Building your profile for an MBA for Freshers with no work experience.


Often the road that leads to the ultimate glory is talked about the most, everyone is focused on the task of reaching the target but very rarely will you find the answer to “what happens when you’ve reached your goal, how do you tackle the competition you are yet to face?” To answer this question, I will take you through a list of things a fresh college graduate can do to bolster their CV and focus on industry-specific skill sets before even stepping a foot into the highly competitive B-school environment. No, the notion that people with work experience always have the upper hand in a B-school is no longer true. Your skillset has the potential to set you apart.
To break it down in 3 simple steps:

  1. FOCUS ON DOMAIN KNOWLEDGE

Gone are the days when you needed to have a degree in a subject to add it to your CV. Open websites like udemy.com or coursera.org, find courses that interest you. One will find an entire gamut of courses ranging from finance to marketing, analytics to operations and whatnot. But the catch here is, don’t just complete the certification courses to add it to your CV, understand what the course has to offer, learn it in a way that it can be used as a good conversation point in your future interviews. That is the level of understanding I am talking about. The following are some of the most famous courses that people tend to focus on:

  • Marketing.
  • Digital Marketing.
  • Search Engine Optimization Specialization offered by UC Davis (University of California) on Coursera.org
  • Course on Google Adwords and Analytics on Udemy.com
  • Other certifications in marketing can be done in one or more of the following streams: Social media marketing, branding, content marketing etc.
  • Finance: For finance, the best way to gain knowledge is to go for professional certifications like the CFA level 1/2/3 exams. However, if one is short on time, they can do courses on Coursera or Udemy as well.
  • Analytics: Courses on R/Python/Data visualization are available in abundance on online platforms and are usually the most sought after.
  1. HUNT OUT LIVE PROJECTS AND INTERNSHIPS

What makes you employable? Is it all the theory you’ve learned, or is it how you apply it to real-life scenarios? Doing live projects/internships is one of the most efficient ways of getting a good CV point and what I call the ‘ making-up-for-having-no-experience ‘. The advantage of doing a live project or an internship is that you can work on them while you are also busy managing your other aspects of life, be it academics or extra-curricular activities. Sure, it does take some of your time, but the knowledge you’ll gain from working with different types of organizations will be immensely valuable, and if the project you are working on is challenging enough, it becomes, even more, easier to attract recruiters towards your CV once you are in the B-school.

So what’s the best way to get a live project? Download the Internshala mobile application, create an account, submit your CV and then just proceed by choosing the live projects/internships you would be interested in. An important caveat here is to not choose live projects or internships based on the pay they are offering, anyway you will be compensated handsomely once you graduate from a reputed B-school. So the focus should be on a good project, with a well-defined job description and flexible working hours.

The following link can be used to understand how to choose a live project or an internship from Internshala: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uD4jFstwcU

The golden rule that I suggest people use while searching for projects is to choose the ones with lesser durations so that you can work on at least 3-4 projects before joining the B-school. A month-long project should be the most preferred option if available.

  1. GET TO A POSITION OF RESPONSIBILITY

One of the things that is synonymous with reputed B-schools is Future Leaders. So do B-Schools look for people who have the ability to lead a group of people? Of course, they do. But now you may ask “how am I supposed to lead a team when I don’t even have work experience?”. Well, leadership is one such trait which can be demonstrated in various aspects of life, even the smallest act of taking the charge when no one else does can be termed as being a leader. So what will be the best way to show an interviewer that you are cut out for it? You show evidence. The simplest way to do so is by getting in clubs and committees in your graduation college and trying to bag the ‘Secretary’ tag. Trust me, leading a group of people when you do not have any power dynamic is very difficult because people tend to question your authority, but once you get to a position where people have elected you to lead them, a) they must have seen something in you and b) it’s a golden CV point.

Some of the positions of responsibility which have the potential to go down well with interviewers and act as a good CV point are: Student Council President/secretary, treasurer, Event lead etc.

Caveat: Simply having the position won’t be of any use unless and until you show what you managed to achieve whilst you were responsible for that position. For a president, it might be something that you managed to negotiate with the college authorities, for a treasurer it might be getting people on board with finance-related decisions, whatever it is, make sure your results speak for themselves.

So these were my 2 cents on how to build up your CV for – as you as future MBAs would put it – gaining competitive advantage in a market full of equally capable individuals.

Rahul Sengupta – IIM Trichy.

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