Last Thursday and Friday, I went down to Orlando with a group of 1st and 2nd year classmates for the annual National Black MBA Association Conference. Generally, I shy away from these events because they seem like meat markets to me but this one was everything but.
This is the first time that I went to a career fair with a definitive plan and I have to thank the Career Services team for staying on top of me and my classmates in that regard. Career Services was also able to bring in some experienced alumni to give us the recruiter perspective of Career Fairs and how to make an impression, which helped me immensely. I went to Orlando with two scheduled interviews at companies of particular interest to me and a list of first and second tear prospective companies for whom I had done varying levels of research.
The trip came with your usual calamities including flying on an extremely small plane, being driven to the wrong hotel (Orlando has three Embassy Suites hotels, make sure you know which one you’re going to), arriving at the hotel at 1am only to find that not all of the rooms where registered, and finally getting into the room at 2am after my roommate only to find one bed, which resulted in a lovely evening of 4 hours spent sleeping on the couch.
The event itself was amazing. I spent most of Thursday interviewing and was only able to visit a few companies (sidebar: a lot of time is spent during lunch and networking with other graduates and event attendees – an extremely valuable part of any successful career fair). Friday was spent attacking the booths of companies from my list. I had a total of 25 companies on the list and only ended up seeing about 9 of them. It is very important to understand the time available – it’s a lot less than you would think. Doors open at 9am and close at 4pm but time spent networking, resting and talking to prospective companies – some who just take your resume and others who pull you aside for mini-interviews – adds up quickly and before you know it, it’s over.
I left the conference with one internship offer, which I’ll probably accept and some really good contacts that I am in the process of following up with. The event was indeed a success and the most valuable thing for me was learning how to develop a plan of attack beforehand, to make the event as effective as possible, something I had failed to do at past events.
|Before embarking on his graduate studies, Carl served as an Account Executive for a full-service advertising agency in the DC metro area developing advertising and marketing programs for a local condominium developer. Carl is pursuing the Product & Market Development and Strategic Leadership portfolios at Smeal and plans to move into Brand Management upon graduation.|