Posts Tagged 'networking'

Typical day of a 1st yr MBA student

A Typical Day!

Daily Planner


Nestle Networking Event

Last Thursday night I attended the Nestle Networking Event downtown at the Elevator Brewing Company.  It was fun, informative, and everything I could have asked for out a recruiting event.  Nestle did a great job putting it together and it was nice to have an event off of Fisher’s campus.

The focus of this particular event was on marketing positions at Nestle.  More specifically, the aim was to use this opportunity to fill us in on their brand management program and at the same time check out potential candidates in an informal setting.

All three of the recruiters were recent Fisher grads who were eager to share their thoughts on the classes we were taking (read: professors), as well as detailed info about some of the projects they were involved in at Nestle and what we could expect if we came to work there.  They were genuinely interested in finding out about us, what our goals were, and they were kind enough to stay well after the event was over to talk with students.  They also organized a trivia game which turned out to be pretty fun and also helped everyone learn a little bit about all the different product offerings they have.

Several second-years who interned at Nestle last summer, all of whom received full-time offers to work there next year, were also in attendance and offered a lot of helpful insights into the company.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the event.  It was very informative and it was easy to get around and talk to all the recruiters and second-years.  Admittedly, not every event at Fisher has been this much fun, but I think this was a great example of the high-caliber companies and networking events that we continually have access to here at Fisher.


Networking that is social

It’s drilled into our heads that we need to network, network, network.  Network to make professional connections, network to meet your colleagues, network to find an internship, network to network for networking sake.

It sounds boring and arduous and burdensome, doesn’t it?  So let’s make it dynamic and aligned with our daily lives and our recreational activities.

One of the incredible things that resulted from our orientations was this realization:  when I added my classmates on Facebook, we already had mutual friends.  Some of them made sense, like my friends that worked for the university knew my new classmates who worked for the university.  Some of them were a bit more incredible, like my new classmate happened to be the former manager of one of my friends when they worked together at Starbucks.  Another classmate knew a friend of mine from back home in DC.  Small, small world that gets smaller with each connection.

Now imagine if we applied this to Linkedin.  Instead of just having a new friend to chat with on Facebook during class or funny Halloween profile photos to look at, imagine if your new connection connected you to someone who can help you get your dream internship, or if they themselves could connect you to that internship.

By now, you are probably connected to most, if not all, of your classmates.  What about new connections?  Remember that hilarious new friend that you met at the bar?  What if you dug a little deeper and started talking to them about their work life, profession and affiliations?  Connect.  You never know who you might get linked to.

So instead of adding them on Facebook, or even in addition to it, add them on Linkedin.  And it’s easy to do too.  A Linkedin app is available for the iPhone and the Blackberry.  Try it and see what happens!


Networking

We’ve all seen that guy, “the schmoozer”, that seems to be able to go up and talk to anyone in the room about anything.  We all stand back and wonder how he knows so many people and whether his type of networking is really all that important.

I’m here to tell you, it’s pretty important.  While it’s important to be genuine and not just talk to every recruiter in the room for the heck of it, it’s also very important to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there in a room full of potential employers.

One thing I’ve picked up since starting my MBA, is how serious Fisher is about networking.  We’ve already had several events to teach us how to improve our networking skills, and numerous other events that have given us the opportunity to use what we just learned in front of potential employers.

I recently spoke with someone at a tailgate outside of the ‘Shoe who worked as a successful consultant at Deloitte for a number of years, he told me,

“I’m not very smart, I just know a TON of people.  It’s all about who you know.”

We’ve all heard this idea countless times, and I think the meaning gets lost on all of us at some point.  But this idea continues to emphasize the importance of networking, he got to where he is today because of who he knows, not what he knows.

WHAT YOU CAN DO…

I know it’s tough to be on top of your game all of the time, but if you prepare you can make it much easier to step out of your comfort zone.  Here are a few points I picked up a couple weeks ago at The Conference and Networking Workshop:

  • Work on a 15-30 second pitch that includes you background and major selling points.
  • Research different companies you want to talk to at the event and develop informed questions.
  • Warm up with a few other companies before you talk to your #1.
  • Exude confidence and act like you deserve to be there.
  • In the end, don’t forget to exchange business cards and make a call to action.  Ask if they’re interviewing on campus or what the next steps are in the interview process.

If you get a chance before you come to Fisher, make a list of friends you know at companies you might want to work for.  Talk to them about their day-to-day, how they like working at their company, etc.  If you need to, perform informational interviews within companies you might be interested in.  The more you get done before you start classes the better, because spare time is hard to find.  Getting started on this will help you shape your career goals and the companies you want to work for, it might also help you identify key people to talk to in order to get an interview.  You never know how valuable a relationship might turn out to be, so go out and make some more connections.

OTHER OPTIONS…

Admittedly, I’m not the best networker out there, there are multiple ways to network though.  In the past when I was afraid of being that guy, I made sure to become friends with that guy.  My relationship with that guy (who happened to have a much bigger network than me) ultimately paid off in the form of a great marketing internship last summer.

I’d like to leave you with a quote by Goethe that I think really drives home the point about not knowing what might be around the next corner…

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it now.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”


“It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Hello everyone. This week I felt it would be fun to give you a glimpse of how I felt orientation went recently.

While there were several other auxiliary type events going on (such as association fairs), orientation primarily consisted of three days of activities. The week before classes began, we gathered within the Gerlach hall to initiate the adventures. As you would expect, there were some “get-to-know-you” games going on throughout the morning with a promise of prizes to those who participated the most. After a continental-type breakfast (very popular in the program), we began a series of presentations and discussions designed to help us ease our way into the program and feel out the atmosphere. Professors introduced themselves, administrators gave great advice, and it was incredibly fun to get to know those who shared similar ambitions as mine. Later that night, the MAcc program put together a welcoming social mixer that was held in the president’s box at the buckeye football stadium (Ohio Stadium). As was promised, prizes were given for the games earlier that morning and I won a gift card to Kroger (score!). All of the prizes were sponsored by firms that would be having a recruiting presence during the quarter. While it was fun to network with professionals from different corporations, I think most would say the best part of the evening went to the outstanding tour of “the Shoe.” Many alum would love to see the press box or walk on the field (I think there was even a wedding going on that same night between a couple of true buckeyes).

The next day was just as great. The morning began with a couple more presentations. We were familiarized with different resources available to us along with some handy information concerning the CPA examination and how to prepare. After a brief lunch (no, we did not eat underwear… get it?), we all hopped on buses and were taken 20 minutes north to begin our summit vision. The summit vision was first and foremost an incredible time. The MAcc students were divided into teams of about 12 to 15 and we were tasked with different challenges. Some tasks were designed to build teamwork skills such as a timed three-dimensional puzzle. Others were meant to simply get us out of our comfort zones. One of my team’s high-element challenges was jumping off a platform and swinging 40 ft above the ground. Other teams had to balance on the top of a pole nearly as high. While many lessons were gleaned from the summit vision, I feel one that stood out to me was that I was among an incredibly talented group of individuals. While I think very highly of my undergraduate education, I always considered myself as a top-performing student and often sought to lead on team assignments. After confronting our challenges alongside my classmates, I felt as though any single person in the group was more than qualified to lead. I learned to trust.

The third event I would consider meat and potatoes of orientation was the MAcc boot camp. This day was filled with guest speakers and panel discussions. Working professionals gave advice on careers, succeeding in life, and professionalism. Of our panels, one consisted of former MAcc students all working in different areas of accounting. It was great to see that some were still working their way through ranks of large public firms while others had the flexibility to move into industry and get into corporate accounting. Another panel was filled with only individuals working in industry and that had a background in accounting. Most of the topics discussed dealt with the corporate world and how accounting helped those in it. A third panel was composed of public accounting firms (recruiters specifically). I was amazed to learn how hard the big 4, other national, regional, and local CPA firms worked in order to compete for the talent coming out of the Fisher School of Business. The big 4 even hold office hours on campus with open door policies designed to help us get a feel for the atmosphere present within their respective companies.

As I navigated my way through these different events, I was gratified knowing it was far more than a pleasantry to truly tell those that surrounded me, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”


The ‘fit’…

This was not how I planned it – my first blog. Just after the hour when I was given the ‘blogging orientation’, I had a lot on my mind. I had a list of things to write, to share and be a window to the world that I see every day here. It’s been a month here and I have SO much to say. What a whirlwind of activities that I saw myself in – coming in, settling down, moving in to a new apartment, getting familiar with the place, getting lost (women CAN read maps and I can, too … I just didn’t know the directions). I wanted them in a chronological order. Not like this, jumping into something without even giving you an opportunity to lead up to this day. But I had to write this post. Never mind if it is not ordered in a neat fashion. I will write more on my first month at Columbus and Fisher in my next posts. Now, it’s about today ‘cause this day happened to be the most fruitful and beautiful days since I landed at Fisher.

fruitful???

‘Network’ ‘Network’ ‘Network’ ‘Network’.. this was what I remember from my orientation. On those days I had to plug my ears before I went to sleep as that word was buzzing nonstop. We made a lot of jokes on networking if we even saw anyone from my class talking to some stranger. They might as well be asking for directions. :-) I used to wonder – why such a big deal about networking? Lets be honest..in such networking events, if I am talking to some guest, I know that I want a job through him or her. He/She knows that I want a job. Isn’t the picture clear? Both of us know the agenda of the conversation, then why ask ‘intelligent’ questions, make them talk, get business cards, go back and write to them, maintain relationships.. phew!! Can’t we just get to the point and save a lot of energy and time?

But just a week into doing this, I know there is a lot of difference between talking to a person because you are genuinely interested in knowing her, her work, her achievements etc and in trying to talk to them while thinking ‘can you please give me your card and lets just get this over with’ . There is an unsaid joy in just knowing people. Of course we will get back to them in case we need any kind of help in our career, but that comes as a pleasant side effect. And when you try to get to know a person, it shows. He/she knows how interested you are in their work and does that little extra to help you without even your asking. Something like that happened today – twice! :-)

I was talking to one of our Fisher alumni from Nationwide. I was genuinely interested in his work profile because it sounded challenging. I knew that I wasn’t going to do something akin to what he did, but I still enjoyed talking to him about his work. I think that showed. And guess what, when I bumped into him at a dinner a little later, he remembered me and introduced me to his wife who was working at a place which was one of my target companies! The other instance was when I was talking to one of my seniors whom I met for the first time at the dinner. Within minutes we found a common ground and he was ready to help me with my interview practice and resume pruning. :-) So yea, the point is, try to know people with a genuine interest. People are interesting. Trust me!

beautiful??

Well, I told you that I was at the Boot Camp. During the lunch break, I spoke to one of our Career Management friends (yes, I prefer to call them friends), Brittany Buxton who was also in that room. She knew that I was looking at Consulting as one of my ‘ever changing’ career choices. She couldn’t spot me earlier as I was seated in the same row as she was. Thinking I didn’t turn up, she had started to take in some points from the session to share with me later on. Really. Who does that? I would be a devil if I wasn’t grateful to have such people around me.

An hour after the boot camp, I was at ‘2010 Dean’s Dinner and Alumni Awards’. Do you hear ‘networking’ already? Then you are indeed listening to my rant. :-) Okay, back to the dinner..five extraordinary people were awarded for their spectacular achievements in their fields. One of them, Mr. Stephen G. Mehallis, who was awarded in the ‘Distinguished’ category, had passed out of OSU/Fisher in 1961. Wow! That was a long time back! Every speaker went down their memory lanes and spoke about the Fisher that they had seen and studied in. The fondness and the love that they had for Fisher were indeed beautiful and touching.

Every table at the dinner had a mix of students from various disciplines and one faculty/alumni member. At my table was one professor who taught under graduate kids . He had come to Ohio Fisher after doing a couple of masters and a PhD from places like California and NYU Stern. When asked why he chose Fisher, the answer wasn’t surprising. He said that he found a warm and a collaborative community within the walls of this college, which he did not find elsewhere…one of the main reasons that I chose to come here and one of the traits that keep reflecting through the various people in these offices, who really care about our progress.

All these bring me to the fundamental question that everyone needs to ask themselves before deciding on the school – Am I a right fit for this college? Is this college a right fit for me? Though I too did my research and had my ground work done before I decided on Fisher, I completely understood the gravity of that question and the implications of not answering it honestly only now when I am constantly reminded, day after day, on how fortunate I am to be here.



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