Networking critical to business school experience

As one might imagine, networking is a critical part of the MBA and business school experience. You may not realize it at the time but many moments throughout our lives involve networking.

You might naturally feel comfortable chatting with acquaintances at cocktail receptions, or maybe you have built an extended network of mentors in your professional career through informal coffee chats and work events. Conversely, you could fall on the other side of the spectrum. Perhaps you are an introvert and networking feels inauthentic or awkward, or maybe you are coming from outside the United States and English is not your first language so it can be a challenging and an uncomfortable hurdle to overcome, both culturally and linguistically.

While these examples are generalizations and not meant to describe one group holistically, the good news is that regardless of which camp you might fall in or how you self-describe (extrovert, introvert or somewhere in between), Goizueta can help you build your network in an organic manner that will benefit you both personally and professionally.

One of the pivotal GBS events that helps you achieve this right from the start is the Goizueta Career Connections night at the Georgia Aquarium in the fall semester. The networking night itself is important because many of Goizueta’s best corporate partners such as Coca-Cola, UPS, Delta, J.P. Morgan and Deloitte are in attendance, but the success of this event hinges on the preparation that students have done up to this point with the Career Management Center.

Every MBA student is paired with an industry-specific career advisor who can recommend second-year MBAs and recent alumni to connect with. The preparation of exercises like building an elevator pitch, resume walkthroughs and informational interviews with second-years and alumni help our students succeed at GCC and throughout the recruitment process.

Structured networking events can be very influential in landing that summer internship or full-time job offer, but informal networking events can be just as helpful in boosting your career and broadening your social network.

This past year, the Goizueta Hispanic Business Association partnered with MBA admissions and the alumni office to host a reunion summit for Hispanic and Latino alumni in Atlanta, where we welcomed current MBAs and prospective students to attend. We kicked off the night with a networking session and then a panel of alumni covered topics such as the state of the Latino business community in Georgia, perspectives on career transitioning and the MBA admission process as a diversity candidate. The event was very successful, and we are planning an even bigger forum for the spring 2018.

I’ll leave you this semester with my perspective on networking, taught to me by a leader that I admire: “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.” Don’t think of networking as collecting business cards and emails so much as creating genuine connections and cultivating relationships with people professionally and personally over time.

John Paul Ortiz

John Paul Ortiz

JP Ortiz is a second-year MBA student studying Marketing and Finance. He graduated from Colgate University with Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and philosophy. Prior to business school, JP worked for the Home Office of Abercrombie & Fitch as a merchant and then spent three years working for his alma mater as an Assistant Dean of Admission leading the university’s diversity recruitment efforts. This past summer, he interned at The Coca-Cola Company in brand marketing.