During orientation, Markus Saba (MBA ’93), senior director of global commercialization for Lilly Diabetes at Eli Lilly and Company, addressed the Full-Time MBA Class of 2016. He offered very practical advice that, if heeded, will position students to maximize their MBA experience. Here are my takeaways:
Hold yourself accountable for achieving your goals by writing them down.
My professional background is in PR and communications, so I am no stranger to curating and completing a to-do list. However, I had not previously taken the time to explore the significance of maintaining a list, except as a mechanism to keep myself organized.
Mr. Saba extoled the practice of writing down your goals, indicating that it ultimately makes you more likely to fulfill them and predisposes you toward career success. He made me realize that the implicit value in writing things down is the sense of accountability it creates. A simple task, idea or even a lofty goal becomes both tangible and achievable once you can visualize it, and thus you feel obliged to go after it.
Involve others in your short term and long-term planning process.
Mr. Saba also indicated that the career and personal benefits derived from involving others in your planning process can be significant. After countless sessions with UNC Kenan-Flagler’s Career Management Center and feedback from my peers, I have re-examined my career and life goals thoroughly. Do I really have no location preference? Is a career in brand management exactly what I want?
Involving others when considering these important questions has helped me to gain perspective and become more confident in my direction. As a result, I have also found it easier to isolate the opportunities that match my career interests. I can see that it will be beneficial to involve future managers, peers and other stakeholders as I revisit my short and long-term plans to ensure that I remain aligned with my intended trajectory.
Recognize which resources you have and utilize them.
Though five additional hours in a day would be nice, learning to work around time limitations has motivated me to take advantage of the resources available in the form of classmates, professors, alumni and others within the UNC community. Just the other day, I rallied my study group to help me go over finance problems and they made themselves available immediately, despite competing obligations.
I know my two years in the MBA program will pass by extremely quickly, but ultimately time will not be an obstacle to accessing these resources in the future. Mr. Saba revealed that post-MBA, he continues to entrust a UNC Kenan-Flagler professor as an advisor on his most significant career and life decisions. That is the kind of relationship I think we should all seek to build during our time here.
No matter where you happen to fall in your MBA journey, I challenge you to leverage your intuition and determine how these insights can positively impact your approach to future success.
By Morghen Johnson (MBA ’16)