Undergrad, check. A couple of years in the workforce, check. Network connoisseur, check and check. You’ve created your career manifesto and feel certain that you see yourself 10 years from now leading a medium-size team to victory, or perhaps running your own successful company. You’ve got a few great ideas for a business swirling around your head. You’re a go-getter, after all, but you’re also a realist. You know what it’s truly going to take to get you on the right path and prepared to ensure you accomplish your #careergoals sooner rather than later. The first step naturally is selecting the right MBA program. However, here are some other measures, as well as famous quotes, that you can utilize to give yourself that extra edge and to ensure you are market-ready for any industry. In this post we’ll share with you 10 surefire ways to ensure you are market-ready.

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1) Gain Hands-On Experience and Challenge Yourself

The best and fastest way to learn how to do something new is to roll up your sleeves and do it. Companies big and small look for both initiative and hands-on experience. However, starting a new business or creating a new department by yourself or without experience can be daunting. What if you could gain this hands-on experience with a safety net and professional guidance? The Denver MBA program offers an Enterprise Challenge, which requires students to create a startup and take the steps needed to make it successful. Learning how to launch and operate a company with limited structure will be invaluable to you as you enter the business world.  This reinvented MBA experience will allow you the opportunity to gain the hands-on experience you’ll need while learning how to work on a small team, and being guided by a faculty advisor and business leadership coach.

2) Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken

Okay so these aren’t our words of wisdom, but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to quote Oscar Wilde. Trying to mold yourself into something you are not just to succeed in business will backfire every time. Finding out who you are and what you have to offer will help you to find the right fit when it comes to a job in the business world. The future is unpredictable, and although we love planning things out in the business world, your path could take a couple loops and turns you wouldn’t expect.

3) Make a Social Impact

Being a business leader is not all about the bottom-line. In order to get to a successful place in the nonprofit industry, you will need to learn how to make a positive impact with constrained resources. The Denver MBA’s Social Good Challenge prepares you for exactly this. During this challenge students work with local partners, to make a positive impact in a high need area. Learning how to deal with the challenges of creating social change while navigating your way through red-tape will certainly have your market-ready for this industry.

4) Worry About Your Progress and Not Those Around You

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” These words of wisdom are just as true today as when Theodore Roosevelt was first quoted.  Set an intention to avoid investing energy in comparing yourself to those around you. Everyone’s path to business and success is different. By focusing on your progress, you will be able to chart your own course and keep your eye on the prize.

5) Find a Mentor, a Leadership Coach, and Listen To Experts

There is no greater lesson than from someone who has already walked a mile and is speaking from experience. Attend seminars and stick around when they’re over to talk to the presenters. Tweet a question to a world-renowned expert in the industry you’re interested in. You never know, you might get a response. These are great ways of sparking relationships and finding mentors to help you navigate those murky business waters. Another tip? Commission a Business Leadership Coach. “Coaching helps people to see themselves more clearly. See patterns of behavior. Identify blind spots to help them grow and become more effective in whatever they want to do.” Explains Ali Boyd, Business Leadership Coach for The Denver MBA. Identifying the strengths you have early on will only serve to benefit you as you begin your ascent up the corporate ladder.

6) Think Outside the Box

Think outside the box! This overused phrase is overused for good reason. It applies to so many areas of business and preparing you for the business world. When it comes time to interning, you will need to think outside the box. You can probably imagine how many cover letters, résumés, and portfolios hiring managers receive each day. Consider revamping your résumé so that it makes it to the top of the pile. Better yet, go for the gold with a video résumé or create a résumé website that will knock their socks off and land you your dream internship!

Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Still, whether you are planning on being an entrepreneur or intrepreneur, you will need access to capital. Don’t wait until you need to raise money to begin networking. Tap into your alumni network and talk to other business professionals who have needed additional to expand or begin their business. Building your networks ahead of time will put you in a much better position when you need to access the knowledge, or bank account, of your colleagues.

8) Take Risks

Risk or regret? With this market-ready measure, we’re going to ask you to follow the ever eloquent Eleanor Roosevelt, who urges “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” This is for good reason. Iconic leaders like Ms. Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos all have this in common. They all took risks. Granted, some of these leaders took risks that threatened their life. While others put their reputations, life’s work and assets on the line. The individual risks for each of these game changers led them down roads, through doors and over obstacles that shaped their future, legacy, and ultimately the world we live in today.  Neglecting to take calculated risks can put you in a rut when it comes to your career in business. By becoming comfortable with a bit of risk, you will be able to take advantage of the rewards that can come with them.  Your current risk might mean pulling the trigger on getting your MBA, going on as many interviews as possible, or applying for that job that might be a little out of reach. Bottom line, you never know unless you go for it.

9) Know What Your Goals Are

Someone once said be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods to get there. While we can’t say for certain who originally said this, we can say that it’s wise and that we agree.
It’s true that if you fail to create a long-term plan for yourself, you will find it hard to garner the success you are after. Being goal-oriented will allow you to chart your course to the top with ease, but try to remember to be flexible. Goals give you direction and drive, but you don’t want to miss opportunities because of tunnel vision.

10) Avoid Becoming Complacent

Complacency, also known as the silent killer. The last thing you need to do when attempting to get yourself market-ready is to become complacent. Whether it is maintaining good grades or finding the right internship, you need to always strive to be the best in whatever you do. Keep the hunger, embrace creativity and stay motivated by referring to your career manifesto.

Ultimately, you are the common denominator to your market-readiness. With the right tools in your back pocket and a whole lot of determination, you’ll get there. If you’re currently researching MBA schools to help propel you, consider the Daniels College of Business’ reinvented MBA which offers a set of four core business challenges. Along with a small team, faculty advisor and business leadership coach, you’ll take on an enterprise, corporate, social good and global challenge. This is the type of forward thinking, real world, challenged-based curriculum, that will truly prepare you.