First, a quick introduction. The boring stuff: I’m a Philly local, former Wharton undergrad, spent 4 years consulting for Boston Consulting Group. This summer, I worked as a strategy and operations intern for an SVP at Takeda (a job posted on CareerPath!) The fun stuff: I’m in HCM, operations co-chair for the Healthcare Business Conference, and co-commissioner for Wildmen Hockey (go Shooting Blanks!). I also have the privilege of working with MBACM and your career reps as the WGA VP for Careers this year.
In that capacity, I wanted to share some thoughts based on my experiences last year, borrowing heavily from many of my 2Y friends. This is not intended to be comprehensive but highlights from my experience recruiting and as a C3 career rep.
Define your search: If you only remember one thing – two strategies, one search. Almost every student will do a mix of enterprise and mature recruiting. The difference is more about the process than the company size or industry. Last year, I applied to three FRP jobs including one start-up biotech new to recruiting MBAs, and ended up at a mid-size company I found on CareerPath in March. There is no industry that is solely mature or only enterprise. Yes even consulting. Think about your one search and how a mix of enterprise and mature recruiting can work for you.
Figure out what you want: Identify what you want to get out of your summer. It might be experience in an industry, a skill set, a role type, or even a location. Determine what the “must haves” are and what you can be flexible on. Write it down and use it as a guide how you spend your time (see “open-minded” below). For me, it was an operational role in pharma that felt nothing like consulting, but I was location-agnostic. Identify what skills you’ll need for that experience. Figure out where your gaps are and how you can address them.
Network: Talk to 1Y classmates and 2Ys with the experience you want but remember they are students (and humans) as well and use them thoughtfully. Make sure you are asking them questions that you can’t get answered elsewhere (eg, not “do I really need a cover letter?”). Be considerate. If you are meeting with them to get your nth connection at a firm or office, you are wasting their time. Don’t ask to chat the morning after White Party or expect an hour turnaround on your email.
Be open-minded: If you think you might be interested in a company, attend their EIS (Employer Information Session). It’s much easier to get “out” than to jump in late to the game. I missed out on a great company because I was stubborn about not doing mature recruiting. An EIS can also be great opportunity to work on tailoring your story. That being said, if you know you don’t want to work for a company or in an industry, don’t go. Even if seems like all your friends are (I promise they aren’t!). Evaluate all your options through the lens of what you want to get out of your summer (see “figure out what you want” above).
Research: Keep up on industry trends. You will inevitably have to make small talk. Set Google alerts for companies you are interested in. If you are like me and hate unread emails, it’s a great way to force yourself to stay current. Tell friends and family what you are recruiting for – not in an annoying competitive way but more “hey this is what I’m up to”. I end up sending my friends links to articles and stories on topics they are interested in.
Be confident: At the end of the day, you are a Wharton student. You got here for a reason. You are smart, passionate and driven. Companies would be lucky to have you. Sometimes a company might not be looking for an intern, but if you are the right fit, they may want you. Show them how having you can be mutually beneficial.
Breathe: Take time to reflect and realize that you are in complete control of your career path, meet some great fellow classmates, make meaningful career connections, and stay optimistic and open-minded.
If you have questions, concerns or need a career therapy session, reach out to me, one of the fantastic career reps, career management, your SLF / LF, your friends etc.
“Mature” strategy support:
C1: Stewart Norwood
C2: Prathama Nabi
C3: John Pierucci
C4: Benjamin Schuttler
“Enterprise” strategy support:
C1: Sasi Desai
C2: Eric Johnson “EJ”
C3: Luke Betterman
C4: Mitch Gainer