Fall is the official kickoff of the recruiting season for MBA2s and us focused MBAs in the TechMBA program. You will constantly bump into fellow Sternies in the Kauffman center who are dressed up in formal attire attending various events put up by the Office of Career Development (OCD): corporate presentations, career fair, coffee chats, workshops and campus interviews. At this point in the fall semester, we have been focusing on events that help us get to know the potential employers and build a good relationship with them. These are great opportunities to talk to as many companies as possible and learn what they actually do which might be very different from what you thought they do. Through these events, I confirmed my interest in some companies, crossed some companies off of my target list, and added many companies that I never knew I would be excited about.
As I am getting started with job applications and interviews now, I am greatly thankful for all the preparation work we did over the summer, mainly through OCD’s IGNITE program. IGNITE is a series of workshops and online modules designed to build job searching skills such as resume writing, networking, developing pitches, building a LinkedIn profile and interviewing. As one of my classmates put it: “I always dreaded attending the IGNITE workshops but I walked away from each one learning so much!” These workshops usually start with a short presentation going over the background and techniques in the relevant topic followed by an interactive practice session. The round-table practices provide an intimate and safe environment for us to practice our communication skills and provide real-time constructive feedback from classmates and career coaches. Through hearing our classmate’s responses and stories it not only helps us in building a strong bond but also provides additional thoughts for us to consider on our own career development.
Another important component of the recruiting preparation is the individual coaching sessions with an OCD career coach. These are 30-minutes sessions dedicated to a specific topic we want to talk about related to the recruiting process, including resume feedback, cover letter feedback, pitch refinement, career goals and personal strength review, job search strategy etc. All the career coaches at OCD are knowledgeable, passionate and personable. If you are more comfortable in a one-on-one setting and want to seek more personalized feedback, definitely take advantage of these coaching appointments!
Lastly, every alumni and career coach I have talked to emphasized the importance of networking in the process of job searching or career development in general. I have heard repeatedly ‘use your student card and ask for coffee chats. You will be surprised how many people will respond to your request. It might seem a bit intimidating at the beginning, but sometimes you just have to try it and the response I’ve got so far is overwhelmingly positive. To search for potential networking candidates, I have asked for help from OCD career coaches, utilized LinkedIn alumni functionality, and cold-contacted people I have met through industry events I attended. You will be surprised how willing people are to help and to share their stories!