Networking – it’s one of those key, ubiquitous business school terms that you just can’t escape. You hear the word uttered at orientations, in class, by guest speakers, by your professors, etc. You feel pressured to attend networking events (which you definitely should) and fret about your elevator pitch (which you should certainly practice). But sometimes I think we forget that we sit in class every day with our best network: our classmates.
Networking with established professionals may be key to getting that first job immediately out of business school, but you can rely on your classmates for many of those post-first job professional transitions. Need a business partner, want to know what it’s like to work in Company X’s HR department, looking for an expert in brand management? You’ll likely have a classmate who can either help you out or knows someone who can help you out. That’s why it’s so important to make those strong ties during business school and maintain that network after graduation.
And it’s hard to maintain that network. One day you’re seeing your classmates every day and then – poof – you graduate and that community you spent two years with is gone. You have to make an active effort to keep in touch with each other. As a dual JD/MBA student, the MBA class I started my program with graduated last May. A group of my classmates pledged to have monthly get-togethers. Well monthly turned into bimonthly, which turned into four months…Scheduling dinner where everyone was available turned into a scheduling feat of Olympic proportions (and one time even involved a doodle poll). We are doing our best to keep in touch, however it’s challenging because life happens – new jobs, new cities, marriages, kids, etc. But it’s always, always, ALWAYS worth it to make staying in touch a priority. Your classmates will be one of your most valuable networks.
- Sarah Tanbakuchi, JD/MBA Class of 2014