There are no ifs, ands or buts about it: Your college experience is all about what you put into it.
Some students approach it as a four-year vacation, taking the minimum amount of credits needed, avoiding extra-curriculars and partying like it’s their job. And while a healthy amount of fun is essential to a well-rounded experience, if you want to truly position yourself to either advance your education upon graduation or join the workforce full time, it’s imperative that you take advantage of every opportunity to enhance your resume and stand out from the pack.
Nowhere is this more true than when you’re in the business school. Honing your skills to succeed in what is now a global business environment takes practice, and there are things you can start doing today that may seem obvious but that will help you demonstrate leadership and expertise well beyond college.
A few ideas:
Take on leadership roles in clubs/organizations.
Whether it’s student government, the finance club or anything in between, raise your hand and petition for roles like president and vice president. While it may seem inconsequential, you’ll learn valuable skills in roles like this, including the art of negotiation, commanding the attention of a room, and organization. If pursuing a MBA is a possibility on the horizon, being able to say that you were the VP or treasurer of your club will speak volumes about your abilities.
Offer to lead group projects.
While the idea of coordinating multiple people’s schedules and working styles in order to complete a group project is groan-inducing, putting yourself at the helm ensures that things run smoothly. You’ll also learn a lot about juggling different types of personalities, which will serve you well in the real world when you eventually manage other projects and even people. Want a crash course in conflict resolution? This is a great start.
If you plan to apply for a master’s in business administration down the road, wallflowers need not apply. The top schools want to know you can hold your own when it comes to rigorous coursework and presentations, so take advantage of even the smallest opportunities to shine and practice for the real world.
Perfect your public speaking skills.
“It’s a liability if you don’t like doing it [public speaking] or are uncomfortable doing it. … It’s a necessary skill.”
— Warren Buffett
If one of the most successful investors and businessmen, arguably of all time, tells you something is important, it’s probably pretty darn important. Love it or hate it, to survive in a business environment, you’re probably going to have to give the occasional public talk.
In undergrad, presentations to your peers will be great practice, but there also are other ways to go above and beyond. Programs like Toastmasters and Dale Carnegie offer trainings in local communities that help young adults like you build confidence and enhance communication skills.
In addition, on your own time, take a peek at some of the most popular TED Talks — chances are the content is inspiring, but it’s a probably a safe bet that the speakers are delivering their messages in a really impactful way. Take notes. What are they doing right? What makes them so great? Try to apply their techniques in your next speech.
In undergrad business school, what you learn inside the classroom, no doubt, will help build the foundation for your future career. But taking things a step further and seeking out opportunities to lead, enhance your people skills and become a more confident orator means you’re taking ownership over your education and optimizing your success.
Bio: Erica Moss is the community manager for MBA@Syracuse, the online MBA program offered through the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. This accredited online MBA prepares students to become leaders in today’s global business environment. In her free time, Erica enjoys all things pop culture and connecting with people at @ericajmoss and Google+
Thank you Eric for your valuable contribution: How to Get the Most Out of Undergrad Business School
Daniel & David