Female MBA students in a crowd of their classmates enjoying discussion in front of the campus.

Who do you think you are?

10 November 2020

The article at a glance

When looking for a rewarding career, the best ally in the search is you. Can the Cambridge MBA help you on your journey of self-discovery?

Category: News Programme news

When looking for a rewarding career, the best ally in the search is you. Can the Cambridge MBA help you on your journey of self-discovery?

It’s fair to say that most traditional education trajectories do not normally encourage us to engage in deep self-reflection, but the practice can give us a valuable head start in acquiring wisdom before life and work make us learn it – perhaps painfully! Knowing yourself intimately is vital to finding the career that will offer you both immediate and long-term satisfaction and fulfilment.

It’s never too early to start

Even before you begin an MBA, there are habits of self-reflection, which you can acquire at any time, and having a good sense of self-awareness is high on lists of employers’ sought-after skills. Scott Dinsmore of the Live Your Legend movement advocated “becoming a self-expert.” In his inspirational TED Talk he said:

No-one’s going to do that for us. There are no majors in university on passion and purpose in career. It’s on us.

Building a habit of self-reflection starts with making a commitment to yourself to spend time really going deep into your own character, desires and motivations. You will have been advised throughout your early years to set goals and acquire qualifications and experience. You’ve done that, so now’s the time to sit down and deeply reflect on yourself and ask some fundamental questions. What do you love? What excites you? What makes you unique? What about the world do you have a burning desire to change? Deeply consider your unique strengths, your values and your skills and experience to date. They will all help you to discover the way you should be heading.

Shelley Hogg.
Shelley Hogg

Four ways the Cambridge MBA can help

Once you’ve put in the initial time to build a habit of self-reflection, how can the MBA help you develop it? Head of MBA Career Development, Shelley Hogg tells us about the available options for Cambridge MBAs:

1. Draw on your cohort

Paradoxically, the most rewarding journeys of self-discovery are not taken alone. Your Cambridge MBA cohort is a rich vein of inspirational peers from a huge variety of backgrounds and with enormous depth of experience. Seldom in your career will you have such a valuable resource to encourage your self-reflection and listening to the stories of others can really help with identifying the values, challenges and opportunities that resonate with you.

Make the most of it – and be generous with helping them with their self-discovery in return. Begin to keep a log of the people, events and experiences that inspire you and draw on it throughout your career when the challenges seem insurmountable. You’ll be surprised how many members of your Cambridge College and the Cambridge MBA cohort make it onto your list – and stay there.

2. Workshop it

A series of practical workshops and surgeries are designed to provide the tools to help you define your personal career goals, plan your career strategy, conduct research and job searches and then manage the application and interview process.

One such workshop is “Know Yourself and Your Personal Brand”, which is run by Cambridge alumna Songya Kestler, now a leadership consultant and coach. Drawing on her insight and experience of being a Cambridge MBA student, as well as coaching and leadership training from MITT and LEVEL7, she encourages students to focus on what a fulfilling career means to them as an individual, getting them to reflect on their past experiences and current values.

3. Consult the experts

Careers consultants are available to advise all Cambridge MBAs. You can book one-to-one advisory sessions with careers consultants who can help you to identify your goals and plan for action whilst testing your assumptions and tackling any potential blocks.

Using their experience, they also provide industry and career-specific advice, supporting you in preparation for interviews and working with you to identify and tackle roadblocks, as well as being able to provide honest feedback throughout your job search.

4. Use the time well

Just as the Cambridge MBA offers you an unrivalled cohort of amazing people, it gives you time out of your career path to consider deeply who you are, what you want and what you want to change. Make time to dial down the noise in your life – a walk without your phone and only your thoughts for company, a quiet place where you know you will be undisturbed. All can help you find that quiet space where you can commune with yourself and reassess the journey – every traveller needs resting places.

Introspection doesn’t come easily to everyone, and can even seem a little self-indulgent, however, it is wise not to leave it to life and its harsh lessons to force you into self-knowledge. You have a unique inner landscape to which you have access at any time, and which the Cambridge MBA programme is specifically designed to help you navigate. Not only will the practice of self-reflection help you take the right career path, it’s also the most fascinating journey you will ever take.