10 Recruiting Tips From a Second Year Student
(Success Not Guaranteed!)
As The Zombies would sing, “it’s the time of the season for…recruiting.”
Okay, maybe not quite.
But whatever song lyrics you want to use to describe this time, no one can deny just how important and how intense the next few months are for students hustling to get the internship or job of their dreams. For the past few years, Booth has been #1 on The Economist’s charts for the best MBA program in the world, in no small part because of the strength of its career services.
We’ll write more about the nuts and bolts of recruiting—the scheduling, the resources, and the decision-making process, but in the meantime, have some tried-and-true tips:
1. Eat breakfast. Even if you have an 8AM interview. Actually, especially if you have an 8AM interview—you’ll need the energy, and it’ll keep you from being a cranky, hangry interviewee. My favorite is Starbucks blueberry oatmeal with the fruit/nut/seed medley swapped out for nuts, and a Veranda Blond, tall, no room, to go.
2. Get your dry-cleaning done the week before. There will be unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from getting your stuff to the cleaners and you do not want to be remembered as the one in the dirty suit. In a pinch, I like Pressed Garments; they’ll come pick up and drop off your dry cleaning at scheduled times. Tip 2a: sometimes they’re late, so allot an extra 15 minute window.
3. Remember to smile and bring good energy. As someone with a naturally stern face, I understand that smiling is not necessarily the easiest thing to keep in mind when in a high-stress environment. It makes a difference, though, and it’s always better to start off the interview with positivity.
4. Surround yourself with people who think you’re awesome, but who can also give you constructive advice about what you can do better. Your mom’s great, but your mentor who went through the same thing you did last year AND has a nifty, prioritized list of your strengths and weaknesses is better. Even better: Career Advisers, second-year students who are trained extensively to advise critically and effectively on specific career tracks.
5. Crush the math. This! Is! Booth! So, naturally, the quant bar is set high. Make sure you know all the nifty tricks for quick adding and subtracting, and that you can take 15% of anything and apply a 20% CAGR to any base year in your sleep.
6. Do not be shy about asking for help from your classmates. We want to help, and it would be the saddest thing ever if you wanted to know something but didn’t ask because you didn’t want to inconvenience us. I can’t count how many times classmates offered their time and their expertise in helping me achieve my goals; to this day, I haven’t had a single classmate turn me down when I asked to meet with them or get help on case or fit prep. It’s one of the reasons why I feel so strongly about giving back, formally (MCG resume workshop) or informally (coffee chats with anyone who asks me).
7. When asking people about their summers, don’t be a crazy. Slow down and try to build a little bit of natural rapport before bombarding them with questions. Don’t ever underestimate the power of small talk—it’s an effective and frequently necessary step towards building a connection with someone It’s so, so important to treat people (recruiters, contacts at target companies, second years, etc.) as people, rather than a means to an end. Small talk won’t do that on its own, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Right: “So you were in Chicago over the summer; did you get to go to one of the festivals?”
Wrong: “Which partners and which practices did you get exposure to? Can you put me in contact with them? Also, can you do cases with me tomorrow because I need 1-on-1 coaching ASAP.”
8. Communicate with your classmates in your groups for class. Be upfront so that the group can set reasonable expectations about deadlines and responsibilities. Don’t be the person who’s so busy trying to kiss up to 20 banks that it leaves their group in the lurch: it’s disrespectful, you WILL develop a reputation quickly, and it will backfire if you ever have to do #6 for re-recruiting.
9. Stay calm. Yes, it feels like you’re sinking into the Mariana Trench, but you’re strong and resilient because you’re a Booth student and it’s in your blood. It gets better; it gets WAY better, so keep that in mind when it feels like you’re one bad crop circle away from meltdown.
10. Re-recruiting is a thing. A huge thing. So don’t stress out if you don’t get exactly what you wanted during internship recruiting. Things happen for a reason, people fall in and out of love with companies and jobs on a regular basis.
Take a breath; you’re at Booth and you’re going to be wildly successful no matter what you do.