Duke Fuqua | Mr. Military MedTech
GRE 310, GPA 3.48
Stanford GSB | Mr. Latino Healthcare
GRE 310, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Ms. Public School Teacher
GRE 325, GPA 3.93
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Aspiring Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.38
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Advisory Consultant
GRE 330, GPA 2.25
Kellogg | Mr. Equity To IB
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. Marketing Master
GRE 316, GPA 3.8
Darden | Ms. Marketing Analyst
GMAT 710, GPA 3.75
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
INSEAD | Mr. Tesla Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Hopeful
GMAT -, GPA 2.9
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Against All Odds
GMAT 720, GPA 2.9

Channeling Your Inner Networking Spirit

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Before we get to the test, let’s talk about why networking matters. You know it does, right? If you are reading this, you are a future (or current) business leader. You have big aims and lofty goals. You want to change the world. And if that’s the case, you know you aren’t going to do it alone.

Nothing happens in this world without collaboration, and the people you work with will have just as much (more?) impact on the quality of your life over the next, say, 30 years, as will the type of work you end up doing. Because let’s face it, even if you’re doing tasks you find enjoyable, working towards an outcome you find meaningful, if you hate your boss, you’re still going to have a miserable life.

Relationships really matter.

They are a key input into happiness and to opportunity. Check this out:

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What my highly scientific and statistically significant graph here is meant to symbolize is the fact that the more you advance, the more you depend on others. The more people you manage, the more people have to trust you to do that job well. As your salary and the downside risk of your failure grow, so does your need to be relationship savvy. People need to believe in you. They need to trust you. They need to like you.

So you would be a fool not to start right now building real relationships with the people around you: The people you work with, the people you do your MBA with, all the people you meet in the admissions and recruiting process (even if you don’t end up going to their school or working at their firm), and pretty much anyone you meet in a professional or pseudo—professional context.

Sidebar: A good friend of mine from B-school is an absolute ninja with the dating-professional bait and switch. She turns first dates into career-long corporate contacts. It’s an art unto itself. Whether you decide to try that particular strategy or not, there is no question you need to get great at relationships.

Relationships Start with a Meet Cute

Meet cute is the Hollywood term for that first scene when the romantic leads make eye contact. There have been many great ones in the history of cinema. And also probably in your life. People happen to be everywhere, so everywhere sets the stage for a possibly meaningful first encounter. But for an adult professional, the number one place your meet cutes will happen is at networking events. That’s why you go to them and will continue to do so for the rest of your life. Because they are the best way to create social churn and meet new people that you would otherwise not encounter in your day to day routine.

But we’re talking about actual relationships here. And that means that when you are trolling networking events, you’ll be best served with the right approach.

So let’s take the test and see what yours is.

Imagine you are at an MBA networking event. Maybe it’s a corporate sponsored event or the cocktail hour at a career fair. Jot down your answers to these two questions:

1. At this event, do you consider it your primary objective to find the people that can help your career and make a memorable impression on them?

2. Are you confident in your ability to talk about yourself professionally to important strangers?

Be honest, no one else will ever know your answers.