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After getting a MBA, how do you choose a career that fits both your qualifications and your personal interests?

I am a sophomore in high school and I have known ever since I was little that I wanted to go into business. With an #MBA, I know it would be possible for me to work in any field that I may desire in a #leadership position. With so many options, it leaves me unsure of how I'll find a job that is both exciting and fulfilling to work at. I also do not want to apply for a job that I'm overqualified for.

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David’s Answer

I agree with both what Ashley and Wayne stated. Having the ambition for an MBA is excellent at a younger age, but the steps before it are just as important. There are many great undergraduate business degrees out there that will start opening the door to what you might be passionate about within the business world. And beyond that undergrad degree, getting out into the world and testing the waters of the business world for a while before setting your sights on the that MBA.

If I would have gotten my graduate degree immediately after my undergrad it would have been in something different than I ended up getting. It took me getting out into the working world and testing the waters for years to really come to the realization that an MBA focused in Marketing was what I needed to take my passion in business to the next level.

Take each step as its own journey. You know you are going to want to go back for an MBA eventually, but enjoy each step along the way and absorbed as much information and different experiences as you go.

Good luck!

David


David recommends the following next steps:

Set you sights on the right Undergrad business degree before thinking about the MBA
Thank you comment icon Your answer is great David, thanks so much for sharing your expertise! At this moment there are more than 800 unanswered questions so I wanted to encourage you to keep going! So many students will benefit tremendously from hearing from you. Keep up the great work! Jordan Rivera, Admin COACH
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Scott’s Answer

I earned my MBA later in life at age 41 in Project Management yet at the time I was working in Enterprise Sales. I decided I wanted to have a backup plan to sales and decided Project Management would be a great field to consider. I was happy in sales but the more classes I took the more I liked project management and the more I could relate my years of life and career experience to the classes and discussions. This made the classes and content much more relatable to me. Everyone is different I would have loved to do my MBA when I was younger but it did not work out that way as everyone has a different path and sometime the path chooses you. Best of luck to you and your future goals.
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Patrick’s Answer

Being a recent MBA graduate myself. I answered another similar question along these lines:

a) The early few years is all about figuring out what appeals to you? what you enjoy doing? what challenges you? what gives you the most sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction?

b) Then through work experience, picking projects that are right for you, you begin to put the pieces together and a path develops of what interests you more, what you enjoy doing, what community that tends to build with your new work colleagues, this is when your portfolio develops and also what makes sense for you to pursue.

c) Once you have that career identified and you find the right company, it's about applying yourself to the job, working hard and achieving results, you will get noticed.

best of luck....
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Ashley’s Answer

Hello Sonia,

You sound very ambitious! I'm impressed that you're thinking about your career in the long term. My advice to you would be to consider narrowing your focus a little more to the near term. For you, that would be undergraduate studies. Undergrad is the perfect time to explore your interests further and develop a stronger sense of where you might want to go post undergrad. You're absolutely correct about the varied opportunities available to you with a business degree. The world of business is very broad and I would challenge you to use undergrad to determine which specific focus best suits your interests, i.e. Finance, Marketing, Accounting, Information Systems, International Business, etc...

I strongly believe that if you let your passions guide you, you will naturally gravitate towards something that you're both talented in and interested in. Your expectation should not be that you will find the right fit immediately, however. Even with an MBA, you are not guaranteed a dream role. What an MBA will afford you is more foundational education, more tailored experience and hopefully a broader network of professionals with who you can connect with to find that perfect role.

Best of luck in all your future endeavors!
Ashley
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Kathleen’s Answer

Before you skip to the step of deciding on an MBA, you should think about what your major will be in college. You will need to complete 3-4 years of college before you can even apply for an MBA. Undergraduate college is a great time to explore your interests and decide how you want to proceed in your career. I highly recommend that students use their summers, in between semesters, to look for internships that will allow you to 'try' a certain career for a few months. If you are not able to get a paid internship, then try volunteering in an area that is related to your field. You can volunteer at a church in their business office, volunteer to be a CPAs helper when they are preparing taxes for free. Work at the library which allows you to be in a place where you can do hours of research. If you get creative, you can learn about numerous careers in areas that are sort-of related to business. While you can't volunteer for a law firm, you can work with the Himan Rights Campaign which gets help and support from lawyers all the time and spends a lot of time asking business companies for donations. They also do extensive research on business court cases. And political campaigns always need help during voting season. Yes you will learn about politics. But there are other areas if you apply yourself. You can learn about zoning, housing prices, neighborhood demographics, all sorts of activities that could be helpful to a future entrepreneur or business owner.


At the end of college, then you can consider the next steps for your career, be that an MBA or finding work in your field. Keep in mind, some MBA programs prefer you to have some work experience as well. So the MBA decision should be made much later.


Kathleen recommends the following next steps:

Start thinking about volunteering now, while still in high school, in areas that may interest you as a career.
I would try to do some research to narrow down "business", to a more specific area. Some universities offer online tests to help you with career choices. Google "choosing a major/career". Also try https://www.goshen.edu/admissions/2018/01/03/major-quiz/
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Medha’s Answer

I would echo Kathleen's answer is waiting to figure out if an MBA is right for you or not. MBA is usually a generalist degree that provides you very broad skills in areas of finance, economics, accounting, strategy, marketing, operations but once you have the core skills then you can choose to focus your elective courses, typically during the second year, on specific areas like capital markets, strategy, operations etc.

Again, I believe that an MBA is best served when you have had some experience under your belt both during college and after to learn about a variety of functions and industries if possible. Most good MBA programs are highly experiential - so everybody is enriched by the other person's experiences. Each class is unique and determined by the makeup of the student's experiences. Having some experience will also help you understand which areas you would like to focus on during your second year.

And finally, it's not always true that you can work in any area after MBA. It's certainly possible but not always easy to shift industries/ functions at the same time. Usually, your pre-MBA experience dictates the areas you go into after an MBA at a different level/function.

So, in summary I would suggest trying out a variety of roles/industries/functions during college and after and then do an MBA with a very specific goal in mind (changing level/role/industry/ functions).

Good Luck!


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Wayne’s Answer

Sonia, the advice Ashley provides above is excellent. I just have some additional thoughts I would like you to consider. You are currently in High School which is where a lot of your future interests may find their seeds. Take advantage of this time to explore what you are passionate about. You have opportunity to explore the arts, science, math, athletics, history as well as writing and literature. All of these areas have opportunities in business leadership later on where an MBA would benefit. As you work thru your Junior and Senior years, you will have opportunities to explore leadership roles like student council, prom planning, campus newspaper, athletic team leader, etc. You can explore these options and try to identify what direction your passions are going. There are campus councilors available as well that you should utilize. Being successful in business requires building a network of supporters and contacts. Your councilors have contacts who are willing to meet and talk to you about their specialties. Use those resources. Don't be afraid to ask. Asking only displays leadership and any leader knows that the word "No" is going to show up more than "Yes" so getting used to it is an important skill. You may have opportunity to get summer jobs. Look for something that will help you by weeding out options rather than just getting a paycheck. If animals are your passion, look at shelters or pet hotels. Some vets will take summer help as well. If it is numbers, look for something in an office. I know my son found a furniture store that needed some part time help during the summer to do paperwork so don't make assumptions about what options are out there. Use GlassDoor to look for jobs that have what you are looking for. I've found that it is a great source of options. Don't worry about not having a "great" resume yet. Everyone in business knows that it takes time to build one. Just use examples of how you demonstrate leadership (church, school, athletics, etc.) and what you are interested in doing.
When you get to College, use the same plan. There are companies which provide internships which provide both opportunity to learn as well as contacts. Your councilors will know where to find them. I assume you will be pursuing an undergrad degree in business since you indicate you are looking to get an MBA. A business degree can have several specialty areas so unless you have discovered where your passion lies, take advantage of the diversity.
Most of all, don't get discouraged if your passion doesn't show itself or even if it changes over time. Life is a journey and we change with every new experience. Follow the path your passion leads and no matter what, you will be happier than if you take a job just because of the pay.
Good luck on your journey.
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