Career Tips to Write Home About

This post was written by Aditi Datta, SEMBA ’17

When I was growing up and I’d come back from school, my dad would always ask me: “So, what was the best thing you learned?” This quickly became a running joke in my family, leading my dad to ask the same question when I come back from vacation, after reading a news article and most recently – reaching another milestone in my SEMBA journey.

Tonight, I called my dad and patiently waited for him to ask me what new things I learned today. To his surprise, I started talking about the Alumni Career Panel, which brought together current SEMBA-ites and alumni from cohorts 1 and 2. The goal of the event was for the alumni to provide honest, practical feedback around finding a job and landing the right job.

I’m always impressed by the thoughtful questions my classmates pose but was especially impressed tonight by the insightful responses from the alumni. Though each of them are at different points in their careers and took different paths to get to where they are now, I’m proud to say I share such a meaningful connection with them through SEMBA.

So, when my dad asked “what was the best thing you learned tonight?” I shared these nuggets of wisdom:

Look for side doors

What exactly does that mean? It means that if you find an organization or an industry you’re passionate about, don’t be shy about taking a role that might not be perfect (i.e. an internship, different department) if it means you have the opportunity to get to where you actually want to be.

Take the job

You might have people telling you “Don’t settle, you have an MBA!” but the fact of the matter is, SEMBA is still working on building a community and reputation around what SEMBA grads bring to the table. If you work hard at something, even if you know it’s not what you’ll do for the rest of your life, you can prove your value and start calling more shots.

SEMBA grads are unique

Yes, this goes without saying, but what makes us unique? The alumni all agreed that SEMBA grads, because of our extensive work in teams and experience presenting, have superior interpersonal and communication skills.

While everyone has a different answer for how they ended up at SEMBA, one of the greatest takeaways from tonight was how the focus of our degree sets us apart: Entrepreneurship teaches us problem solving and creative thinking while sustainability teaches us long-term thinking and business strategy. Now that was powerful.

The future of work is individual-based (skills, personality) as opposed to job-based (title, rank)

During the job search process, it’s easy to forget to be a little selfish. The alumni reminded us to look for opportunities for growth within whatever company you end up. It’s not always about the money – if a company is willing and able to train you in relevant skills where you want to grow, take advantage of that!

Before getting off the phone with my dad tonight, I said, “You know, it’s really inspiring and energizing to have a group of successful people around me who genuinely care about my success. Being a part of a ‘start up’ is always risky but the passion and determination that flows through SEMBA definitely makes up for the lack of years.”

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