Like a Vacation with Strangers

One of the perks that attracted me to the Fisher College of Business was the college’s Career Services office. As someone changing careers mid-stream, I was grateful to see an active career services office that would not only be able to help me polish the resume, but also help me land that critical internship or first job.

About a month ago I signed up for an on-campus interview with a large international company with locations throughout the Great Lakes region. I’ve been enjoying a successful co-op, but what the heck, I thought, it doesn’t hurt to test the waters out a bit before graduation and see what other organizations have to offer. I suited up, prepped for the interview in Gerlach Hall, and received a call back for round two. This time, the interview would be held outside of Chicago. Here was my first chance to take that coveted corporate-sponsored interview trip.

I knew other classmates had also been asked to second rounds. What I didn’t anticipate was other students–undergraduates–getting invitations. So, when I found the threesome at the airport who would be making the trip with me to Chicago, I was a little disheartened. They were all about 15 years younger than me. Would they really want to hang out with a grad-school mom?

I’m sure they had reservations about me as well, but by dinner that night we claimed to be a family of strangers on an even stranger vacation that saw us dining late night at the local Lone Star steakhouse that made us think we’d suddenly landed in Oklahoma instead of Illinois.

The next morning we put on our game faces, put our professional feet forward, and interviewed our hearts out. After an on-site lunch and tour of the facilities, we were back on our way to the airport where we would reside for the next four hours. As we recalled the highlights of our little adventure, including “Dale” the sometimes touchy tour-bus driver, “Scott-ch” the homecoming reveler coming off an intoxicating business trip in the back of the plane, and a mysterious doorbell to Alex’s room, we laughed until our stomachs hurt. Maybe it was the release of too-much tension or the laughter of a group of overly tired job seekers, but it turned into one happy adventure.

Back on the ground at C-bus, the undergrads made their plans for a Friday night out, and I made an appointment for sleep as soon as possible. We hugged good-bye, amazed that we had only known each other a few hours.

Even if I don’t get a job offer, the experience was well worth the challenges of rearranging my schedule to spend time away from home and studies. We came together as strangers, but left as a little Fisher family on a most unusual vacation. Good luck Alex, Ali and Dani!

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