This post was most recently updated on April 29th, 2019
One of the key opportunities of following an MBA program is networking. Women, however, don’t always go after their network like men do.
Seek a Coach
We women, when seeking a mentor, tend towards other women who we could be friends with, while the types of women we should be focused on are those with actionable career advice, or, who can be your coach.
Yes, we when we network we need to build relationships, but we must remember what we are trying to accomplish in our careers. That also means not excluding men. Yes, women will be more relatable, but men bring their own set of advantages, including other male managers they socialize with that women coworkers may not.
Related: New Trends for Women MBAs
Feel like if you ask for help, you are consuming someone’s precious time and all for your gain? Be sure to offer some assistance in return, which can be asking for their ideas- don’t we all love that?
Better than that – don’t ask for help – ask for their advice. Help implies commitment of time that they might not have. Asking for advice makes them feel important and you look smart for coming to the right person.
Attend the social events
I’m working full-time with 2 littles at home and managing my MBA coursework, so it feels guilt-inducing to ask my family for another night out for a school networking happy hour. The advice from the Dean was to take advantage when you can, so this month I am going to steal away for just a pocket of time to make the most of it. Since I don’t plan to be gone the whole evening, my family is understanding.
Reach out for informal coffee networking meetings
A lot of advise I’ve read usually involves putting yourself out there and asking for people’s time, even if it’s a half hour over lunch to make those connections. You never know when you will require their advice, or their links.
My personal experience with mentors in the past, is that the experience can quickly become the past. They’ve left my company and I no longer have that help. What that taught me is to expand my network, even though it feels awkward. I reached out to a recently promoted friend and coworker, to ask her advice about a fork in my career path. It solidified my decision and grew our relationship.
Especially because I work for a STEM firm, it is invaluable to me to see real female leaders succeeding at the top in Tech. And, it has proven to be bountiful to the org’s bottom line.
So get out there this week and make a point to add to your network! Tell me about it here by dropping a comment below!