The summer before beginning the Foster MBA program, graduation and the job hunt seemed a long way off. Though I knew in the back of my mind that pursuing an MBA would change the career opportunities available to me, the return to school in itself seemed like the impactful change I needed, not so much the new job I’d take on afterward. Just over a year after joining Foster, I’m fortunate to have landed a post-graduate job I’m thrilled about, though the process of getting there was not what I expected.
Figuring out the right position and right employer begins the moment you set foot on campus. For my first two quarters, I felt like I kept adding options instead of narrowing my search. Anytime I spoke to someone who was passionate about their past or future career, I began to add it to the list to explore it as an option for me. Looking for the ideal post-graduation fit became a process of elimination. At Foster, you will feel like you have too many options, from clubs to internship choices to social events. You’ve certainly heard before that you should take advantage of as much as you can handle, and I agree with that. But pay special attention to how these experiences make you feel. When you’re working in your core team first quarter, what role do you naturally fall into? When you try to push yourself outside of that role or take a lead on a project that is not in your traditional skill set, how do you feel – does it excite you, make you want to work harder, or just frustrate you?
In the end, what made the biggest difference was to try things I wouldn’t normally label as “me.” Though I had initially focused on product management internships and a few positions with logistics companies, I decided to work with a small marketing strategy consulting firm, Bridge Partners Consulting, as part of a work stream for a beta launch with Microsoft. I had been adamant that consulting was not a good fit for me; and as a late-adopter, I never thought that technology was right either. By the time Fall quarter began, I felt as though all the little discussions I had with classmates, team experiences, and mini-projects I had taken gave me the confidence to know that what drove me.
Reflecting on my summer internship, I realized that the things that made me tick there were the same that had made me tick in my previous work; the people. I spoke with a number of alums and contacts at a variety of consulting companies, spoke with the mentors I’ve made through the years to discuss the ways they’ve seen me be successful in the past, and made the decision to join Bridge Partners. Having a job lined up after graduation is of course a weight off of my shoulders. I’m afforded the chance to continue to strengthen the amazing friendships I’ve made here, and begin to plan a fantastic summer trip. At the same time, there is a bittersweet edge: signing the contract has made me come to terms that my stint at Foster is almost over. It’s a mix of excitement and pre-emptive nostalgia, that I think will make me appreciate the next few months that much more.
Guest blogger – Lacey McCann, FT 2011