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Best Practices for Success in Your Business Career

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Leadership Self-Management Skills (246-slide PowerPoint presentation). Unlock Your Leadership Potential with the Ultimate Self-Awareness and Self-Management Toolkit! Are you ready to take your leadership skills to the next level? Introducing our comprehensive 210+ slides PowerPoint deck--the ultimate Self-Awareness and Self-Management Toolkit. Packed with [read more]

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How do you achieve success in the business world? If you want more than just a job or even a position in middle management, if your aim is to go all the way to the top, then you need to be focused and goal-oriented. The best practices below will help you stand out for the top spots.

Your Business Degree

Your first step is to go to college. Set your sights high on your applications so that you have the chance to get into the best school possible. A top school will give you advantages in terms of connections, but don’t despair if you don’t attend one as you can still get a great education and an excellent start at many other schools as well. What you do in college and with your degree afterward is more important than where you go. Choose a major in the area that you want to work in, but try to take a variety of classes, including those that develop soft skills, such as communication. To avoid graduating while saddled with enormous student loan debts, search online to apply for scholarships for college students. You’ll find opportunities that may pay a substantial part of your expenses, reducing or even eliminating the debt load that you have to carry.

Consider an MBA, with Caveats

An MBA might be one part of the ticket to the best positions, but don’t go for one right away. First of all, a reputable program will expect you to have several years of work experience before you begin your degree. Even if this were not the case, you’ll get much more out of a program once you have been working for a while. In some cases, you may even have an employer who will pay for your degree. There is one more reason to put off getting the MBA for the first few years as you might not need it. The value of an MBA depends on the industry that you are in, and there may be other professional degrees that would better serve you, or you may end up in an industry where work experience is considered more valuable.

Find the Right People

Surrounding yourselves with others who are also on the path to success will help your mindset and determination. In addition, business runs on relationships and connections, so the people you meet as early as during your undergraduate years may be colleagues throughout your career. Pay attention to how these people approach teamwork and collaboration, model the behaviors of good listeners, and take necessary accountability as these are important pieces of the puzzle. Find a mentor as well who can advise you and offer the insight that comes through hard-earned experience.

Have Initiative

Employers are looking for people to promote who know how to be self-guided and are ambitious. In your first internship or job, you probably won’t be setting the world on fire, but if you show that you don’t consider any tasks beneath you and are willing to learn, you can make the most of those entry-level positions. Taking initiative also means not always waiting for someone to instruct you. You certainly shouldn’t do anything major without guidance from higher-ups, but when it comes to everyday tasks around the office, try to see what needs to be done and attempt to figure things out for yourself before asking for help.

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These best practices are of the same as those leveraged by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by utilizing these best practice frameworks, templates, and tools. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with over 20+ years of experience.

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About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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