Kabhi khushi kabhi gham! That might be the best way to describe the roller-coaster ride you can expect if you are hoping to use your MBA to change careers. In the area of MBA jobs, before the euphoria comes a lot of pain. Here are a few basic principles to keep in mind to make the entire process a little less frustrating.
A career change could come in various shapes and forms. It could be an industry change: from IT to Strategy Consulting, from retail to investment banking, from manufacturing to real estate. Or it could be a role change: technical to functional transition. Or it could be a complete transition of industry AND role. In typical MBA style let’s lay out a 3 X 3 career transition model (we are tired of 2 X 2 matrices). So 3 questions to ask in 3 phases.
Choose the right post-MBA career
– What is it about the new field that excites you?
– What skills and capabilities do you consider as your strengths?
– How much do you know about the new role/industry and how can you fit in?
Choose the right MBA program
– What are the gaps that you are hoping to fill during your MBA program?
– Are there specific opportunities, courses or contacts that you can build or develop during your course?
– Have other alumni already done what you are trying to do or are you the lone ranger who’s all set to make history?
Choose the right tools and techniques to facilitate the transition
– What can you do before your MBA program starts to lay down the foundation?
– What can you do while the MBA course is still on?
– What can you do after the MBA course is over when you can focus completely on the job search?
Of course, a one-size-fits-all approach would never work here. So each of these questions is just the starting point. You can use these questions drill down further in each area and come up with a framework that fits your profile in the best possible manner. Both MG and I have managed a complete post-MBA career transition. So as always, if you get stuck along the way, give us a holler and we’d be glad to put you back on track.
Here’s a list of career options.
Also, read this related post: Fear and shame of career change.