As you consider embarking on an MBA Program at HBS or elsewhere, it is important to become familiar with the resources that will be beneficial to a successful job search. Even before you get access to the plethora of resources available on campus, you can spend time focusing on the assets available to you right now that will most likely play a key role in your job search. A few to consider are as follows:

1. Focus on Building and Renewing Relationships

When you arrive at HBS you will soon realize the very important role that your classmates, professors, and alumni will play in your job search. But what about those already in your network? Do they know that you are going to get your MBA? Have you talked with classmates from college, current and former colleagues, as well as childhood friends and acquaintances about your plans? Have you shared your plans with former professors, mentors, and bosses? 

Broadening and solidifying your existing personal and professional relationships will be very beneficial to your job search, whatever path you choose. In fact, approximately 20% of the HBS MBA Class of 2015 reported to HBS Career & Professional Development that they sourced their full-time jobs from a family member, friend, associate referral, or a previous employer. Using tools like LinkedIn to reconnect and stay in touch with these contacts is a great step to take prior to arriving at HBS.

2.  Prepare to Work with a Career Coach

Most MBA Programs - HBS included - have a very robust career coaching program that allows you to work 1-on-1 with a trained career coach throughout your job search and beyond. Over 90% of students meet with a career coach during their time at HBS.  

For some, this is a level of support and personal engagement that they’ve never experienced before. Others have worked with coaches or had other similar support structures in place in college or through their previous employer. Regardless of your past experience, becoming familiar with this resource and preparing for the conversations you’ll have with a coach is a good step to take prior to arriving on campus.  

Consider taking time to reflect on what you have and have not liked about your past experiences and spend time thinking about your five- to seven-year career vision after HBS. What is most important to you? What skills do you want to gain? CPD Managing Director Kristen Fitzpatrick recently shared her thoughts on the recruiting experience in this blog post and you can also learn more about the self-assessment resources at HBS here. 

3. Familiarize Yourself with the Student Clubs at HBS

One of the most valuable career resources at HBS is the student-led club network. Because the HBS first year classroom experience is focused on your section and the diversity that offers, student clubs hold a very important place at HBS on campus by providing a forum for like-minded students interested in similar career paths to connect, network, and learn together.  

There are over 50 career-related clubs at HBS that offer club members and the broader HBS community opportunities to engage in many different forums—including club conferences, mentorship programs, alumni speaking events, and off-campus treks, which will significantly expand your network and create fantastic learning opportunities to gain insight in more areas than you can imagine. Review the list of clubs, check out their websites, learn about last year’s conferences, and get excited to become a contributing member in the future!

Doing as much research as possible prior to arriving on campus will allow you to make the most of your time once you arrive on campus. Given how busy things get once you are here, I cannot think of a better way to use the time before you arrive.

Betsy Strickland
CPD Corporate Relations Director