Persistence, a Strike of Luck (2 Actually), and My Dream Internship

By Hitesh Nathani
M.B.A Candidate, Class of 2011

Everyone knows well enough that networking and active participation in clubs help in interviews. If you have ever wondered how exactly does it help, read my story…

The end of the second quarter is considered by many as the most hectic time at the Simon School – with seemingly infinite assignments and projects suddenly becoming due in the final two weeks. It was right then when I got my first interview call from Rio Tinto. While I had been networking for literally every company that I had applied to, for some reason, I had not networked with anybody from Rio Tinto. A quick search through the alumni database gave me two names – the CFO and a financial associate, who had joined just recently. I decided to speak to the latter, even though she was in a totally different department. I was applying for the position of a Business Improvement Consultant, whereas she was in Corporate Finance.

Because her profile was so dissimilar from mine, the conversation was mainly about general topics like work culture. She explained to me a culture of safety sharing that was followed at every meeting and was taken very seriously at Rio Tinto.

On the interview day, the interviewer mentioned that before he began the interview, he would like to tell me about their safety sharing culture. When I mentioned that I actually already knew about it, he was awed, because none of this is mentioned on the internet. The interview started on a positive note, and everything went uphill from there.

I received the second round interview call in less than 24 hours – this time with the CFO himself. He is an alumnus of the Class of 1991 and didn’t know about the club mentioned in my résumé (for which I am the President) – Simon United (which was formed just a few years ago). Understandably, his first question was – ‘What is this Simon United?’ to which the shortened version of my response was somewhat like ‘Simon United is a cultural club at the Simon School that holds one of the biggest quarterly events at Simon – Broaden Your Horizons (BYH).” During our first quarter, along with my friends, I was given the opportunity to represent my home country, India, in front of an audience of over 150 people. I also did a dance performance. I think diversity is the heart of the Simon School, and was thus motivated to lead the club’. I had prepared all sorts of behavioral questions but not this one. This was spontaneous but passionate. Looking retrospectively, it showed that I embrace diversity (similar to the Rio Tinto culture), it showed that I can communicate in front of a large audience, and it showed my leadership skills. I think the CFO got all his answers from this one example. He had made up his mind – the rest of the interview was just to confirm it. I did go to Denver this summer to pursue my internship, and am raring to go.

The above is just one of the many advantages of networking and participating in extra-curricular’s. I have learned many more lessons through networking that I will probably share with you in my future blogs!

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