Posts filed under 'Career Stuff'



Discover MBA fairs and Conferences

MBA job search is all about Networking! Networking! Networking! Dammit what is Netwoooooooooorking :) and how do I do this? Well, MBA fairs and conferences are a big part of it. My dear potential MBA students who are looking to join a program this year and current students who are not too sure what the MBA conferences are all about, I hope to give you guys a little bit of insight today (Especially the ones who are tight on the budget and seeking to maximize their bang for the buck)

So should you or should you not attend?? that is the question…

Before coming to Fisher, I had heard a lot about the MBA conferences and several MBA students whom I talked to, had attended a conference and suggested that it’s a great experience! It seemed like quite an investment in terms of time and money and I wasn’t so sure if I should attend.

There were mainly 2 conferences being held in the month of September: The National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) and The National Society of Hispanic MBA’s (NSHMBA). There was the Fisher Graduate career fair coming up on the 9 th Sep,2014  and I decided to attend this fair first and see how it goes.

Suggestion no. 1: As a Fisher MBA, you would have the opportunity to attend the Fisher graduate fair, A nice opportunity to get started and test out your networking skills. You may also discover the real value of such conferences and fairs.

While at the Fisher fair, I discovered that the recruiters want to hear how well you know their company and what made you approach them. There has to be link, it could be your past experience in that particular companies industry, a set of skill set that matches the job profile well, or a passion that you share which the product or service provided by the company. You MUST have a story to tell!

The other thing were the interesting and insightful conversations that I had at the fair with company representatives. It is a learning opportunity and some of them told me about strategies that the company is following or problems faced by them and the industry as a whole.

I started to enjoy this process of getting to know different industries, firms and work profiles. That same day I decided to attend the Hispanic conference and landed in Philadelphia on Sep 26th with my suit on :)

 

Beautiful company at NSHMBA! Kirti Barry (R), Natalie Megrbyan(L) and myself(Middle).

Suggestion no 2: Its not just about looking for a job or internship at such fairs\conferences but also getting to know the companies, researching and analyzing your best fit. This helps you increase your knowledge  base, broaden your network and target your targets(companies) much more precisely. Come across as someone who is not just looking for a job or an internship, but as someone who can utilize his or her skills and experience effectively to solve the companies problem or provide them with a strategic asset.

 

City Hall Station at Philly

City Hall Station at Philly

Downtown View

Downtown View

The Hispanic conference was a blast and I ended up talking to several companies over those 2 days. After the conference got over, I decided to take a short walk around the downtown area and get a bite to eat. Do I think it was worth it? Absolutely and I am glad I went to the Hispanic conference. I made some strong connections and come across to recruiters as having a genuine interest in their companies. I was able to connect with some of the recruiters the following week over email and LinkedIn, especially the ones who do not visit Fisher on campus as one of their MBA recruiting schools.

Suggestion no. 3: While tons of companies visit fisher, The conferences are a great way for you to connect with companies which don’t recruit at Fisher. Remember – the more you network with companies, recruiters and their employees, the better chances you have…

Lets talk about the internship search strategy in the next blog –  What is it all about? How to go about starting your internship search and challenges you may face especially as an international student. Coming up soon!!!

 


Wendy’s, Networking, and Life at Fisher

In my pre MBA life I sold wine – which is a pretty nice job all things considered. There are way worse things to sell for sure, but (like so many others) I’m hoping to switch careers upon completion of my degree. I spent so much of my time devoted to executing someone else’s strategic vision – it got old, and I want the chance to help brand strategy moving forward.

When I started looking at schools, my #1 priority was finding a career – a really good one – after graduation. It was a big part of why I chose Fisher, and so far I couldn’t ask for anything more from career services. Recently about 20 of my classmates and I got to visit with the Wendy’s Marketing and Finance Teams at their campus in Dublin. It was a really cool chance to chat one on one with people at all levels of the Wendy’s team from Craig Bahner, Wendy’s CMO, to a recent Assistant Brand Manager hire. It was a pretty low pressure environment, and a great way for the students to get a better feel for the Wendy’s culture and potentially how we would fit. I left the event feeling pretty excited about the opportunity to interview with the company – they’re revitalizing the brand and doing some pretty cool stuff (If you haven’t seen the digital BBQ ad, you should check it out – BBQ4Merica).

Our first term (half of a semester) is coming to an end and as I reflect back on the last 7 weeks – I’m so happy with my decision to come to Fisher. The recruiting opportunities feel like they’re endless, and thats a big part of why I came here; however, the school has more to offer. The faculty and students make the experience stand out. Its actually fun (mostly – there are still tests) going to school. You never know what you might you see. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite moments of the term – the usually dapper – suit wearing Professor Campbell expounding on economic theory in cargo shorts and flip flops “on a dare” from another professor…

Campbell


Attending Diversity Career Fairs !

For an MBA student, September and October are probably the busiest months. We are surrounded by company info sessions, interviews, and of course, career fairs. Career fairs are the first step you get to know a company, and usually recruiters use career fairs as a filter to screen out unqualified candidates. Besides from the career fairs at Fisher, there are a couple of nation-wide influential diversity career fairs, such as National Black MBA Annual Conference, National Society of Hispanic MBA Annual Conference, and Asian MBA Annual Conference, just to name a few. Don’t give up these great opportunities if you have a misperception about who are qualified to attend these diversity career fairs. Every MBA student, no matter race, are welcome to attend. In terms of the job locations, most of the openings are based in U.S. However, there are companies which are actively seeking candidates to work abroad. One of my American classmates asked me several weeks ago how to find a job in Asia, Singapore to be specific, because he wanted to have more international exposure. Asian MBA Conference is a good source for him.

career fair

The pace of conferences are fast and interview opportunities are given in advance or on that day because recruiting companies really want to find best candidates as soon as possible to fill out the opening positions. Many of my classmates successfully got internship/fulltime interviews during conferences and got offers afterwards.  Here are some helpful tips that are given by Fisher Career Management Office:

  • Review the list of companies who will be attending
  • Apply for positions that interest you on conferences’ websites, as many companies have jobs posted with deadlines that fall before the Recruiting Event.
  • Research your target companies.
  • Practice your elevator pitch, prepare for career-related conversations and refine your interview stories

In a word, definitely attend those diversity career fairs if you have enough budget!

photo-NSHMBA


Resources at Your Fingertips

If you are pursuing a career in finance, it is important not just to have a conceptual understanding of the discipline, but also to keep up on the news and to know how to use different software programs. The Specialized Masters in Finance (SMF) program at the Fisher College of Business places a premium on just these two things.

With respect to software training, the program has adopted a curriculum that forces students to learn how to use Excel in their sleep, use certain Excel add-ons like Crystal Ball (which includes Monte Carlo analysis), CapitalIQ, and the ins and outs of Bloomberg terminals, the industry standard for gaining corporate information. In order to teach these software programs, Fisher has retained a former institutional investor, Professor Matt Sheridan. In addition to these software programs, Fisher students have free access to a plethora of other resources, such as IBISWorld Industry Reports, Thomson Research Reports, and LexisNexis, all of which are very helpful in researching companies, sectors, and markets for class projects. Knowledge of these programs is often prerequisite for many of the positions to which finance students will apply. In my interviews, I haven’t gotten brownie points for having these programs on my résumé—but I doubt I would have gotten an interview without some of them.

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This is a typical screenshot of a Bloomberg terminal. Look confusing? Trust me, it won’t be after a few weeks in the program.

Dr. George Pinteris, the director of the SMF Program, likes to tell students that when finance professionals get together, they don’t talk about the risk premium over a risk-free asset that they use in the Capital Asset Pricing Model or whether they use the current portion of long-term debt when calculating the cost of debt. Instead, they discuss current events. Dr. Pinteris and other professors expect (but do not require) that students read the Wall Street Journal., Financial Times, and/or The Economist. Personally, I like to supplement my reading of WSJ and FT with American Banker. Whether students access these resources through online university library resources or through special discounts Dr. Pinteris distributes to students, students have access to very valuable resources. A full year’s subscription to American Banker costs about $1,400, while full year subscriptions to WSJ and FT cost a little over $300 each. During some of my interviews, mentioning a recent relevant article I read in FT or AB has often been a catalyst that made a good interview a phenomenal one.

The SMF Program not only gives students a solid academic background in finance, but also an excellent technical and professional background as well.


P&G Marketing Case Competition

Fisher takes great strides to provide students with opportunities to apply the skills learned in class. One of these opportunities is the annual P&G Marketing Case Competition. Hosted by the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturer, the P&G Marketing Case Competition sees current P&G brand managers, many of whom are Fisher alumni, bring a real business problem facing P&G to teams of 4 first year MBA candidates.

 

The business problem this year regarded the multi-year stagnation of sales in the facial tissues category and how P&G can increase profits of their Puff’s brand of facial tissues. P&G brand managers gave us a brief presentation outlining the challenge and general details, after which we had 4 hours to brainstorm ideas, identify a strategy, and create a PowerPoint Presentation.

It was quite a challenge coming up with a strategy and prepare a presentation in only four hours. Taking the recommendations of 2nd year students, my team mapped out a timeline, allocating an hour for brainstorming ideas, two hours for building and justifying our proposal, and one hour finalizing our PowerPoint deck. By outlining our timeline, we were able to focus on one aspect of the project at a time and not waste time over-sharing ideas. Our time management was excellent as we finished right at the four hour mark. Admittedly, we did lose some time during dinner, as P&G graciously, or deviously seeing as we were time-constrained, treated us with catering from Moe’s Southwest Grill. We submitted our presentation and then joined the brand managers for a happy hour to unwind and get to know them in a more personal setting.

The following day, each team was given 15 minutes to present their proposal, followed by a 5 minute Q and A, to a 3-person panel made up of a senior brand manager at P&G and two Fisher professors. Though we didn’t get to ask any questions, each team was also in attendance and got to see each other’s creative ideas. I was truly impressed with how well-prepared and well-analyzed each group’s presentation and recommendation was. Every team had an excellent idea, incorporating unique insights and marketing acumen into their proposals. It was very affirming to see how quickly and fluidly we were all able to apply the skills we are developing here at Fisher. I was very proud of all my classmates. But…

Great job, Team Orange!

It was still a competition and one team had to win, and wouldn’t you know it, my team was declared the winner. We gave a strong presentation, clearly identifying who our target consumer was, why we were choosing her, how we would reach her, and why that strategy will work. I know synergy is an overused business school buzzword, but I can’t think of a better word to describe why my team was successful. We all came together with a clear team goal, a positive attitude, a willingness to assume multiple roles, and a degree of personal restraint, prioritizing the best interests of the project over our self-interests. I feel these team characteristics, along with our individual talents and creativity, are what led us to a successful and triumphant performance.

As a reward, we each got a P&G care package and an invitation to have dinner with Dr. Gil Cloyd, former CTO of P&G. It was an incredible honor to meet such a successful and high ranking individual. Over a delicious meal at the Blackwell, he shared with us his wisdom and wealth of knowledge about the consumer packaged goods industry.

Dinner at the Blackwell

Dinner at the Blackwell

This was the first of many case competitions Fisher has in store for us, and though I hope for the best for all my classmates, I am excited to defend my title!

 

 


Fisher Family Network

One of the first things the Class of 2016 learned about during our two weeks of orientation was the Fisher Family. Community was one of the top buzzwords of the faculty and staff who presented to us, and they emphasized that everyone at Fisher – faculty, staff, and students – is here to help us grow and learn both academically and professionally.

And over the past few weeks, our class has bonded and become a family – a real one. Half the time I don’t even have to ask for help – people offer before I can.  Last week, one of my classmates, Michael, gave me the contact information for one of his friends who had interned with a company I was interested in.  “E-mail him!” Michael said.  “He’ll definitely be able to tell you about the culture and what their internships are like.”  So I did.  His friend wrote me a detailed mini-essay about the company.  It was awesome, and it really helped me.

Then, during the weekend, another classmate, Vlad, spent over two hours helping a group of people (including myself) figure out an accounting case. Two.  Hours.  It was a struggle-fest, let me tell you, as we slowly pieced together how to complete the case with Vlad acting as safety net in case we wandered too far off-track.  That was two hours he could have been napping.  Naps are scarce and highly valued commodities in grad school.  But he helped us anyways.

And it isn’t just our class that has become a family – the Fisher Family extends outwards to past students, too.  On Sunday, I was talking to my friend, Jessi, who recently graduated from Fisher.  I mentioned that I was interviewing with a certain company.  “Oh!  You’ve got to talk to Brian!”  She gave me the contact information of one of her classmates who had interned with and was currently working for the company.

And when I e-mailed Brian?  He immediately suggested we set up a time to talk.  When he found out I was a career-switcher, and a little overwhelmed by the tough marketing questions asked in interviews, he offered to give me interviewing help and said to e-mail him anytime I have questions.

I’ve never had so many people helping me succeed.  It’s pretty amazing.  If you have a weakness, your career counselors, classmates, and professors will help you strengthen that skill set.  The people at Fisher – both past and present – support one another and want to see each other succeed.  The Fisher Family is one of the things that most defines Fisher, and what makes it so special.


P&G Case Competition

As I write this its P&G Case Competition Eve – our teams are assembled, the 2nd years have given us the Competition run down/inside info. Claudel Nisingizwe, Christian Medeiros, Alison Schwalbe and I have joined forces to create the greatest super team since the Silver Snakes…

Wouldn’t it be nice if case competitions involved unfortunate headgear and giant talking rocks… food for thought P&G think it over.

Anyway, there will be eight teams of four competing in the competition, and on Thursday 9/25 we’ll be presented with the case at 3:00pm and have until 9pm to put together a full presentation. At 9pm, we turn the slides in and no changes can be made. The next day, Friday 9/26 we reconvene at 12:00pm and the rumble begins.

But for now we wait.

Procter and Gamble is one of the largest consumer packaged goods companies in the world, and we are lucky enough to have them on campus recruiting. Every year they host a case competition on Fisher’s campus for 1st year MBA students competing for glory, prestige, and a chance at business school immortality… or at the very least something cool to put on your resume. It really is a pretty special opportunity though – not only do we get to network with professionals from one of the most successful companies in the world, but we also get the chance to apply what we’ve learned in the classroom thus far to a real world problem. Granted we’re only a few weeks in, but they seem to find a way to really pack things in. Send out some good vibes for our team, and I’ll be sure to do a post P&G competition update.


Recruiting Tips

At this point in the MAcc program, students are finishing midterm exams and are in the midst of first-round interviews for full-time positions at public accounting firms. The first seven-week term of the program been certainly been a whirlwind, so this is a good opportunity to sit back and reflect on all that has been happening as well as share some advice for future students.

Here are my 5 Recruiting Rs:

#1: Reflect
Use the opportunity of upcoming interviews to think about yourself and your experiences. Not only are these reflections useful to answer behavioral questions during interviews (“tell me about a time when…”), but they are also incredibly helpful when having conservations with recruiters at pre-interview recruiting events. It helps you to articulate your story and communicate to others what you are looking for in a company.

#2 Research
Most know to research a company before an interview. However, it’s not just memorizing the stats and figures on the company’s website that is going to land you the job. You have to utilize your network to reach out to current and former employees that can help paint a picture of what it’s like to work at their company. Having these conversations and personal connections in the back of your head during interviews will help you immensely.

#3 Relay
Don’t let your research and preparations go to waste because you get nervous during your interview and forget to relay what you know. It’s important to be excited about the position, have educated questions to ask, and show that you put time and care into preparing for the interview.

#4 Relax
Remember to stay calm and think of the whole recruiting process as a chance to get to know people and a company. It’s all simply a string of conversations that will help determine if you’re the right fit for the position.

#5 Rejoice
At the end of recruiting season, it’s time to rejoice! Hopefully you have received an offer (or multiple) and you are pleased with the results. Remember that things have a way of working out. Recruiting is a mutual selection process, and you should end up where you’re supposed to be!

MAcc Men in Black

MAcc Men in Black


Mixing Business With Pleasure

So, can I have a job? That probably isn’t the best thing to say to the recruiter you walk up to when attending a job fair. Last week I had the opportunity to attend the National Black MBA conference in Atlanta, Georgia. There were about 400 employers there, many from Fortune 500 companies and thousands of job seekers out to clench their ideal internship or full-time position. I’ve never experienced anything on this scale and I’m so happy I was able to go. Not only did I expand my network, but I also formed stronger bonds with the other students along on the trip. Below you can see the massiveness of some of the booths, and the fun logos and mascots hanging from the ceiling.

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One of the lunches I attended featured the oh so accomplished Magic Johnson! He was not only funny, but gave us a real look into how he achieved his success. My main take away from his message was, when you want something go after it relentlessly and don’t have fear. One quote that stood out to me was, “Goal setting is a good thing, but you have to have a strategy to get there.”

THE Magic Johnson

THE Magic Johnson

Of course I didn’t go to Atlanta for just business, this is where the pleasure part comes in. The conference hosted an event at the new College Football Hall of Fame. My phone was dead or I would’ve provided you with a sneak peak, but take my word for it, it was cool. We had dinner and drinks on the indoor football field, and got free tours of the building. I wore my Ohio State jersey that night and was constantly hearing people yelling “O-H” at me, as I politely screamed back “I-O.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, its an Ohio State thing, you’ll catch on.

Right in the middle of the city we found a huge Ferris wheel. It gave us a great view of the city at night, and the music they played wasn’t bad either.

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I might have missed three days of class to go, but from the professional growth to the fun times had, I would do it again!

 

 


The Interview

When I used to hear the word “interview,” the most daunting images  would come to mind. Whether it be getting drilled on finance questions by a recruiter that you don’t know the questions to, forgetting your resume, or even worse, forgetting your interview time, the interview process can be a scary, scary thought. I have a Nationwide interview for the Financial Leadership Rotation Program. It is an 18-month rotation program in which you will work with top executives in strategy, finance, investments, M&A, enterprise risk management and much more. The job is mainly open to 2nd year MBAs, so to get an interview without being one, it took some work, but it is possible. So, if you know you are interested in finance, do not think this program is inferior to the MBA and that you are somehow at a disadvantage.

Career Management offers tons of resources; from helping you perfect your cover letter to doing mock interviews beforehand. You’ll even find out that some of the professors have extensive knowledge with the company you are interviewing for, or have even worked there, especially companies based in Columbus. If you utilize your resources here, you will be ready.

Normally, I am one to be extremely nervous for a position that I am highly interested, especially with a well-respected company. However, today that case isn’t true. Between my research and the help of Career Management, I am well-prepared to fight anything that comes my way. I prepared for days and know I put in the work to do well.

And  cue the Peyton Manning hum to..."Nationwide is on your side."

And cue the Peyton Manning hum to…”Nationwide is on your side.”

Update: I feel like the interview went extremely well. The mock interview with the professor helped tremendously. He helped me understand certain questions that I would have never thought of. So … definitely utilize the help of your professors. I will say it again, they are among your greatest assets in the SMF program.


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