When you’re young and ambitious, you dream of being the CEO of a major company, or maybe you want to start your own company someday. You don’t want to waste any time, but what are the most important things you should do to prepare for this career when you’re in high school and college?
Choose the Right College
Business schools have varying concentrations and strengths. While you can get a good general business education at most colleges, it can help if you know what you want to concentrate on, whether it is marketing, international business, finance or some other area. This can help you narrow down and choose the schools that can best prepare you for your dream career.
Consider Student Loans
One hurdle many students face is the cost of college. This can seem insurmountable if you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and find that you are not eligible for any federal loans. However, you might still be eligible for private student loans. You may be able to obtain these from a bank or credit union or from online lenders.
Find a Mentor
Some schools may have programs that pair you with a mentor, but you may also be able to find one on your own. This may be a professor at your school, or it may be alumni you have the opportunity to meet through networking. Even older students with life experience may be mentors. It’s important to keep in mind that you may have more than one as well.
Part-Time & Internships for Experience
In addition to getting needed money for school, part-time jobs can be a great opportunity to do more networking and learn more about the business world. Many companies seek students as employees through college career centers. Summer internships may offer expanded opportunities since you might have the chance to work in another city or, in some cases, even in another country during your break from classes.
Find the Right Job
You can lay the groundwork for finding your first job during your senior year of college. You might be considering getting an MBA, but most experts say that MBAs are more valuable after you’ve had a few years of experience in the business world. Some MBA programs will only take people who have real-world experience. In order to get the right job after graduation, you should start by thinking specifically about long-term goals and then about the short and medium-term goals that will get you there.
A career counselor at your university may be able to help you with this planning. This is also a great time to reach out to all the contacts you’ve made over the past four years, including professors, mentors and former employers. Finally, it’s important to remember that while your first job out of college is important, it doesn’t set your destiny. If you’re unhappy with the workplace or field you find yourself in, there is plenty of time to make a change and still fulfill your ambitions of success in business.