Comprehensive Guide to MBA Networking: What to Say, Wear, and How to Start Conversations

December 21, 2023
5 min read

Networking is a crucial aspect of any MBA program. It's not just about meeting people; it's about building relationships that can potentially shape your career trajectory. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of MBA networking, covering everything from what to wear to how to initiate conversations and build meaningful connections.

Importance of In-Person Networking 🤝

In-person networking involves establishing connections and building relationships through face-to-face interactions. While digital networking has its merits, nothing can replace the personal touch and authenticity of meeting someone in real life. In-person networking allows you to showcase your personality, demonstrate your expertise, and leave a lasting impression. Maximize Your Career Potential: Essential Do’s and Don’t for MBA Students

Preparation for Networking Events 💻

Before attending a networking event, it's essential to prepare adequately to make the most of your time and effort. Here are some key steps to consider:

Researching the Event and Attendees

Take the time to research the event agenda, speakers, and attendees. Identify individuals you want to connect with and learn about their backgrounds and interests.

Be Prepared with your Business Card

Take advantage of Kinship’s digital business card feature and ensure you never show to an event empty handed. Create multiple cards tailoring them to a specific event and store them in your apple wallet for quick access. Easily share your digital business card via QR code and rest assured knowing you're totally prepared.

Setting Clear Goals

Define specific objectives for the event, such as making a certain number of new connections or learning about industry trends. For example, you might set a goal to make at least five new connections with professionals in your industry or to learn about emerging trends in your field. By having clear objectives in mind, you can focus your efforts and ensure that you make meaningful connections that align with your career goals.

What to Wear 👕

Your attire plays a significant role in making a positive first impression at networking events. Dressing appropriately demonstrates professionalism and respect for the occasion. Here are some tips for choosing the right outfit:

Dress Code Considerations

Check the event invitation or website for any dress code guidelines.When in doubt, opt for business casual attire, such as a collared shirt, dress pants or skirt, and closed-toe shoes.

Choosing Appropriate Attire Based on the Event

For formal events like conferences or business dinners, consider wearing a suit or a conservative dress. For more casual gatherings, such as industry mixers or social outings, smart-casual attire, such as slacks or a blouse, is appropriate.

How to Start a Conversation 🗣️

Initiating conversations with strangers can be intimidating, but with the right approach, you can make meaningful connections. Here are some tips for starting a conversation.

Be Genuine and Approachable

Approach others with a friendly smile and open body language to put them at ease.

Introduce yourself confidently, stating your name and briefly mentioning your background or affiliation.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Ask open-ended questions that invite people to share their thoughts and experiences. Avoid yes or no questions, as they can lead to short, one-word answers. Remember, if someone mentions something during a conversation, it means it is important to them. Take note of these small details about what you talked about in the Kinship app in order to make your follow-up message more meaningful.

Find Common Ground

Networking isn't just about exchanging business cards; it's about forging genuine connections with others. One effective way to do this is by finding common ground. When you meet someone at a networking event, take the time to discover shared interests or experiences that you can bond over.


1. How do I overcome shyness and approach people at networking events?

Practice introducing yourself and starting conversations with friends or family members to build confidence. Remember that everyone is there to network, so don't be afraid to make the first move.

2. What should I do if I forget someone's name after meeting them?

Apologize politely and ask for their name again. Use mnemonics or association techniques to help remember names in the future.

3. How can I gracefully exit a conversation that isn't going well?

Politely excuse yourself by saying you need to refill your drink or use the restroom. Express gratitude for the conversation and offer to exchange contact information before moving on.

4. Is it appropriate to bring business cards to networking events?

Yep! Make it easy on yourself and use Kinship’s digital business cards.

5. What should I do after the networking event is over?

Follow up with the people you met via email or LinkedIn to express gratitude for the conversation and reinforce the connection.

Reference something specific from your conversation to personalize your follow-up message. Mastering the Art of Post-Networking Follow-Up: A Comprehensive Guide

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