By Gurjot Singh
COVID-19 created huge challenges for everyone. It was a challenging time for me as I was starting the Master of Science in Business Analytics program at Kellstadt in the fall of 2020. I felt nervous about how I would make the most out of graduate school during such unprecedented circumstances, so I started off trying to seek help from all the resources DePaul and Kellstadt had to offer. I became a member of many student clubs at the university, got connected with the Kellstadt Career Management Center (CMC) and started attending different events.
Even as the events were virtual, they were a great source for meeting new people and helped me a lot in making connections. Talking to my Kellstadt advisor, professors and fellow classmates has helped me a lot to stay engaged and connected.
Most recently, I attended a CMC event called “Work Your Network” on how to connect with employers, increase your social reach and map your networks in today’s hybrid world. I learned many tips and best practices, but here are the three takeaways that stood out to me from the event:
1. Know your goal
It is important to have a goal in your mind as you build your network. For example, what events you choose to attend and the people you choose to network with all depends on where you see yourself in the future. Is the person you want to connect with in a field that interests you? Or do they work for a company you’d like to work for one day? Knowing your goal will help you connect with people strategically, which will not only help you gain knowledge but also confidence.
2. Networking is a skill that takes practice
In business we all know that networking is key. Every panelist at the event emphasized this, saying that no amount of networking is enough, that it’s something you must do throughout your career if you want to keep advancing. But networking is a skill that takes practice. It’s important to start networking not only with people you know but with people you don’t know. Get to know different people in the industry of your interest. Networking helps you understand what kind of candidates companies are looking for. It helps you build confidence to carry yourself through interview processes. Get tips from professionals on what helped them along their way. One of the best ways to start connecting with industry professionals is through events that CMC organizes and even through your courses at Kellstadt, as many professors invite these individuals to classes to talk about their experiences. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out after these events.
3. Leverage the power of LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn profile is more important than you might think. It showcases who you are to the people in the professional world, so having a strong profile is a must. Nowadays, the first thing employers do is look at your LinkedIn profile because it helps them understand and form an impression of you. Always make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you’re leveraging the tool’s networking capabilities as much as possible. Kellstadt has an alumni page, which is a great place to start connecting to DePaul alumni who are already working professionals. The great thing about connecting to alumni is that you have a greater chance of getting a response since you’re also student or alum of Kellstadt.
There were so many other great tips discussed in this event. The Kellstadt CMC is a great resource for career advice and guidance so I would highly encourage all students to attend one of their events or make an appointment with one of the advisors.
Networking can be intimidating at times and doesn’t come easily to everyone, but graduate school is a great place to start practicing and building your network. It’s a starting point that offers support, resources and a community that is eager to see you succeed.
Gurjot Singh is in the Master of Science in Business Analytics Program at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. Originally from India with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, he is trying to pivot toward a career in analytics and looks forward to applying all the concepts and skills he’s learning at Kellstadt in the professional world. Gurjot loves to spend time with his family and friends and enjoys taking walks around his neighborhood while listening to music.