Networking: If there’s anything I’ve learned in the 2 months since I’ve been out of school, it’s that I didn’t know a thing about networking. The only thing I learned about networking in business school is that it was important. The reality is, like most things in life, networking is a skill you have to develop. One of the things I made conscious effort to do was to follow the networking strategies of books like Brian Tracy’s Luck Factor and Never Eat Alone.* Perhaps the best networking advice I’d ever come across was volunteering for organizations in your area of professional interest. I started to do that and the interview I had today was purely the byproduct me recognizing the hiring manager’s name when I checked him in at an event. The next day he emailed me about the position even though I didn’t get a chance to talk to him at the event. The other important realization I’ve come to is that networking is something you should be doing whether you have a job or not. I’m in the position I’m in because I didn’t network in my last semester at business school the way I should have.
Ego: There really is no class in business school that teaches you how destructive the power of your ego is, although there should be. I made an error in judgment early in my business school career, which completely changed the trajectory of my MBA experience. I indirectly violated someone’s trust and never managed to earn it back. My ego-driven desire to get ahead was what caused that decision and in the long run, it didn’t even pay off.
Enlightenment: I’d love to see the day when a business school offers a course on enlightenment. Just imagine a bunch of MBA students sitting in a room meditating and contemplating life while the professors appears to be some sort of monk. This kind of coursework is highly unlikely, but enlightenment is an important quality of all important leaders. In fact at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy is self-actualization and thus in my mind essential to effective leadership.
Goal Setting: To say that business school doesn’t teach us how to set goals* might seem ridiculous to some. But, if you ask some MBA students what they want to do they will most likely reply “find a job after graduation and make 6 figures.” While that’s a noble goal, it’s really more like a task. It’s only through my study of personal development that I’ve come to understand the power of goal-setting. If MBA programs offered a course on goal accomplishment for one semester, it’d be really interesting to see how much more effective people would be. If I could go back and do it again, I would have kept a visible reminder of my goals somewhere all during business school.
Perseverance: Nobody teaches you this in business school. This is a lesson that you can only get through the School of Life. Unfortunately we’ve been conditioned to believe failure is bad. But it’s times like these you have to remember that Michael Jordan said:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Detachment: If we could master on skill that would forever change the quality of our life experience is becoming detached from outcomes. Business school is a goal driven environment where everybody is trying to get a good job, make good money, and end up doing what they love. So ,being detached from all outcomes would be almost looked down upon. However, if we did become detached we would find an a peace of mind inside ourselves that would allow us to sale through our personal and professional lives.
Patience: According to Wayne Dyer, in A Course in Miracles it says somewhere that “Infinite patience leads to immediate results.” I personally am not the most patient person in the world.* But, there is something I’ve noticed in my moments of patience. Usually after I surf, I’m often stuck in traffic, but I’m so wiped out and mellowed out that I’m completely patient no matter how bad the traffic is. This kind of peace where nothing phases you is an ideal place to operate from.
2 years ago