> Emotional intelligence
If you’ve decided to pursue a business career, seeking out career advice early on is a great way to set yourself up with productive habits. Maybe you have a specific interest in finance or analytics, or managing large teams? Perhaps you have an innovative streak and dream of starting your own business?
Studying business will help you gain foundational skills across all these areas, but it’s important to make the most of the whole experience. This involves taking a broader view of what your school or institute has to offer, taking advantage of opportunities outside of the classroom and starting to think strategically about your career from day one of your study.
Here, we’ve gathered expert advice and handy go-to resources, to answer some of your top questions around how to build a successful career in this field.
A business degree can take you across a variety of industries.
Studying a Bachelor of Business or a postgraduate Business Administration course will allow you to cover a broad range of subjects to develop and progress in a managerial career. You will learn analytical, high-level problem solving, and communication skills. It will prepare you to graduate with a firm understanding of different business environments and effective ways to approach, create and execute operational business plans.
What you actually ‘manage’ depends on your interests and career goals, and can span across roles within government, private business or non-profit sectors.
However, if you know that you want to branch into a specific area, such as accounting or business analytics, gaining industry knowledge can help you stand out in your chosen field.
Whether you choose a general course, a specific branch of business or an MBA specialisation, ultimately depends on your unique interests and how sure you are of your career trajectory.
Here’s a quick rundown of a few business areas and specialisations that you can pursue at Kaplan Business School:
Accountants provide individuals and organisations with information relating to financial performance. They help manage their finances, tax credits and obligations, and give advice on compliance and record management. All this can contribute to effective internal and external decision-making for a business.
What will you learn in an accounting major?
The general area of business administration is suitable for students who want to pursue a degree in strategic management.
Depending on whether you are studying a diploma, certificate or master level of qualification, this will involve learning to various degrees about topics such as:
What will you learn in a business administration specialisation?
A specialisation is an opportunity to gain more industry-specific skills within a particular brand of business.
At KBS, we offer eight specialisations in our Master of Business Administration course, including:
Think you might benefit from two of these areas? You also have the option to study a dual specialisation. This enables you to graduate with two specialisations, without having to complete any extra subjects.
Want to learn more about whether an MBA specialisation is right for you? Take the quick quiz in our Ultimate Guide to Doing an MBA.
Business analytics refers to the scope of roles that involve reviewing and analysing business processes and using data to problem-solve and create efficiencies for a business or organisation.
What will you learn in the area of business analytics?
Further Reading KBS blog: Becoming a business analyst
For example, at Kaplan Business School, Careers Central provides valuable career services including:
Will James, National Careers Manager, discusses career wellbeing and 'Boreout' in one of our Kaplan Community Podcasts:
While gaining industry-specific knowledge is critical, it’s important not to overlook what employers call ‘soft’ or ‘employability' skills.
'Hard’ skills are those that require technical knowledge of your trade. ‘Soft’ skills, such as cognitive ability, problem-solving and emotional intelligence, are character traits and interpersonal skills that relate to how you work and operate in the workplace.
According to LinkedIn, the top three areas of missing soft skills for candidates today include:
> Emotional intelligence
Why do soft skills matter?
For employers, these skills are important because they demonstrate the characteristics that you will bring to your role. They measure your ability to:
Tips for developing soft skills
If you’re studying at KBS, a number of your subjects will have various soft skills incorporated as part of your curriculum. For example, studying an MBA you will complete subjects such as ‘Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence and Diversity’, or ‘Innovation and Creativity in Business Analytics’, as part of a Master of Business Analytics.
You don’t need to have graduated and been in the workforce to also start working on these skills yourself.
Here are just a few ideas about where you can start:
There are two main types of internships: work placements and academic internships. The main difference is that an academic internship requires a greater time commitment and an assessment component so that the experience can count towards your academic credit.
An Academic Internship, whether it be face-to-face or online, can offer you real-life experience and various opportunities to build employability skills that are invaluable.
It’s not just for those new to the workforce either. Whether you’re changing careers or industries, moving into an area of specialisation or wanting to transition into a managerial role, an internship can be your way to get your foot in the door.
Some key benefits of undertaking an Academic Internship include:
*KBS Your Academic Internship Experience Survey, May 2019.
**Based on students placed in academic internships during Trimester 1, 2021.
'My experience improved my soft skills and capabilities in the workplace, such as time management, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.
I made a lot of professional connections and received excellent recommendations that helped me to find work at a large Australian electronics company as a quality and compliance specialist.' – Zhanna Kurenkova (KBS student, completed an internship with Trisco Foods)
Kaplan Business School has an extensive network of industry partnerships across five cities in Australia that spans startups, local SMEs, not-for-profits and ASX listed companies.
KBS blog: How does an online internship work?
All sound business career advice highlights the value of being able to make connections in your industry. But it won’t happen unless you say yes to invitations that come your way and put yourself out there even when they don’t.
Here are some top tips on how to network effectively from Brazilian KBS student, Giselle Machado, who recently secured a position as a development team lead at OurProperty.
A quality business school’s careers service will have access to exclusive work experience and volunteering opportunities, which is a rich avenue to meet other professionals in your industry.
There are many different types of networking events/forums that you can explore including industry events, graduate events, Meetups and Facebook groups.
There’s nothing like feeling prepared to give you the confidence boost to step out of your comfort zone. Here are a few pre-event pointers:
Keep reminding yourself: people are open to listening to you! Remember to smile and be yourself. You don’t want to come across completely focused on selling yourself; engaging in a conversation is a much more genuine way of making a connection.
Having a target for a networking event can be a great way to build your confidence and form new relationships.
Business networking shouldn’t finish when the event does. Your end game is to follow up with (and nurture) the new contacts you worked hard to make. Connecting with them on LinkedIn can be a great first step to kick-off future interactions.
KBS blog: Business networking in Australia
When you read a job advertisement you want to apply for, take the information and break it down into three headings, based on what the employer is looking for:
a. Personal attributes
c. Work experience
Doing this extra work upfront will pay off when you begin to craft your cover letter.
A cover letter is a half to one single-page A4 letter that you include with your job application. This is your sales pitch that will market your credentials so it’s very important to make each word count. Your cover letter should be well-formatted and broken into paragraphs, with plenty of white space and no spelling or grammatical errors.
Here is a free cover letter template, adapted from SEEK, that you are welcome to use.
Keep your resume simple and professional, with lots of white space. Tailor your experience to the role you are applying for.
Here is a free resume template that you are welcome to us, designed in collaboration with the KBS Careers Central team.
Did you know that 33% of bosses say they know within 90 seconds whether they will hire someone? *
Here are four top interview tips from one of our Careers Advisors at Kaplan Business School:
Research and prepare – when you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Use the STAR approach
Make a good first impression!
*Source: Classes and Careers
Download our free e-book ‘How to find a job in Australia: A-Z guide for students’, produced by the KBS Careers Central team.
Your personal brand simply means being clear on what values and skills you have, and your future goals, so that employers can understand and perceive the value you can offer them.
Once you can define it, you can bring your brand into your online presence – including your resume, online bios, application letters, and social media profiles. It’s also something you can bring forward in job interviews, or whenever you’re pitching yourself or your ideas.
According to Seek, if you want to create a professional brand for yourself or you’re looking to refine it, you should consider:
Top tips to create a strong brand on LinkedIn from our National Careers Manager at Kaplan Business School:
At Kaplan Business School, we’ve introduced something called the Lifetime of Learning Guarantee, which offers our alumni, as the name suggests, unlimited, free and lifelong access, to:
Here are just four benefits of lifelong learning that can help you take a more sustainable approach to your career development:
A recent global IBM report predicts more than 120 million people will need upskilling or reskilling within the next year.
There are many ways skill gaps can be addressed: in-company education programs, training provided by an external provider and further formal education. As encouraged through our Lifetime of Learning Guarantee, another way is retaking classes to update your skills and keep abreast of the latest advancements in knowledge in your field.
At different points in your career, it’s an opportunity to remain competitive, increase job security and feel confident about being able to adapt to changes in your role.
Increase your market value
Continuing to learn throughout your career can also help you gain knowledge and skills in new areas beyond your immediate field of work. Imagine how this could expand your job opportunities!
For example, as part of the Lifetime of Learning Guarantee, our Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduates are free to complete subjects that they didn’t choose or had the capacity for as part of their original program.
After years of experience within your industry, do you now feel ready to start your own business? No problem. You can go back and study from a range of elective subjects such as ‘Fundamentals of entrepreneurship’ and ‘Small business administration'.
Apply for jobs effectively
Lifelong learning isn’t just about building on your technical knowledge and soft skills. Staying on top of job market trends long after you’ve landed a graduate job can be extremely valuable for several reasons.
Lifelong career development can help you to:
Imagine being able to access career mentoring and flexible support whenever you need it.
That’s what our Lifetime of Learning Guarantee offers – free and ongoing access to our Careers Central team and all its services you were able to benefit from when you were a student. This includes getting the input of KBS’s career professionals when updating your resume, receiving feedback on your cover letter and running one-on-one practise interview sessions.
As a graduate from an educational institution, perhaps one of the greatest sources of lifetime learning that’s often underutilised is your fellow alumni network.
Being active within your alumni community is a great way to stay connected to a wide network of culturally diverse professionals who are pursuing careers in your field and growing their own networks that you might be able to tap into.
Click below to find out more about our free Careers Central service at Kaplan Business School - your go-to resource for career advice that’s tailored to you.