How to network like a pro

From personalized career coaching to skill-building workshops, the International Business School has a wealth of networking resources

By Darren Deng, MSF’22, MBA’23

Networking is an essential skill for business school students.

How will you land your next job? Or identify a contact who can help you accelerate your career? Most likely, the answer is through networking.

Learning how to network effectively is a big focus at Brandeis International Business School. Students can work with their Career Coach, attend a variety of industry-specific networking events, participate in “small talk” workshops and sign up for Industry Treks — where students network with working professionals at top companies.

Whether you’re an outgoing “backslapper” like me or have a more reserved personality, the International Business School can help you network like a pro.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Become besties with your career coach

Some of us are natural-born connectors, while others are a bit more shy when it comes to reaching out to new people.

But that’s okay! The Career Strategies and Engagement Center (CSE) at the International Business School is here to help you to develop your networking skills.

My top recommendation: be sure to build a close relationship with your Career Coach. When it comes to your job search, they are your best friend!

The Career Coaches at the International Business School have tons of industry experience and a wealth of connections. And this personalized career coaching begins even before you arrive on campus, so be sure to take full advantage.

Harness the power of social media (especially LinkedIn)

Using LinkedIn effectively is probably the first thing your Career Coach will talk to you about.

My Career Coach told me that 50 percent of hires come from referrals. LinkedIn is where you can connect with people, build relationships and seek job referrals (the International Business School has an entire class about referral strategies).

LinkedIn is also a tool for business development. During a recent internship, I spent the summer pursuing a business deal with a leading payment software company — and it was all possible because I sent the CEO a LinkedIn message!

A few quick pointers: Remember to start your LinkedIn message with a compliment. Proceed with a strong intention but a gentle approach. Be polite and always be prepared to listen to another person’s story before you promote your own.

I’m also a big WeChat user, which is hugely popular in my home country of China. The app is where I manage the majority of my professional contacts, so be sure to use every tool available to you.

Attend events and conferences

Staying active and involved at events — both on and off campus — is another essential aspect of becoming a networking pro.

The CSE hosts dozens of speaker events and workshops each semester, many featuring successful International Business School alumni. Brandeis University hosts two major career fairs every year. The International Business School is also a sponsor of Boston Fintech Week and startup accelerator MassChallenge, so be sure to take advantage by attending their many networking events and competitions.

My favorite type of event? It has to be Industry Treks. Each year, the CSE plans multi-day trips to major cities like New York and San Francisco. Students get an insider’s view of what it’s like to work at companies including Apple, Google, JP Morgan and HSBC, all while meeting with Brandeis alumni who work there. It’s a great chance to show off your professional networking skills!

This article originally appeared on the Student Insights blog on the Brandeis International Business School website.

By Career Strategies and Engagement (CSE)
Career Strategies and Engagement (CSE)