Picture this: You’re working at a Fortune 500 firm, three years removed from college. You’ve established a reputation and a track record. You’ve even earned a promotion. You have money, security, and friends. These are your best years. You’re young and free – and the whole world is ahead of you.
But something is missing. And you know this can’t last. Just look at your boss. He was once you – alive and fearless, full of ideas and possibilities. He probably dreamed of running a hedge fund or launching a firm. But his timing was off. And he settled as his commitments and expectations amassed. He doesn’t make a difference; he just makes sure the deadlines are met and the details are covered. Soon enough, that will be you.
There is a way out. But it requires you to leave it all behind. Some critics joke that a full-time MBA program is a costly two-year vacation. They claim that business students are lost or lazy. In reality, work means so much to these students. Like you, they just want it on their terms. That’s why thousands of professionals leave the fast track. Like Thoreau’s Walden, business school is a place to remove the clutter, to absorb, plan, contemplate, experiment, and execute. It is here where you – not circumstances – determine your future.
But how do you break into particular industries? Where should you focus your energy? And what do employers find attractive? Those are questions that are weighed by consultants like Ivan Kerbel, the founder of Practice MBA. A Wharton MBA, Kerbel has held leadership positions in the career offices of the Yale School of Management and the Wharton School. He has also worked in areas ranging from Fortune 500 to start-ups, along with consulting in the pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and insurance industries. In other words, he has seen and done it all. And he knows what it takes to find the right job for the right reasons.
In January, Kerbel joined the Poets&Quants staff to help readers with questions ranging from managing career transitions to landing internships. Wondering how you can stand out or find a role that can provide impact and meaning? Check out some of Kerbel’s strategies for increasing your odds for success below.
To send Ivan a question, click here. Also, our readers would love to hear your own advice and experiences. Feel free to share them in the comments below.