In this weekly series, “MBA Career Advice,” our friends at MBA Career Coaches will be dispensing invaluable advice to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews.
If you are headed to business school this fall, your life is about to change in a big way. Right now you are surrounded by professional colleagues, mentors, and champions, people who have supported you throughout your career and have helped you get to where you are. You are embedded within the network of your company. Will those connections diminish while you are in business school? You are going to be very busy and it won’t be easy to keep in touch, no matter how well-intentioned you are. But, you have an opportunity to nurture these connections now so that they persist even after you are in a different city doing different work. This is important even if you plan to transition into a different industry in a different geography. The world is round; you never know which relationships will come back around to be important.
Before you leave, seek to establish meaningful contact with everyone you have known in your job to date so that the relationships you have built will last.
Make a list of all the people who fit into one of these categories:
- Supervisors, mentors, champions, and advocates
- Collaborators, peers, and colleagues
- Subordinates, people you managed
- Important clients and external service providers
- People you didn’t work with directly but who helped you out at some point
- People you wish you had gotten to know better
- Anyone else who comes to mind as someone you want to stay connected to
Give those people your personal email address and let them know how to reach you in the future. Connecting on LinkedIn is also a good idea. But these small steps are not enough. They won’t deepen the relationship. Real relationships require a personal touch.
So for the most important people on your list, schedule appointments to meet with each of them, preferably outside of the office. Why outside? Well, the professional aspect of your relationship is ending, and if you are going to keep the connection alive, you will have to create a personal connection. It will be harder to do so, if you are in a “strictly business,” setting. So, get them into a new environment.