I have survived recruiting season during my first year of business school and have emerged with a summer internship offer in my industry of choice! However, many of my classmates are still recruiting or just beginning the process as it varies greatly by industry. While it is a relief to have a position secured for the summer, it is by no means the norm and is only due to the fact that I was mainly recruiting for consulting. But consulting is not for everyone.
Recruiting is a very personal journey and it’s best not to compare yourself to any of your peers. Instead, focus on your own personal and professional goals and measure your success that way. Here are some pieces of advice from the past semester regarding recruiting in general, and I am happy to provide more in-depth consulting advice for anyone who is interested.
A few pearls of wisdom from the other side:
- Have a clear idea of what you’re looking for out of a summer position (and note, this may be completely different than what you wrote in your admission essay – that’s ok).
- Know yourself inside and out: your story, your strengths, your weaknesses, your personal brand, what you bring to the table, and why you would be a good fit for a particular industry and company.
- Practice out loud with a real person (not just in front of a mirror). It sounds silly but trust me, it helps.
- Don’t get caught up in the recruiting ‘buzz’ or feel the need to participate in traditional on-campus recruiting in January/February just because ‘everyone else is doing it’. I assure, there are plenty of students who do not have internships at this point but definitely will.
- Have the confidence to explore a new area or switch careers.
- Keep your options open: attend corporation presentations or career fairs, and network with companies that sound interesting even if they weren’t initially on your radar.
- Have a back-up plan. Unfortunately, recruiting for summer internships can be competitive as there are limited spots. Have a few industries in mind and keep expanding your network and talking to companies. You might even discover a company that is a better fit.
- Remember, it’s just a 10-week internship, not a lifelong relationship. You can always leverage the experience to secure a fulltime job at another company or in another industry if the internship wasn’t what you wanted or not a good fit.
- Stay positive and have fun! Make a note of the companies that treat you well throughout the process and are just as interested in you as you are in them.
Best of luck! It always works out in the end and if it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end.
By Beth Lovisa, Forté Fellow MBA 2014, NYU Stern School of Business.