Four Tips for Building a Professional Network
Women should take a slightly different approach than men,
when developing professional networks
By Mariam Majid
Experts agree: building professional networks can help
result in higher performance ratings, greater job satisfaction, a lower
likelihood of leaving the job, and a greater likelihood of getting offered
critical roles in the organization. On Friday, October 17, MBA students at
Johnson at Cornell University learned that the experience of building a network
is different for women than for men.
I was among the 36 women, both current MBA students and
those considering business school, who attended Johnson Women in Business, an
annual educational event sponsored by Johnson’s Office of Diversity and
Inclusion. I attended the seminar “Leadership: Power and Negotiation,” led by Michele
Williams, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Cornell.
Networks are important because they connect a person to
private and unique information, which can turn out to be useful in many ways,
Williams said. Women should build networks in a slightly different manner than
men do, in order to gain economic, relational, and reputational benefits. Here
are four tips on how to accomplish this:
The network should be diverse in job level,
experience, industry, gender, and race
deep relationships is important, if women want to leverage their network
Borrow social capital; this includes highly
placed men in one’s professional network
Ask someone to be your sponsor. Unlike mentors, sponsors
advocate for you, and will go out of their way to help you. They can use their
political capital to make things happen for you.
Mariam Majid, MBA ’16, is first-year MBA student at Johnson
at Cornell University, where she preparing for a career in marketing and brand
management in consumer packaged goods.