Your Goals #3: Steps and Stones
- Welcome to the third video in our 4 part series about using goals to make the most of your MBA. Today, we're going to take it to a more granular level.
- We'll look more closely at the near terms steps you can take to arrive at the best fit career coordinates in order to align your industry and function choices with your strategic career aspirations and big impact plan.
- Impact - Goal planning conversations can make a difference in the grand scheme of things. “When you grow up...”
- Determine your power - There's great power with what you can give to the world of work and how that generates a virtuous value adding cycle of getting and giving more.
- Determine your direction - Big impact planning calls for direction setting and coming to a clearer sense of your true worth.
- Evaluate your route – To learn how to get from where you are now, to where you wish to be.
- Pinpoint career coordinates - Route selection requires you to pinpoint MBA career coordinates that will mark your way forward.
- Zoom in on performance footwork - In today's video, we're going to zoom in on those MBA career coordinates and the individual performance steps that you'll take to advance along industry and function lines toward your MBA job offer goal.
- Ladder and Lattice
In service of that practical and present job offer goal, let me introduce the terms: Ladder and Lattice. Historically, when we talk about career advancement, we've talked about climbing the career ladder. But the lattice model more accurately depicts career motion especially when you're changing career coordinates from an industry or function you know, to an industry or function that's new.
- In the legacy ladder model, a professional would advance within a function or industry vertical.
- In the Lattice model, professionals can achieve more career strengthening and flexibility by latticing to the career coordinates that creates access opportunity.
- The career lattice opens directions for development. Steps that aren't necessarily vertical but are strategically advancing allowing you to create the necessary qualifications for higher level of appointments.
- Career Lattice Scenario: Opportunity to grow within an existing job for part-time MBAs who are currently working.
- Enrichment - Grow within an existing job
- Vertical - Increasing responsibility in organization
- Lateral Inside - Change job within organization, but no change in pay/status/level of responsibility. Valuable opportunity to develop a new skill.
- Realignment - Taking a step back from existing responsibilities/pay/status in order to pursue different career options.
- Lateral Outside - Change job outside organization, but no change in pay/status/level of responsibility. A chance to change industry or to change function if indeed that's what you wish to do.
- Diagonal - Change job outside organization, changing levels and increasing responsibility in organization. New industry, new function, new status and hopefully, higher pay.
- Career Lattice - Working within the industry and function career coordinates, we can consider career change scenarios for MBAs who want to change either their industry depicted at the top or function depicted at the left in order to bring your career into alignment with a longer term purpose.
- The MBA is a career agent and can accelerate the career change process but changing both industry and function at the same time is the most difficult career leap and isn't always possible in one move given the competitiveness of candidates for business leadership roles.
- Consider incremental career shifts that will allow you to progress toward your goal even if the full shift will require more than 1 board move. Emphasize the value of your industry expertise and making the case that your function expertise is sufficient for you to succeed in functional work that is similar to the work you've been doing. If you were able to make a second incremental move you can arrive at work that is completely in the new and different function.
- A scenario that leverages similarities in both industry and function: In this lattice, you can leverage the dual similarity increments to make a full function change and industry change in 2 moves. Similarly, you can navigate to a new industry across the board or change using your diagonals.
- Rock climbing analogy: A climber navigates several routes to the top. His choices will depend on the hand hold and foot holds that are available to him and his ability to succeed in the lift. A strong and determined climber may conquer a difficult route based upon athleticism and experience. A less accomplished climber might need to consider alternative ways to the top but will arrive at his destination just the same achieving his summit goal in another way.
- Lattice Concept Steps – The Footwork.
Here are 3 steps typical in the 2 year MBA scenario:
- Step #1: Admission - You're admitted to the best possible business school.
- Step #2: Qualifying experience (internship or substantial project) - You use the academic and practitioner environments to create new value in your professional portfolio.
- Step #3: Full- time job offer - Earn a full time job offer.
- We're going to invoke that basic goal planning methodology of working backward from your objective. In this case, from the full time job offer to find the individual performance steps that will get you there. These short term performance goals lend themselves beautifully to extrinsic motivation and measurement.
- The SMART Model creates the kind of performance edge that will define and accelerate your goal achievement by moving you through each and every incremental step.
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Relevant
T - Timely
- An example of a good tight realistic measurable MBA job offer goal:
To achieve this goal, we can assume we've already been accepted to business school and that you’re back planning from the full time job offer objective to zero on completing the very next step that will advance you toward that objective.
- Full-time job offer
- Specifically in strategy consulting
- Measuring at least $120k in base salary
- Achieving a sign-on bonus of $25K
- In a practice area relevant to energy industry
- In the case of obtaining qualifying experience that will make you incrementally and convincingly better candidate, examine your career lattice
- Qualifying experience (internship or substantial project)
- Leadership role in student organization
- Intra-curricular consulting project
- Summer internship, or fall, or spring
- Extra-curricular consulting project, perhaps at work
- Self-study: research, interview, article, talk blog, tweet
- Learning Goals - Developmentally, what do you need to learn, to succeed in that very next performance assignment?
Step #2 - How deliberate do you want to be about the learning opportunities within your MBA program?
- Qualifying experience (internship or substantial project)
- Technical skills
- Strategic frameworks
- Industry terminology
- Best practices
- Thought leadership
- Value Proposition – Identify the solid developmental step toward your goal of a full time job offer, and by preparing well to succeed in that assignment you are creating value in your professional portfolio.
- Adding to the Mix - You are adding to the mix of things you understand and do well. Whether you're moving towards expertise in your industry coordinate or moving towards expertise in your function coordinate, depends on your latticing strategy.
- How you do what you do in two years...? Whether you're a full time student or a part-time student, using graduate as the full time job offer marker, pinpoint your target interview dates to know exactly when you'll need to be employer ready.
- Time awareness and strict time management are central to achieving the job offer goal.
- An example of time bounded goal setting if you want a job offer within 3 months of graduation. And your plan is to interview after all your academics have been taken care of, then you'll want to have a candidacy development period that's fairly substantial. That means that you want to have a clear idea of your direction no later than the end of your 1st year. A good strong value proposition, a good strong communication strategy, and reliable career documents ready to go at the beginning of your 2nd year so that you've got a substantial period to network and gain advocacy in the organizations that interest you most.
- And here's another job offer scenario where the interviews are going to occur in the beginning of your 2nd year. All developmental work occurs up to the beginning of the first year:
By the time that you become an interview candidate, you're pretty convincing.
- Set Direction
- Create the Value Proposition
- Form a Communication Strategy
- Build those Career Documents
- Networking and Advocacy.
- To get all of the work done and be employer-ready on time, we really need to be mindful about how we dispatch our time on a weekly, daily, even hourly basis. When you add together the time you need for your job search, your academic commitments and your personal commitments, the minutes become mighty important too.
- That can cause a bit of anxiety and push the pulse a bit which would be normal when we start to think in various aspirational terms and we recognize that we have a window of opportunity right in front of us but it's delimited by time.
- You will be able to do it. Let's reclaim that part of the conversation about what this is all for. And we ignite your confidence in your plan and certainty about the achievements that are right in front of you.
Assistant Dean, MBA Career Curricula of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. Patty worked for over 20 years as Master Recruiter, Trainer and Human Resource Manager. She managed recruiting efforts for major employers and served as a relationship agent, navigating employer/employee relationships to complete placement assignments. Patty shared this expertise with professionals new to the recruiting industry as Trainer. Her final ten years in industry also included the performance of HR generalist functions.