Thursday, April 30, 2015

10 Things You Should Do Before Heading to Business School This Fall

This post was originally published on LinkedIn

Before you hit that pause button on your career and head to two years of business school this fall, there are a few things you might want to consider doing in the next few months to help you hit the ground running.

BYU MBA Tanner building lobby
Jaren Wilkey/BYU

Strengthen your network. Sometimes it’s easier to get meetings with people when you’re already gainfully employed. If you have any contacts at the companies you might want to pursue after business school, you might be better off reaching out now before you leave your current job.

Hold off on some purchases until you get your student discount. There are some steep student discounts on software, Adobe and Microsoft products in particular. You may even want to hold off on buying that new Macbook pro, since being a student is one of the only ways to get discounts on Apple computers.

Spruce up your online identity. Your online presence is going to be an important part of your recruiting, be mindful of your online brand. Take some time to clean up your social media profiles. Add a professional looking picture to LinkedIn and other social networks.

Get copies of past performance reviews. It’s amazing how quickly you can forget about even your own accomplishments. Past performance reviews will give you some great ideas on what to include on your resume, which will be getting quite the makeover in the next few months. Also, it’ll give you ideas of stories and experiences you can share in your upcoming job interviews.

Maximize benefits from your current job. Chances are that your current benefits are better than the student plan or private insurance you’ll have to buy during business school. Go to the dentist for a cleaning and get that last cavity filled. Get a physical to make sure you’re healthy. Lastly, if you wear contacts or glasses, use your full yearly allotment before you quit, to buy back ups.

Do a mini internship. If you’re planning on making a drastic career switch, doing an internship, even if it’s short or unpaid can help you be more marketable for your internship in between your first and second year. Look for an internship that is spot on with the experience you lack.

Prepare your finances. Depending on your situation you might want to speak to an expert, but in general you should think about moving money you know you will need over the next two years out of risky investments and into cash or very stable investment classes. You want that hard earned money to be there for you in a few months when it’s time to write that first tuition check, regardless of unexpected market swings.

Plan a vacation. There are not that many times in your life where you’ll have the ability to take off significant chunks of time for a vacation, penalty free! The few months right before business school is one of those times, plan accordingly.

Start exercising. Chances are you will not create an amazing health and exercise routine during business school without conscious effort. The counterpoint, if you build the habit prior to starting school it will be that much easier to build on it in school and for the rest of your life.

Build in reflection. Everyone has their own method, maybe writing, talking, reading, meditating, or 
listening. One of the advantages of business school is reflecting on both where you are and where you want to be. If you start the habit prior to beginning the program you will not only gain more from the program, you will probably find a more fulfilling and happier version of yourself.

The next two years will probably be some of the most memorable in your life, take the next few months to prepare to hit the ground running to help you find your dream job, have some fun and save some money.

A big thanks to Ben Faw for his help in writing this post.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

LinkedIn Summary Examples for MBA Students

I've been asked by several MBA students for advice on what to put in their LinkedIn summary. First, if you're thinking about your summary you're on the right track. There are a lot of different ways that you could tackle it, but I wanted to share three examples of profiles that I think have a great summary. As always, this is my personal opinion and not the opinion of LinkedIn.

Also, check out these two articles for more advice on how to write a great LinkedIn summary.

Three Steps To Writing The Perfect LinkedIn Summary
4 Tips for Writing a Compelling LinkedIn Summary

Check out Abby Stern's summary below. She's a a MBA student at Stanford. A quick read of her profile and you have a great sense of what she's passionate about. After her reading her summary it's very clear the sort of companies and roles she is interested in.

LinkedIn Summary Examples MBA students Stanford

Check out Joung Park's profile below.  He's an MBA student at UT. His summary is really tailored to his finance/consulting audience, it pulls out the highlights from his entire profile with plenty of data points to back it up. 

LinkedIn Summary Examples MBA students university of texas

Check out Tori Dumke's profile. She is a MBA student at BYU. She does a great job of telling her story. She moved from PR to technology marketing, but quickly connects the dots in her summary. In a lot of ways her summary is her elevator pitch. 

LinkedIn Summary Examples MBA students BYU

No matter what angle you take, the best way to improve your LinkedIn summary is to have a few people read it quickly, then tell you what they got out of it. This will help you know if what you'd like to convey to colleagues, recruiters and other professionals is coming through in your summary. If you'd like to learn more about how MBA students can improve their LinkedIn profiles, check out Advanced LinkedIn Tips For MBA Students.