“Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into the visible.”
In order to make our dreams come true, we first need to know what they are. Setting goals is the process of identifying, understanding, and organising our wants and desires. For students, who have finite time and infinite aspirations, it is crucial to understand what you want to achieve and how you can go about it.
As a Global Online MBA student at Imperial College Business School, I have drawn on the valuable lessons I learned in my first year of study and have come up with a nifty anagram to remember my MBA goals:
L: Learn anything and everything
O: Open your mind
N: Nurture relationships and network
D: Discipline yourself
O: Optimise communication
N: Note your weaknesses
Learn anything and everything
Every graduate student sacrifices time, money, and employment in order to pursue their aspirations for higher education. It is critical that as students we use this opportunity to gain knowledge and learn about anything and everything that comes our way.
Personally, I am aiming to explore new subjects such as sustainability, innovation, and analytics. Imperial offers an eclectic selection of Global Online MBA electives that allow students to discover new topics.
Apart from a diverse academic curriculum, Imperial offers a vast universe of learning opportunities. Students benefit from the Imperial Enterprise Lab “how to” workshops e.g. How to build a financial model. The Careers team conduct workshops on career essentials like writing a CV, cover letter and applications. The Imperial Library aids academic learning by leading sessions on topics such as research tools among others.
For anyone who is willing to learn, the sky is the limit. All we must do is identify goals that appeal to us and let the learning begin!
Open your mind
If our goal is to learn anything and everything, we must unlearn what we think we already know. I realised this in my first year of my MBA programme when I was trying to solve a strategy problem using the tools I had learned as an undergraduate freshman. My teammates were suggesting different techniques but unknowingly my mind was so stuck on my old methods that I was completely closed off to even considering new ways and ideas.
Imperial gives its students the opportunity to meet people from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and work profiles. Each person brings with them an opportunity to learn something new. Classes at the Business School are designed to challenge our thought processes and aid us to reinvent ourselves. That is why it is my goal to keep an open mind and embrace all new experiences and perspectives in the coming year.
Nurture relationships and network
The unspoken value of an MBA is the network you build whilst you are studying. Now I am aware many people view networking as this ugly, selfish, transactional term. However, if we approach networking from the point of view of nurturing lifelong relationships with interesting people from all walks of life, then networking can become a beautiful and rewarding thing.
Sure, who we know may help us get our foot in the door and give us access to a myriad of career opportunities. However, if we build real connections with people then the benefits will be much more far reaching. Someone we meet casually could become our future partner in a start-up, a mentor, or even a life-long friend.
Imperial College Business School has tens of business and social clubs like the Finance Club, the Luxury Retail Club, and The Student Investment Fund, whose very purpose is to promote networking among like-minded people. The university even organises events that promote networking with alumni and the larger Imperial university like Coffee Chats and World Café. It is my goal to prioritise networking and make an active effort to nurture relationships with my classmates, professors, tutors and peers in the coming year.
Discipline bridges the gap between goals and accomplishments. If there is one thing I learned in the first year of my MBA programme, it is that we have to be disciplined and keep up with the work! As a Global Online MBA student, I am juggling full-time work, studies, hobbies, family, and social life on a daily basis. When there are so many things that need to get done, I can’t afford to procrastinate.
I find that it is crucial to establish an efficient work routine and to commit to it, even when I really do not want to do what needs to be done. To help manage my busy schedule, I have attended useful workshops on time management and revision offered by the Imperial Library and the Graduate School. There are many other resources that Imperial offers that can support with self-development. It is my goal to utilise these resources in the new year and to discipline my mind so that I can achieve my other goals.
Communication works for those who practise. I went into the MBA feeling very confident about my communication skills as I am naturally extroverted and very comfortable expressing my opinions. However, after taking MBA core modules like Organizational Behaviour and Leadership I realised that self-expression is only half the story in communication.
The other, arguably more important part, is listening to others and making them feel heard. Turns out I am not so good at this bit. Therefore, it is my goal to optimise my communication skills in the year ahead.
Imperial offers extensive resources on improving communication skills. The Graduate School’s workshop on “Giving Presentations” and the Leadership module have both been very useful in supporting my learning.
Note your weaknesses
Self-awareness is the first step to self-improvement. If we are not aware of our shortcomings, or we are in denial, then there can be no improvement in our lives. My classes at Imperial provided many self-testing questionaires like Myers Briggs, Mach IV, Personality Traits etc. These enabled me to understand myself better. I could pinpoint the facets of my personality that were hindering my growth and work on them actively. It is my goal to continue learning about myself in the coming year and to turn my weaknesses into strengths.
So, there you have it – my goals for the year are LONDON. I encourage you to think about your own goals and wish you all the success in your development journey.