My first contact with a representative of the Foster School of Business occurred at an MBA admissions networking event hosted by Kaplan. After I found an opportunity to introduce myself as being interested in the program, the conversation clicked, and I found we had more in common than I had anticipated. I secured a business card and made arrangements to follow-up with her. We met once more before I submitted my application, and her enthusiasm for the program and the opportunities she has had since finishing was both contagious and compelling. I kept in touch throughout the admissions process, sharing the news of my admission and acceptance, and maintained sporadic contact over the course of my first and second year.
As I am now entering the last 6 months of my MBA, we met up again to touch base. Of course, one of the first things she asked me about was the progress of my career search. Ah, yes; my career search!
Since completing my summer internship I had been quite busy! Busy with classes, busy with club involvement, busy with my role on the admissions team, busy with extracurricular activities…but not so busy with my career search, not lately. I have been neglecting to schedule meetings with my career coach, scheduling commitments that conflicted with professional networking events, and side-stepping the issue when probed by classmates.
“You need to get on that,” I was told.
In fact, to emphasize her point, my alumni mentor requested that I submit to her a list of SMART goals for my career search – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound tasks that I would commit to accomplishing over the coming months to ensure I would stop slacking off and begin making progress.
And so I have gotten to it. Last week I emailed her some goals:
- By the end of January, identify 8 companies to research and make contact with during winter quarter.
- Develop a list of functional areas to research (e.g., market researcher, product manager, etc) by mid-February.
- Schedule at least 2 informational interviews during winter quarter and at least 4 informational interviews to be conducted during spring break.
- Meet with career services every other week to conduct practice interviews to hone interview skills.
And now I am following up with my career coach (who I am sure has been waiting for something like this to happen!) and reaching out to networking contacts to learn more about companies and positions that interest me. And of course, the career center is thrilled to see me moving forward, and my friends and colleagues are offering to make connections to help schedule informational interviews with other well-placed alumns. I’m sure most business schools have similar systems and networks to help students move their careers forward. What I think is uniquely special about Foster is that our alumni network is so committed to remaining engaged with the Foster community that individuals don’t simply take meetings and make connections on a student’s behalf, they care enough to take you to task when they know you could be doing more, and to find a way to re-light the fire that brought you to business school in the first place.
~Blogger Gwyn Gaubatz, Full-time Class of 2013