What keeps us busy
The thing about an MBA is that it can zoom by extremely fast. The end of semester 1, a 4-week winter break, and some interviews have now passed between my last post and this one. The second semester introduced us all to some star electives and star professors, my favorite class being market intelligence for its sheer brilliance. Almost half the class has an internship now, and I’m in the other half that’s still looking. On the face of it, getting an internship may not be that difficult. Its getting a relevant one that matters. Across the schools, its a similar scene for international students where the improvement in the recruitment space from last year has been far from dramatic. There are opportunities, but lesser than what you would think. As opportunities through on campus recruiting begin to dry up, everybody’s learning a trick or two in how to network effectively to land an internship in the area of their choice. To paint a picture that the times are not tough would be incorrect.
However, your quality lies in seeing the goodness in bad times. If your MBA applications talked all about how you were excellent at facing and surpassing challenges, you won’t get a bigger one than this at business school. Especially for incoming international students to business schools across the US this year, realize that your situation would not be too different from ours. Realize that the recruitment process is completely differently here. Realize that there would be times when the going would frustrate you, and you can’t always blame the economy. Realize that you are setting yourself up for something for which you need to start preparing, right now. Don’t be discouraged, because we are not. You need to live this experience to understand how it changes you for the better. In that sense, we are all entrepreneurial – we can see our life’s biggest investments giving us all the learning we desired, but not the return – an internship/a job – yet. Situations force us to compare how an alternative investment – continuing in our work/going to a school in our country – could have given us a better return, but I can tell you that if given a choice, ALL of us would choose this again over anything else. The purpose of this post is to tell you that things are difficult, but not impossible. Risk it. But be prepared for it.
Like you would have understood from applying to B schools here, just an application is not a measure of your interest in that school. The same holds when you are applying to a position in a company. How many people you talk to from that company is at times more important than the strength of your resume. That, in short, is the role of networking for you here. Whether you like it or not hardly matters. Whether you do it or not does. To most of the internationals that does not come naturally, but you get better at it after a few months in school.
What keeps us busy, then, is how to get ourselves in front of a recruiter. How to persuade people to interview us. How to get a chance to sell our brand better. How to remain optimistic and continue to enjoy the humor of hard times while preventing it from turning into a dark comedy.