W. P. Carey Alumni Share 10 Tips for Preparation Before Entering The World of Work

We asked W. P. Carey Alumni: What is one tip you can share to help students prepare to enter the workforce?

Here are the 10 tips they shared:

  • Cultivate Emotional Intelligence
  • Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday
  • Complete An Internship
  • Avoid Full-Time Work from Home
  • Don’t Underestimate The Power of Networking
  • Step Up to Become a Pro
  • Deliver Difficult News by Phone
  • Have Patience With Yourself
  • Prioritize People Always
  • Be Open To Possibilities

Cultivate Emotional Intelligence

When a new college graduate joins an organization they have an advantage over their peers: they’re potentially more current on the theories and practices in their field of study. Conversely, it is likely that they have a disadvantage: lower emotional intelligence than their peers. The data shows that EI grows over one’s career through experience, exposure, and a growth mindset. New graduates who want to succeed in their new role and improve their chances for development and other opportunities must invest in self-growth. They should proactively obtain regular feedback from their leader, peers, and customers (such as 360-degree feedback). They should engage in self-reflection. Ideally, new graduates should work to identify their strengths and opportunities early on and find roles, tasks, and environments in which they can leverage their strengths and close gaps in their areas of opportunity. 

Lisa Barrington, BS Management ‘85, Barrington Coaching

Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday

Be cautious when you’re comparing yourself to others. You’re a graduate in a new-age digital world so this can be easier said than done. Now that you’ve graduated you’re an adult. Congratulations! Now the problems have evolved from getting good grades to setting yourself up for success. My advice is simple. Ask yourself at the end of the day “How did I make things in my life a tiny bit better than they were this morning?” Focus on getting 1% better every day. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Use them Wisely! 

Robby Dameron, BASC Corporate Communications & Special Event Management ‘15, Contentful

Complete An Internship

The advice I would offer to an undergraduate student is to make sure you participate in an internship.  I wish I had done an internship when I was an undergraduate student, as it would have better prepared me for the workplace.  I never did an internship, and it was because, at the time, I did not realize the value of the opportunity to work with a company on a summer project. Make sure you plan time in your schedule to research companies and find an internship that will give you real-world work experience and help you transition from school to work.

Paul Barnhurst, MS Information Management & MBA Finance ‘08, FP & A Today

Avoid Full-Time Work from Home

As a proud Sun Devil graduate, you might consider this tip in selecting your next career role. Don’t take a job where you can work from home full time. You need to meet people, be ‘in the room’ when meetings are held. Have lunch with senior people and get noticed. If you work from home too much, you could become expendable; it’s much easier to take someone seriously whom you know and have developed a personal relationship with.

Martin Menard, MBA ‘92, Pacific Coast Companies, Inc

Don’t Underestimate The Power of Networking

I was promoted to a leadership position within my organization halfway through my MBA program and I was absolutely thrilled. However, circumstances at my company changed and I was scrambling to look for another job. I reached out to a classmate in one of my cohorts and I was able to get a couple of introductions to companies I would have never known about. As a result, I received two offers from two incredible companies and accepted one that landed me where I am today and I couldn’t be happier. Form relationships with your classmates, grab coffee with them outside of school hours, attend social gatherings (virtual or in-person) whenever possible, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or for an introduction. I’m sure glad I did! 

Chris Mercer, MBA ‘21, Rovicare

Step Up To Become a Pro

The difference between a professional and an amateur is consistency. Whatever career path you choose, do it well. This means creating a routine for daily self-reflection and improvement. Set goals and plans to become better at your craft and seek mentors, challenges and learning opportunities to become the best in your field. Once you take this approach, you will find experts excited to collaborate with you and open doors for you. But if you show up with low effort and low commitment, don’t be surprised when success passes you by.

Rebecca Clyde, MBA Marketing & Management ‘02, Botco.ai

Deliver Difficult News By Phone

When you need to deliver difficult news – pick up the phone. I received this advice early in my career and often hear it is not normal practice. Set yourself apart and have those difficult conversations. You will find that this level of vulnerability exhibits maturity, builds relationships of trust, and mitigates further miscommunication. 

Erica MacKenzie, BS Economics and Management ‘15 & MBA ‘20,  San Francisco 49ers

Have Patience With Yourself

As you progress in your career, have patience with yourself. You are the only one on “your” timeline. When you love what you do, you will see the rewards of your labor (the money will come)! I am privileged, as a first generation American from a Latino/Italian background to always remember my roots and to share my challenges with my family (as we live through different glasses/experiences).  As a two-time graduate from ASU, I have seen the fruits of my labor. I have learned to focus on my family and leaving my legacy. As leaders, it is always about making others around you better and paying it forward.   

Sandra Vincent, BS ‘93 & MBA ‘01, Surgery Partners

Prioritize People Always

Business school can prepare you for many challenges and tribulations you will face in your career. Through the early mornings in the lecture hall and long nights in the library, you’ve attained a high-level understanding of business theory. The reality is the number one skill needed to achieve success in your career is creating and fostering relationships with your peers, co-workers, and customers. Without the relationships in your career, the theory you’ve spent the last four years learning is rendered almost useless. Begin prioritizing the people in your life today and for each day after, it will pay off. People first will always pave the way for success. 

Nick Keeslar, BS Marketing ‘14, Paro

Be Open To Possibilities

If you are academically successful, there is a good chance you are organized, disciplined, methodical, and deliberate in your intentions. You are, quite possibly, a planner. While these traits are extremely useful in fulfilling functional roles (e.g., many entry-level positions), they can also thwart personal and professional growth. I’ve found many moderately successful people to be profoundly risk-averse, and as a result, they pass up incredible opportunities, simply because it wasn’t in the plan. You control the plan – don’t let the plan control you. Be open to pivoting from your plan; you can nearly always recover from a misstep, especially early career. 

Andrew Harbut, MBA ‘10

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By W. P. Carey Career Services Center
W. P. Carey Career Services Center