Monday, January 28, 2013

Landing the Perfect Internship

While first-year students have been busy with on-campus recruitment for internships, second-year students have been volunteering to help through various Career Services programming and case interview prep. In this week's post, Nupur Bhargava describes her experience giving back to the Booth community and assisting first-year students on their internship hunts.


Hi everyone,

Hope the new year is treating you well. As an Admissions Fellow I have been spending a lot of time reading applications and continue to be amazed by the quality of the applicants to Chicago Booth. I often wonder how I managed to get in to Booth, but I’m glad I did. Continuing in the tradition of my past blogs on the career aspects as Booth, below is a note on how we as second years get involved with first-year recruiting.

This is the time for me and my classmates as second years to truly "pay it forward". Over the course of the last few weeks a lot of us have been helping first years with interview preparation. I’ve been particularly involved with consulting interview prep since that’s what I did over the summer. There are three avenues that most first years exploit as they try to get as much practice as possible before actual interviews happen in the last week of January/ early February.

  1. Case prep with first-year classmates: Most of this happens over the winter break and is the best method for first years to get familiar with the process. Prior to the break the Management Consulting Group hosted a mock interview process where a few second years (myself included) demonstrated how a case is done and try to share the knowledge we’ve gained going through the process over the last year. This is usually the first time first years see how a case interview is conducted and how they will potentially be evaluated.

  2. wInterview and ITP: Career services organizes two formal events: wInterview (winter + interview) and Interview Training Process (ITP), in early January.

    wInterview is a particularly fun event. The entire first year class took over the Harper Center in their suits early on Saturday morning, January 12,to go through a whole day of interview prep. The Winter Garden was completely transformed too, complete with polar bear and snowflake decorations. I remember being nervous coming to this event last year and about the day and the process ahead. As a second year, though, the day was a lot easier, since my task was to interview eight first years and to give them a feel of what an actual interview would be like.

    The best part of the process is that first years are recorded on video throughout the interview so that they can watch how they behave in the interview setting. I distinctly remember watching my own video last year and noticing how much I played with the pen in my hands while speaking! Overall I was quite impressed by how most first years were able to handle the stress as they fielded questions such as “tell me about a time you failed” or “tell me about a time you had to lead without being in an appointed leadership position”. The interviews last about 15-20 minutes and then we spent about 15 minutes debriefing on what was good and what needs further work. It was a particularly rewarding experience for me as I got to meet a number of really talented first years while honing the skill of giving actionable feedback.

    ITP is a similar concept where first years register for a mock interview with a firm. As a second year, I volunteered to represent Bain and conducted an hour long interview with a first year. This interview too was recorded so that the first year could reflect on his behavior. I spent about half the time interviewing and the remainder of the session giving feedback on what I believed were his strengths and weaknesses.

  3. Case prep sessions: Individual case prep sessions with second years was where I learned the most and to "pay it forward" at the start of the quarter, I set up a Google doc with free time slots that a first year could sign up for to do individual case prep with me. I shared this document with a number of first years who had connected with me early on in the process and who had reached out to me over winter break with requests to do case prep. Although these sessions took ten hours of my time each week, I found them to be the most rewarding. Having worked with a few first years from the day they stepped onto campus, from conducting resume reviews to now helping them with cases, I’ve seen how they have grown and I’m glad to have been a part of it. Along the way I’ve made some friends and gotten to know a lot of really amazing people. I know a lot of my classmates have been doing the same and we are all rooting for Booth students to secure the right internships for them.

I know that we will all be glad once this process is over so that as a combined group we can all enjoy Spring quarter! Good luck to all the first years looking for internships!

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