Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What career path to pursue ahead? How to differentiate myself? How to think big?

Choices, Choices, Choices !!!
Now that I have some free time, I have been doing some thinking. (We have no classes now. No more assignments, deadlines or presentations this month, Yay!)

Lets face it. There are tons of MBA graduates around. How do I differentiate myself? How do I position myself in the job market? This is a very important question indeed. If I do what every one else does, I shall be just another face in the crowd. Gotta take myself a notch up, a step ahead by being not only better, but also different.

A lot of my fellow classmates at this stage are still in the process of deciding what career path to pursue as well - many people in the same boat. We have Engineers, business undergrad degree holders, Philosophy students and so on in the class. While some may want to continue studying and focusing on the same career path, many would like to change their career paths.

Prior to starting the MBA, I used to have this nagging question in my mind - Can I, with my Medical background be able to fit into any other industry? For example, is it stupid for me to think of a future in the Oil and Gas industry after MBA? The answer is NO. I know this now.

An MBA enables you to be empowered with Business Management skills to be able to fit into ANY industry as long as you are not doing a technical work and are doing functions of General Business Management, IMHO. So I feel ok about entering any industry. In fact, the more diverse, the merrier. I want to be able to learn many diverse skill sets.

For now, these are the options I can think of:
  1. Sales position - in a Pharmaceutical or Medical Device industry
  2. Marketing Position - in a Pharmaceutical or Medical Device Industry. More specifically, the position of Assistant Brand Manager or Brand Manager. 
  3. General Management position in any industry
  4. Strategic Consulting position
  5. Healthcare Management Consulting
  6. Hospital Management position 
  7. Entrepreneurship: The final option is to start my own venture - I do have an idea in mind for the same.
  8. I had another weird idea - Finance! Now, I know that Finance is not my main background or even my expertise, so far. But it is not that hard to learn. I do have a passion for the subject already. If I become an expert in Finance, by taking the relevant courses and getting the relevant certifications, I could go into Trading or Investment Banking with a specialized focus on Healthcare industry stocks. I reckon that I would do a good job. Am gonna give it a thought and perhaps a shot! Being a Finance expert is not only empowering, it is also highly paid! I hear that during the boom times, some Investment Bankers were paid bonuses which were as large as 40 times their annual salaries! Damn! That is huge. Who wouldn't want to make that kind of money? Who would not want to have the option of retiring early with a good bank balance. Now I know that money is not the only consideration, but it is silly not to think of financial security...
I do try to motivate myself from time to time. At this stage, I have begun to shy away from jobs that pay less that $60,000 a year. I think I deserve better than that and should not go for jobs that offer a small compensation package. I have to focus on getting close to $100,000 a year. I think that is what I am going to do now on. Focus on bigger, better deals and not the small positions. Additionally, I have begun to shy away from Sales positions. I think it is going to be too much of driving around and running around. I should prefer an office based job like Strategy or Management. I do love Marketing and Sales, but I think I need to look at senior positions rather than entry level positions...

If I seem a bit confused, it is not abnormal. Getting into the MBA program and navigating your way through it can be pretty daunting and confusing. It is very hard to plan and chart your future course. I guess luck plays a big role (what job you start with, first) and so does preparation, to some extent. But I know this - I have applied to a gazillion jobs already. And the first company that accepts me and offers me a good compensation package (more than  $75,000 a year) shall be able to hire me - or so I think! And that shall chart the future course, to an extent. For now, I have no clue what that is going to be like! I guess, sometimes, you just have to go with the flow, coz you can not micro-manage and micro-plan every event of your life!

I am an extremely ambitious guy. I do not consider myself inferior / lesser compared to any other bunch of graduates from any other Business School in Canada, in terms of over all finished product, when I shall be done with my MBA.  I know that MBA grads from some other schools are offered around $100,000 a year packages with signing bonuses more than $10,000. I should try and not only position myself in the same manner, but also prepare myself (by spending LOTs of hours in the library studying!) well in advance to qualify for that bracket...

I know that some Biz Schools have the Case study method. Yeah, we have done a lot of case studies too (ironically, using material written by Ivey of UWO as well as cases written by HBS). Integrative thinking? Yes, I get that Four Seasons model. Presentations? Yeah, I have done a ton of them - even uploaded videos and slides on this blog for display. Class discussion - yeah, I have done a LOT of that, to the extent of pissing off people (and almost being labeled a loud-mouth, lol. I even got told off a few times during discussions - "You have to keep it down". And by another - "I will take you down!" Ha Ha. But hey, when you have a valid point - and you know your points make sense - you have to make sure it is conveyed!). A little more effort and I hope to catch up to the quality that the best business schools in the country churn out AND command the same compensation packages :) . As for the question of Branding, I shall try to build my own strong Personal Brand (as every MBA should) to position myself properly to my employers.

There, I just spilled all my secrets, LOL. But this blog has been about sharing and spreading the wealth of knowledge so that others can benefit from it. I was once a total outsider to this MBA world. Now that I am a part of it, I wanna try and help others who are outside and are trying to get a peek in! :)

- Gerry. 

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