MBA Networking Advice

MBA networking is advanced professional networking. It's not a simple concept, even in theory. In practice, your professional network is a primary career asset. It's an information system which keeps you ahead of the market and the issues.

Networking Needs

Whatever your line of business, an MBA network includes several natural streams of contacts:

Colleagues: These are primary information sources. They're also potential rivals in some scenarios. Their use as networking associates is situational, although a good network always contains colleagues with whom you have a healthy professional and personal relationship.

Peers in Related Fields: This includes the all-important associated areas of your profession. Every profession has related fields, and in these areas you're dealing with people whose information relates to particularly important areas. For example, an IT professional in your business will be well aware of acquisitions, plans to expand services and other business which directly impacts the MBA in terms of possible opportunities.

Clients: These are usually severely underrated network contacts. Clients by definition include some important sources of information regarding business competitors, client base issues, all very important "ear to the ground" level information for the MBA professional. Clients can actually find jobs, too, because of their natural interaction with your industry.

Management: The MBA's role includes relationships within the management area on many levels. Management may or may not be involved in direct networking, but is often a particularly valuable source of reliable information in "neutral" areas. Managers can be excellent guides on the professional level, and will participate on a selective basis regarding your areas of interest if asked. This is a particularly useful "plug-in" asset which can help you greatly in assessing career issues and information. Management can confirm or deny in seconds information which is speculation in other areas. They may also take a positive and helpful interest in the issues raised.

Professional Associations: The most neglected of all networking assets, professional networks invariably contain dedicated individuals and groups which can be invaluable as sources of "clean" information. The information isn't contaminated by the perspectives of vested interests, and relates directly to professional situations and issues.

Networking, Careers and Employment

Professional networks provide several valuable services regarding career and employment:

Information: All contacts have their own knowledge bases. Each acts as an aggregator of knowledge in their areas. Many professionals are also experts in their fields, able to provide much higher standards of information and background.

Contacts: The basis of any network is a series of contacts who can provide further contacts. This is the equivalent of speed dial in terms of efficiency in career moves and making good business connections.

Local Knowledge: Your network can operate like a career fair in some ways. In both employment and career considerations, job quality and related information is particularly useful. Local knowledge is the best and most reliable source of direct information regarding job opportunities, promotional opportunities and employment packages.

Don't be surprised, later in your career, if your network looks like a Chamber of Commerce. It means you've built a very effective, comprehensive professional network in your industry.