Several of the GMATClub alums were sharing their job hunting experience in a private forum. It was very eye opening for me to see the struggles and ultimate triumphs others had. It also helps to set an expectation that elite/ultra-elite MBA does not guarantee anything.
Before b-school, I thought that going to a top tier b-school was the golden ticket to a high flying job, and that recruiters will be bending over backwards to woe us. I think many MBA aspirants may have the same illusion.
Despite my essays, I did not have a strong direction of what I want to do out of b-school. This was compounded by the fact that there are so many interesting opportunities at Fuqua. In my first couple of terms, I attempted to pursue many of the opportunities: high tech – sure!; renewable energy – I’m an environmentalist, right?; entrepreneurship – sounds great!; non-profit board member – I love a mission, and it will look good on my resume!; etc. When I started my internship recruiting, I had a cursory understanding and network in a bit of everything. Although it “helped” me get a good initial wave of interview invites, it really bloated my head.
I got a wakeup call when none of the interviews solidified into a second round, and I was not having the same closed-list luck later. That was a pivotal point in my b-school experience. Up until then, my experience has been transactional, doing what I was supposed to do and no more. I am very fortunate, that the Team Fuqua culture is so strong. I reached out to my classmates, and they went out of their way, despite a hectic schedule, to help me prepare for interviews, getting contacts, etc. Like GMATClub, we shared our failures, and celebrated everyone’s success. The support system helped me, mentality, through times of no interview activities. I was fortunate that things picked up a bit in February, and I started to get interviews through on-campus and off-campus recruiting. This time, I was much more prepared in the interviews, and picked up a few offers. The experience changed my mentality of an individual to a collective Team Fuqua.
After the stress was over, I took the time to soul search, and focus my direction. The soul searching was an iterative process. For me, it came down to company culture, work-life balance, intellectual challenge, career potential, and location (a list very similar to my retrospective view of b-school selection criteria). I started talking to my top choice the last day of my summer internship. I also had a few back-up options, and “exploration” areas. The internship search process taught me the importance of humility, prep work, and Team Fuqua. All of which came into play this time around. There were times of heartaches, when I thought I was getting dinged, but only to be thrown a life line. There were times of grateful appreciation, when friends and classmates gave me with unreciprocated help and support. I was very fortunate to end up with several offers by December, including my top choice job.
I believe the lessons I learned from my recruiting experience were the one of the biggest (if not the biggest) takeaways from my MBA, because recruiting is never over until you retire. And a little kindness, humility, and hard work will always make me a better person. The career benefit is just a cherry on top.