Networking

  1. “Just show up, you can always leave whenever you want” — a great piece of advice given to me by a Ross MBA alum before I headed off for my first year in b-school. Give yourself a chance to stay at the event for at least half an hour — that is sufficient time to decide for yourself if you want to stay. 80% of the times I showed up, I ended up staying for >1 hour after meeting 2–3 interesting people and left on a higher note than when I arrived for the event.
  2. Organically network— I manage and grow my network through volunteering, participating in professional events that I am interested in, attending social gatherings in the community, catching up with friends on a regular basis, and sending Christmas greetings to my friends + mentors + network. The goal is to constantly put yourself out there by organically attending events that interest you and meeting people as a welcome side effect.
  3. Be the earliest person at an event and/or the last person to leave — this is my top strategy for introverts. I am neither loud nor do I enjoy inserting myself into circles/conversations. Being the earliest or one of the earliest allows me to have one on ones with people who start walking in. People also join the circle I started organically and I start feeling comfortable enough after a while to exit the circle and join another one.
  4. Ask a friend who is great at networking to bring you along to a networking event and show you how it’s done — I tagged along with a friend during happy hour at business school and she showed me how to join and exit conversation circles gracefully. Best 2 hours that I spent at a happy hour in my entire life :)
  5. Be prepared to have a few awkward experiences — networking is like riding a bicycle. You just have to get out there and do it. I had a few awkward experiences and I remember my first “win” when I struck up a conversation with a recruiter and he ended up giving me an interview slot and a free pair of sunglasses! That feeling of victory was so sweet and once you reach that, you are set for more networking wins.
  6. Learn from the experts — I highly recommend “The MBA Guide to Networking like a Rockstar” by Jaymin Patel (https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Networking-Like-Rockstar-Relationships/dp/061548705X). Read the book and watch his youtube video. He gave a talk at Ross about networking that provided me with helpful strategies that I still utilize (e.g if you want to get noticed, sit in front or at the center of the aisles). Another good book I came across is “Captivate — the Science of Succeeding with People” by Vanessa Van Edwards (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01L8C4WKC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0)

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Sufen

Sufen

I make hardware smart by integrating new technology with state-of-the-art software. Passionate about bridging the gap between industry and STEM education.