Professional Education and Career Blog

After Your MBA: Getting Attention at Your Company

The MBA Decision

The MBA Decision

You’ve completed your final course, paid whatever graduation fees might have been due, and you have a shiny, newly minted MBA in your back pocket. Many people who pursue an MBA have some idea of how they want to put it to use. They might want to start a new business, form a partnership, or perhaps eye some greener pastures in some other industries. Others are perhaps more unsure about exactly what to do next. But everyone has in common that they wanted to advance their career in some way.

But one area that most people ought to start with that perhaps they haven’t given enough due is their current employer, and what opportunities might be available that might not be immediately obvious. Of course, your education has dominated much of your life the past number of years, but it’s important to realize that your managers are not necessarily aware of your studies or your new abilities.

Consider making an appointment with your current supervisor to discuss your future with the company and to let them know directly that you’ve completed your education and you’re interested in exploring new roles. It’s a perfect opportunity to let them know about your new experiences and strengths.

Many employees find that their supervisors and managers are open to the idea of promoting from within, but they’re not necessarily going to know about your desires if they’re not told directly. After all, your supervisor is used to seeing you in the role that you’ve played in the company over the past number of years. Seeing you in a new light and understanding your aspirations for advancement could get you invited to a company development program.

It’s usually a bad idea to assume your manager knows what you want. Even if you might have had discussions before, it’s suddenly a lot more ‘real’ when you can show that you have completed a major life goal by getting your MBA.

Often a good tactic for broaching the topic of your advancement is simply asking your manager for advice on how you should use your newly acquired skills. Not only could you get very valuable advice, but it sends a signal that you’re looking for new challenges. It may be that the manager doesn’t have a path for you, but might know of other positions in the company that might serve you better. Don’t assume that because you can’t currently see an upward path from your current position that you have to change companies to make progress. Sometimes just asking the right questions in the context of “getting advice” will lead you to unexpected opportunities.

mbajourneyCaution is always a good idea when having these conversations. It would be a great world if all bosses had our best interests at heart, but of course that’s not always the case. If you feel that you might endanger your position by signaling that you’re looking for new opportunities, then it may be more prudent to take a lower key approach, and see if there’s room to grow at your current company, or if it might be time to move on.

But if your supervisors or managers are more open to discussing your future, a bold approach of asking what opportunities are available could pay off. Even if you don’t necessarily see a future, it’s possible that the company might even create a new position if they wanted to keep you. But even if there’s just nothing there, if your manager takes an interest in your career, it’s possible they might open some doors even in other companies. Wise managers realize that it’s often a small world, and helping others often comes back to helping themselves in the future. These conversations can often provide opportunity for building your career network.