Developing your own brand
Many people, myself included, come to business school primarily to build our network and hone the skills that will set us up for success. What I didn’t expect was that through experimenting with electives, different roles and responsibilities, and internships, I was also developing a personal brand.
Since during internship recruiting you have to start asking yourself what sets you apart, it starts an introspective journey. In other words, you start looking at how your experiences and style define your personal brand. Using feedback from friends and interviewers, you start to get a map of what your strengths are and where they are lacking.
My personal map looked a little like this: people thought I had good creativity and a broad insight from my experience abroad, especially in strategy and the industrial sector. However, I had a passion in technology and wanted broader appeal as a candidate. So, for the next semester I loaded up on operations and analytics courses and pursued a technology-centered internship. Additionally, I rounded out my finance experience with courses focused on valuation and acquisitions. Now I didn’t just have experience and creativity in industrials, but also experience in new technologies and acquisitions. In other words, I created a fuller picture of what I can do.
This not only made me a better candidate for jobs but surprisingly helped me develop a better sense of who I am. Now that I feel comfortable expressing exactly how I can provide value, I feel more confident in my work and the role I can play in an organization.
In addition to rounding out my skills “brand,” I also experimented a lot with how I work as an individual and within a team. One thing I used to focus on was diligence to the point of fault, so I experimented with how quickly I could take my deliverables from inception to final package. Secondly, I tried focusing on having fun with work and enabling teammates. As a result, work didn’t feel like a slog but a series of fun, quick sprints. It also helped match my “brand” as someone who can deliver results quickly and enable creativity.
By no means am I saying that I have reached my final goal on any of these topics, but it has been an incredible experience to have the freedom to experiment during business school. So I encourage everyone to imagine what their personal brand is and experiment with it and mostly to have fun with the experience.