Look Before You Leap: How An MBA Can Fuel Your Career Change



A career change can be a daunting prospect, but an MBA can help you land one of the great MBA jobs out there.

By Michelle Miller

Career changes can be daunting, but can also be rewarding. There’s no law committing you to your career field for the rest of your life and if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, it’s probably time to make a change to one of the many other career paths out there. Jumping from one field to another can be overwhelming and difficult, but luckily, there are resources out there to help facilitate your transition. When your professional life hits a brick wall, an MBA may be the tool you need to dig your way through.

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Most MBA applicants are seeking a career change of some kind. The most obvious factor in an MBA’s appeal to individuals wishing for a career change is the knowledge it offers. It would be unwise to begin applying for jobs in a foreign frontier with only experience in your former occupation, even if it is somewhat related. An MBA will help you develop the skills, expertise and knowhow necessary to thrive on your new career path, while the time you’ve put into readying yourself will prove to potential employers that you’re serious about learning the ropes in future MBA jobs.

MBA Jobs And Networking

Career switchers are also drawn to the valuable networks embedded in MBA programs. It is wise to dedicate a fair portion of your time as an MBA student networking with students, professors and alumni. Forming bonds and acquainting yourself with both future and current players in your desired field may offer you the leg up you need to slide into a new career. Many business schools also help you with your networking by arranging trips to companies in your desired industry, during which you can learn about the business and MBA jobs on offer as well as interact with employees and make valuable contacts.

MBA Internship

Another aspect of the MBA that can help with your career swap is the MBA internship each student is expected to complete over his or her summer break. Most programs assist their students in finding intern positions by hosting recruiter events or reserving MBA internships with various companies. This often built-in feature of the MBA will provide you with the experience you need in your desired field as well as a chance for a possible career in the company once you’ve earned your MBA. Many companies give priority to their pool of former interns when hiring new employees, so making a good impression during your MBA internship can go a long way.

Learning the ins and outs of your new field is essential and business schools are filled with experts. Take advantage of the knowledge at your disposal and meet with professors and career counselors so you’re well prepared for the leap you’re about to take, and don’t encounter too many surprises once you land.

If you’re not sure which career to pursue but know you need a change, business school is the perfect place to discover which industry is right for you. Networking and discussions with career counselors and second-year students, as well as school programs aimed at acquainting students with various industries can help you narrow down your interests. Some schools, like Harvard Business School, offer online self assessments and group activities to assist incoming students in determining their career goals.

Although having an MBA will impress potential employers, it is important to remember that business school won’t do all the work for you. While you may have enjoyed higher positions and salaries in your former field, you may have to settle for less as a newbie. And though your summer MBA internships will offer you some of the experience employers are looking for, you’ll likely need to supplement that experience after graduation before landing your dream job. Career changes are difficult and they demand the same commitment, learning, hard work, networking and determination that is required for getting into and through a top MBA program. The good news is: practice makes perfect.

Michelle Miller is the CEO, Americas of ARINGO MBA Admissions Consulting, which has been helping professionals reach their goals for 12 years, making it one of the most experienced admissions consulting firms in the industry. ARINGO assists applicants in choosing the appropriate business school, developing an application strategy, and guiding them through writing a résumé, strong essays, and in selecting the recommenders who will best support their application.

Want to learn more about how an MBA can help you change career? Attend the QS World MBA Tour in Lagos, taking place at the Eko Hotel on Saturday May 7 at 2-6pm, to meet and discuss your options with some of the world’s top business schools.

To find out more and register for and attend the event, CLICK HERE
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