If you are dreaming of joining the MBA class of 2020, there are a number of things you should be doing now! Check-out my blog post on early MBA planning and see below to learn how you can beef up your professional experience.
Many applicants worry that they have not checked off necessary “boxes” on their resumes, preventing them from earning admission to the schools of their dreams. While I don’t generally advocate a job change within 6 months of applying (though there are exceptions), this doesn’t mean you can’t take some important steps now.
- Talk to your manager! It may seem simple, but many of us are afraid to be honest about our needs at work. While in some careers, you can be transparent now about your future MBA aspirations, in others you will likely keep it a secret a while longer. Either way, let your manager in on your long term goals and tell her what skills you hope to master. Many managers will be more than happy to find projects to help you close these gaps.
- Ask for extra work. Yes, I really said this! Now is the time to ask for extra projects. Look specifically for the ones that can give you missing experiences. Even if you have already let your manager know about the skills you are looking to perfect, don’t just rely on her to find ways to do this.
- Get involved at the office! Internal projects are a great way to beef up your leadership experience! Almost every company has an internal initiative it is looking for help with. So plan that next office off-site or set-up a training or speaker series. If nothing exists, create it yourself.
- Look for mentoring opportunities. If you haven’t had the chance to manage your own team, you can still begin to perfect this skill. Take a new hire or even an intern under your wings and show her the ropes! If you can be a formal mentor, great! But if such an opportunity does not exist, even an informal mentor relationship will supplement your leadership experience.