Global Master’s in Management student Payal Budhraja shares her tips for making the most of the networking opportunities offered on your programme– even if you’re not a social butterfly.
One of my personal goals when joining the two-year Global Master’s in Management programme was at LSE to improve my networking skills, be less afraid to approach people, and obviously, find an internship. As part of our 3-week pre-sessional course before the official start of the programme, we had a lot of seminars to prepare us for networking better at career fairs and company events. To some people, this comes naturally, but to me it does not.
As an introvert, it was challenging for me to go up and speak to people, get company information, and gather hints and tips on shining as an applicant. It was definitely a step out of my comfort zone, but nonetheless I was up for the challenge. To my surprise I did better than what I expected. When I attended my first Consulting fair, I joined a group of people and observed what questions they asked. After visiting a few companies, I gained the confidence to approach employers independently and find out relevant details. I continued to attend events and eventually began enjoying these occasions, as I found that people are very friendly.
The Global Master’s in Management programme offers a lot of valuable guidance to help you start out on your journey to become a successful management student and better job candidate. They have a strong Alumni network, not just in London, but across the globe. Graduated students are always happy to talk about their experiences and give current students a chance to ask questions concerning careers and the course.
I’ve found a lot of valuable insights which I would love to share with people who are in a similar position as me. Obviously, dressing properly, maintaining formal body language, keeping your phone away, making eye contact and occasionally smiling are given norms while interacting with any employer. Beyond that, I learnt a few very useful tips over the course of my first term:
1. Be proactive in looking out for networking opportunities
LSE offers a lot of networking opportunities – career fairs, company visits, coffee chats, alumni meetings and so on. You must be proactive when attending these events as spacing is limited. It is always better to arrive at the earliest possible time slot as it is less crowded, to give yourself an opportunity to have more one-to-one conversations with people.
2. Always know the specific companies you want to speak with beforehand. Even better, come prepared with specific questions to ask beyond the generic ones
After attending my first two events, I realised the number of students attending these events are enormous, so you must make the most of your time rather than wasting time deciding which company to talk with. This may sound obvious, but there is very limited amount of time at networking events and too many people wanting to talk with the employers. It is important to be organised. Looking up companies before an event saves you a lot of time at the event, allowing you to focus on the more important bit – the companies that you want to work for.
3. A lot of the time alumni come to promote their employers at these events
This turned out to be a great conversation starter for me. You often tend to have common university experiences to share, especially if the person you talking to studied the same course as you. These conversations can begin to sound more like a two-way conversation rather than a question-answer interrogatory session.
4. At the end of the conversation, do not hesitate to ask for contact details!
After attending an event, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with employees you have spoken to from companies you want to apply for. They are often very friendly and happy to help you out with further questions. It is nice to remember that they have been in the very same position you are at some given point.
LSE has a lot of networking opportunities, so it is up to you to get the most out of it. Over the course of my first term, I realised that job hunting is a treacherous task that we all go through. Building networks has become easier with the help of emails and social media. And my fear of approaching people? Well, I would not say that it has completely vanished. But certainly, attending numerous events organised both by the Management department and the LSE careers service has helped me become more confident speaking with people and striking up good conversations. I continue to keep building my professional network.
Learn more about our Global Master’s in Management programme