Graduate Management News

February 2017

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

Make it Happen: Five Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur in Your Career

Rather than passively waiting for good things to happen, professionals with an entrepreneurial mindset create their own opportunities and success.

Professional Development Tips

You don’t have to strike out on your own to inject a little entrepreneurial thinking into your professional life. Thinking like a business owner, even in the context of the world of higher education, can pay dividends in your career. Consider these five tips. 

  1. Find your passion. Entrepreneurs are passionate about their work, which is the key to success and fulfillment in any field or position. If you feel that you lack passion in what you’re doing, consider changing roles. Can you transition to another department where your current experience aligns? Rather than feeling stuck, consider how you can apply your skills elsewhere in the enterprise.

  2. Expand your skillset. Entrepreneurs take advantage of every resource and opportunity to learn something new, brainstorm ideas, and get comfortable with the unfamiliar. They then leverage that collective knowledge into new ideas. In your career, seek out every chance to learn a skill and seek ways to adapt your projects so that you learn something new along the way and move outside your comfort zone. Learn a new management app to organize your work. For instance, master Excel instead of farming that task out or create your own marketing plan.

  3. Find your differentiators and market them. Entrepreneurs focus on the things that set themselves and their products apart. In your career, you can build your personal brand by highlighting the things that you do differently – and better – than everyone else. Are you an expert at implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) software? Then share your experiences in an article or blog post so that you can differentiate yourself among your peers. As a professional, you should be thinking regularly of ways you can market yourself in order to boost your brand.

  4. Take on more risk. One thing that sets entrepreneurs apart from the rest of us is their tolerance for risk. Business owners understand about risk/reward. If you put yourself out there and try something new, then most likely you will reap the reward. In your job, you can start by pitching new ideas or taking on a challenge that’s outside your comfort zone. The payoff, whether gaining a new skill or recognition for a new idea, can go a long way toward your success. Remember, taking risk does not mean be reckless. Risk-taking means picking the right chances. Smart professionals research their risks and choose the best options with the biggest return.

  5. Adopt a goal-oriented attitude. You are responsible for your own decisions. Entrepreneurs who build something from nothing think differently. Rather than wait for success to come to them, they focus on setting their own attainable goals and provide themselves with the means to achieve them. Your career can benefit from this type of mindset. If you feel like you're stuck, then brainstorm and pitch ideas that show your entrepreneurial drive. If you don’t think you’re being recognized for your skills and talent, try starting a blog or contributing to a professional publication so that you can share your ideas. Setting these goals and acting on them can be a great way to expand on your resume, make new professional connections, and boost your portfolio.