– written by Vishnu Prasad Ramachandran: ISB class of 2014
So, you are bored with whatever you are doing currently. You think that it is a dead end job, with little hope for improvement. And then an idea pops in your head. You mull over it. You over analyze it. And then you decide: “I’m going to business school. I need that MBA degree to move ahead in my career.”
So, the prep, the exams, the essays and all the process takes a while. Finally…Finally, the coveted admit is yours. You are over the moon. A year of hard work, sleepless nights, and stress has paid off.
Now, you have a few months to get everything in order before you enter the hallowed grounds of your favorite business school. You have all these questions in your head now. You made the plan to go to b-school and now that it is a reality, you need another plan. Or, do you even need a plan? Can you be flexible? Maybe, just wing it? What is the right way to approach the few months that could make or break your career?
Start with the goal in mind:
As you have heard many times over, start with the goal in mind. What do you want to do with the MBA once you graduate? Have you thought about the roles you want to play (product manager, analytics expert, financier) post-MBA? That’s a starting point. But, do keep in mind other career paths that might be surprisingly interesting to you. (supply chain? retail analyst?) So keep these options as a black horse option that you might want to fall back on, if you decide during your MBA that what you started with isn’t really interesting enough.
Personality Development Plan:
At ISB, during the orientation week, I had to write and submit something called a personality development plan. I had to analyze what I was good at, what I wanted to develop during the 1 year both personally and professionally. I found myself pushing myself to do things that I would be uncomfortable with, which is something I wanted to do personally. I stood in an election to become a club president. Professionally, I took courses in finance – a career option I had no background in, but wanted to explore.
Step outside your comfort zone:
Had I not received advice from other alums, I would have stuck to a well-planned, quite rigid course plan, and wouldn’t have had the pleasure of attending some interesting courses. As much as I struggled with solving finance problems, the discussions I had with the professor and my classmates in the finance courses were the most interesting and eye opening. Or I wouldn’t have taken a course on how to be happy – a thing no type A MBA over achiever would want to state.
In closing, have an end goal in mind. Do accept that you need options. And, understand that there are multiple paths to achieving the goal you want to.
About the author:
Vishnu currently helps companies in the manufacturing space (in the US) rethink their business and design process as part of Cognizant’s Emerging business accelerator. He is available at the following pages: