Networking can easily turn into a massive BS useless time sink.
Networking is a sales process, except the currency you are measuring in is slightly different, but that’s it.
It’s not how much time you spend doing sales prospecting, its having a high impact funnel and having really high quality stuff fall out of the funnel and hitting your revenue targets. People network and do sales in completely stupid ways spending way too much time on useless connections/prospects.
Most of you guys have to treat your time like you money and not give it out and spend it on entirely useless things. The bulk of networking is useless (and I’ve done Semiconductor strategic marketing-product marketing-biz dev-alliance programs for 20ish years). Networks don’t last a lifetime no matter what some of you guys think. A network is only as good as how well you nurture it and keep it organic and alive with high impact contacts that can positively influence your path to success (or not in your company).
The bulk of people in your network are not today nor will ever be your friend. They are in your network because you can make them successful in their organization and you have them in your network because they can make you useful in yours. Some high impact ones, you “pay forward” and invest in, because they have the human qualities to be helpful to you in some future capacity. These are the the high impact network contacts that you keep alive like leaves at the end of your tree’s branches.
But just randomly wasting time with low impact stupid people is EXACTLY what most people get sucked into and then they wonder why they missed 7×1 hour of training this week. Well they wasted 7 hours with idiots instead of spending 7 hours at the pool, the track or on the bike. At the end of the week, they have no further impact in their network than having spent those 7 hours training. The trap people fall into is treating networking like a party/popularity thing. Networking is all about connections-follow ups and driving mutually successful outcomes. Follow ups are the key. Constant follow up and being in the face of the key people in the network, and not when you need them but when they need you as a path to when you need them because you know you will need the high impact ones at some point, so you are building towards that.
Guys who don’t have time wasting it on useless networking are basically stupid business school idiots not looking at the ROI of their own time while studying ROI and NPV’s in finance class……sheeeesh people they teach you all this shit in biz school and then you don’t even apply proper business strategy to your own personal brand/company and then you wonder why you can’t train? WTF are most of you learning in biz school if you don’t treat your own self as the ultimate business that you need to manage?
Sorry for the rant….replying in general to this thread. Pubes can take this rant up from here. I tried to do my best impersonation….he’s right though, biz school is not that tough and it actually does not take that much time if you are properly organized and use proper priority management (I say this as a squander time on ST on a Friday nite)
In my time I had some classmates that did some semesters full time and some part time (mine was 2 courses per semester, 3 semesters per year, 3 years, 2 courses advanced standing due to having an engineering degree coming in). It depend on the person you talked to. Some said the full time program was way harder, some said part time while working full time. To some degree it depended on what courses you had at a given time and which profs you had and how organized you could get with your group work.
I aligned myself with enough people who wanted to get the maximum marks with the minimum amount of input workload. We would divide and conquor wherever possible and if I could not get in with some of those people, I just took leadership of the group and said, “OK you guys want to get an A- with X amount or work or an A- with X/5 amount of work”. Most people were pretty open to getting the same mark with 1/5th of the work so they fell in line quickly and we had a no time squandering policy. But you really have to manage your groups with the no time squandering approach or group work grows to occupy every living hour of your day, evening and weekends. It’s the same in real world companies…..stupid people who have no clue how valuable their time is just give it away like it’s sunshine in Dubai in July!
In terms of networking etc, I’d really advise you to treat the entire thing like a sales funnel. Try to make sure you populate your funnel with high quality prospects. Don’t ignore low quality prospects, but don’t just give your time for free to people who have low influencer qualities in the world outside school.
My 2 cents is that networking is very temporal in nature. The guys who were useful for me in the aerospace industry, are largely useless to me in semiconductors and within that the wireless guys are kinds of useless in high performance computing who in turn are fairly useless in medical imaging….and so it goes. The most useful takeaway is your ability to build new networks fast and in an impactful way….and if you can do that without mortgaging your personal life, then to me, that’s the high bar that you’re trying to get to anyway.
I was just interviewing a guy and one of my peers asked the candidate who he knew in XYZ key target account companies. I jumped in and said, “I don’t care who he know, I want to hear his plan for how he will win over all these guy who we don’t know and he doesn’t either because that’s the holy grail we’re trying to get to”. Biz school is a low impact place to practice that for sure. Of course some may actually become useful in the near term!
In any case, sorry if I was being hard. Probably a bit over the top, but it really is not that hard to train for half IM’s….run 20-40 min every day all the time, do two really hard 40 min swims, bike for commuting if you can, and get a hard 3 hour bike ride in on the weekend one day and a hard 70 min run with 8×6 min hard 2 min easy as your bread and butter run and don’t get fat and you’re set. I think you can do it with focus.
Here is my plan for you to get the full MBA experience:
- Every morning wake up 40 min earlier than you would and cram in a 30 min run
- 2x per week at lunch time, hard 40 min swim. Don’t sit around having lunch with other people at least on those days. Just pick the days and make it non negotiable.
- Networking Events, take whatever time is the max time allocated and invent an excuse to cut in it half and bolt out early or arrive half way in….whatever works. Have a plan that you want to accomplish XYZ objectives in that 50% time. Cut your losses on bad conversations and move one. Free up that 50% of time and get more course work/studying done than peers squandering time doing nothing at the networking
- Group work and described above….take the leadership role on time allocation, objectives and work to be done. If you see the group squandering time on low impact stuff, get them on track. People hate it initially, but they love it afterwards, when they are all in the pub and everyone else is still stuck doing case study stuff they will love you. After a while people will be competing to get into your group. That’s really what you want to get to, when all the all stars in your class are striving to get on your team and then they are working with and for you with the same mindset.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep every nite no matter what. Drop what ever you are doing 8 hours before you have to get up and leave it unfinished. It sounds short sighted at first, but if you set a deadline to get to sleep you will squander less time before that. Then the next day you are more rested and will get more done/asborbed in class on account of being alert. One of my classmates was an engineering physics student with top marks in our undergrad and a multiple time olympian and Commonwealth games champion in shooting. He needed sleep to perform at shooting, but he said only stupid people sacrifice sleep because they think they are getting more work done. I tried it for a semester at age 19 and was sold….carried it forward to grad school.
- No caffeine after 12 noon. This will help the sleep side too.
- Learn to read, synthesize and write really fast. The faster the better. This is your friend in biz school
- Practice your presentation skills. A great presentation can up your marks big time over a bad one for the same input work….this allows you to work less before and get the higher mark because you influenced the markers better by picking the influencing talking points
- Everything you do, ask yourself how you can do it faster for the same outcome
On the tri front, jog everywhere on campus! Free additional training. OK I spent too much time on that, but if it helps just a few people and allows you guys to train or have more time with families or girlfriend/boyfriend all the better
I think there are two types of networking. One is with prospective employers, one is with classmates. We can agree to disagree that both can be done more effectively with less time in. It’s not like I have never gotten a job before or closed big deals for my company or myself. People do networking with no plan, they waste time with the wrong network, and inside the network they are trying to build, they have no idea how to stand out in their network from others and most importantly get the message across on how they will make the other party successful. So yeah, no surprise, it’s a massive time sink for most with poor results. Even if you are working full time and going to a part time MBA you still need to network, either inside your company to keep your job and move ahead or outside your company to change careers and get a new job. Part time MBAers are constantly networking too. Just because they have a job at the moment has nothing to do with their need to network for the future. But like any endeavor in life where people are time crunched, there are always reasons/excuses why they are time crunched. In reality everyone gets 168 hours in a week. I told my employees at work to NOT WORK HARD because it is a stupid end game and both us and the competition have 168 hours in a week and eventually we both run out of hours. Working smarter as a team with priority management will defeat the competition. It’s the same thing in networking. Everyone has 168 hours. How can you get the most results with your time?
Maybe I had an advantage coming from engineering school into business school. Business school, everyone runs around with some badge of honor about how much time they put in because frankly the stuff is not that hard so if you just grind through more volume you get higher marks. Engineering school, you’re mainly either right or wrong. The volume is high, but the speed and accuracy with which you can go through the volume is dependent on how smartly you can grind through….not brute force grind like biz school. So in engineering school, the guy getting 90’s who is in the pub most nights and plays varsity sport is kind of glorified. And a lot of tech companies give glory to that. I think it was Netflix that said, “Oh, so you overachieved working only 20% of the time, congrats we give you a promotion and more responsibility….oh you, work 60 hours per week and are dropping the ball on multiple front, but generally do a good job….sorry, thanks for your work, but here is your severance package”.