Make the Most out of Networking Sessions at Smeal
We are extremely fortunate to be a part of the Smeal MBA program that has not only given us the opportunity to hone our business skills with a rich package of courses offered but has also helped us enhance our soft skills that are as critical as developing the more tangible job skills in the industry. Today, most of the industry recruiters and executives are focusing more on attributes such as communication and inter-personal skills. They strongly believe that an MBA graduate needs to blend well with the organizational culture and give high importance to a candidate being a cultural fit more than being skilled at a specific job or a role. Their assessment of a potential hire starts right from the time they come to our campus for an info-session or a networking mixer. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to follow the most effective approach in those very early interactions.
- We need to really understand what they have in their mindset when they come here. They do not obviously come here just to talk about their company, but they also believe that an info-session / Networking event is a excellent way to get an feel of the students who could be potential interns/full time employees.
- This has been said time and again which makes it all the more important. Always, I repeat, always be on time!
- Follow the dress code instructions. This is noteworthy as different companies depending on their culture prefer more casual/less casual attire. For example, Nike would prefer to see you in a Nike t-shirt/ Nike sneakers while Chevron would like to see you in more formal attire.
Note: Being punctual, dressing up appropriately are things that must be kept in mind as companies are looking for a complete package and they need to believe that you would blend into the company’s culture!
- Ask good questions! Show them that you have researched the company well and that you are excited about the opportunity. Make sure you are aware of the any latest news about the company such as major structural changes, M & A’s etc.
Never ask about stuff that is very easily available on the company website.
- Always send a Thank You note to the recruiter/Exec that you met or spoke with. Add them to your LinkedIn connections, Follow up with them as your goal should be to build a long-term relationship with them.
- Treat every interaction with the execs/recruiters as an interview.
You won’t even realize how just in a casual coffee chat or a dinner conversation, they would find out everything they want to know and might develop a liking for you even before you give the real interview.
-Neha Bareja, Penn State Smeal MBA Class of ’15