by Vishal Jha, MBA 2019
First of all, a big congratulations on a hard earned admit to one of the best business schools in the world. Relax. Breathe easy. Revel in happiness.
I hope you are eagerly waiting to embark on what will undoubtedly be a truly memorable journey. This journey will take many of you out of your comfort zone, personally and professionally, and will place you in unfamiliar surroundings, where you will seek new professional challenges, make new friends and develop a new perspective on work and life.
As you aim to succeed in so many new endeavours, it may be worth creating a mental anchor for yourself so that you feel somewhat grounded and not get swept over with a paradox of choice once you arrive. Should I take a board position at a club? Should I pursue Entrepreneurship? Should I intern in summer? The questions are endless, and an anchor helps.
So, how to build an anchor?
It is very simple. All you need is a pen and a paper and a pensive mind with occasional support from a beverage of your choice.
Reflect on your past jobs and jot down things you liked, disliked or are ambivalent about. Focus on personal aspects and the nature of work you did and avoid aspects that you cannot possibly control such as line managers. For example, you could say you didn’t like working long hours, or you liked the analytical nature of the role. You could have mixed feelings about travelling for work. Finally, jot down anything you would like to see at your new job that you didn’t experience at your past jobs, like working on a strategic issue.
What you have now is a simple but a powerful list of personal and professional needs that you may look to get or avoid in your future career. If you are enjoying the process, I will recommend taking the next step. Start putting together needs in different packages that you could accept. For example, if you have mixed feelings about working late nights, you could consider it if it meant you don’t have to travel or if you like working in a strategic role, you are open to working at a smaller firm. Try to create packages that you are indifferent about, as humanly as possible.
If you are still having fun, I urge you to take one final step. Try and summarise the packages into a single statement. For example, ‘I would like to work in a team-lead role running operations at a small sized firm in London.’
Avoid putting names on your roles, i.e. a consultant or a banker to avoid boxing yourself. For example, if you like working in a strategic role, you could work as a consultant or as a strategic manager at a corporate or as a CEO at a start-up. Ultimately, you could try all these things during your MBA and pick the one you enjoy the most.
We all have different reasons to pursue an MBA at London Business School, but we are united in our desire to have new experiences and challenges. However, we need to tailor our experiences and challenges to fit our needs to avoid feeling lost, and this is where your anchor will come in handy.