Making the Most of Your Pre-MBA Summer

In this new blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news 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. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

As you prepare to start your MBA program, we at mbaMission wanted to share our advice about how to arrive on campus ready for recruiting.   

This summer, consider doing the following:

  • Figure out what you want. What is your career vision? What industry, function, and corporate culture appeal to you? What motivates you? What skills/experiences do you bring to an employer? What are your Plan A and Plan B? For more guidance, check out some of our previous blogs on setting a career vision and assessing your career goals.
  • Research and identify potential target firms. Understand the skills and experiences desired for your target industries or functions. Check out our free Career Primers. Identify six to ten target companies in your industry of interest. Talk to people in your network who work in your target areas. Read industry publications.
  • Think about your story. How can you talk about your interest in a specific industry or function in a compelling way? What personal or professional experiences have made you want to pursue your target role? Know which of your previous experiences will be most compelling to your target audience. Are there any gaps in your candidacy?
  • Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Find out if your school has a required resume template, and if so, put your resume into that format. Update your LinkedIn profile to indicate you will soon be an MBA student. In addition, update your network about your plans to return to school.
  • Save any documents you used when writing business school applications; you will need them later. Articulating your career goals and identifying stories to tell in behavior-based interviews will help you when networking and interviewing for internships.
  • Relax, travel, or spend time with family and friends. You are about to embark on an intense experience. A lot of amazing academic, extracurricular, and recruiting opportunities will be waiting for you on campus; be rested so you can take advantage of them.

But do not worry if you are not 100% certain about your goals, your target firms, or your story before arriving on campus. That said, the more self-assessment and industry research you do beforehand, the more efficient you will be with your time, and the more you can leverage your school’s resources.

Once you are on campus, we suggest doing the following:

  • Get to know the career office. Pay attention to any and all communications from your school’s career management office, and attend any introductory sessions it offers. Understand the recruiting process (e.g., timing, source of offers) for your target roles and the resources available to you.
  • Join relevant professional clubs. This is a great way to learn more about your target industries, meet second-year students who just completed their internships, and engage with employers.  
  • Talk with your classmates. Your peers have had robust and impressive careers before arriving at business school. They are happy to share their experiences.
  • Learn about extracurricular activities. In addition to participating in professional clubs that align with your career interests, check out other ways you can build skills and demonstrate leadership.
  • Build a job search plan. Using the information gathered from the career office and your peers, write down weekly goals for your job search and set aside time to achieve those goals. Hold yourself accountable.

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!

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