While most people recognize the importance of getting a quality education to increase their odds of having a fulfilling and lucrative career, many of us are not as aware as we should be of the importance of networking and the role it can play in our career and personal development.
The Importance of Networking
Networking is a skill that can build mutually beneficial relationships with fellow business leaders and have a major impact not only on your professional life but on your personal life as well.
Perhaps the most obvious example of the importance of networking is how it can influence and expand your career options. Whether or not you are in the market for a job, it always pays to be aware of the employment opportunities in your industry.
Another benefit to networking lies in its usefulness as a tool for education and support. Your professional contacts are an incredible font of industry knowledge regarding trends, new technologies and upcoming developments that can help you grow as an executive and ensure you excel at your job. These same people can also be incredible resources you can turn to for guidance and information when you run into a particularly difficult challenge at work.
Furthermore, networking can help you increase your confidence as you gain experience interacting with talented people in your industry. It can also help you raise your profile in your business community, which can lead to even more business contacts and possible job opportunities.
Business Networking Tips
While the importance of networking may be obvious, many people still find it difficult to approach new people or ask for assistance from acquaintances. To get over this hurdle, it’s good to remember that networking is not a one-way street. The same person you reach out to may one day reach out to you for help.
Don’t wait until you want something to contact your associates. Whether or not you’re presently in the market for a new job or need support, nurturing your list of contacts will ensure that you always have someone to turn to when you’re in need.
Additional business networking tips include making sure you always have a professional-looking business card at the ready because you never know when and where you will network next. So always be prepared with a business card and a friendly introduction — be it at the grocery store, your kid’s soccer game or the auto shop.
Be sure to take advantage of online networking tools like LinkedIn or Facebook, and keep your profile up to date and professional looking.
MBAs: An Especially Valuable Network
Graduates with an online MBA degree have some of the best networking opportunities. In general, individuals who pursue an MBA are often goal-oriented, business-savvy people who go on to work for successful organizations around the world. They also tend to be from an incredibly diverse array of educational and social backgrounds. Such a multitude of different MBA graduates means that your alumni networking opportunities are likewise diverse and multifaceted.
The higher learning environment of an MBA also tends to attract leading professors and professionals who can offer business networking tips. They regularly interact with students and understand the importance of reaching out to colleagues.
A Well-Rounded Skill Set
Because they fully appreciate the importance of networking, many universities with MBA programs also have strong networking assistance for alumni. Baylor University, for example, prides itself on preparing students to take advantage of networking opportunities. The Baylor Business Network offers a variety of business networking tips and is a continuous source of student support that grads can rely on throughout their professional lives.
Baylor offers online and in-person resources that help students accelerate their careers. These resources include management systems like HireABear, which brings students and prospective employers together. MBA students have access to CareerLeader software, a self-assessment tool used by top business schools and corporations worldwide, as well as CareerShift, an internship and networking search engine.
The importance of networking can’t be underestimated. The ability to network is a valuable skill that can help you throughout your career by broadening your employment options and nurturing your personal and professional growth.
Learn more about Baylor University’s online MBA program.
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