base while studying in MBA and give yourself correct professional direction, you are half way through.

Talking about how to begin, then the first and perhaps most difficult step is to know, doing what work you actually enjoy and work doesn’t seem work. It can be anything, cooking, driving; reading books, painting, programming, travelling and the list is endless. People who don’t treat their work as work and while they are in office it feels like they are enjoying and have fun are the people who have made correct career choice.

When you discover this and decide to make your career in it, let me assure you that no one can stop you from achieving all your career goals and aspirations.

Now the big point is how will you do it, then I would say it should ideally start from your last few years of school life, however in case you haven’t it’s not at all late even if you work on it while in college.

While in MBA you are studying different subjects, keep a note on which subject’s lectures you enjoy the most or working on its presentations and assignments you don’t get bored, infact enjoy doing it! Which subject actually makes sense to you, whether it’s financial management, customer behavior, services management, Human resources, Operations management or something else. It’s you and only you who knows it and needs to decide about what you love reading and would like to know even moreabout it. If you like reading Bollywood Gossip, you know what you can make a career in it and trust me the money would also be good.

Don’t take decisions which are influenced by a friend’s choice of career or a relative’s suggestions. Don’t try to make a career in a field about which you have heard money is good or there are several jobs being offered. If you do some work just for the love of it, you would certainly make good money and would also get rich experience above all.

Having said this, say you have found out what you thoroughly enjoy doing and believe that pursuing a career in it would be a wise choice, bang on! You have taken a big leap in your professional life.

You achieved first thing you should certainly do while you are in MBA College. Now the second step is be informed about the career you have chosen, read as much as you can about it. You have internet, you have college’s library collection, utilize them. Read case studies of your field. Know about the companies in the field you have chosen, in case you would like to go for a job in future. Know as much as you can about the job openings there. Know about the cultures of these companies, career growth, senior management, past journey and future growth.

Known personalities like Indira Nooyi, CEO Pepsi-Co and Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebookare few of very successful people who hold MBA degree and have made a remarkable career working with some of the biggest companies of the world. They in spite of being married women with kids are successfully running large organizations which showcase their passion, focus and dedication.

In case you don’t want to go for a job and would like to start your own venture then read about entrepreneurs in your field. Read about their success stories, their struggle and how they managed to be what they are today. Huge companies like Google & Apple started from garages of house and now the world knows what they are.

One book would like to recommend you on success stories of Indian entrepreneurs is ‘Connect the Dots’ by Rashmi Bansal.It’s an awesome book and tells you how some of impressive Indian Companies were built.

However while you are focused on what your career choice is also be informed about other subjects a well, never keep them in backburner. Once you enter corporate world you would notice, you need to be master of one but also jack of many. Say if you are in marketing role, you need to have a sense of all fields like operations, finance, HR. If you do not have it then you would not have a three sixty degree vision and would not be able to drive the work in best way. Here however I would like to emphasize that overall brief idea is what is required you need not spend hours reading about these but yes what you can do is be attentive in lectures and listen to what your lecturer is telling you, also at least go through the curriculum books with all dedication.

Having said this, spending lots and lots of time in a field(professional) is also very important. In a bestseller book ‘Outliers’ by the very famous and renowned author Malcolm Gladwell it is mentioned that in order to be expert in any field you need to spend atleast 10,000 hours working on it. It holds true in case of every person without exception.

Even people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg who had built huge companies in a very early stage of their life managed to do it because they started working on it when they were very young.

Here I would like to refer my first point, that they probably explored their passion at a very early stage and by the time they started their career they were already an expert in the field because they had spent hours reading working in which they want to make their career and the rest as we all know is history.

Contributed by  Arpita Seth (Class of 2010,IBS Gurgaon)

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