I graduated from one of the top 10 undergraduate business schools in the US with a 3.85/4.0 GPA, an honors degree with a double major and a minor, and an offer to work at one of the top 10 Fortune Global 500 companies. I thought I was a badass and was ready to conquer the world and take over the C-suite.
Little did I know.... there were some basics I needed to learn first...
Yes, you've heard it time and time again. Networking is key to success. Although I was part of the company's rotation program (meaning that someone managed my career for 3 years), I realized that it was important to network and build relationships early on. Not only did it help with securing future roles and great opportunities, but they were particularly helpful when it came down to learning the tips and tricks to survive in the corporate world.
Remember how the theory and formula for in your class and how important it was to determine it in every case study you were given? Well, my finance peers, when you work in the corporate world, the company dictates the WACC you should use. What? You forgot the formula? No biggie. Just ask the Treasury department, and they will provide you the info - quicker than googling the formula and calculating it yourself. Basically, my point is - companies want you to do things their way. Usually, you just need to remember the theories from business school.
At my business school, the emphasis was on polished suits and tie for the men, and conservative blouses, skirts and pantyhose for the women. No need to shell out the hard earned cash for this unless you're an investment banker or hold some sort of external facing role because I've witnessed several pairs of thong sandals at my company. In fact, if you're seen wearing a suit, people will ask if you are interviewing. If you're a female sporting a fresh pair of pantyhose, you're viewed as uptight. I recommend business casual to be safe.
Finance is not "ALL THAT"
Finance was the most popular major in business school. You were reminded of that day in and day out. It was the major that would land you a lucrative career. When you're working in a non-finance industry, you quickly realize that you're not as important as you once were in business school. For example, if you're working in the O&G industry, engineers are the gods. If you're working in CPG, it's all about the marketers. You get the point. Basically, you need to learn to put your ego aside and get over yourself.
Based on what I have seen in my 8 year career, advanced degrees, such as an MBA, are not essential for those already with a business degree. They're helpful if you're trying to break into a new industry or a new company; however, they do not appear to be needed for internal advancement. It's definitely making me think twice given how expensive a MBA degree is.
These are the things I've witnessed thus far at my company. I'm sure the list differs depending on the company and industry. What do you all think? Any others worth mentioning?