The mingling never ends…

Stephen Mehallis accepting his Distinguished Alumni Award while Dean Poon and Fisher Alumni board member Jim Johns look on.

On the second day of orientation, we had the opportunity to meet the whole crew from the Office of Career Management and learn how they plan to help us meet our end goal of landing that sweet job once we graduate.  For me, I was really impressed that there was a full time staff of 6 people working to help us find jobs, but not too shocked given that I already knew the Fisher MBA program has one of the best placement ratings among top  MBA programs (I want to say 2nd best, but I couldn’t find the actual stat).

As they continued into their talk, we heard a lot about what they could do for us but two things they said really stuck out.  First was that only 40% of internships and jobs are found from on campus recruiting, while the other 60% come from student initiated contacts outside of Fisher.  Second was the amount of focus that was put on mingling with alumni or other people in the industry we might be interested in to get job connections.

Now, as I think about it, the 40/60 number gives me a good push to go out and really find my dream job and not limit myself to whoever comes on campus, but I figured the mingling advice had to be a stretch.  I’ve heard all kinds of stories about getting jobs through a series of contacts in the industries and even got a job offer that way when I graduated from undergrad.  But my problem was around where we’d meet these contacts in new industries and when we’d have a chance to get out to do so amidst the huge workloads we kept hearing about.

Now skip ahead 2 weeks and I find myself in the third organized alumni event through Fisher where I’m surrounded by 50+ alumni  of the program who are eager to help.  This particular event happened to be the 2010 Dean’s Dinner and Alumni Awards where they honor 5 Fisher Alums who have gone above and beyond the already high expectations that have been set for Fisher alumni.  These awards include Young Professional, Community Service, International, Entrepreneurship, and Lifetime Achievement, and this year awards went to graduates young and old, but all very deserving.  It was a first class event from start to finish, and was hosted at The Blackwell, the hotel within Fisher’s campus.

Over the course of dinner, I shared conversation with a previous award winner, a faculty member who will be teaching at least one of my future classes, and two other MBA alumni who were less than 5 years out of school.  Not all of them worked in areas I’m interested, but every one of them was more than willing to help me out in my future career search efforts.  One of them even forwarded my name onto some of his old classmates who were in similar situations to where I am now.  Needless to say, I’m no longer worried about whether or not I’ll be able to make necessary contacts out in industry.


Now a new feature to the blog:

Best Part of the week:  My fellow classmates; I’ve never been around a group of people with such ambition and drive who are also so much fun.  Spending the next two years with this group is going to be amazing

Worst part of the week: 100 pages of reading for one Econ class.  Yikes, looks like the amounts of reading weren’t exaggerated.

Endless Opportunity

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally get the chance to study at the school I’ve been rooting for as long as I can remember.  After spending the past 3 years working in engineering, I decided it was time to head back north and continue my education at Fisher.

I’ve been in Columbus now for about a month and although I’ve only had 4 classes so far, there is one thing I know for sure: if I’m not wildly successful within the program, I will have no one to blame but myself.  It’s not that I didn’t expect this from one of the largest universities in the country and top rated MBA program, but more that I didn’t realize to what extent they would take it.

Fisher Advantage was our two week long orientation, and eased our class into what will be a blur of a couple of years, but exposed us to all the resources we’ll have available, from the international programs to the career services department (who have had us looking for jobs and internships before we even started attending classes).  Orientation also gave us opportunities to hear from CEOs like PNC Banks’s Jim Rohr, go through a crash course in business etiquette and mingling, and fly through the air on a zip line while we were getting to know our classmates and core groups.

After all of that, one of the most impressive things I am seeing about the program is the way everyone is doing everything they can to help us succeed, and that’s not limited to the faculty.  The students in their second year of the program have gone out of their way to be available for us at every step of the way, whether its giving us career advice or an unbiased perspective on the program and professors, or setting us up with people or experiences that helped them just one year ago.  In such a highly rated program, I guess it wasn’t that I expected everyone to be unhelpful and closed off, but had really expected people to be very competitive.

It’s been a wild start, but I can already tell the next two years will be some of the busiest, but most exciting years of my life.