As the holiday season is upon us, we took a moment out to ask our staff on the MBA team for their tips on how to use this period wisely, if an MBA is on the agenda for you in 2019.
“Take the opportunity of the quieter holiday season to refocus and assess your goals for your MBA,” says Amy Philpot, Head of MBA Recruitment and Admissions. “What are you hoping to get out of it? Are your expectations realistic?
“Use the time to do really deep research of business schools and MBA programmes that interest you and be methodical about how you gather information and use it to inform your decisions. Include all the factors that are important to you, whatever they are (and be honest!). Rest time away from work can allow you to focus on your future plan more clearly.
Margaret O’ Neill, Head of MBA Admissions and Careers, suggests that if you are preparing to apply to a business school, “Think a little further and wider about your current role and how you can really maximise your experiences and impact there, to improve your profile when you come to apply.
“Can you make progress in leading a project? Are there new global experiences you can become involved in? Can you show more engagement in developing colleagues or people working for you?”
While it is important to use the holiday to restore our minds a little, it is also the perfect opportunity to step out of the daily routine and look further into the future. Look outside your own country or sector and take the time to read more widely about world trends, from healthcare to corporate finance or environmental issues. What is the world talking about, and what trends and factors may shape your own area of interest? What other employment sectors may have lessons to share for your own future sector development? Some of the best ideas have been adapted from one industry sector to another.
Shelley Hogg, Head of MBA Career Development, elaborates further and suggests that over the festive period it is important to still network and be mindful of the opportunities that present themselves. Take the time to review and update your LinkedIn profile, for example. “Use LinkedIn to reach out to Cambridge MBA alumni, either for tips and insights before you apply for the MBA, or to make those vital employment sector links with the people in the industry you wish to move into.”
Perhaps also review your work-life balance over the holiday and think about your mindfulness.
“Make a plan for how to keep yourself operating at maximum level, keeping healthy, fit and with good sleep habits. The intensity of an MBA will be more manageable if you are in good shape, physically and mentally.”
Conrad Chua, Executive Director of the Cambridge MBA, suggests some resolutions that you might start to apply as the new year starts. Resolve to read about business more widely – try and pick something unusual and outside of your comfort zone or your traditional skill set.
“The more you can equip yourself for the melting pot of an international MBA programme the better. What would traditional corporate finance look like, for example, if you were an NGO or even a startup.” You might like to source your information beyond online articles, so podcasts are a really good way to learn about industries or get insight into individual stories of career progression.
“Be curious, read more, be open minded, develop an interest, seek challenges outside of your work setting.”
5. Rest & reflect
So, wherever you are over the holiday season, take some time out for yourself to rest, review your future goals and the research and preparation you could be doing for business school, and resolve to make 2019 the best it can be.
And finally, the Admissions team will be on hand after 2 January 2019, so keep in touch with your admissions contact and we will support you as much as possible during your application.