How to build a successful career path on the Executive MBA

25 June 2018

Sarah Jackson, Careers Manager, discusses how to best utilise the wide range of careers services available to participants on the Executive MBA in order to build a successful career path.

Where do you want to take your career?

People choose to study the Executive MBA for many different reasons. Two of the most common that I come across are:

  1. I want to fast track to C-Suite and gain an understanding of the language used in the boardroom.
  2. I want to change my functional role or my sector or my location and any combination of these three.

It might be that you want to find a career that fits with your values and lifestyle or you want to become more influential, confident and raise your game. Whatever your reason, CareersPlus can support you during your Executive MBA journey and beyond. This will be a busy time of your life and you will be tempted to just focus on the academics - you will graduate from your MBA with a great knowledge of economics, finance and strategy but if your influencing and leadership skills are poor, then it will be harder to get into the more senior positions where you can embed the learning from your MBA.

Here are five top tips as to how best to utilise the careers support available to participants on the Executive MBA.

1. Self-reflection

It is important to be able to understand and articulate your skills, interests and values so that you can find your career sweet spot in which all three of these overlap. The first three lessons of our online Career Management Module contain a number of videos and downloadable exercises to help you to identify these. You also have access to a number of self-assessment psychometrics: Career Leader helps you to identify potential career options based on your skills, values and interests and is currently used by over 600 business schools around the world. Strengths Profile helps you to clarify unrealised strengths (skills that you are potentially energised by and like doing), which can help you to identify potential projects and/or jobs to enable you to work in your strengths whilst developing some of your unrealised strengths. Tools such as Insights and MBTI allow you to understand your communication style and how you might adapt and connect more effectively with differing personality types.

2. Individual support

Take advantage of the three different types of careers support available to you.

Coaching is an ideal way to focus on developing a strategy for reaching your goals, clarifying where to go next, exploring the options available to you and supporting you in employing tools and developing techniques to achieve careers success in an increasingly competitive job market.

As an Executive MBA student, you have access to three hours of executive coaching which is available for you to use up until graduation.

You have access to unlimited Career Consultations which offer impartial, client centred careers support. Areas of focus could include: adding value in your current role, breaking into a new industry, how to network, and with whom, how to use social media and develop an online brand and negotiating your salary and benefits.

The WBS Mentoring Programme is an award-winning programme where our senior alumni give back to support current students and alumni. You can join the mentoring programme for a small additional fee and after a very thorough matching process, will be allocated a mentor for a two-year period.

3. Build an effective network

Take every opportunity to attend our Change Maker series of networking events, amongst others, both at The Shard and at the Warwick campus.

Use your modules as an excuse to network - it is much easier to approach someone as a student doing research than it is an employer of a company. Use your module assignments as a chance to explore how other industries do things and bring the learning back into your own business. Use your dissertation as a stepping stone in career transition - it is a great way to explore other sectors/companies and it also demonstrates a passion for that subject area.

4. Utilise the online resources

We have a wide range of online resources available via WBS Careers Online, your online careers portal and you have access to tools such as Marketline, a market research tool that has all of the information about a company collated in one place, and Pay Negotiation, an online video series taking you through the salary negotiation process step by step.

5. Skills workshops and webinars

These workshops are built into your timetable and are designed to coincide with your academic modules and offer you the range of soft skills necessary to be truly effective in your careers. We cover a range of topics such as Stakeholder Management, Negotiation Skills, Cultural Competence, Presenting to the Board, Politics in the Workplace and Courageous Conversations, where we bring in actors so that students can practise real-life tricky conversations that they need to have in the near future. 

You are all busy people, but prioritising the activities described above will go a long way towards helping you to achieve your career goals.

To arrange a career consultation or to discuss any of the above, please contact the WBS CareersPlus team via