Networking Tips All EMBA Students Should Know

For Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) students, one of the most important aspects of the program is networking. Many of the connections you make with people in your own program as well as with students and professors at other universities stay with you after you complete your degree. You may even draw on their expertise by hiring them as consultants. Check out these networking tips that every EMBA student needs to know.

Attend Conferences to Network

Gatherings such as the annual Executive MBA Council Conference are prime networking opportunities. You may meet business leaders who come to the conference as plenary speakers or presenters. You'll also get to mingle with other EMBA students from all over the world. Stay at one of the conference hotels to maximize your networking opportunities outside of scheduled events. Watch for small groups that set up meetings during conferences such as EMBA students who live in the same state or same part of the country.

Arrive Early and Make Easy Conversation

When you attend a networking function, it's best to arrive early. It's easier to find people who haven't yet gathered into small groups. When you approach someone, keep your tone and the topics light. Don't go in with a hard sales pitch for you or your business.

Use easy questions as ice breakers such as "Have you attended this event before?" or "Tell me about your job and company." Be a good listener because you'll gather valuable information. Bring business cards with you, but don't be too pushy or eager to hand them out.

Present Yourself in a Professional Manner

Make sure your outfit is appropriate for the venue. You don't want to be overly formal or too casual. Demonstrating poor judgment with your attire suggests you may be socially tone-deaf. This is not the kind of message you want to convey to other business professionals who are pursuing an EMBA. If the dress code isn't indicated, ask an event organizer.

Network with Classmates

Some EMBA programs keep the same group of students together throughout their program. It would be a wasted opportunity to spend so much time with other managers and professionals without getting acquainted. Set aside time to get to know the other students sitting around you in class. Not only will it make class projects more pleasant, but it will create bonds that you can carry with you after graduation.

Stay in Touch

Networking is only valuable if the connections take root and grow after a one-time meeting. Cultivating the relationship requires an investment of time. Make the first step by placing a brief phone call or short email. You may also reach out to your new acquaintance via LinkedIn. It's best to establish contact within two to three days after a networking event. Otherwise, you run the risk of having the person forget about your conversation.

By improving your networking skills, you'll ensure you get the most out of your EMBA experience inside and outside the classroom.