When Amit Sawant, WG’18, transitioned out of engineering into product management, he was excited to work with the entire ecosystem of a product’s life cycle. However, he soon realized that a business education would accelerate his success in his current role and help him achieve his long-term goal of becoming a corporate strategy leader.
“Rather than just learning on the job, I decided to get an MBA to grow into a business leader,” said Amit, who is a product management leader at Riverbed Technology in Cary, N.C., and a first-year student in Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives in Philadelphia. “I came to Wharton because of its global reputation and academic rigor.”
With the help of Wharton’s career management resources and programming, Amit has also been able to plot a tangible path toward his professional goals. He attended a Career Day in his first year, where students explore their goals, core skills, the value they add to companies, and their personal brands. In their second year, Amit and his classmates will attend another Career Day that is focused more on the tactical aspects of career planning.
Recently, he attended the annual Career Conversations event to get more targeted career feedback from alumni. At this year’s event in Philadelphia, 65 alumni came to campus to share personalized feedback and career insights with 36 EMBA students.
The event, which is held on each coast, gives EMBA students an opportunity to sit down with alumni who have experience in their professional interest areas and can offer customized career advice.
“I wanted to participate in Career Conversations to get advice on how to continue transitioning into corporate strategy,” said Amit. “I was matched with three consultants, who came well prepared with feedback. They had looked at my resume and LinkedIn profile, which led to deeper and more meaningful conversations.”
In addition to the personalized feedback he received, Amit also walked away from his Career Conversation session with some general tips that could be helpful for others trying to transition into a new professional area. Here are his four top takeaways:
1. Make sure your resume reflects your goals.
Review your resume to ensure that it reflects your career goals. Rather than only focusing on your technical experience, “build a story” around your goals to highlight your strengths and experiences in that area.
2. Take classes in your areas of interest to get a taste of a different industry.
“Students come to this program to learn how to do more. Wharton allows you to explore many areas with a wide variety of electives and resources, which is critical to determine the best fit for your career,” Amit said. If you’re looking to move into a different functional area, take some classes in that area.
During Amit’s Career Conversations session, a McKinsey consultant explained how the experience she gained during her Global Consulting Practicum (GCP) at Wharton helped her transition into consulting. Her experience really resonated with him because he is currently doing a GCP with a technology company in the Bay Area.
3. Don’t dismiss a potential career opportunity just because you don’t meet every requirement specified in the job description.
“You need to have most of the requirements for the role, but you should be able to show through your resume and interviews that you have the potential to perform all of the responsibilities. Show that you are looking to do new things and how your past experiences would enable you to perform successfully if given the opportunity,” Amit said.
4. Get customized feedback and coaching from a professional in the field and network with people who have accomplished similar goals.
After the Career Conversations sessions, all of the EMBA students joined the alumni attending the event for a networking reception. “It was a nice way to begin building relationships,” Amit said.“Whether you’re looking to change roles or industries, talking to people who have accomplished similar goals is very helpful. They can help you break down the steps into granular actions.”
Posted: April 12, 2017