If you are an MBA student or an aspirant, I bet that one of your pursuits is to get that ‘dream job’ of yours. Like all of your peers at your B-school, you want that best job after MBA, your dream job after MBA.
But, I know, you are still unsure what that ‘dream job’ is for you. And it’s likely that you still don’t have the clarity about what is the ideal job after MBA for you.
I can totally understand that. And let me tell you, it’s absolutely okay for you to have that confusion.
Today, my objective is to help you with what I have known to be the best way to figure out your dream job after an MBA. Over the last almost a decade of experience helping MBA students and professionals like you with their career outcomes, I have developed my own methods and frameworks as well.
I have packaged that special method of mine to figure out what your ideal job should be in my course, Career GTM for MBAs. However, I will tell you more about it later.
Before I tell you the exact steps that you need to follow for you to choose a career post-MBA, let me tell you this.
If you are someone who is confused about how to choose a career post-MBA, then trust me you are far ahead of most people out there in the same race. And here’s why I say that.
Confused about your dream job after MBA? That’s good!
This would sound extremely counterintuitive to you. I know. You would be wondering how could that be.
That friend of mine is already doing, like, ten different courses in ten different domains.
He has already completed eight of them, and he surely possesses more knowledge and skills than I can ever possess in the next 6 months!
So, how is it that my confusion is good?
And how is it that you are most likely far ahead of not only that friend who seems to be doing everything but also far ahead of most others in your B-school or around you?
The answer is simple if you understand the psychology of how groupthink works at B-schools and in society in general.
Usually, we as B-school students, chase the job that everyone else is also ‘dreaming’ of. We chase the job that is the most sought-after.
Right when you read that, probably, some of the careers that would have come to your mind would have been:
- A consulting job at an MBB firm
- A product management job at a funded startup
- A general management job at Tata Administrative Services (TAS)
- A brand management job at one of those FMCG giants in India
- A private equity or investment banking job at that niche firm…
I know, I know. These are the usual ‘dream’ jobs.
But, be careful. Here’s where the trap is.
Most MBA students have borrowed goals. This means that it is highly likely that your goals are not your own goals, but they are what your best friend’s goals are or what your MBA batch’s goals are.
And because everyone is aspiring for ‘that’ particular job role, it almost becomes fashionable to dream and aspire for the same job role. No reason. Just because.
So that means, you don’t know whether that job role or that career is a good fit for you or not, but you have been hardwired by society (or actually you have hardwired yourself) to chase that job role because…well, that’s what everyone wants.
That’s why, it has got to be the best thing out there.
Therefore, if you are someone who has risen above the following:
- Chasing that dream job that everyone else is chasing
- Mindlessly learning a new skill only because that’s hot in the market
- Blindly following the same strategies that your best friend is following…
…then clearly, you are much ahead of most of the others who are soon likely to reach a dead-end, most likely going to burnout chasing something that doesn’t suit them in the long run.
Therefore, your confusion about what your dream job after MBA should be is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you are figuring out what suits you the best and you won’t shy away from taking some time and guidance to plan it out properly.
Most MBA students and professionals who enroll for the Career GTM course have this quality in common, they want to spend a few hours under my guidance and really plan things well.
5 steps to figure out your dream after the MBA
Life’s already tough for you and I really want to make it simpler. Frankly, finalizing your ideal job or career after MBA is easier than you think. That’s because all it takes is for you to follow a streamlined approach.
Sure, most likely your gut already knows what your dream career is.
A faint voice within you always tells you “Hey, this is what you genuinely want to do, and not that…”. But, in most cases, we suppress that voice. Again, that’s because we have bigger distractions and shiny objects that surround us in our everyday. And they totally influence our decisions.
Therefore, in my over last almost a decade of experience in helping MBA students with their careers at Career Launcher, I recently developed these 5 steps that are almost guaranteed to give you an answer.
For my detailed course Career GTM, I also prepared a workbook which I give out to all of my students when they are figuring out their dream careers early on. I am also linking you to the same workbook. Don’t forget to download it and use it.
The first few pages/sections are dedicated to finding out your dream career and the steps below will guide you in doing so with my workbook.
Trust me, there’s absolutely no way you won’t find your ideal job should you follow these steps properly. And frankly, you must get done with it today itself.
So, let’s begin.
Step 1 – Look within for your natural strengths
In Finance, there’s a concept of Compounding. In the case of money, compounding is earning interest on interest, making your money grow faster over time. To understand it in a really simple sense, compounding is like a snowball getting bigger as it rolls downhill.
This means that there is already something of something, and as time goes by, as the more of that something accumulates together, the more powerful and mighty it becomes.
Frankly, the same applies to your experience, work experience.
Here’s the thing, if you are in your MBA, i.e. your post-grad, you have had enough years, and experiences behind you for you to have developed certain strengths, interests, or knowledge and skills that are valuable for the industry.
You need to discover what it is.
How do you do it? So, whenever an MBA student or business professional joins my course, the first thing that they do is fill up the ‘Life Autobiography’ section of the workbook.
The idea is to take an hour or two and write down your detailed life story from your school days till today in neatly defined headings. Just write. Including all the finer details about you that you think are irrelevant.
I have shared a sample that if I were to fill up my workbook as an MBA student at IIM Udaipur, then what would I have filled?
You’d be surprised how seemingly irrelevant things are extremely defining for you. For example, in my case some of the details that really shaped and supported my choice of starting Creadom were:
- I started building websites for myself when I was in class 7
- I worked 2 years at an education company before my MBA
- I had a knack for good user-experience design before my MBA
- I made great PPTs even before the MBA
- I could really understand the different careers because of my work experience.
Again, there is a slight chance that this exercise might look an overkill and a waste of time. Let me tell you it’s not.
You do it once and you get the clarity of a lifetime. Especially, if you are someone who thinks you don’t have any strengths then this is definitely for you.
Or, even if you are someone who is genuinely self-confident and self-aware at all times, putting together things on paper gives great perspective.
The point is, that this is a non-negotiable.
That’s because the fastest way to grow in your career is when you use the concept of compounding. That is, build upon what you already have.
Do this in your workbook, and let’s move to the next one.
Step 2 – Visualize your dream life after MBA
Let me tell you that step 2 single-handedly stops you from committing a cardinal sin in your career decision-making.
Here’s what’s wrong with how you usually make a career choice. You ignore your life.
When you are in your B-school or even if you are outside finding a job, you start to envision your dream job in isolation.
This means you only look at maximizing favorable factors and minimizing the unfavorable ones.
What are they?
The best salary, the most sought-after brand, that international location…we’ve talked about this before.
But here’s what you need to remember. You work to live and not live to work.
Which means that there’s a life that you’re living and you’ll continue to live.
And because right now you’re in your B-school and the emotions are heightened, you must not forget that your job needs to fit into the kind of life you want to live. And not the other way around.
When you begin to think of your job or career only as a part of your life (though a significant one), you make better, long-term choices that you’re going to be happy with because that career serves your larger purpose of living the kind of life you want to live.
Quick example of it.
I had worked for about two years at an education company. Moreover, thanks to that I had a general understanding of various job roles after my MBA.
Now, when I reflect back on my life I realize that I have been a really creative person since my school days. Always working on some side projects. The most important of these insights was what I wanted from my life in the future.
I wanted to lead a life of freedom and purpose. I wanted to not be bound by a 9-5 job (which actually becomes a 9-9 after MBA). My previous work experience was extremely intrapreneurial in nature and I wanted to feel that freedom.
And obviously, since my expertise and specific knowledge were in the field of education and EdTech, that is where I wanted to continue so that my specific knowledge could snowball and add up.
It’s because of these insights I decided to drop my high-paying post-MBA job and work on my entrepreneurial dream. Obviously, the fact that I started working on it during my MBA itself helped me get an early kickstart.
This is all of that what I also now teach in my course Career GTM for MBAs.
The fact is, if it looks streamlined for other people around you, it is either because of deliberate attempts that they made including some great self-introspection or it is through plain and simple luck.
Don’t depend so much on luck.
Do the work to discover your dream life, and spend the time writing this autobiography in the Career GTM workbook.
Step 3 – Understand your own work and career philosophy
Now when you have a better clarity of what your life has been, who you genuinely are, and what you value, write down your work philosophy.
Think and write in abstract terms. What do work and career mean to you?
What this does is that it lays out all the criteria that you have regarding your career. And when you do this exercise, it helps you align your work philosophy with your life philosophy as well.
For example, for you, work could be doing something that is fulfilling and satisfying. That could be the first thing that comes to your mind. And therefore that is your greatest value with respect to what kind of a job you want.
Most people don’t introspect. Therefore, because they haven’t done the work on themselves, they get attracted to whatever seemingly great and attractive job that comes their way (the Shiny Object syndrome).
Therefore, if you truly want to build a great career post-MBA, that will happen when you stick to it for long enough. And for you to stick in that career for long enough, you need to be as sure about it as you can be right from the start.
You don’t want to find yourself thinking about switching your job right just a few months into the job.
Step 4 – Ask, interview the community, and analyze the different careers
Now after you have done the three steps above you actually get to a point where you must start seeking advice from outside.
It could be that you may not have a lot of clarity about what it is to be in a particular career or in a particular job. And it’s okay.
In such a circumstance the usual advice of doing more internships and projects becomes extremely impractical. Assuming you intern somewhere for 8 weeks, you will need to spend a good 6-8 months going through multiple internships just to know what it is like being in that job role.
Moreover, internships never give you real job role experience. And if it is an online internship, then good luck to you ever finding what working in that job role is like. That’s because you never got to experience that office and see the people’s work.
What you should do is something simpler and more straightforward.
Ask and interview people.
Go to, say, LinkedIn and find the people who are already working in the industry and in the job roles in those companies where you aspire to be at.
Connect with them. And talk about it.
Let me tell you that if you are a student then this becomes easy for you. You need to leverage the fact that you are a ‘harmless’ student who is not messaging the person just for a job referral. You are messaging them for guidance.
And trust me, people love to talk and share their guidance. You will seldom find someone not being helpful to you.
Therefore, connect with them, seek mentorship, and ask about their work.
Don’t worry about the exact questions to ask. Though I will do a separate blog post on it maybe but that’s not important.
Have a hearty conversation about them. About their work. And do share what your thoughts and impressions are about their job so that they can clarify if that is correct or not.
Step 5 – Follow the concept of Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP)
I would really want you to be attentive here to understand this. It will not only help you finalize the job role/career after your MBA but it will also help you become a unique candidate for it.
Have you heard about Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning? Which is also referred to as STP.
If you are a business or marketing student, you know that STP is a foundational concept in marketing. But, have you ever thought about applying it to your personal career strategy? Let’s break it down. Do this exercise with me on your Career GTM workbook and it will be much easier for you,
Segmentation: In marketing, this refers to dividing a broad market into subsets of consumers with similar needs and characteristics. For your career, think of the job market as a whole and segment it based on industries, roles, or even company cultures that align with your interests and strengths.
This is important because you need to be able to compartmentalize the different job opportunities that are available. Only then you will be able to apply your criteria and pick the buckets that suit you.
So, say if you are an MBA student at a B-school, get hold of all the job descriptions from the past few years, of the companies that visited your campus.
Targeting: Once you’ve segmented the market, you choose which segments are most aligned with your goals. Similarly, from the job segments you’ve identified, target the ones that resonate most with your personal and professional aspirations.
This is where deep research and networking come into play, which I mentioned in the above steps. Understand the nuances of each segment to make an informed decision.
You would realize that because you have categorized the jobs into various segments, you have made it simpler for you to apply criteria and select the segments you want to go for.
Positioning: In the business world, positioning is about ensuring a brand occupies a distinct position, relative to competing brands, in the mind of the customer. For your career, it’s about differentiating yourself from other MBA graduates.
What unique experiences, skills, or perspectives do you bring to the table? How can you position yourself as the ideal candidate for your targeted job segment?
Frankly, why do my students and I think that STP for your career is one of the most important concepts that I teach in my course Career GTM is that it completely changes the perspective? You start to realize that you need to position yourself as an expert rather than just as another job seeker.
I will close this discussion quickly with an example to bring home the point.
Suppose, I discover that the segment of jobs that I want to target is the Marketing segment. The sub-segment is Digital Marketing (however, that won’t make much sense because all marketing has some digital aspect to it, so..).
Further, suppose I select that in terms of the industries, I would want to target the education companies and build a career there. That is another segment out of the 20 different segments (or types of companies/industries) that I could have selected.
Now, basis my research I have discovered which skills the companies require (hint: look at the job descriptions). I find that they want more organic marketing and social media marketing experts.
Therefore, I make my positioning statement to be “Darpan is a marketing expert specializing in organic marketing and customer acquisition for education companies”.
Now this statement clearly defines my positioning. Not just that, it also gives me, as a student, a north star to work towards so that each day I can make this statement come true.
By applying the STP framework to your job search, you’re not just passively looking for job openings. You’re actively strategizing and positioning yourself in the best possible way. This proactive approach not only increases your chances of finding a job that’s a perfect fit for you but also sets you apart from the competition.
Remember, in today’s competitive job market, it’s not just about having the right qualifications but also about presenting them in the most compelling way. And using STP can be your secret weapon in this endeavor.
Choosing the right job after your MBA can feel overwhelming. But remember, it’s all about understanding yourself and where you fit best. We’ve talked about introspection, knowing your strengths, and using the STP method to narrow down your choices. It’s like marketing, but you’re marketing yourself to the right job!
Your career isn’t just about a paycheck. It’s about finding a job that feels right, where you can use your skills and grow. So, take a moment, think about what we discussed, and make a plan that suits you.
If you found this guide helpful and are keen on diving deeper into strategies that can elevate your career trajectory, consider joining my course, Career GTM for MBAs. It’s designed to equip MBA students and professionals with the tools and insights they need to achieve their career aspirations.
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