But often it’s the people you meet at business school who can have the largest impact on your career.
Building connections at business school provides you with a network of influential people who can offer advice, support, and access to opportunities throughout your post-MBA journey.
So who are the people you’re likely to meet while studying an MBA degree?
1. Diverse classmates
They’re the first people you’ll meet when you set foot on campus, and they’re the people you’ll share your MBA journey with. Your classmates can have a decisive impact on your experience.
The typical MBA cohort is composed of students from a diverse range of countries, industries, functions, and age groups. At IE Business School in Spain, for example, students on the MBA program hail from 44 different countries, with 92% of the cohort being international students. Their previous areas of experience vary from transport and logistics to finance.
The highly diverse nature of the MBA classroom means you’ll spend time learning how to work with people who have different skill sets and perspectives, enhancing your interpersonal and communication skills while also broadening your cultural horizons.
As a generalist degree that sets students up for careers across different sectors, after you and your classmates graduate and launch your post-MBA careers, you’ll have the opportunity to lean on their specialist expertise. This may even lead to job opportunities should you choose to pivot careers later down the line.
2. High flying alumni
Each year, graduates from top global MBA programs leave business school to take up roles across the world. This typically involves a variety of industries and renowned companies.
For example, some of the key sectors for alumni from the IE MBA are technology, finance, consumer goods, and consulting, with the likes of Deloitte, Amazon, Uber, and McKinsey listed among IE MBA employers.
This ever-growing network of successful alumni provides a valuable resource for MBA students, who gain opportunities to connect with alumni during careers events, guest lectures, and networking sessions.
Connecting with alumni offers the chance to gain an insight into their employment industries, learn what their life looks like day-to-day, and get a feel for whether that career path is right for you.
Alumni working at one of your target companies can also help during the recruitment process, providing key information about the company culture and values and revealing how you can impress hiring managers during interviews.
3. Expert professors
While you can learn soft skills from your classmates and develop your understanding of the business landscape when interacting with alumni, it’s your professors who are going to teach you the fundamentals of business.
During your MBA you’ll study a host of key business topics, including finance, marketing, human resources, strategy, organizational behaviour, accounting, and leadership.
Modules are largely taught through a mixture of theoretical and practical lessons, and they’re delivered by professors who have in-depth professional experience.
For example, faculty who teach on the IE MBA include the likes of Adrian Castillero Franco, a former digital transformation consultant with the Boston Consulting Group who now teaches technological change and innovation management, and Rachida Justo, who previously advised the European Commission on the topic of social entrepreneurship and now teaches management and social entrepreneurship.
Building your connections with faculty members can provide a valuable resource for advice and support throughout your MBA, and for years to come.
4. Industry leaders
Gaining access to expert, well-connected faculty means you can not only be sure of a quality education, but you’ll also gain opportunities to build further connections within the corporate world.
MBA faculty regularly invite prestigious connections to give guest lectures and participate in networking sessions. Likewise prestigious alumni of the business school who’ve gone on to become industry leaders also typically take part in events throughout the year.
IE boasts notable alumni that include Sebastian Mackensen, president and CEO of BMW in North America, and Isabel Yordi Aguirre, program manager of Gender and Human Rights at the World Health Organisation.
Gaining a chance to connect with industry leaders can furnish you with advice on how to take the next step in your career, and can even lead to internship and job opportunities.
5. Career experts
Of course, enrolling in an MBA program means you have a specific goal in mind: career progression. At business school, it’s the careers office who can guide you on your path towards your next career move.
The typical MBA program boasts a careers team built of well-connected individuals who have in-depth expertise on how to successfully navigate the recruitment process.
At IE, the Talent and Careers Team regularly provides workshops and coaching sessions on topics ranging from building your LinkedIn profile to impressing hiring managers during job interviews. That’s alongside employer relations sessions utilizing their connections with recruiters.
Careers experts can make all the difference in both finding and securing your first post-MBA job. After you graduate and begin the next step in your career, you can also keep in contact with the careers team to gain support and advice as you progress through your journey.