Every ambitious student who has his eyes set on a high growth career path must establish, build and sustain a vibrant network through relationship building – in the classroom, at guest lectures, during field visits, at study tours, while organising campus events; at every possible opportunity that presents itself. A network is an engine that has tremendous prospects for propelling students into mainstream recognition. The sum and substance is that – What you know about your subject is not always adequate; who you know is the differentiator.
The competitive world of today, accepts as received wisdom, that a well-developed network is an important building block for success in life. Prima facie, networking appears to be a complicated exercise, but the truth is that most of us use the network without actually realising it – on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
The first step in networking is establishing a contact, and this happens all the time but most often, we are hardly even conscious of it. Always be alive to the potential for establishing a relationship of value. Opportunities could arise in the most innocuous of settings; while exchanging pleasantries at your neighbourhood cocktail bar, clubs, parties, or getting into a conversation while travelling. Anyone you meet could have a positive impact in your life at any time in the future – the student next to you in the classroom, the faculty member you approach for guidance, the guest speaker at a seminar, etc.
Who to Network with
A relationship will not happen without a conscious effort to build or cultivate the contact. This may sound manipulative and daunting. Often many, especially students, shudder at the thought of what looks like a calculated endeavour. The idea is to build a wholesome relationship founded on give and take, and not to be exploitative. Every network builder has an intrinsic value of his own and when a relationship builds, it is because the parties thereto find the relationship mutually beneficial. In a learning environment, opportunities to network present themselves in every classroom, office and corridor. Regular faculty members, teaching assistants, visiting faculty, guest speakers, administrative personnel and your fellow students are all networking prospects.
The beauty of networking is that once you network with one person, you can connect to that person’s network too; like a pebble thrown into still water that sends out ripples far beyond the shoreline.
How to Network
Networking should be natural because you find it a pleasure to meet and interact with others. But an ounce of preparation can deliver a pound of value – be prepared with a kind of networking speech, ready to respond at any time to the statement – ‘OK. Tell me about yourself.’ You can begin networking with your peers in the classroom but also be on the look-out for opportunities to increase your visibility. Join clubs and societies in the college campus that are of interest to you, volunteer to assist professors with research project – not only will you learn in the process but also strengthen bonds. Participate in organising conferences, seminars, and any other events. You can also contribute articles to respected journals, magazines, etc. in your chosen field.
At TKWsIBF, you will have ample chances to network, right from the first day that you walk through the gates of the Institute. During the course, students will have the opportunity to meet and build relationships with 20 to 30 guest faculty from industry. These are golden opportunities to create a lasting impression, strengthen bonds, and catch the eye of industry bigwigs and banking professionals who have the wherewithal to open doors for future growth of students.
The ASEAN Banking Tour to Singapore / China / Hong Kong / Malaysia etc. affords an opportunity to meet and interact with international banking professionals. Closer home, the Leadership Summit, with lectures in a natural environment, encourages one-on-one interactions with classmates and faculty. With the unfolding of the “Make in India” vision by the Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, preparation of project profile has become an integral part of the curriculum at IBF, and this assignment calls for regular engagement between students and their mentors, who are leading lights from banking and industry.
Objective of networking
The major objective of networking is creating visibility for oneself. The building of the network must be based on genuine interest in the life and interests of the counterparty. Feel free to talk about your goals and interests too. You must also look for feedback about your career moves, absorb information and career advice, and learn about employment opportunities and career advancement strategies. Networking while at study is especially important. It holds out the possibility of internships, assistantships, collaborative efforts and even employment. There are also prospects of securing grants for research, scholarships and publication of your work. Keep in mind that networking is not about being exploitative but about building a relationship that will last for years.
Your networking should be natural even while it is focused. So get ready to network and build a successful personal and professional life.