How my MBA boosted my career, before graduation

By Hugh Simpson, Management Consultant, EY, and current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program

Hugh SimpsonCandidates start their MBAs for a wide range of reasons, and for me it was either to take a step up in my existing career or take a step out into a new industry. I only have one subject to go in my MBA and this week I start in my ideal role at EY in management consulting, which is a step up in consulting, but also movement into a new focus.

My journey towards self-actualisation and achievement of career goals was by no means a smooth one, but made much easier with the help of the MBA program. Leadership and Professional Development is the first unit in the MBA and involved completing a ‘Reflected Best Self’ and ‘Ideal Job Summary’ as part of the assessments. These activities highlighted to me that I no longer desired a future within the niche consulting area I had worked in for 3 years.

I always intended to wait until the end of the MBA to decide what I would do next, but a year into the MBA, I started the Personal Career Management Plan with Lisa Tarry from the MBA’s dedicated Careers Office to help decide upon and action my next steps.

Over a 12 month period, Lisa led me through a range of coaching sessions and assessments, such as Career Leader and Strengths Finder, to really understand my unique value proposition. We conducted research on potential targets from within and outside my network which all led to leveraging skills from my MBA marketing subject to develop my personal brand.

Lisa’s resume and interview preparation coaching was beneficial as I reached interview stages for two global consulting firms and a senior NSW government position. Despite having progressed through to the final stages at all positions, I was not successful and forced to review and learn from the experiences. I reverted back to my key strengths and value proposition and realised that maybe these roles weren’t what I really wanted because it’s is not just about whether you’re good enough for the company, but also whether or not the company is good enough for you.

After months of persistence and a number of set backs, I was introduced to a partner at EY and we started the process for a Manager position in their advisory business line. The role was in an area that leveraged my past experiences perfectly and gave me the opportunity to develop new skills whilst continuing to grow my career. During the interviews, I had the chance to meet a number of people from the team in Sydney, which included everyone from consultants to partners, and I started to see myself being part of that team.

The recruitment process was long and often uncertain, but the day I received my offer, all that hard work had paid off. I am certain that without the skills learnt in the MBA program, support from staff and faculty and ultimately the guidance received from Lisa, I don’t think I would be kicking off the next phase of my career in a role I’m excited to start.

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