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Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1

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Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 05 Jan 2008, 16:53
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This is the first of a 20 part series on recruiting and schmoozing (just kidding, it will probably be 3-4 parts but I don't know yet). These are based on my experiences, so people with different backgrounds, different career goals and at different schools will certainly have different things to add. I attended mostly IB events so I'll try to point out areas where this guide may or may not apply to certain areas (for example, if something applies to IB recruiting, but not other job tracks), but others should definitely jump in with their own insights and experiences. The topics I'm planning to cover include recruiting strategy, etiquette at events, manners and procedures for sit-down meals, proper attire for various events (guys only, unfortunately I know nothing about what women should wear), follow-up, and various other items as they pop in my head.

Part 1 - the early days

The following advice generally applies to firms that have a regular recruiting process on your campus, and are based on experiences with IB firms. These firms generally come for an initial presentation, followed by some type of open invite event (cocktails or something) and then 1-3 invite only events. For Darden this usually culminates with our Week on Wall Street where 20-25 firms host us in their offices in NY; finally there are two rounds of interviews, generally on campus. I must stress that if a firm does not recruit on campus, or if they only visit for a general presentation and do not have follow-up events that you must use different strategies.

So, at a lot of schools, recruiters will start showing up as soon as 2 or 3 weeks after you start school. For these schools, you can really understand why schools really want you to think about your career goals during the application process. You really need to be able to hit the ground running. I know that at some other schools, recruiters are allowed on campus until later or perhaps after the 1st quarter, so people at those schools should share their experiences. I didn't attend any conferences or anything like that, but I know that some people had success at such events.

The first thing you should do, perhaps even before deciding which school to attend, is to see which firms recruit on campus. This will be your best way to gain access to firms that you are interested in. Be sure to distinguish between firms that only post job listings (basically any firm will be willing to post jobs at any school) and those that actually invest their time, effort and dollars to recruiting on campus.

Typically, the banks start showing up first, followed by the consulting firms and then the others. The first event a particular firm holds on campus will generally be a briefing or presentation open to all students. Then main presentation is usually followed by some type of networking where you'll have the chance to speak with firm representatives. The early events will be madhouses because lots of students will be eager to start with recruiting and a lot of people don't really know what they want to focus on yet.

The best advice at this point is that you absolutely cannot win an interview invite at this point, but you might lose one. Don't be one of those people that makes a beeline for the most senior person from the firm and monopolizes their time during the event. There's just nothing positive that can come of this. You aren't going to impress them with how smart you are and how much you know, and the people that barrel to the front and try to hold off people with their sharp elbows will be annoying to the visiting firms as well as fellow students. You don't want to be that guy/gal.

Usually, the firms would introduce their people at the event and I'd pick out a few that I'd like to speak with; generally this was not the most senior member or the head of the recruiting team. There will be plenty of time to get to know these people later on, and it's just not necessary to rush things at this point. At these events, as the main presentation ended and the group broke up for networking, I'd generally like to stay back and have something to eat or drink while others crowded around the firm representatives. As things thinned out, I'd look for the people that I noted earlier, just to introduce myself and say hi. This is absolutely not the time to tell them your life story and take up a lot of their time; it's just plain annoying to everyone around. I think the best strategy is just to have a brief conversation and talk about something that might be memorable to the person you are speaking with. If that's not possible, then just understand that firms aren't making any decisions at this stage.

One piece of advice I have is to avoid traveling in packs. One of my good friends is from India, and he actually pointed this out to me; the Indian students tended to move around as large groups of 8-10 and surrounded one representative after another. This is just a terrible idea; leaving aside everything PC, it's just really tough for people to distinguish a new face from 10 other similar faces, who all happen to have similar accents and backgrounds. There's no way this is any good. Firms will also start to question whether you can adapt to other groups and cultures. This is not exclusive to any one group or culture, but I'd definitely avoid it if possible. It might feel like there is safety in numbers, but at a recruiting event it just doesn't make sense to go out of your way to make yourself blend in; try to move around and stand next to different people throughout the event. You're less likely to blend in, and you'll get to know some new fellow students.

I'd also advise against being a loner. Firms are watching; I don't mean that they're actively taking notes on you or anything like that, but over the course of many events, they will start to notice whether you get along with your fellow students. This is really important for them because they want to find out if you'll be able to adapt to a new situation and work well with others. If they start to notice that you spend a lot of your time at events off in the corner by yourself, that's not going to work out in your favor. You definitely shouldn't spend all of your efforts monopolizing the time of firm representatives at events, but move around and spend time talking with fellow students, 2Y reps that might be around, and so forth. This will be viewed favorably by the firms, and you'll also build a network with your fellow students that will help you throughout recruiting.

Something else I would recommend is to put effort into your learning team, study group, whatever it's called early on. many schools have a formalized process where students are assigned to learning teams when they get to campus. At other schools you must set up your own study group. I would highly advise putting a lot of effort into gaining the trust and support of your learning team early on, because you will need their help later. This could mean spending extra time putting together spreadsheets that the team can use, or doing extra preparation so you can lead team discussions. As recruiting picks up and you start having events 3-4 nights a week, you'll be glad you have them to lean on.

OK, so I guess that's it for Part 1. The basic advice is that it is a long process and to not be too eager early on because nothing good can come of it. I think in Part 2 we will cover dress, etiquette and manners. I'll start giving specific examples next time as well.

links to parts 2 & 3
http://www.gmatclub.com/forum/108-t58068
http://www.gmatclub.com/forum/108-p428951
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 05 Jan 2008, 20:11
Great post! As someone who is looking forward to attending bschool and a little nervous about formal recruiting (been an entrepreneur since college) it is good to have a first hand account!

Thanks!
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2008, 00:44
Really superb information. Keep up the great work, these sorts of contributions can really help shed light on an important area that is not often discussed.
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2008, 03:03
Peli you acted on my suggestion :) Good man !! Great content..

Someone, please sticky this series ...
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2008, 07:56
GREAT content pelihu, I've been reading your posts for a while, and every one of them has been useful. You're making me want to come to Darden! :-D
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2008, 09:42
On a side note, you may meet some really interesting people at these events. For example, at one of the early on IB events, one of the recruiters I was speaking with actually was in the same training class as Lewis Ranieri (Liar's Poker). I had very little interest in IB at that time so I used the time to talk about the book, separate fact from fiction and such. It was great to meet someone who experienced all that I read in that book. Point being, if you happen to have time, it can't hurt to attend an event recruiting for a function you might not be too interested in pursuing.
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2008, 09:49
Kudos, Pelihu, +10. Would you allow us to publish your series in the Wiki? There are two options, first is to make it a community project,
Code:
http://gmatclub.com/wiki/Guide_to_Recruiting_and_Schmoozing
or, if you would prefer to maintain responsibility and ownership, in your private namespace like this:

Code:
http://gmatclub.com/wiki/User:Pelihu/Guide_to_Recruiting_and_Schmoozing


Please let me know if this is a possibility. I can do all the tedious parts of wiki editing for you.
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 06 Jan 2008, 16:20
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Squali, you are right. You'll definitely meet a lot of interesting people, and you'll definitely find that the IB community is small and seriously inbred. There were several occasions where we met someone at a firm event early in the fall; then met the same person with a different firm later in the fall. At the very least, you'll definitely encounter former colleagues, classmates and so forth all around the street.

I have an interesting story from our visit to NY a few weeks ago. I attended a private dinner with a big IB on Monday night (we'll call them 'top 3' Firm A to keep it somewhat anonymous). The next evening, I attended a dinner with another 'top 3' Firm B. I sat next to a younger associate who was an alum and he casually asked me how things were going and what I did last night. I mentioned I had dinner with Firm A. He asked who attended the dinner from Firm A and named the people that attended. He immediately responded with, "you sat next to 'Person X' right"? He was correct of course, because he had already gotten the inside scoop on the dinner from the prior evening through the alumni grapevine.

A good (and extremely important) piece of advice would be to remember that word travels fast and don't burn any bridges. Also, it would be a terrible idea to go around telling a bunch of different firms that they are your top choice. If you make a jackass out of yourself at an event, other firms will hear about it - so that's why it's probably a good strategy early on to just keep a low profile. You can't win in the first few weeks, but you can definitely lose. On the flip side, if you are consistently good with several of the top firms, word will get around about that as well. Ultimately, the firms would all like to compete for some of the same people.

Tino: please go ahead and add it to the Wiki if you think it will be useful. You can just make it a community project; no need to put it under my name separately.
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 15 Jan 2008, 20:36
pelihu wrote:
Something else I would recommend is to put effort into your learning team, study group, whatever it's called early on. many schools have a formalized process where students are assigned to learning teams when they get to campus. At other schools you must set up your own study group. I would highly advise putting a lot of effort into gaining the trust and support of your learning team early on, because you will need their help later. This could mean spending extra time putting together spreadsheets that the team can use, or doing extra preparation so you can lead team discussions. As recruiting picks up and you start having events 3-4 nights a week, you'll be glad you have them to lean on.


I'm reading Pelihu's post a little late, but as a non-IB first year, want to back him up on this. YOUR TEAM WILL HATE YOU IF YOU LEAVE THEM OUT TO DRY!!!!

I know a lot of IB aspirants in school. Some have done a great job of knowing they'll need to travel and putting in time early on a project. Teams like this. Others have had their IB teammates simply say, "oh, and I won't be around for the next assignment....later." Not cool. If you want to be that guy, be that guy. But you won't win any points.
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 17 Jan 2008, 07:21
Fittingly, a long post and worth every ounce of time reading it! Thanks, Pelihu, I am already an avid fan of this series.
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2008, 12:18
This thread brings to mind, the Vault's Smoozing guide
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 26 Sep 2009, 16:10
good stuff! this is better than business week's blog on ibanking
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2009, 02:03
nice information
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 11 Dec 2009, 03:22
This was such a great post that I 'kudosed' it even before I got to the end!
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2010, 22:24
Very useful since all I am focusing on is school selection - and i don't even know what concentration yet!
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 24 Jan 2010, 09:05
Thanks for the detail. This is an interesting window into the recruiting process.
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 00:41
Great stuff! Waiting for the 4th and up to the 20th part! :-)
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 29 Apr 2010, 13:46
Great guide! Looking forward to the next installment!
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2010, 07:59
nice post! I have a question -after the events is it fine to email the people there to keep in touch like "i really enjoyed talking to you " etc. or one shouldnt do that?
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1 [#permalink] New post 08 Sep 2010, 09:41
shaselai wrote:
nice post! I have a question -after the events is it fine to email the people there to keep in touch like "i really enjoyed talking to you " etc. or one shouldnt do that?

What's your intent? If you want to keep them as part of your long term network then this would be a great idea! :-D
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Re: Guide to Recruiting and Schmoozing - Part 1   [#permalink] 08 Sep 2010, 09:41
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