Rizwana Iqbal is a current MBA2 at Stern. Prior to Stern, she was woring with the Government of India to develop the national healthcare innovation commercialization ecosystem. She is a technology enthusiast by profession and singer by heart. Bookworm, fitness freak, self-confessed foodie (and cook!). An explorer and incurable dreamer!
In my previous blog post, I had written about securing my summer internship through SternWorks. I knew I would have to recruit for a full-time job in the summer, through the pandemic. A lot of companies had stopped recruiting and many outright refused to hire international students. So, I knew I would have to bring my A-game for every coffee chat and interview. There was no place for the second best. However, most of the networking for consulting opportunities actually happens when applying for an internship. I did not know that. So, I was stumped. I had to re-energize my skeleton network and reach out to a few people with whom I had connected quite well during the internship process last fall. I knew this was not going to be enough. I had to hustle. I reconnected, expressed my interests, but most importantly, I did not pressure myself to impress anyone.
To keep my sanity while dealing with the stress of recruiting during the pandemic and being an older candidate, I promised myself that every day I just would keep one foot in front of the other, (ie, network, apply and give my best when called for interviews) but be detached from results. I chose to believe that the job where I would be happy would find me in due time. So, in the meantime, I just had to keep my head down and do what I needed to do, without worrying about the outcome.
Then, one fine day, I got an interview invite for a team, a role and an office that was my top priority. Sternies rallied behind me. Five of my fellow Sternies would take 2-3 hours out of their schedules per week for 4-5 weeks continuously to coach me, so I could succeed. They prepped and prepared me while constantly reminding me that I had a strong personality and should bring forth my humorous side. They gave me the confidence that when I interviewed with the firm, I was not afraid of showing my true self and it also allowed me to be confident. Consequently, when I received the final offer from the firm, I realized that my success was not the mere culmination of my efforts, but so much more. There is no alternative to hard work, but hard work alone is not enough for achieving your goals. Having the right people around you, who support you and to bring out your best self, is critical to one achieving his/her goals. Recruiting through the pandemic made me feel eternally grateful for being a part of the Stern community.