Navigating Your Post-MBA Career
Find your passion and build some compassion as you grow your network
Navigating your career after earning your MBA is a never-ending process.
It’s the same whether you’re looking for a new job, working for a promotion, partnering with a new team, managing difficult relationships, reporting to a new leader or building your personal brand.
When I began the MBA program at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, it had been three years and one month since my younger brother had passed away. He was a healthy, athletic 17 year-old when some broken bones after a rugby injury led to an urgent care visit and the beginning of his cancer journey. He passed away in 2005, after two emotionally and physically challenging years.
Never burn bridges on your way up — you’ll see the same people on your way down.
I share this story because this one experience made a big impact on my life and shaped who I am today, as well as where I work and what I care about.
My MBA gave me a solid foundation and a launch pad to jumpstart my career progression and growth in an industry I love: healthcare. My passion for healthcare and caring for people is what has first and foremost kept me focused, motivated and inspired to contribute, to learn and to grow.
Here’s what else I’ve learned about navigating your career after an MBA:
1. FIND YOUR PASSION
What do you love to do? What do you care deeply about?
2. KNOW THYSELF
What are your strengths, weaknesses, interests? How are you perceived by others?
Use this information to build your skills, knowledge and experience. Be intentional about how you approach your work and people. For example, if you know you’re a highly analytical person, be aware that you naturally gravitate towards thinking analytically and that this may not be the appropriate approach in all settings.
3. STAY RELEVANT
Learning does not — and should not — stop after you finally add that fancy “MBA” next to your name. You will always have room to grow and learn how to be a better contributor, leader, manager, teammate and human being.
Stay current, but also plan for the future. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Look up job postings for roles you may want to be in and identify the skills, knowledge and experience you need to build in order to be considered for and prepared to take on those roles.
4. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
Build and maintain relationships. Find mentors (lots of them) and also return the favor by mentoring others. I have many great mentors I look up to as inspiring role models, advisors and coaches.
A great piece of advice I received early in my career was to never burn bridges on your way up—you’ll see the same people on your way down. You never know when you’ll need to reach out to certain individuals for help or advice in the future.
5. BE KIND
In the midst of navigating your career and executing your short- and long-term professional plans, don’t forget that life is delicate and sometimes too short. People you interact with are individuals who have lives outside of work. There are days and periods when, like you, others may be going through challenging times and need inspiration, motivation or support.
Remember to be a good human being who treats everyone with love, care and respect — always.
Pam Yoo MBA 11 is chief strategy officer for San Ramon Regional Medical Center and serves on the board of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management Alumni Association.