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Often, students dream of after-school work life. They fantasize about their career, about the salary, work environment and all the associated glamour of a job. Whether one opts for an affordable online bachelor’s degree or goes for an MBA at a traditional university, these fancy thoughts are always with them.
MBA students, in particular, are quite prone to this mindset. However, once out of school, an MBA student will face many challenges in their early career. Last year, Beth Benjamin and Charles O’Reilly of Stanford University conducted a study into the challenges faced by MBA students in their early careers, and identified four key areas that these students struggle with.
As a young manager, many people tend to believe that others, especially those junior to them, should possess the same values and motivations as they themselves do. However, no two people are the same, and one will have to deal with the average performers and not just the overachieving employees. Developing an emotional rapport through good peoples skills, setting clear expectations as a manager, and dealing with problem employees are just a few of the tricky aspects of being a new manager.
Working for a large organization, you cannot expect to be working in a silo. It’s not just about hard work and intelligence, your job involves a lot of teamwork and coordination with colleagues and your boss. One has to learn to deal with conflicts with their work peers and bosses. Communication and understanding the importance of being effective rather than being right are some ways of preparing yourself for an early-career managerial role.
Strong analytical skills, intelligence, hard work, etc are virtues that an MBA student may take pride in. But what about leadership skills? It takes a lot as an individual to be a good leader. One has to learn to help bring out the best in others and not enforce their best skills upon everybody else. The hardest part of being a leader? Being satisfied with others’ success!
Heard the saying ‘to err is human’? Some MBA students tend to forget this important aspect of not just careers but also of life. You’ll never be a 100 percent achiever in everything you do, and you’ll never be perfect. You may get a negative feedback from your boss, or your project may not be yielding the targeted results. Whatever the case, dealing with the pressure and reacting appropriately to a disappointment is far more important than moping over the setback encountered. For young managers, this seems to be a challenge in their initial career years.
Essentially, many of these challenges presented by Benjamin and O’Reilly reflect the importance of people skills. You may not be studying all of these in your MBA textbooks, but always know the importance of these and try to prepare yourself for these greatest challenges that new MBA hires encounter in their careers.