Career Advice in Times of Crisis, Part I: Positive Thinking, Learning Mindset, Focus and Energy Management

The IESE Career Development Center launched the first online session of the “Career Advice in Times of Crisis” series last month. IESE MBA-08 Alumnus Eduardo Navas, Bala Nagarajan and Jeng Dizon talked about how they have managed their careers since the 2009 financial crisis.

It was full of great insights and I would like to share what to me are the 4 main take-aways from their testimonies.

1. See it as an opportunity! Look at the job market from a different angle. Help the job market be creative. Start by listing your non-negotiable(s) & your main goal(s) then open yourself to innovative opportunities. People and companies around you are more open than ever to new ideas. Take that opportunity! A few hints from the panelists:

  • What about being self-employed? What expertise can you offer? Functional or sectorial? There are platforms who look for consultants or experts.
  • Get in touch with companies and offer your services on a project-basis.
  • Think about the search-funds model.

2. Practice something new! Widen your areas of interests. Experiment new things. Learn how to fail in the process. It will all pay off in the long run. This is all about growth mindset. Recommendations from the panelists:

  • Always build your personal strategy and work on your WHY.
  • It is not only about what you are going to do in the next 2 or 3 years. It is about experimenting new things and learning new skills.
  • Listen and learn from others. Talk to people from different backgrounds and different cultures to see things differently, to understand your own bias, basically to grow…

3. Focus on what you can control! Go back to basics by acknowledging that events are temporary and changeable. Focus only on yourself and what you can do to change the situation. 3 essentials tips:

  • Prepare. Do your research on sector, firms, trends…
  • Network, Network, Network. Do not leave any stone unturned! Connect with friends from previous schools, ex-colleagues, IESE alumni…
  • Be ready for your interviews.

4. Manage your energy! Competition will be harder, you will need to stretch yourself. You will be better equipped to handle stress if your energy tank is well managed. Your effort should be 100% and even more. You will never know the outcome but you can always control the amount of effort you will invest. Work with energy. Be a bit more relaxed. You’re likely to get rejected at some point, take it with a growth mindset perspective to keep your energy high and raise your resilience level.

As a summary, resilience skills are key to overcome this situation: Positive Thinking, Learning Mindset, Focus and Energy Management.

Jeng, Edi & Bala, I would like highlight how precious your support as IESE alumni is and how much appreciated it is by the community. Thank you again!

A special thanks to Tulio Prado MBA-20 who managed the panel with a great professionalism, to Pilar Lasheras who organized this event with a great energy and to Melissa Afonso who used her network to make it happen.

[This article was first posted on Linkedin]


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Manuella Arulnayagam View more

Manuella is a French-born Sri Lankan Tamil, who has been living in various areas of the world before settling in Spain. She had studied engineering but quickly turned to Human Resources where she developed her career. She spent 10 years at L’Oreal, first in France then in China, before joining IESE in 2016. She is now acting as Career Management Associate Director within the CDC, where she focuses on developing career development programs and individual coaching for MBA students, using her strong empathy and emotional intelligence to help them clarify their needs, define their goals and manage to get to the right position.

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