Networking is never overrated. But it is so often misunderstood, and so rarely taught! When you think of an MBA, you think of “Business” and “Management”, but “Networking” as a skill often gets left behind.
To help the QS-LEAP community master this crucial skill, we conducted a webinar with Global Executive Career Coach Mr. Martin Buckland, titled “What they don’t teach you at an MBA program”. A QnA was conducted at the end, in which Martin took up a vast plethora of questions. Here’s a complete round-up of the QnA. Sit back with your cup of coffee, and enjoy his insights on the crucial skill of networking!
Q: While you’ve shared what is it that is not taught at a B-school, can you help me understand what are the life-skills that are needed to thrive inside the extremely competitive Business School classroom?
What else you can do inside qs leap ?
A: Business Schools are looking for a combination of strong business acumen, various community involvement initiatives along with a diverse set of soft skills. Life skills that are require include ambition, determination, diligence and an aptitude for hard work, long hours and collaboration with multi-functional and multi-cultural professionals.
Q: What is the best way to network at MBA events or at networking galas that Business schools organize? How should I approach someone to network?
A: My philosophy on networking is to give before you receive; as an example of what I mean by that is, open up constructive dialogue and ask probing questions of the person in front of you, see if you can provide assistance or leads before you ask and provide your infomercial/ elevator speech. Be professional with your hand shake , smile and the delivery of a business card.
Q: How true is it that recruiting teams scan the social media profiles of candidates before offering a job? We have recently seen cases where people have lost their job offers because of erratic behaviour on Twitter. What are recruiters really scanning when they look at my social media profile on casual networks like Facebook/Twitter?
A: Every time you make an entry on any Social Media Platform you can be reviewed and assessed by a global audience. Yes it’s okay to be vigour’s and articulate on all SM platforms, however, always be sensitive to who may watching. These platforms enable you to market yourself as a subject matter expert and it also affords you the opportunity for some personal sharing. I am, in particular, acutely aware of my Brand but I also like to share my British sense of humour which impacts the overall impression that I leave. Yes, employers and executive do use social media as a screening tool to either count you out or count you in.
Q: What hacks can I follow to register a good impression in an online interview? In-person interviews are relatively easier to communicate with body-language, but with that advantage lacking in an online interview, I need help in understanding how to overcome that.
A: Prepare as if you were entering an in-person interview, dress accordingly. If you were sitting in a chair, we all tend to slump and lose interest at times so I would stand-up during the online interview as this pose gives you more impact so that the interviewer at the other end can detect energy and enthusiasm. Gesticulate as if you were in a real interview using your arms and other body movements. It’s a good idea to practice in front of your webcam using the record feature to see how you perform during play-back.
Q: For current B-School students, can you offer some tips to network w.r.t job search ? For instance, in schools which have One-year MBA programs, where more often than not, you don’t get to meet your senior batch in person. How do I work to build a relationship with them so that it does not come across as a transactional equation when I connect with them during the placements?
A: If you are in a business school program you have access to what I call “The Gold Book” which is the Alumni directory. More often than not previous candidates would be more than happy to discuss your career future and strategy and may be able to generate leads for you as you embark on a job search. You and the Alumni are part of a “club”, invariably all Alumni and candidates should be willing to share information and leads.
Q: How do I position myself as a Networker if my present position does not include a business card?
A: If I were you I would design my own personal business card listing all methods of communication including LinkedIn, Skype and WhatsApp numbers and addresses. On the reverse side clearly portray your Personal Brand.
Q: I’m looking at a second Master’s and I want to know what, from a networking perspective, will I find if I choose my second Master’s course to be an MBA?
A: An MBA has professionals drawn from multiple business functions, where, if I understand this question, your previous Masters was in a particular function, and you networked with peers with those same functional skills. An MBA definitely broadens the business network across multiple functions.
Q: Could you recommend a book/article which can provide more details on how to network effectively?
A: There are multiple blogs related to Networking on my various websites , just use the search engine on each site. go to www.aneliteresume.com, www.embacareercoach.net, www.martinbucklandspeaks.com, www.downsizewithdignity.com . Please feel free to make comments on any of these blogs and I will do my best to respond if required.
Q: If the people I’m meeting are experts in their field, how can I apply the rule, “give before you take”?
A: Give by listening intently to learn about the other, offer all you can, then eloquently and professionally share your career goals to solicit their input and ideas. As the conversation unfolds you may have more to share as well.
Q: How do I enter and exit a group discussion honorably without disturbing nor casting a negative impression/judgment on my audience?
A: Beware of your surroundings and how your peers in the group are also exiting the conversation and if applicable follow suit. Each situation is different but as an example you could exit politely by excusing yourself (you don’t have to say why), you should then exit with panache and if appropriate, thank all group participants for their time concluding with a handshake and smile.
Q: Where/How to find a mentor who would help me switch my career from audit and banking to communications. I live in a small town where I hardly can find such support.
With the advent of the internet today, there are plenty of on-line options for you to explore. I would suggest engaging a qualified Career Coach to provide their guidance and support in transitioning between the two functions. It is actually very rare for a Coach to conduct in-person sessions. You have my contact info through QS Leap, I would be happy to have a conversation with you as I work with clients in similar situations all across the world.
Q: In situations where you meet toxic people who are nevertheless great networking tools themselves (due to their influence), how do you manoeuvre and overcome the threats involved?
A: This is an interesting question, I personally won’t involve myself with a known toxic person as it has many ramifications either face-to-face or behind your back and in particular the interaction could damage my Personal Brand. There are plenty of other people who are willing to help you with a non-toxic attitude. If you meet this type while networking, thank them for their time and exit the conversation politely.
Q: Do you think studying MBA will improve networking?
A: Yes, the more people you meet, the more opportunities will open up for you to network with.
Q: How to differentiate between networking and flattering?
A: Networking is based on facts and sharing of business and academic information . Never use flattery that is insincere as this will damage your Brand. Insincere flattery can be detected by the falseness of or overemphasizing of the information given, either by the person you are speaking to or others in the group. This is not advised. Sincere flattery should be kept to a minimum, if at all.
Q: From a networking perspective, what kind of an e-signature is likely to make the most impact? Kindly recommend an example, if possible?
A: Keep it professional, make it resonating to all readers and add colour. I am very sensitive to my Branding, in-person and online, so I would suggest that you send me an email asking to see my e-signature.
And, that’s a wrap folks!
Lots of cool information for you to lap up! As Martin mentioned, he has worked with clients in varying professional situations across the world, and is highly experienced as a career expert, particularly for Senior Executives.
For those interested in getting in touch with him, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.aneliteresume.com