There you are with your online Business Management degree or MBA, calm and assured in the knowledge that your school has given you all the skills necessary to survive in the business world. You accept your first job as a manager and stride into your new work environment bursting with confidence. As time goes on, you may notice some things in the workplace that are not in your lecture notes. Here are some tips that will help you survive and flourish in your first years as a business school graduate:
- Include the People at the Point of Delivery: Most business degrees focus on the theoretical aspects of management, but what they often leave out in these grand plans is that some person needs to get other people to actually execute these strategies. A marketing plan that is based on customer service or friendly attitudes falls flat on its face when customers encounter negative employees at the point of delivery. With today’s social media outlets, negative experiences spread like wildfire and corporations end up performing damage control. JetBlue prides itself on its supposedly award-winning service, but most people have heard more negative JetBlue stories than positive ones. If they included better policies and more training for flight personnel and gate attendants on what to do in certain situations, perhaps the late night comedians wouldn’t have so much fun at their expense.
- People Skills Matter: You’ll be working with and for many different types of people and will need to know how to deal effectively with each. There will be differences in age groups, ethnic backgrounds, value systems and personality types, yet you have probably received very little training in managing or working with people. Your department could succeed or fail based on your ability to motivate your staff. Build your skills at giving clear directions, accepting input, delegating, setting expectations and communicating. Your job is not to do the work yourself, but to motivate others to do it effectively.
- You Might Need to Teach Others: You’ve just spent a great deal of time and money earning your degree, but your supervisors or those working for you may not have the same educational background. Assess the level of understanding of those around you and talk in terms they will understand. Just because everyone at school knew what a certain theory involved, don’t assume those in your office do. You may need to do some teaching to get everyone on the same page.
- Be Prepared to Speak in Public: Most people are terrified of speaking in public, but business men and women need this skill. You’ll speak at meetings, training sessions, sales presentations, and social gatherings. You might be asked to present your department’s budget needs in front of the board of directors, or selected to make a presentation to shareholders. If you’re uncomfortable in public, you appear to be lacking confidence and knowledge, even though you might have solid facts and a persuasive argument. Take every opportunity you can get to practice your speaking skills and build your self-confidence before you join the business world.
Your business school has given you a solid foundation, but for true success you’ll need to accept that you may not know everything and be open to continued learning experiences.