Part 2 of my MBA series: The topic that excites a few and scares most of us – Networking

Human-centered networking and communication

You need a networking backlog

Remember that before, during, and after your MBA, LinkedIn is going to be your best friend! By this point in your journey, you should have a rough list of schools, some dream companies you’d love to work at and some roles you’d be interested in. Based on these three things, you’ll be able to find many people on LinkedIn who could help answer questions and help you shape your application better. These people will be a part of your networking backlog – a list of all the individuals you can contact for information, advice and potentially a job. Use the backlog strategically.

Nudge yourself out of the inertia

One of my biggest challenges was cold messaging people when I began networking, mainly due to the fear of rejection. Remember, people may or may not respond to you, and that is not a reflection of you but rather a function of their mood, time and current circumstances. Just send that first message and keep practising; in time, you’ll become a pro at it!

Framework for cold messaging: Repeatable structures, bespoke messaging

Remember to empathise with the person you’re reaching out to. They might get 20 LinkedIn invites and messages from MBA candidates, students and job-seekers. It’s important they understand why you’re different. You need to customise your introductory message to quickly catch the recipient’s attention and show them you’ve done your research and won’t waste their time. While personalising a message for every person can be challenging, you can create a template and add some personal touches based on the recipient’s journey and your shared interests. It’s important to keep iterating on your message until you find what works best. Remember, being thoughtful and authentic in your outreach can make all the difference!

Everyone you speak to during the application or the MBA will harp on about ‘Networking’. As much as we expect our work and merit to speak for ourselves, the reality is that networking can genuinely make or break your experience, so getting smart about it early on is a great way to get a head start on your journey.

In my final feature, in this series, I will discuss some post-MBA career-related insights.

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