Developing Emerging Leaders Internationally
ABDUL & ALEX - JUNE 2020
Since you’ve been on the job market, Abdul, how have you found your coaching has impacted your search?
ABDUL: It has helped me in targeting the right people on LinkedIn to add to my network, especially HR professionals of my target industries such as e-commerce, technology, telecom. The mock interview and career assessment sessions were really helpful and will help me prepare better for upcoming interviews.
In the COVID environment, are you seeing any differences in job trends in different countries?
ABDUL: Most companies have put hiring freeze, technology sector still has jobs especially for software engineers. Its really hard to find a job for a business background professional at the moment. In the current job market, companies are showing preference for undergrads compared to MBA students because their compensation cost is lower and companies are using the current job situation to lowball employees and hire them on the cheap, this seems counter-productive though because the employees are going to leave such companies as soon they find an opportunity that values them better.
Alex, you have been coaching Abdul through his studies and job hunt? What is the most important thing for early careers professionals to have in mind at the moment?
ALEX: I think mindset is the most important - it’s completely within your control, and while the market might look tough, it’s even tougher if you’re mentally dragging yourself down. You miss opportunities, and don’t impress the people you do get to sit in front of, if you’re mentally defeated by the market conditions. Get back to basics - make sure you’re sleeping well, exercising, eating properly and staying socially connected, in addition to ensuring you have a crystal clear career narrative and ‘pitch’. The positive outlook will bring results for you in the short and long term.
In your view, what’s the winning mindset MBA graduates should have in this post-COVID workplace? How should they be thinking about the next 5 years of their careers?
ABDUL: In the short term, don't be picky, just accept any job offer you get. Once the Covid situation subsides and the economy expands, then look for openings in your target industry and try to pivot.
ALEX: Yes, similar to what I mentioned earlier, a mindset of “this too shall pass” will help you. It is a hard time, but time will move forward, and you can count on the fact that this reality will be replaced by something else, and then something else - sometimes for better and other times for the worse. If you’re looking to the next 5 year horizon, you need to have a learners mindset - take every opportunity and turn it into a chance for growth. You have this choice with your outlook, and one thing that can help you compound this is journaling - watch your thoughts and reflections and try to always write down: ‘what have I learned from this’?
What was the biggest challenge you worked through with your Coach, Abdul? How did the coaching work impact this situation for you?
ABDUL: Alex has helped me alot in how to network with people and how to keep the conversation going with open ended questions and then following it up with more related open ended questions. She has helped improve my interview and assessment center approach with her mock interviews and immediate feedback on how to improve my answers.
Do you have any suggestions for MBA students taking on coaching - how can they make sure they get the best out of the experience during their program work?
ABDUL: Ideally have a structure of the coaching sessions in mind and then try to dig deep within the problem area the candidate is facing with regards to the topic of discussion. Candidate should inform the coach which area they are struggling with so that the session can be better utilized.
ALEX: Yes - get ready! It’s a great chance to grow yourself, but your coach isn’t your cheerleader, mentor or your manager - they’re going to challenge you, but not ‘TELL’ you what to do - so mentally prepare yourself for thinking and acting! MBA’s who are willing to be more reflective and authentic, and own up to both their strengths and their areas for development will take the most away from this experience.