Both existing and prospective MBA students are likely already quite familiar with LinkedIn, the business and employment-oriented social networking platform. If, as an aspiring business professional, you lack a LinkedIn profile, this blog will help you take a closer examination of exactly how this platform can help further your career. If you already have a LinkedIn account, you may not be getting the maximum value from your profile and your network interactions. From undergraduate students to CEOs, LinkedIn has become an essential part of fostering connections and doing business in most sectors and industries.
Do MBA Admissions Look at LinkedIn?
As the leading professional database in the world, LinkedIn looms large both in the business world and in business education. As such, it has become an essential part of the admissions process for most high-quality MBA programs. If nothing else, the officials behind these programs and the faculty members who teach within them typically expect MBA applicants are LinkedIn members.
In fact, many leading colleges and universities require the submission of a LinkedIn profile link as a part of admissions. And even if the candidate’s LinkedIn profile isn’t officially incorporated into the MBA admissions process, there is, in the words of certified professional resume writer and influential admissions consultant Jennifer Bloom, “an excellent chance that someone at some time during the application review process will be examining it.”
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for MBA Acceptance and Future Success
Although LinkedIn optimization is often essential to the MBA admissions and enrollment processes, MBA candidates should welcome it as an opportunity. By paying close attention to a few key aspects of LinkedIn profile structure and content delivery, you do more than improve your chances of acceptance into a quality MBA program, you also set yourself up for success in the program and beyond.
To optimize your LinkedIn profile to your MBA aspirations, Bloom stresses five key areas of importance: the heading, summary, professional experience, education, and volunteer experience. Your headline (which appears directly under your name on your public profile) should succinctly sum up your distinct professional persona in just a few words. Your summary should, in 2000 words or less, then present a far more complete picture of what you have to offer. Then, whether you are applying for business school or for employment, you need to present accurate, thorough, and positive depictions of your educational background, professional experience, and volunteer experience.
Although an optimized profile is certainly essential, this is only one of many ways MBA candidates can leverage the power of LinkedIn to further their academic and professional careers. Writing for the independent workforce and career research resource platform The Muse, MBA admissions expert Betsy Massar calls LinkedIn “an immensely useful tool when you’re applying to business schools.”
In addition to LinkedIn’s potential for in-depth research on the specific business schools and career paths in which you are most interested, it offers value as a place to obtain advice from leaders in your professional field. You can also use it to investigate the success of MBA program alumni. Massar recommends following all of your favorite schools on LinkedIn in order to stay up to date with their latest MBA program developments and to see all the other LinkedIn members who are connected to them.
Connect with the Right Professionals for the Right Results
5 People to Follow on LinkedIn If You’re Pursuing Your MBA
That said, there are note-worthy business leaders with insights to offer that transcend industries. Here are five you should consider following on LinkedIn. Although they have relatively wide appeal and value, each of them has a unique area of expertise and brings a unique viewpoint to the platform.
1. Liz Ryan – The founder and CEO of Human Workplace, Ryan can offer excellent guidance to students and professionals alike when it comes to searching for employment and landing the dream jobs. Over the course of your career, you will likely perform a number of jobs, and you will likely need advice at every stage of your professional growth and development. Ryan’s articles on employment strategies and the job market are highly informative. Plus, with her colorful and imaginative cartoons, they are often highly entertaining, as well.
2. Dorie Clark – In addition to educating MBA students as a business professor at both Duke and Columbia, Clark has spread the gospel of personal branding as the author of the books Stand Out and Reinventing You. Clark encourages professionals to craft a forward-facing personal business image (or “brand”) that associates their names with their positive qualities and benefits.
3. Christel Quek – An expert in digital and conventional marketing, Quek is the Vice President of South East Asia at Brandwatch. She goes far beyond LinkedIn to help companies and professionals alike use all forms of social media to make more informed business decisions.
4. Brian de Haaff – There are, essentially, two types of productivity experts: those that concentrate exclusively on work output and those that concentrate on achieving an ideal work-life balance. The CEO of Aha! Labs Inc., de Haaff supports a dual focus, offering a number of approaches to help you optimize productivity in the workplace while remaining happy and content in both the professional and private spheres.
5. Jeff Weiner – No matter your initial career aspirations, you will likely want to parlay your MBA degree into a senior business management position somewhere down the line. When it comes to connecting with an outstanding manager, you could do far worse than following the CEO of LinkedIn!
Choosing an MBA Program That Understands the Modern Business World
From the profile that you place on LinkedIn to the people with whom you connect on it, the ways that you use this powerful, if not essential, social networking platform should be strategically designed to further your specific and practical career goals. The same holds true for the particular MBA program that you decide to pursue.
At the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (UTC), we take the academic and career aspirations of our students very seriously. The practical advice of the educators and administrative team at the UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business go far beyond the classroom to help you succeed in all areas of the professional business world—including the digital world of LinkedIn. UTC also offers a range of convenient online and in-person MBA program scheduling options.