Smart Networking: Schmoozing Your Way to Success
“It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
Talk about a worn out cliché! But it’s a cliché for a reason: It’s a truth that we experience over-and-over during our careers. To quote a show tune: “It’s not about aptitude, it’s the way you’re viewed.”
And can you really blame would-be bosses or stakeholders for favoring certain people? We all do it. We naturally gravitate to the people who are like us, who make us feel smart and confident. In a word, we crave re-assurance, to know someone is watching out for our best interests.
That’s the real irony of an MBA curriculum. Like an iceberg, the real lessons are below the surface. They’re found in your everyday interactions, in how you present yourself and build relationships. If there’s any key lesson, it’s this: “You can’t do it alone. In the end, your success is based on the goodwill and trust of others.”
“Business is networking.” That’s the mantra of a recent piece appearing in Brazen Careerist. Authored by Catherine Alford, a full-time blogger for Budget Blonde, outlines five steps on how MBAs can strengthen their networking prowess.
First, Alford encourages MBAs to start building their network long before school starts. “Join Facebook groups for your class and get to know your classmates,” she writes. “Find ways to interact with people — whether it’s because you have the same last name, attended the same undergrad program or even share the same obsession with poodles.”
She also warns that networking doesn’t just include talking about school.”…keep in mind that networking is about people. The more you enjoy talking to people in your network and begin to build real, lasting relationships, the more networking will begin to feel easy and natural.” And ‘genuine’ relationships are key in Alford’s view. As she notes, ‘you never know who will be successful in the future. Some of the worst students make genius business owners.”
Even more, Alford stresses that it is the quality, not quantity, of connections that really matters. “Meeting as many people as possible can actually be a mistake,” she writes. “It’s better to pour your time and resources into developing a few key relationships than 50 that are less meaningful or shallow.” At the same time, she reminds readers to reach out to people who may not seem valuable to your career at first. For example, she cites support university professionals and alumni. “[They] are…among the first to hear about internships, jobs and volunteer opportunities. Be kind to every single person you come across because you never know where the relationship will lead.”
Finally, Alford reminds MBA students not to flock to peers who share their interest. “If you only spend time getting to know those in the finance niche,” she writes, “you’ll miss out on finding marketing talent or ideas when you really need them.”
DON’T MISS: The True Worth of a Kellogg MBA: Networking
Source: Brazen Careerist