Scott Edinburgh
January 6, 2021

MBA Planning Week 1: Make Your Career Work Harder For You

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Eat healthier. Exercise more. Get organized.

These may be some of the new year’s resolutions you had in mind. But for those of you hoping to apply to business school in 2021, add MBA application planning to this list.

To give you a head start and keep you on track in the new year, Personal MBA Coach would like to share our 4-part MBA Planning series this January.

Check out part 1: Make Your Career Work Harder for You!

Without changing jobs, there are some steps you can and should be taking now to ensure that when you sit down to draft your MBA essays and prepare for your interviews you have plenty to talk about.

1) Be honest about your desires.

That may seem simple, but many of us are afraid to be straightforward about our ambitions at work. Whether or not you can be transparent now about your MBA aspirations, let your manager in on your long-term goals. Tell them what skills you hope to master. If there is an experience at work you want to have, ask for it.

Many managers will be more than happy to find projects to help you close existing gaps or develop new expertise.

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2) Take on extra work.

Yes, we really said this. Now is the time to ask for extra projects. Look specifically for the ones that can fill experience gaps. Even if you have already let your manager know about the skills you are looking to perfect, do not rely only on them to find assignments that fit your needs.

In an ideal world, you would work just on your dream projects, but we know that is not possible. By identifying your own additional projects, you will get more chances to build the skills you desire. There is no better time of year to put in longer hours than during these cold, dark, snowy months (for those in winter climates) or temperate days (for those lucky enough to live in California or a warm climate).

3) Get involved at the office.

Internal projects are a great way to beef up your leadership experience, and almost every company has an internal initiative that requires help. Offer to plan the next virtual team-building activity, set up a training or speaker series, or lead recruiting efforts. If nothing exists, create it yourself. Starting a new program at work will score you bonus points with your colleagues and give you plenty to share with admissions committees on your applications.

4) Look for mentoring opportunities.

Even if you have not had the chance to manage your own team, you can still begin to perfect your management skills. Take a new hire or even an intern under your wing and show them the ropes. If you can be a formal mentor, great! But if such an opportunity does not exist, an informal mentor relationship still supplements your leadership experience.

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5) Get your own mentor.

Find someone you admire or connect with at work and invite them to a virtual coffee or happy hour call. Ask about their career. See if they are willing to give you general career guidance.

At this stage, you do not want to ask for anything specific. Instead, start to build a relationship. Over time, you might be lucky enough to develop an office champion or a future recommender. Regardless, getting advice from someone more senior can always help.

Need help with your MBA applications? No matter what stage of the process you are in, Personal MBA Coach is willing to be your guide.

About Personal MBA Coach:

Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach is consistently ranked #1 or #2, currently holding the #2 ranking on Poets&Quants.

We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing and mock interviews. Our team includes a former M7 admissions director and former M7 admissions interviewers.

Last year, our clients earned more than $6M in scholarships!

You also may like these other blog articles:

Less Is More When It Comes to Writing Compelling MBA Application Essays

How to Ensure Your MBA Letters of Recommendation Shine

How to Maximize Your Chance for an MBA Scholarship