Tag: "Internship"

The art of networking and effectively selling your brand

Rupali Monga

We all hear about it, speak about it, but many of us do not spare the time to act upon it.   As you will hear continuously throughout business school, networking is one of the most important aspects of an MBA program.  In my career prior to business school, I didn’t truly understand the value of long term relationships and professional connections that can be made through the art of networking.  Now, more than ever before, due to the current economic conditions, networking is extremely vital and is, in a sense, a marketing tool that can be very effective when soliciting yourself to professionals. 

It wasn’t easy, but not impossible.  As a career-changer, it took me tons of research and speaking with many business school alumni, current students, faculty, etc. to learn about the gimmicks of networking, resume building, interviewing, and effectively selling my brand.  My conversations and research led me to believe that nothing is more important in an MBA program than effectively soliciting your own skills, strengths and professional experiences during interviews and networking conferences.  I made it my mission to successfully market myself and land a summer internship prior to the end of my first quarter in business school.  Throughout this process, the key points were to understand how my strengths and skills would contribute to the growth of any company in the future and how to efficiently communicate these strengths and skills.  As a result, thus far, I’ve developed many professional relationships in various companies and have been offered a few summer internship offers. 

The first few months in business school are very challenging, but time is of the essence.  Course work is important, but the ultimate goal of pursuing an MBA is to help individuals transition into a new career or a higher ranked position in their existing careers.  Although competition amongst MBA candidates to land positions in the workforce is always fierce, it increases tenfold from January through May each year as those are the prime recruiting months. Therefore, do not sacrifice your career search to ensure you excel in your courses, but specifically during the first quarter of the program.  The moral of the story is – work hard, play hard.

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!

Key Steps to a Successful Internship and Full time Career Search

 – Ameet Chandak, MBA 2010

It is no secret that the overall economic and business environment in the US is currently going through tough times. This has surely impacted the way companies look at recruitment for internship and full time positions. The hiring process has become more stringent and highly selective due to the high unemployment and lack of future clarity on business. I would like to share some of the key steps I took to differentiate myself in this crowd. These steps, relentless focus and constant networking helped me land a full time job with a Big 4 Consulting firm, being an international student.

Working with a Target List of Companies: This is the starting point of a successful internship and full time job search. One needs to understand that there are plenty of different industries and functions that are out there in the market which are a fit with your career goals. You have to translate these in to a tangible list of target companies. You can have multiple career options, i.e. Management Consulting and Equity Research and have different companies in each of these buckets, but you need to spend time to come up with this list. The advantage is that you will spend your time in online research, informational interviews and all other related networking things with FOCUS. I can assure you without this list, you will be applying to every job you see online and it will only add to the frustration in the job search.

Informational Meetings: I cannot stress the importance of scheduling informational meetings with alumni and people in your target list of companies and job functions. The meetings serve 5 key purposes:

(1)       They serve as a big eye opener and give you a real understanding of what it takes to be successful in that particular job.

(2)       These conversations can give you information which is not there on the website. Things like current projects, clients being served, where the business is coming from, etc., are key to anticipating what the interview questions will be like and where the opportunities lie in the short term.

(3)       Answering basic questions like ‘give me a background about yourself’ and ‘describe your short term and long term goals’ give you the confidence to speak in a real interview. I can assure you that by the time I came to my first interview, I was so well prepared that I exhibited confidence and clarity on what I wanted to do as well as why!

(4)       These help you understand where within the company will your skill sets be most valuable. Most companies I spoke to had multiple teams where I could fit. It was important to ask a person within the company on what they felt was the best fit. This will help you focus and identify jobs where you have the highest possibility of actually making it until the end rather than have ‘wishful thinking.’

(5)       The people you speak to will become your entry point in the company and help you find the right hiring manager and HR to speak to and inform you of possible openings even when not advertised.

Consistently being able to talk to people in my target list was the key success factor for me and helped me understand where the opportunities are rather than wait for job openings to come up on websites. I wish you luck in the coming months and am confident that we will all embark on successful careers.

My Summer Internship Experience 2009

By: Ameet Chandak, MBA Candidate 2010

Why do a Summer Internship? One of the top questions which one has to answer as an entrant of the Accelerated 18 Month MBA program at Simon is: “How valuable is a summer internship and should I pursue this option?” The hectic pace of the first two quarters which covers 7 core courses is demanding for most students and was no different for me. However, what began as a struggle quickly turned in to an exciting experience where I mastered core management skills across different business functions.   Having worked as an IT Consultant with Ernst & Young prior to Simon, I was keen to progress to a broader role as a business technology advisor and use my newly found MBA skills in the real world. The summer internship presented me with the perfect opportunity to do this, and I joined Deloitte Consulting LLP with their Healthcare industry practice at the Boston office.

Images Welcome to Deloitte. The city of Boston brought a much needed change after a ‘typical’ Rochester winter, and I started my 10 week internship in the 2nd week of June, just days after finishing the spring quarter. As I walked through the corridors of 60 floor John Hancock tower to make my way to the Deloitte office, I felt anxious about how the internship experience would unfold. My first week was dedicated to understanding the overall business of Deloitte, its various services across different industries, the organization structure and firm culture. I was assigned my summer project in the second week and introduced to my team and reporting manager. I was part of a highly visible team which was advising a Healthcare client in transforming a critical business function.

The Simon Difference. As a summer associate, I was assigned the responsibility of planning and developing an overall testing plan to analyze core business functionality of the newly implemented ‘claims pricing system’. My role required extensive data analysis and I was able to use skills from core courses like GBA and Finance to analyze and interpret data. As the weeks passed by, I was able to easily bond with my project team and contribute as a team member, leveraging vastly on my experience of working with diverse teams at Simon.

My Key Takeaways. The summer internship experience helped me expand my professional network which now includes consultants at Deloitte, interns from schools like Harvard Business School and MIT, and Simon Alumni in Boston. The internship also helped me gain further insight into US work culture and business etiquette. The most important takeaway was identifying areas for personal development of my management and leadership skills. I am now using the internship feedback to select relevant courses in my second year at Simon and take on new leadership positions on campus.

The summer internship has provided me with clarity on the industry and function that I desire to build a long term career after the MBA. My new professional network will undoubtedly help me in my full time job search.  All in all it was an extremely fulfilling personal and professional summer internship and I would recommend that you explore this option during your studies at Simon.