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Tag Archives: Recruiting
[my apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien for the punny title]
It had to be a Chick-Fil-A sandwich… it only seemed fitting that the call about my first “big boy” MBA job would come while I was eating the same sandwich that I was making during my first real job as a “chicken maker” at Chick-Fil-A ten years ago while in high school.
Okay… that’s a lie… I was eating the new spicy chicken sandwich which wasn’t around when I worked at Chick-Fil-A in high school, but it was still delicious nonetheless. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend the new spicy chic… wait, we’re getting off topic. Back to the story!
Coming to business school, I had set my career goal to work for an investment bank. Before Owen, I worked for a public accounting firm in their audit practice focusing on Energy companies in Houston, TX. Given my experience working with financial statements, especially companies that had to consistently raise money to build new rigs, buy new barges, or acquire new pipelines, I felt like I had a good background for joining an investment bank. My job as an auditor involved reviewing supporting documents to ensure that balances in a company’s financial statements were properly stated in all materi…
On Monday, January 7, 2013, at approximately 4pm, I return home, sit down, and crack open a Coors Light, smiling at the blue “Super Cold” bar near the bottom of the can. The first day of Mod 3 classes is done, and I have to admit, it feels really good to be back at work, though today it somehow feels different. Not long after my first sip of cold Rocky Mountain magic, my roommate enters with a new, but soon-to-be common request: “Hey bro, you have a minute to take a look at this cover letter? My application for this internship is due tomorrow.”
“Sure man…email it to me and I’ll send you some feedback.”
“Thanks. You’re so lucky you don’t have to worry about this shit anymore.”
Somehow, I’m a trusted source of cover letter advice these days.
Now why, when recruiting season is just beginning to amp up, am I drinking Monday afternoon beers instead of sweating over internships? Let’s Tarantino this thing and go all the way back to the beginning to find out…
As we enter the mid-point of the first semester, and with more and more recruiters showing up on campus, I’ve heard concern over whether companies are still spending the money to not only recruit, but support their interns throughout the summer with relevant projects, travel opportunities, as well as other “perks.” I remember thinking the same thing last year. Therefore, I’d like to offer my internship experience not as an indication of what all companies are doing, but to illustrate that all hope is not lost.
Nearly five weeks into my internship, I was surprised when my summer employer offered to fly me across the country for a few days for just two short orientation meetings. Apparently, they felt bad that the rest of the dozen or so MBA interns were all based in Boston, and that I was missing out on some of the events. I was considerably more surprised when I saw the price of the plane ticket – $1600. That, coupled with the hotel stay in downtown Boston, a few meals and ground transportation on the company’s dime must really add up. Apparently, some companies are not afraid to spend money despite the economy. Or perhaps my small business background has me considerably more cost-conscious than I need to be. I distinctly remember in the past having to get approval to purchase even a $100 toner cartridge on the company Amex. I suppose there are benefits to working for a Fortune 100 company.
If you had asked me a year ago what I would be doing for my summer internship, I wouldn’t have been able to predict it even in the slightest. Even today, I still couldn’t imagine what this summer had in store for me. But it all started with the search…
To trace back to where this story began, I’d have to start somewhere in August where I sat at my desk inserting the final touches on my resume. I had some idea of what I came to Owen to achieve – a change of pace from my prior years of experience in economic and financial consulting. My eyes were set on a career path within corporate finance; as such, I would expect my summer internship could be codified in such a manner.
Days turned into weeks which soon turned into months of research on companies, mock interviews, cover letter tweaking, discussions with classmates, career advisors, and alumni to hone in on opportunities for summer internships. As more information fell in my lap, the laundry list of potential places I’d like to work whittled itself down to a handful of companies. The internship pursuit continued full steam with a trip to NSHMBA in Minneapolis and an Owen Career Management Center sponsored event known as Wall Street Week during the fall. Looking back, these events did much to prepare me for the focused job search and interviewing I would encounter in the winter.
I came to Owen as a career-switcher, hoping to somehow transition my experience at a consulting startup in the insurance industry to a brand management position in the CPG industry. I assure you it didn’t seem as unnatural of a transition then as it does writing it now. My internship search, I was told, would have to begin as soon as I stepped on campus.
The initial attention I got from CPG recruiters was encouraging, but I found myself repeatedly losing out in the end to better prepared and more qualified candidates. After landing three successive interviews during one week in January, and even flying out to San Francisco on my own dime for one, and not getting invited for any 2nd rounds, I reluctantly broadened my search. I had started an excel sheet back in August, tracking the date and position associated with each application I submitted, which had gradually grown to over 45 companies, and I soon had memberships to almost as many companies’ career websites. What began as a focused search at just the top 5 CPG companies that only recruit at HBS, had become an exercise in market sizing with the added benefit of receiving daily email updates for all the positions I didn’t qualify for.