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Question – Should I be upfront about my location when networking?

Getting contacts for potential work can be a tricky enough business on its own, but what happens when you’ve a preferred place to work? Our career coach gives the run down.

Question: I’m taking an MBA, and I want to go into consulting afterwards, which means a change of industry, function and location. My preference would be working in the Middle East. When networking and interviewing, is it better to make my preferred location known upfront? Rudolph, an engineer with 8 years experience, Ghana.

Congratulations on securing admission to an MBA program!

You want to transition from industry into consulting, which is a well-trodden path for MBAs: something like 25-30% of MBAs go into consulting post-MBA.

You are right to identify networking as key to a successful transition: through your networking you’ll gather information that will help you position yourself as a strong candidate. This is essential if you are to make the famed ‘triple-jump’ of industry, function, and location.

If you are tied to a particular location, then you might as well be up front about that from the start. Let people know that’s where you want to end-up, and they can target their advice or make relevant connections for you. You can focus your activity on building up your knowledge and networks in your target geography.

If getting into consulting is a higher priority than the location, you can be more flexible.

Use your networking conversations to find out which locations are seeing a lot of activity at the moment. Find out which ones are least popular with candidates. There’s a kind of sweet spot here!

Busy, but relatively unattractive locations will give you the best chance of successfully getting hired. You can always change location again later on, once you are established.