It’s hard to believe it’s been one decade since I was a student at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB). Now, as co-founder and president of a software design and development company and a proud alumnus (class of 2013), I’m excited to share my path forward since graduating and the lessons I learned along the way.
In life, prioritization is the key.
Most business graduate students share one common goal: to graduate with an MBA. It makes life feel simple (at least, it did for me). My classmates and I spent our days immersed in our studies, completely focused on developing the skills and ideas needed to become successful business professionals.
Post-grad life tends to become more complex. Most of these complexities are beautiful, but with any change comes a sense of instability and uncharted territory. Learning how to prioritize is key to success.
I like to simplify life into four priority groups: family, friends, career and health. The order of importance of these groups will ebb and flow at different stages of life. This isn’t something to fear; it’s something to embrace. Recognize trade-offs. Set intentions as to which focus areas are currently most important, and adjust the scale, as needed.
Soft skills are greater than hard skills.
In the early phases of our careers, we tend to focus on perfecting the hard skills to prove ourselves—knowing how to calculate models, how to explain charts, read data, etc. As we progress, we realize that soft skills are even more important—and sometimes harder to cultivate.
During my time in graduate school, I learned how to make this transition and emphasize the development of soft skills. Now, I know that our careers revolve around these types of skills—how we are perceived, how we impact others and how we understand human behavior, interaction and motivation.
Professional networking matters.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of networking, especially for entrepreneurs.
In my career thus far, I worked with 25-plus founders, partners at major consulting firms and PE firms who came out of the GSB program. While I still needed to show competency and execute to succeed, I was already a part of the GSB ecosystem, which allowed me to create impactful connections.
In today’s modern workforce, there is an opportunity everywhere to build and maintain a professional network. Yes, there are innovation- and technology-based hubs, like San Francisco or New York City, but a professional does not need to live in one of those hubs to find success.
For example, I’m now based in San Francisco at my company’s HQ, but our more than 500 employees span across the world in cities such as Amsterdam, London, Sarajevo and Belgrade.
The bottom line is business is still mainly done between people. Building relationships with people creates trust and allows us to find inroads that would be more challenging otherwise. It’s about making connections—rooted in human interactions.
To the 2023 MBA graduates: business school is only the beginning and the path to success is still a long road ahead. And to all technology leaders, new and experienced, I wish you the best of luck in pursuing your career goals!
Read the whole article on Forbes website.