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

Operations, anyone?

Last week I had the opportunity to attend not one, but two Operations related Career Conference events and they were awesome! First, there was the Annual “Links Symposium” sponsored by the Operations and Logistics Management Association, and I volunteered to help organize this event, being a member of OLMA myself.

The half – day event was hosted at The Blackwell Inn, Fisher’s own hotel and Executive Conference Center. This year’s topic was Lean Management, and there were two discussion panels, one for Lean Management in Manufacturing and the other Lean Management in Services. For all the Ops and Supply Chain Majors out there, this was a fantastic opportunity to interact and network

At the OLMA Links Symposium

with the panelists, who were a mix of academic faculty and industry experts from companies such as Greif, Huntington, Cardinal Health etc. To top it all, we had a great moderator – Georgia Keresty, a lean expert with more than 30 + years of experience. 

The very next morning I attended an Operations Career Change Round table event hosted by the Working Professional MBA Program. Fisher’s apt selection of the panelists should not go unmentioned. The 4 WP panelists were each from different areas of Operations – the distribution side, Supply chain side, the IT side and the customer side. It led to a very interesting Q and A session where they shared valuable stories from their work experiences and advice on how we could better ourselves to become ideal hiring candidates for Operations Management roles in top companies.

The biggest perk in attending these kinds of events is that you get to meet such vibrant personalities who are willing to help you in your career any way they can . Drawing from their experiences is a big plus, and ultimately helps you in connecting with more people in the field of your interest. Kudos to Fisher faculty and the COE , for their amazing contributions year after year and a special thanks to Fisher alumni who are so eager to give back to the business community – you are invaluable resources to the current students and one of Fisher’s greatest assets.

And these networking events are right at your doorstep. My advice is to never let these chances slip, because these are golden opportunities that can lead to lifelong career connections. Boy, am I glad I came to Business school 🙂

With WP alums Megan and Jonathan at the Ops Career Change Roundtable

Great Individuals Inspire Greatness

About a year ago I read this quote from Mark Twain (emphasis mine):

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

During this first semester at Fisher, we MBA students have had the opportunity to interact with so many people, including faculty, classmates, and guest speakers. One four-day stretch about a month ago (October 23-26), though, we had the incredible opportunity to hear Jeffrey Immelt- CEO of GE, Warren Buffett- CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Les Wexner- CEO of the Limited Brands, speak. In addition to hearing them, I got to see Mr. Wexner and Mr. Immelt field questions from my MBA classmate peers about 20 feet away from me in a Gerlach classroom.

I was impressed by all three of these individuals (and have been a big Warren Buffett fan for quite some time), but perhaps the most impactful speech came from Mr. Wexner.

While Mr. Wexner was speaking, the above quote from Mark Twain kept coming back into my mind. His talk was perhaps the single most encouraging speech I have heard since being at Fisher. Some people maybe would have just seen a classroom of dressed-up MBA students, but he saw a classroom brimming with potential greatness. He himself came from an extremely humble background, but combined a passion for excellence, an impeccable work ethic, and an insatiable curiosity, and has (obviously) had significant success.

One of my primary takeaways from that session was this: don’t allow culture, society, friends, or family to belittle your ambitions! Be kind, respectful, and friendly to everyone that you meet, no matter their status, be it high or low. However, strive to have your closest friendships and professional associations be with the kind of people who truly believe impossible things are possible. I can say that I have been blessed in that regard. I have an extremely encouraging wife, a supportive family, great friends, and the opportunity to be here at Fisher to learn from numerous people (classmates, faculty, and guest speakers) who believe the sky is the limit.

Do you have a dream that your classmates, the world, or someone else thinks is impossible? Go for it with everything you’ve got! That’s what Mr. Wexner, Mr. Buffet, Mr. Immelt and scores of other successful people would say… adamantly refuse to be disheartened by those who don’t think it’s possible!

Try This at Your Next Interview!

Fall quarter hosts a huge recruitment rush (don’t worry though – there are opportunities in the winter and spring too!), so it’s good to be a well polished interviewee.  I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to sharing what I’ve found to be helpful while interviewing, and you’ll get a few tips from Jenna Koch, another MAcc student that went through interviews this fall!

  • Resume – First of all, make sure it is current and has NO typos.  Your resume should highlight your skills and interests and detail how those skills are related to the job you are applying for.  For this reason, I recommend keeping one or two resumes on your computer at all times.  This will allow you to submit a more “finance heavy” resume to the bank you interview with and a more “accounting heavy” resume to the Big Four.  The Office of Career Management can really help you polish your resume too – just check out their Resume Development Strategies!
  • Attire – Dress to impress, but make sure you’re comfortable.  I’ll be honest…I don’t know how to tie a necktie, even though this is an essential piece of the male business professional wardrobe.  Instead, I’ve opted for bow ties!  I’m much more comfortable in a bow tie, and its still professional attire.  Make sure your suit fits well, your shirts are not wrinkled, and your shoes are scuff free.  If you feel good walking into the interview, I promise the entire experience will be much more positive.
  • Be honest – This applies before, during, and after the interview.  Before you apply for a job, make sure you’re actually interested in it.  It’s good to get practice interviewing, but interviewing just to interview can be a huge time drain and you’ll be busy enough as it is.  If you know you are not at all interested in the job/company/industry, be honest with yourself and reconsider applying.  During the interview, engage in an honest dialogue.  If you take a position based on fabrications, you may find that you’re not as good of a fit as you thought you might be.  After the interview, be totally honest when evaluating the company.  Don’t feel pressured to go to round 2 if you know it wasn’t a good fit!
  • Do your research – Do you want to work for that company because you like what they do, or because they are a well-known name?  Make sure you do some background research so you can talk about why you want to work there.  This will impress the recruiters, but will also reinforce your decision.
  • When the time comes, make your decision and stick with it – If you’re lucky enough to have more than one offer on your plate, you’re going to have to just make a decision.  This is a great problem to have, and you won’t be able to make a wrong decision.  Once you’ve evaluated all the pros and cons of each firm, talked to your friends and family, and maybe even visited the Office of Career Management (excellent Career Conversation coaches can talk through your options with you!), you’re going to have to make a decision.  Make the decision and go with it 100%.  It’s not a life-or-death decision.  Sure, it’s important, but make the decision with the best information you have available and don’t look back.  The last thing you want to do is begin to doubt your decision.
As for the interview itself…here’s what Jenna has to say!
  • Ask the same question to multiple people.  You can usually tell if people are telling you how they truly feel or whether their answer was scripted by doing this.  You also want to make sure that the tone of their answer is consistent across the firm.
  • Take the time to talk to multiple people at career fairs, recruiting events, and at the actual interview.  People always tell you that this is good for networking, but it is also a great way to get a feel of the firm culture and how you would fit within that culture.
  • Remember that you are interviewing the companies as much as they are interviewing you.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Don’t let peers around you influence your decision.  Different things are important to different people, and different personalities fit better at different places.  Therefore, what is best for them may not be the best for you.  Find the fit that is best for YOU!
  • If you receive multiple offers and are having a hard time deciding between them, go with your gut.
So – any other current students have any advice?  Alum – how about you?  Share your tips via comments!

I want to be a Marketer

It’s funny how “I told you so” is such a common phrase in our lexicon. It’s as if no matter how much YOU think you know, someone always knows more. There is always some wise sage that seems to elude you that everyone else has access to. Thus when you finally catch up to what everyone else seemed to know but you, those words are haunting and taunting you off in the distance.

Well right now those very words are dangling over my head, whispered by the many representatives of all the b-schools I visited including Fisher. I recall sitting through all of the panels, all of the presentations, and all of the informational interviews and the same question popped up every single time. “How should I answer the essay concerning my career goals when I’m undecided?” said in a panicked voice that went up an octave with each word uttered. The response was always the same, don’t worry because chances are whatever you do put down, your goals will change. Nevertheless I stressed and agonized over having to put down, into what seemed like concrete, my dreams and career goals. I felt like whatever I put down it needed to be good and perfect and it had to reflect every aspect of who I am, and who I hoped to be.

It. Was. Tough.

Obviously I was able to, and I clearly articulated my goals well because I landed an honored spot at this amazing business school. I held firm to what I wanted to do with my life, creating my Career Marketing Plan that outlined each step of my future. But something odd began to happen. Fisher does a great job at introducing you to various careers, industries, and specific job functions. There are boot camps, company-sponsored informational mixers, workshops, and meetings with your Career Management Consultant at your convenience. Through all of these avenues I began to realize that my career goals were changing, and quickly.

I’ve been in school for officially nine weeks now and I am FULLY convinced that I am destined to be in Marketing. Not only that, but I can SEE myself as a Brand Manager. I thank Fisher for providing me with the opportunities to see myself down various career paths. There was the Consulting boot camp, the Finance boot camp, Real Estate, Supply Chain, and then the one I came to love: the Marketing boot camp. I went from thinking that perhaps I’d be a consultant, maybe I’d be in community relations, maybe I’d do a bit of both, to rock solidly knowing that Marketing is my calling.

Through company-sponsored mixers I have narrowed down my target list and I have Google alerts set for all of them so I can stay up-to-date on company news. I participated in the Procter & Gamble Marketing Case Competition and I had a blast! I even came home with the “Best Presenter” award! Friday I’m going to visit Nestle in Solon, OH and I cannot wait. Nestle was great enough to host a workshop to teach us how to analyze P&L financial statements from the perspective of a Brand Manager. All great information that makes me even more excited about my future.

So you see, don’t stress yourself out trying to pen down exactly what you want to be when you grow up. Chances are if you’re a career switcher you’ll stray from that when you get into the swing of school. You’ll learn things in class and from your classmates that will help you define and mold your future. It’s an amazing feeling!

But of course you’ll do it anyway, just promise me that you’ll come back and leave a comment on this blog post so *I* can tell *you* “I told you so!”