That Non-Traditional Recruiting Life

Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to share my unique recruiting experience at Stern. For those who haven’t read my past blog posts, I am a career-switcher who has chosen to recruit in a non-traditional industry (entertainment to be exact). “Non-traditional” at Stern is a very broad category that is generously labeled as anything that is not banking, management consulting, or marketing.

Hollywood Sign

My early adult life in one sentence = I went to high school, went to West Point, and went straight into the military for five years. I had 60 days of freedom between my last day in the Army and my first day at Stern. I knew before LAUNCH that I had a big challenge ahead of me: with zero entertainment experience on my résumé, how could I possibly prove to the entertainment industry that not only was I passionate about the industry, but also qualified to work in it?

Some criteria I gave myself:

1. Leave no stone unturned: Knowing my target industry helped me focus my time and energy. I researched into every area of entertainment in order to whittle down where I found the best fit. When I applied to Stern, I had two companies that I could picture myself working for. 6 months later, when I actually started applying for summer internships, I ended up applying to over 12 different companies.

2. Listen to those that have come before you: Coffee chats with the MBA2s are an amazing way to get an honest and thorough first impression on the industry you want to recruit for. I found that not only do the second-year Sternies offer great advice on how they succeeded, but also gave helpful advice on what they would have done differently if they were in my shoes again.

3. Build a diverse network: I realized early on that my network should not only be comprised of MBA2s (re: #2), but also a variety of Stern alumni and non-Stern connections. There are a number of opportunities to meet Stern alumni in your industry thanks to events and panels hosted by OCD or the school clubs. Networking outside of Stern took more time and effort, but it was a great way for me to get a second-opinion on areas I was doing well in or areas I could improve in.

4. Think outside the box: Besides declaring my academic specialization in Entertainment, Media, and Technology, I found that immersing myself in entertainment during my free time helped me understand the industry better. I attended entertainment conferences around New York City throughout the year (the Stern Entertainment Media and Technology Association is a great resource for these events). Also, in addition to being a full-time MBA1 student, I am a part-time intern this spring at an entertainment media company in order to build some more experience before the summer.

5. Be patient:  By end of January, almost all of the MBA1s recruiting for traditional industries knew where they will be going that upcoming summer. The entertainment industry doesn’t even begin interviewing until February-March. Just because a company had not contacted me by February did not mean that they were not interested. Even with interviews, the recruiting process is not standardized, which can be frustrating because it is hard to compare opportunities. I was getting asked to come in for first-round interviews at Company A the same week that I was going in for final-round interviews at Company B.

And now …  I am excited to share with everyone that I have accepted an offer with Showtime Networks for a summer internship! I am thrilled and so humbled with how everything turned out this spring. I firmly believe that being at NYU Stern was pivotal in successfully landing my summer internship.

Ellen DeGeneres, is that you?

IMG_3170Happy 2015 everyone! Second semester classes started last week and the winter break seems like a far off memory. However, before my life gets taken over by Corporate Finance, I wanted to share with you guys a cool trip that I participated in last month. I traveled to Los Angeles with the Stern Entertainment Media and Technology Association (EMTA) to check out some of the top media companies and movie studios. It was a great chance to visit these companies in person and receive their corporate presentations. We also got to submit our resume to every company that we visited, so it was a fun and productive trip for those of us interested in pursuing the entertainment business. A snapshot of our trek:

Day 1: Visited NBCUniversal, Netflix, Dreamworks
Day 2: Warner Brothers, BMG Chrysalis, Lionsgate
Day 3: Walt Disney Company, Paramount Pictures

10885230_10100136969678580_5060116032023621507_nSome of these corporate presentations were multi-school events, so we saw a lot of other business school students there (from Wharton to Kellogg to UCLA Anderson). Some of the events were Stern only (Netflix, Dreamworks, Paramount). The Stern-only events were my favorite because they were an amazing opportunity to hear about the company in a more intimate setting. During the corporate presentations, the companies introduced their MBA Summer Internship opportunities and how their application process works.

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, I chose to attend NYU Stern for their world-famous entertainment business program. Going on this Los Angeles trek did not disappoint. If anything, the exposure Stern gives its students to the entertainment industry has exceeded my expectations. Cross your fingers for me as I progress on my summer internship recruiting journey!

Here is the official video of our trip: NYU Stern LA Trek Jan 2015

EMTA LA Trek

Above: The Stern group at Paramount Pictures!

 

Hello, My Name is …

Hey everyone! Evelyn here, reporting from East Village, NYC! The weather is a brisk 30*F, with wind chills of — oh, sorry, not that kind of report!

This is my first post for the Stern Blog and I am so excited to “meet” everyone! I hope that my point of view may help some of you as you progress in your MBA journey.

Since this is my first post, I wanted to introduce myself properly, share my background, and explain why I came to Stern.

I grew up right outside of Boston, MA. After high school, I decided to attend West Point, which is a 4-year service academy where graduates go straight into the military as Army officers. I spent 5 years in the Army as a communications technology officer. In layman’s terms, my soldiers and I were responsible for making sure everyone we worked with had stable internet and phone connections whether training in the backwoods of North Carolina (Airborne!) or at war in Afghanistan.

When I wasn’t dealing with servers, routers, and parachutes, I was always keeping up with pop culture. Movies, TV shows, celebrity he said/she said headlines, and more. As my military contract was coming to an end, I did some major self-reflection on what I’m truly passionate about in life, what I spend my free time pursuing, and trying to see if there was a business function tied to that industry. Here was the following criteria that I gave myself when selecting an MBA program:

 – Does this MBA program have a strong entertainment-friendly curriculum? (Check! Stern has one of the top Entertainment MBA programs in the country)

  – After 5 years between Texas, Afghanistan, and North Carolina, is this MBA program closer to my family? (Check! NYC – Boston is just a 4 hour bus ride)

 – Is the location somewhere I can see myself having a healthy lively social life? (Check! New York City … Need I explain further?)

 – Do I like the Stern culture? (Check! I visited the campus a few months before my application deadline and fell in love with the friendly study body)

This is not and should not be a universal check list for every MBA applicant. I encourage all of you to make your own personal checklist of priorities and how each and every MBA program measures up against it.

I do not believe in blindly applying to MBA programs just because they top the US News & World Report rankings that year. There is no shoo-in pre-MBA career field, no magic GPA or GMAT score, and no perfect answer to what you want to do after your MBA. Once you figure out what inspires you, then and only then, should you research what schools are a good fit for those goals (and hopefully Stern ends up on that list!)

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Stern gives us the entire week off for Thanksgiving (+10 points for NYU) so I will be home in Boston enjoying my mom’s Chinese food. Have a great break!

BuzzFeed

If you’ve been expecting me to write about my spring break, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you. As I have already mentioned, I was in New York over the break, so I don’t have any glamorous or exciting stories like a lot of my friends. I spent most of last week in a state of jealousy, looking at photos my friends have taken over the break, marveling at their adventures (white shark diving, among them!), and admiring their suntans.
Do not take that to mean that I did not enjoy the break though! It was relaxing; and of course, I was not the only Sternie “on the New York trek” as we called it, so I still had the opportunity to hang out with my friends and have fun!

What I really want to talk about though is our trip to the BuzzFeed office last Friday! It was organized by the EMTA, and we had the chance to hear from several people: including the CEO and co-founder Jonah Peretti.

I assume a lot of you are familiar with BuzzFeed, and how unique it is in the sense that the website uses 3 different types of content on the same platform: entertainment/humor (what they started out with), branded content, and reported news. Apparently it gets 40 million unique visitors each month, which is quite impressive.

Jonah Peretti is also a co-founder of The Huffington Post, and he talked to us about how he got involved with these projects. He said he had always been interested in why and how people shared content: evolving from email forwards back in the day, to organized sharing through social portals such as Facebook and twitter.

What prompted him to start BuzzFeed was that he noticed a shift from search engines to social: in the past, most online content was based on what people searched for, but now it’s becoming a much more “human” space, and they’re making content for people, rather than search algorithms. He chatted with us for an hour, and then we also had the chance to hear from Aswini Anburajan (Director of Partnership Development), Jonathan Perelman (VP of Agency Strategy & Industry Development), and David Spiegel (Executive Director of Sales). David is actually a part-time MBA student at Stern, and he was the one who had the idea for the trek; another demonstration of how Sternies like to help each other out. I thought it was an amazing trek—I have always loved BuzzFeed, it was great to see their office, and hear about the work that they do.

Back from the Break & the Tech Trek

I can’t believe it’s only been a couple of days since school started. It feels like so much more, and I’m still trying to find my footing.

First thing’s first though! Before I get into what’s in store for me this semester, I want to tell you about my break.

After the finals, I stayed in the city for a few days, getting used to an eerily quiet life, and then finally went to Istanbul. I had to be back in New York in 10 days, and I’d been second-guessing myself: 10-hour flight, both ways, was it really worth it for just 10 days? Turns out it was; catching up with my family & friends after 5 months was exactly what I needed.

What I really want to talk about, though, is the EMTA Bay Area trek that I went on after I came back to the US. In case you haven’t heard of it, EMTA is the Entertainment, Media and Technology Association at Stern. Every year they organize a trek to the Bay Area to visit tech companies, and on the list this year were Zynga, Facebook, eBay/Paypal and Google.

We left for San Francisco on a Sunday, and that was an optional day for mock interviews with Stern alums who were working at our target companies. We spent most of that day trying to explore San Francisco: had lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf, went to Ghirardelli Square for some hot chocolate, and wandered around San Francisco’s many hills. We then had a group dinner at Basil Canteen (amazing Thai food!) before finally calling it a night—we were too full and too tired to go out. Besides, we had an early morning the next day: company visits first to Zynga and then Facebook!

I should point out now that working for a tech company does seem to be all it’s cracked up to be. (Zynga, for instance, allows you to bring your dog to work—which perhaps is not all that surprising, considering that the company is named after co-founder Mark Pincus’s dog.) In fact, I’m going to go ahead and generalize a bit here; and of course, I’m not suggesting that this holds for all tech companies, but the ones that we saw typically have gyms, wellness centers, game rooms, free snacks throughout the day, and even dry cleaning! The workplace is fun and stimulating; and they want you to focus on your work, instead of the errands that you have to run, so they take care of it for you. Everything seems to be aimed at making your life easier, and maybe there is a trade-off, but even so, it would definitely be worth it!

Back to our itinerary—that first night, we had a mixer with Stern alumni in the area, and a handful of prospective students. It was a really nice way to wind down after the busy day, and get to know new people. Unfortunately, I had a phone interview the next morning, so once again, I had to call it a night somewhat early.

The next day we went to eBay/PayPal (where, following a fascinating presentation from the retail innovation team, we all received bags with the new logo!) and then had a happy hour with Stern alumni who work at LinkedIn. We had plenty of free time after the happy hour, and our itinerary included burgers at In-N-Out, cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, drinks at a speakeasy bar on Union Square, and then finally karaoke! This was our last night in San Francisco, so we really had to make the most of it.

The final day kicked off with a visit to Google. We had the chance to travel around the campus (which includes, among other things, a sand volleyball court), and then we had a panel with the Stern alumni who work there. Most of us were taking the flight back to New York that night, though some chose to stay in San Francisco for a couple of more days (cue jealousy).

I want to reiterate, yet again, that working for any of these companies seems like a dream come true. I can only speak for myself, of course, but they all have perks and/or quirks that I find very appealing: Facebook has conference rooms titled Alohamora and Avada Kedavra (self-professed Harry Potter geek here), and a real-life Facebook wall that encourages you to “write something.” Google has the statue of a dinosaur flocked by pink flamingos and google-colored bikes to help employees get around; eBay has a display of pez dispensers in the waiting area; and Zynga has the general feel of a playful gaming environment (you enter the office through a glowing tunnel). I’m sure we all had different takeaways and things that resonated with us, but the bottom line is that it’s very hard not to be impressed.

I’m so glad I was a part of this trek; not only was it amazing to actually visit these offices, it was also a great opportunity to bond with my fellow Sternies. I owe the EMTA team a huge thank you for that.