Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Sylvia Pavlova (Bulgaria).

In the first article, we got to focus on the four essential dimensions along which senior MBA awarded managers effectuate the change of their life following the award of their MBA degree. Given those four dimensions, we got to articulate 5 hypotheses introducing the most frequent cases of change.

Now, therefore, we want to have a close look upon each one of these hypotheses.

Hypothesis 1: Following a comfortable long experience within a particular functional area / such as, for example, accountancy, human resources, etc, you end up feeling like that is not exactly your area. As such, you would want to shift into an entirely new area.

Should you happen to find yourself in this situation, you will inevitably run into one of the most widely spread employers’ presumptions, which does not stoop to change.

Every position calls for people backed up with previous experience in that same functional area. However impressive the graduation certificate you may produce in proof of your excellent fit to that functional area which happens to be new to you, it is a fat chance that you stand of getting in for a higher position in the hierarchy as compared to your current position.

In such cases I should recommend you to seek for projects in that new functional area where you may come in upon, against no remuneration. No matter what particular company. It could well be a non-for-profit organization, a company of your friends’, an activity with one of the clubs of your membership. The key is, you should get that critical experience you would want in that new functional area which can stand you in good stead when applying for a position in that same area. I would typically advise my coachees to stay with that practice for at least a year before they would opt for applying anywhere for a position in that functional area.

There are certain circumstances that may pretty much assist you in your career change of functional areas. Indeed, they come in to the equation when you have been engaged with a company encouraging both the upward (i.e. the ‘vertical’) shift in career development , and the lateral (i.e. horizontal) one.  In such companies, lateral promotion is indispensable to the vertical one. Therefore, it should not be an issue, for instance, to shift into the area of business development when you come from the quality management, R &D area, and the like, leaning only back upon a diploma of yours which attests your fit into that new area, despite of your lack of previous experience.


Hypothesis 2: The MBA education has supplied you a most valuable view, thus you feel you are all there and up to climbing up to the next level. Despite, you have no such arrangements made with your employer.

Typically, MBA vested managers under this hypothesis go to another employer. As it happens for the most part, in fact, the current employer gives the highly qualified employee the cold shoulder precluding his/her chances for promotion in the hierarchy. In the best scenario, the employee makes it in getting his/her current employer in terms, the accomplishment of which would promise for such a promotion to come to life.


Hypothesis 3: You come to the decision that your change of company would necessarily entail a change of your industry also.

If you happen to identify yourself under this hypothesis, it will be you again always running into that particular assumption espoused by employers that the ‘excellent fit’ (i.e. applicant) for the functional area of the said office should necessarily be the one who has that experience, even in that industry.

Irrespective of whether you feature targeting industries who traditionally engage MBAs such as consultancy companies or companies within the investment banking area, or you will just opt for an industry of your appeal, you should always factor in a huge amount of patience on your part.

The strategy that I stand by here for managers under this hypothesis to pursue is that they should at the very first figure out the companies of their choice in that new industry.

At the second place, MBA managers here should get down to a thorough search of their contacts network.  Search your friends alongside the friends of your friends, your former colleagues, the alumni network with your MBA university. Of all these, identify the ones who are engaged with those companies, and get in touch with them. Now, you would want to get them introduced to your idea calling them out on a lunch or a cup of coffee where you will be well-placed to share with them your willingness to get involved in their company, to figure out and improve available windows of opportunities, to learn about their procedure for depositing your CV, to be advised about the key recruiters there.

Surely enough, you should lay up for yourself a good amount of persistence.  As it will happen, many such talks will end up nowhere in particular, entailing time for your efforts to get you quite somewhere.

In all of the cases of your study above, there is one factor at play which may assist you greatly in arriving at all three change patterns at the cost of minimum efforts, and within shortest terms. Speaking of which, this is to equip yourself with the attestation of a person in a key or trusted position within that company of your targeted preference. Once you could produce a good attestation, chances are that you will be admitted to prove what you claim to be. Indeed, that is exactly what you want! Notably, the chance to give actual proof of your skills!

There is still another factor at play, which can come to your help on this equation. Try to figure out companies of strong entrepreneurship culture. In such companies, multi-functionality of employees is a premise to the boost of the company. As such, you will readily arrive at your targeted change of functional area.  Should you make it, you will be awarded promotion, and you will be in for the next challenging project which will enhance you as a professional also.

Hypothesis 4: You feel the corporate life lays constraints upon you, therefore it is high time you set up a business of your own. Another ‘bitter pill’ that will be set there for you to confront, is the fear nested within others that your qualifications score points way above theirs, and as such you will surely stand out a mile, whereas they themselves need to keep a high profile. Consequently, you will begin to feel yourself hard ‘pressed down’, ending up an ‘outcast’, comfortably omitted to be invited to meetings, keeping you at a ‘safe’ distance from key projects, etc.

The case may also be here that following your MBA you have already got your promotion, and your company is running out of capacity to further advance you, therefore, you are just feeling you are making no particular headway any more.

It may also be that you happen to be at the right place at the right moment with that excellent business partner whom you will play share and share alike in taking the risk of starting your own long-cherished business.

If such is the case, I should strongly recommend to take that leap of faith. Whether you will hedge your bets and keep yourself engaged on the employment agreement before your start-up could find its feet riveted well on the ground,  or you will opt for dedicating entirely to it, it is critical that you see clear your way to keep your start-up running for the first year since your new business life positioning.

Hypothesis 5: Once you have tried out/brought about one or more of the hypotheses 1, 2 or 3, you are geared toward Hypothesis 4. Or conversely, след once you have tried hypothesis 4, you go back to any of the options 1, 2 or 3.

Typically, in both cases I should advise a very careful self-analysis before taking whatever steps there.  The analysis should focus upon the strengths of the coachee, his/her preferred predominant functional areas, his/her fit to perform in particular industries, his/her tolerance with the entrepreneur’s risk. Comparing all those personal specifics as to the available circumstances and emerging opportunities in his/her life, result in structuring 2 or 3 action scenario alternatives.

Whatever the hypothesis you happen to identify yourself with, my first and foremost advise is that you have recourse to an еxecutive career coach to assist your path. Should you be geared toward switching between functional areas or industries, source the coach out a in that new area/industry. Should your target be your advancement up the hierarchy, sort out a coach within your company from your company’s senior management. Should you be willing to be assisted by a mentor knowledgeable in the MBA specifics, just identify a person vested with experience in that way.

Sylvia Pavlova About Sylvia Pavlova

Sylvia Pavlova (MBA CMC Assoc CIPD) graduated the international MBA program with OUBS, UK, 4 years ago. The program stands amidst the 1 % top MBA programs in terms of accreditation worldwide. For the last year of her studies, Sylvia got acknowledged by her colleagues as one of the five most influential MBA students in OUBS. Immediately after her graduation, Sylvia has been chosen to accede the 42 MBA international mentors and executive coaches with the university. She has acted as the executive coach of senior MBA managers from OUBS, Henley Business School, University of Leicester, Bocconi.

Since 2017, she has been an international Certified Management Consultant in Business Development and Operational Effectiveness. She is a managing shareholder on the start-up SP Business Lab ( She is responsible for the international development of a technological start-up established in Bulgaria.



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