Monday, June 28, 2010

Pre-MBA Career Day - Part I

This was a very useful event put together by CBS. I'd recommend everyone who can afford to try and attend the next session (I think 2 more similar sessions are being planned.) There were about 40 people from the Class of 2012 and most of CMC (Career Management Center) was present as well. The desi representatives were myself and Rahul.

The event started with introductions from Regina who gave us favorable news- market is picking up, recruiting for internships have been fantastic this year etc. But she also discussed about a new normal that is a fact of career search in near term. We need to be on the top of our games, gone are the days when we could expect to receive jobs just because we are at CBS. She also mentioned about new kind of networking events that are taking place nowdays such as the event that was held at NASDAQ later in the evening being attended by the alumni of six peer schools (for those who are regulars at MBA forums- that would be the M7).

Emily discussed how she is already talking to employers and assigning slots for interviews! She spoke about how you should have the stomach to stick to your guns if you're not recruiting for IB/MC etc as only these employers show up on campus early and do a structured recruiting process. It would be interesting to see how many people end up going the IB route (if you remember during admit event 1, only 4 hands showed up for IB) just because of this factor.

Next up was an interesting exercise by Laurie - she gave us 3 minutes to map out our career plan for the next 10 years. It took me 30 seconds ;) Me and my wife had spent a ton of time thinking about my career plans in the last few months  so I'm pretty happy that everything is somewhat clear now. All that time/effort didn't get wasted. Laurie mentioned some very interesting things. She talked about creating a personal profile.

  • Interests/Passions- related to industry/function
  • Skills- what are you good at? out of those, what do you enjoy doing?
  • Values- work/life balance, $$$. what are your priorities?
  • Style- work environment- structured/spontaneous? numbers/big picture? alone/team?
  • Needs- geography preferences, family commitments
She recommended taking the careerleader assessment right now and then evaluate discrepancies within and across categories, i.e competing/conflicting interests and values. For instance, rating both work life balance and compensation as high, may not work out in real life, ouch. We discussed how to move from current career to future career in terms of the personal profile using an example of an analyst in a bank trying to switch to entrepreneurship. That example helped me clearly understand what she meant. We also talked about bridge jobs and the importance of having plan A,B,C (something I need to work on).

Jay showed us some cool stuff which CBS offers us like Career Chronicles, Recruiter tips, Career chats, etc. A lot of videos of students talking about various careers/experiences etc. Tremendous value addition for us. They have just provided access to these through the admit website. I will be spending sometime over this weekend on them.

By this time we all were pretty tired with the amount of information thrown at us. I can only imagine how orientation will feel like. After the break, Michael moderated a wonderful panel of Columbia Coaches (alumni mentors). Carol '77 (Brand Management, Consulting), Andrew '02 (Investment Management) and Raji '04 (Non profit management, finance) spoke at length about their career, the different choices they had to make and how they navigated through them. Andrew mentioned that we should use the alumni after  we have done basic research in the field of choice and only when we are ready to have intelligent, in depth conversations. Thus, we would receive more value from the limited time we have with them. He recommended using the CMC, cluster mates and second years for the initial conversations when you're not sure about an industry/role etc. Everyone knows not all alumni are equally thrilled/interested in being contacted etc, so having dedicated career coaches from different fields is a great asset for us. +1 CBS!

Coming up- A candid discussion with current students on life @ CBS.

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