This post is a part of the Student Blogger series - each post is written by a current UCLA Anderson student, and provides first-hand perspectives and experiences about being an MBA student at UCLA Anderson.
Hi future B-school students!
With Anderson Tech Business Association's Internship Career Night happening a few weeks ago, I thought it would be a great idea to share my experiences, tips and tricks networking as a first year MBA at Anderson so far.
Some background on me:
I grew up in (the not so sunny) state of New Jersey, in a surprisingly rural town, but I always knew I belonged in a big city bursting with people and diverse perspectives! My love for the Big Apple led me to attend New York University and I received my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in History. I also had the amazing opportunity to spend six months studying in Prague, Czech Republic.
I then worked for over 3 years at the UK's Department for International Trade in the Creative, Media and Technology sectors. I worked directly with foreign investment and trade clients, promoting trade and investment from the USA and UK. I advised UK based firms on their feasibility of success in the USA market.
In a nutshell, my entire career has been spent selling and networking directly with clients. However in business school, the amount I have been networking has reached an all time high. Building your network is imperative to becoming a true business leader, and Anderson does a great job in providing almost too many opportunities to meet with the most impressive people!
Combining my six years of experience and the past 3 months at Anderson, here are my...
...Top 3 Tips for Networking as an MBA:
1) Network with EVERYONE!
For those who don't have much experience networking or find the idea of networking with executives a bit daunting, start by networking with people you already know. You may not realize just how amazing your current network of connections is. Canvas your LinkedIn, colleagues, family friends, even Facebook to find people who are doing interesting things. Send them a quick email and set up a quick coffee chat just to learn more about what they do.
Pro Tip: When you start your MBA, don't forget to speak to your new classmates - they are pretty amazing, as well!
2) Know your Stuff and Respect!
Everyone is busy and you only have one chance to make your first impression when you are networking. No matter the level, position or person, be respectful of the time they have donated to speak with you. If this is a meeting you have planned in advance, take the time to research the person and their company, and come up with thoughtful, specific questions that relate directly to them. I promise, you will make a much better impression if you put the effort in and are knowledgable.
Pro Tip: don't ask for a job and always send a thank you note within a day of speaking/meeting!
3) They are People Too and Be Yourself!
It can be scary and intimidating to reach out to and speak with people who are in very senior positions or have the potential to recommend you for your next job, but its so important to remember that they are people, too! They have families, friends, hobbies, interests, come from different places and backgrounds, just like you and me. Whenever I have worked with C-Level executives of Fortune 100 Companies or Government Officials, I always made a point to connect on a human level. Try to build a real relationship by connecting on your commonalities, not just for business. Small talk is important to gain glimpses into the personality of the person you're speaking to and it is the best way to start building this real relationship.
Pro Tip: don't be a robot, let your personality shine!
I hope you find my musings helpful and I can't wait to see you at Anderson next year!
P.S. My classmates and I visiting Netflix HQ a few weeks ago to network with Anderson Alumni and other executives.