Career Development 101: Love the Industry you're in and Be an Expert

There is without a doubt a stereotype for recent MBA grads – folks who are ambitious, smart, hard-working, but oftentimes lack experience or domain knowledge. Looking around and at myself, I think this is somewhat true, but there are steps to take to quickly be treated as a peer among veterans in the industry of your post-MBA career.

Here’s what you gotta do.

This is the 5th and final post in my series, Career Development 101, tailored specifically for professionals with MBAs, doing their MBA, or thinking of doing an MBA.

Read like crazy after the MBA

Imagine you were starting your first day as a surgeon and your whole team was waiting for you. The nurses have cleaned the patient up, and the anesthesiologist has fully sedated the patient. You walk in there and start mumbling, “Uh, nurse, could you hand me that pointy looking thing? No, not that one, the bigger one... Yeah, that’s the one… Let’s see… what does this do again?”

Sure, the MBA equips you with general business skills, but you definitely don’t want to be the recent MBA grad that doesn’t know anything specific.

Here’s the thing about industry-specific coursework in MBA programs – by the time anything becomes a case or makes it into a text book, it’s already outdated. That’s not to say that the general concept is useless, it’s just not directly applicable in your everyday role after the MBA.

This leaves you with a gap in knowledge right after the MBA. Sure, for the first few weeks or months, your colleagues might just give you a pass since you have the “new card” in hand. But the ambitious and hardworking MBA shouldn’t just stop there.

There are three things you should read post-MBA: 

1) Latest internal strategic documents and slide decks that are relevant to your work 

This is a good place to start as it allows you to put your work in the context of the entire company’s strategy. It also allows you to get the company’s jargon and acronyms down so you start understanding and using the right terminology.

Start by reaching out to your manager and team mates to see if you can find some decks or memos related to this. Company press releases are also a great place to start. In addition, people in strategy roles or market research either collect, or are authors of, these documents and it is good meeting with them early on.

This is probably the single most important thing for a new hire to do in order to enhance leadership performance. As I’ve discussed earlier, if you don’t know specifically how your company is maneuvering in your industry to beat competitors, then you cannot justify the importance of your work and will find it difficult to network or lead meetings effectively.

2) Any news related to current or future competitors in your industry or product type 

This is kind of a no-brainer. Within a few months, plan to have a full understanding of your direct competitors and how their strategy differs from your company’s. Pick your favorite industry newsletters and try to read a few a week (here are a few for the biopharma industry). Most MBAs should be doing this in school anyway so I won’t spend too much time here. The important thing is to actually spend time reading and not just collecting emails.

3) Analysis by well-known folks in your industry 

Again, not much to say here. A good idea is to follow these folks on LinkedIn or Twitter or any specific blogs or columns they may hold on major news sites. Usually if you have a question related to their articles they’ll respond and it’s a great learning experience.

Apply what you read 

If you’re like me, you struggle to find the time to actually sit down and read stuff. It got bad enough for me that I blocked 2 hours on Friday afternoons just to catch up on reading as part of a resolution for 2016. I found one way to get the most of your reading time is to not just read but to think and apply.

Basically it’s the difference between “hmm, that’s interesting” and “based on that, I should think about this”. There’s a ton of random crap published each day that is interesting but just isn’t applicable to what you do. Those are the ones you should skip but take your time with the ones that are relevant.
It’s both an external and internal check that you actually are in the right place with your career choice. 
Don’t just read, but also think. I’ll give a personal example. Healthcare payment models are incredibly complex and are constantly evolving. I started reading up on blog posts and articles about this, and even reached out to a few authors to clarify concepts/data. Combined with osmosis with internal colleagues I’ve finally gotten my head around this topic and how it applies to the company’s strategies and tactics.

Talk to people 

If you have a burning question, just ask. I’d imagine most companies have an open door policy these days and I think those that have collaborative cultures are receptive to this. Obviously, the quality of your question will determine the quality of the response (and whether you annoy the other person), so exhaust other venues first (like the ones listed above).
I think this is a good Litmus test for passion – if you find it difficult to learn deeply in your industry quickly then you may not like the line of work enough. 
Asking questions that are strategic in nature and having discussions that contain no clear answer indicate that you are a person that is driven by passion and curiosity. This is super important and you should find an industry or role that has this effect on you. It’s both an external and internal check that you actually are in the right place with your career choice. Conferences are also great places to discuss cutting edge topics and grow the depth of your industry knowledge.

Internalize, but never repeat MBA frameworks 

Stuff like Porter’s Five Forces, the 3C’s or 4P’s of Marketing are great frameworks to have in mind and good for first year MBA coursework. However, never, ever repeat them in your full time role after the MBA, or risk getting stereotyped as one of those “MBA” types with no real world experience.

Rather, internalize these basic business and analytical frameworks such that they become automatic as you consider the decisions businesses in your industry are making. When you read stuff, the business rationale and trade-offs should be easily evident. Anyone that passes their first year MBA strategy course technically should be able to do this (and should enjoy doing it).

If you don’t become an industry expert quickly, then you probably don’t like your industry enough You’ve all heard famous people say the same thing – basically find something you absolutely love and own the crap out of it. In other words, don't ever settle for something you don't love.

I think this is a good Litmus test for passion – if you find it difficult to learn deeply in your industry quickly (say in 6 months post-MBA) then you may not like the line of work enough. I genuinely believe that everyone has a gift for a particular type of work and it’s all about finding that right match.

Basically – just find an industry you love – and dig in.

This is the 5th and final post in my series, Career Development 101, tailored specifically for professionals with MBAs, doing their MBA, or thinking of doing an MBA.


  1. Career development is a crucial part of our lives and to improve this part, we need to stay positive and motivated and the most important things are to take advantage of the right opportunity. As a professional, I would like to follow the ingredients present here in this article and hope to get the best career development part. Thanks for such a wonderful presentation.

  2. Oil and gas tasks and administrations are capital serious. Henceforth, money related limit is basic to drive development in the industry. outsourcing industriale

  3. The Nigerian oil and gas industry is the essential wellspring of income for the administration and has an industry estimation of about $20 billion. Lead Generation Industry

  4. I've spent plenty of years providing accurate psychic readings, tarot and numerology readings. Every one's their particular perception accurate psychic

  5. Love to read it,Waiting For More new Update and I Already Read your Recent Post its Great Thanks. รับโปรโมทเว็บ

  6. Because they think of a career as something intentionally chosen, purposeful, and meaningful, ashamed of being unemployed and they don't see those qualities in their job. Another possibility is that they feel deep down that their real career lies elsewhere.

  7. Web development agency seems like a magic that will make your website stand out from your competitors. We are known for creating powerful and professional websites that will stand out from the rest. web development company in usa

  8. Along these lines, to have you site continued being in uptime constantly, it will cost a piece since organizations will charge you for this solid help. web hosting near me

  9. I adore your websites way of raising the awareness on your readers.fake packwoods

  10. I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work!

  11. The activity Bob had at the plant was in a very specialty market, and there aren't any employments accessible in that industry, however there are numerous occupations accessible in the IT/Finance industry. Knowledge Leader Forum

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. this information or details are generated from the wide varieties of sources such as text files, financial logs, instruments and sensors and multimedia forms. data science course syllabus

  14. Kumpulan agen Situs Judi QQ online terpercaya, salah satu dari semua situs bandar judi qq, dominoqq, poker online terbaik di indonesi.

  15. En guzel kizlar Burada şişli escort olarak. Sizlere hizmet etmek ve bosaltmak adina buradalar. Profiller arasinda muhakkak size uygun birileri vardir. iyi ziyaretler.

  16. Bosbandarq situs judi online terpercaya, kumpulan situs judi qq online terbaik serta permainan kartu dominoqq, bandarq dan poker online no 1 pkv games di Indonesia.
    situs bandarq

  17. Daftar Agen Situs Poker Online, DominoQQ & Bandarq QQ Terpercaya

    situs poker online

  18. Vitamin D supplementation could reduce opioid doses in palliative cancer treatment
    best neck tattoo

  19. Dpbola situs judi online terpercaya. Agen bola online, permainan judi slot terpopuler dan taruhan uang asli murah.

  20. These tips are very helpful for new professionals and through this, they can make their future secure and enjoy a good career. Dissertation proposal writing services.

  21. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. 바카라

  22. Whats up very cool web site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally…I am happy to find a lot of useful information here in the put up, we want develop extra techniques on this regard, thank you for sharing. brand name suggestions

  23. nice article, waiting for your another. For health tipsClick here

  24. Now, in each of these techniques, if there is a Marketing Automation Software available which is making a few steps automatic i.e. posting on multiple social media sites at once or posting articles/press releases automatically on multiple article directories or article/PR submission sites, then that software is helping in your marketing campaign and is making it automatic. That is also a marketing automation software.

  25. career trajectories, or personal development, peaking is a phenomenon that captivates the human spirit, urging individuals to strive for greatness. discover