The One Reason MBA Students Avoid Sales Careers
*Spoiler Alert-most are risk-averse*
The first few days into my MBA program, I quickly realized I might be the odd one out in my group. Most of the students were a tad bit younger, some with relevant work experience, others who came from a traditional corporate finance role, and a few dual-degree students who wanted to have a competitive edge. Then here I was, a former minister-in-training who went into sales because, at the time, I had no clue what other positions I could slide into! I guess you could say I got stuck in sales, but truth be told, everything is sales. The art of sales has been misunderstood by outsiders or given a terrible reputation by a few rowdy shmucks.
A few weeks into the program and getting to know classmates, it was clear that most of the student body had intentions to pursue a career in data analytics, corporate finance, general management, marketing, and my favorite, entrepreneurism. No one had an interest in going into sales as a career, and at the time, neither did I. I wanted to sharpen my skill set and possibly move into a different role. There was a specific reason why I choose an MBA program and why many others do as well.
MBA graduates do not go into sales because they don't like the risk. In other words, some sales positions are perceived as volatile in compensation, and each month is a rollercoaster 🎢 . There is truth in that, I knew it myself, and I questioned if I wanted to continue a sales career where my stability might fluctuate. But then again, no business is immune to risk. It finally made sense why there were just a few entrepreneurial minds in the MBA program; most of the student body already calculated the potential risk.
As I searched for SEO key terms for MBA Sales Bootcamp, I stumbled across an article from Poets & Quants (a great MBA resource) and discovered I was not alone in my suspicion. Quite the contrary, a piece from seven years ago vindicated me. I want to share one quote. "I think it's a control thing. Most people take education to control risk. Advancement in sales by definition puts one's success in the hands of others, be it your customer or your sales team." — Kendrick Tang.
No doubt, it is a control thing. People want security in a career. Which makes sense why students pursue an MBA, to solidify themselves in the marketplace. However, then you have the outliers like me who are more open to risk. For the outliers, controlling our income and steering the sales ship in the direction that will find us treasure on a deserted island is more satisfying than the security a traditional role can afford.
Nonetheless, I understand the stigma sales have encountered within the business world. We have created fancy titles like "Business Development" and “Account Managers” to make sales sound a little more respectable. It’s just a sales position cloaked in neutral language. I am an optimist by nature, but let me be frank, some sales positions are just downright awful. It's the truth. Looking to become a winner in any area of life, one must take responsibility. We all know it's easy to "blame" circumstances outside of our control like the customer or economy. Yes, there may be some truth, and yes, some companies and sales roles suck. Take that award-winning attitude and find (and don't stop looking) for the best fit for the current.
While the global job market remains stable but volatile at the end of 2020, many will be looking for new work or different careers. Your resume, experience, cover letter, and network will require some sales tactics and techniques to land that perfect job. The MBA Sales Bootcamp is for anyone interested in learning the art of sales.