By: Anu Mukund, MS Marketing ’14
Though it may not feel like it in Rochester, April marks the first full month of spring. Spring! Yes, we can now look forward to daffodils, the sun on our backs, and many dollars spent on Claritin and Kleenex. But, apart from enjoying the warmer weather (fingers crossed that will be sooner rather than later), for many of us the epic job search continues.
And as we all know, the job search isn’t always as simple as sending in an application and keeping your fingers crossed that you’ll get an offer on the first try. There’s the preliminary research to decide which companies are best for you, what qualifications you have that set you apart from other applicants, the phone interviews, the Skype interviews, the in-person and case interviews, and finally, the hopeful final handshake of employment.
The CMC is working to provide as many services to Simon students as possible that can better prepare them for post-graduation employment. After a successful Got Mock? event, the next occasion in line is Spring Training: Skill & Drills to Hit Your Home Run!. Spring Training will be hosted on Friday, April 18th in Gleason Hall. Students who sign up for this event will be able to improve their personal pitch for inevitable networking situations. The event will consist of two workshops and a round of Speed Networking to provide helpful tips for networking in the “big leagues.” A luncheon with authentic baseball fare will also be offered to keep with the event’s theme!
As the academic year comes to a close, make sure to make the most of all the wonderful services Simon offers to its students! Whether you’ve secured a position at a wonderful company or are still searching for what’s best for you, it never hurts to brush up on your networking skills. To sign up for Spring Training, or for more information about the event, log on to SimonWorks and RSVP under the Events tab. We look forward to seeing you on April 18th or sooner! If you can’t make the event but would still like to work on your networking skills, feel free to stop by the CMC or make an appointment with one of our counselors. Happy spring!
By: Anu Mukund, MS Marketing ’14
Ah, New Year’s Day; it’s a peculiar time. After finishing the holiday season full of sinfully rich food and holiday sales, we know we must take a decision: what resolution will we claim we’re determined to follow to our friends and family? But apart from the usual diets and exercise regimes, Simon students can work on a very beneficial goal: finding a career path!
It seems like a daunting task and it might even take a lifetime to understand one’s ever-evolving career path. But here we are, at the beginning of each of ours, with many roads to choose from. The occupation we take after graduation could shape the rest of our journey. That said it’s also an exciting time! To choose what path defines you as a working professional and where you want to be. As we commence our Winter Quarter, those who are graduating in the spring must seriously consider how to best secure a valuable job. Actually, the same goes for those who will still be in school next year and are looking at different internship opportunities.
So where to begin? Here are a few tips to get the old wheels in the head a-cranking.
- First ask yourself: Where do I want to see myself in 5-10 years? Weigh in the personal with the professional. Try to balance all your needs and find career options that are compatible with all aspects of your life.
- Make a timeline with specific dates of when you want to accomplish the tasks to reach your end goal: employment. If you set certain deadlines, you’re more likely to meet them rather than continually give yourself two-week extensions.
- Where do you want to work? Do you want to stay in the US or are you global bound? Usually people think success only lies in the big cities. And though that may be true in certain cases, smaller regions are also very successful with large companies. Take, for example, the RTP (Research Triangle Park) region of North Carolina. It’s booming with offices of well-known and respected companies such as Credit Suisse and Cisco Systems and yet it is situated in an active suburban environment.
- Create a list of companies that you would be happy to work for. Add as many companies as you can; the more the merrier! A good number to shoot for could be 50-100 companies. Make sure you know why you would be happy to work for these companies, beyond the fact that perhaps it’s a Fortune 500. You can be sure the interviewers will want a concrete and well thought out response.
- Use LinkedIn to meet with people related to the field/company of your interest to gain better insight about the field and career options in that company.
- Apply, apply, apply! To the companies on your list! At the end of the day, a good word put in your favor may only get your foot in the door. From that point onwards, it’s up to you to plug away and land your first job. Put your Simon education to use! Showcase your skills via LinkedIn and/or your resume and get your potential interviewers know why you are the best candidate for that position.
- Make use of the CRC and CMC! We’re here to help YOU! And we love to hear about your job search journey and its happy ending. Stop by the CMC today to schedule an appointment to just to talk about how far you’ve gotten in your job search and how you should pursue the next step. Can’t make it in person? Email us or check out our website for more information.
- Breathe. You’ve worked hard and that will pay off (pun intended).
Good luck in the coming months in school and enjoy your time at Simon! We hope to see you soon!
Being well-read can help your job or internship search in a variety of ways. It can be a way of “demonstrating your up-to-date knowledge as well as dedication to (an) industry. And studying up on current shifts and trends will also prepare you for entering the job market and effectively handling those tricky interview questions.”
Occasionally, interviewers will ask you what book you are reading. If this happens to you, wouldn’t it be great to respond with a book that is relevant to the industry/function you are interested in? For example, if you are targeting a role in analytics, telling an interviewer that you just finished The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver would be far more impressive than responding that you are half-way through re-reading the Harry Potter series. Not there is anything wrong with them – just think about the overall impression that you want to make.
Reading current best-selling business books can also be very helpful in a networking setting. The winter quarter will provide opportunities for some alumni networking events, which can cause many job-seekers great angst. Chatting casually about business best sellers that you recently read can be a fantastic conversation starter at these types of events. It shows that you are genuinely interested in your professional career, and can often open the door to a longer conversation about other books, movies, and quite possibly, you.
Now that I have hopefully convinced you to spend part of your break reading a best seller, I have good news. Books from the Career Research Center, including those featured in the article, can be borrowed by Simon students for the winter break. All you need is your UR ID card. We hope to see you soon and enjoy your break!
The summer season is finally upon us and while many of us look forward to spending time with family and friends; we can also enjoy a much needed break from the rigorous Simon routine. In our quest to become Corporate Athletes however, it is important to remember that Summer Break is also an excellent opportunity for us to strengthen and condition our networking muscles!
1) Don’t refuse an invite! Any social gathering is a networking opportunity. Get out the house and enjoy the weather, a social invitation is always a chance to meet new people and increase your chances of meeting your next potential colleague or boss! At the very least, summer social activities provide an opportunity to improve on and practice your small talk, which can only advance your interviewing skills. Remember, interviewing is a social interaction!
2) Prepare for the questions, “Have you found a job/internship yet?” The question is inevitable so be sure you’re ready to embrace it and turn the question into an opportunity to build a new contact! An approach to try, “Not yet, Uncle Mike but I’m constantly working on it. In fact, I’m really interested in pursuing an internship/position in Marketing. Is there someone in the Marketing department at your company that you could introduce me to?”
3) Conduct informational interviews! For the family friend or relative that you have always admired, request to schedule an informational interview to learn more about their position and inner-workings of their company. For every interview you schedule be sure to appropriately prepare!
4) Be specific! Any conversation can lead to “career-talk” and it’s wise to prepare a focused and concise response to use when you’re asked what you’d like to do. The more specific, the better as your contacts will have a clearer idea of how they can help.
5) Forget the paper work. Lugging around a briefcase of resumes isn’t the most productive use of your time this holiday season. Instead be sure to pack away some business cards for a quick contact exchange. Be sure your information is up to date and any professional web links reflect consistent information.
6) Reconnect. With all this down time it’s time to get motivated. Why not refresh your name in key contacts’ minds by sending out a card or two. Sending a card can be an easy way to wake up potential employers who may be willing to offer prospective employment opportunities.
7) Warm up. Take a moment to check in on your LinkedIn and Facebook contacts. Making an effort to stay connected during the summer is an easy way to touch base and expand your networking base.
8) Clean out your closet. First impressions are a must. With all the networking you now plan on doing, it is important to look your best. Take some time to get a haircut and new business attire. It will not only leave you looking great but feeling great too.
9) Some for me, some for you. Be tactful with your networking. Approaching people just to tell them you’re job hunting is not very “socially professional”. Be sure to do as much listening as talking (if not more listening!) as networking travels a fine line of give and take.
10) Relax! The summer season can be an important job hunting and networking opportunity but it’s also a time to be with family, friends, and loved ones so don’t overdo it. Being a dedicated professional can be hard work so don’t forget to enjoy yourself this summer!
For a student like me, I am here not only to learn about academics, but I am also here to learn American culture, and the workshop The American Mindset does just that! It is actually one of the best workshops I have ever had at Simon and I am learning a lot of interesting facts about the history of the United States, as well as Rochester for the first time. I think understanding the history of the US will help me to understand the US from social and humanistic perspectives, thus, enabling me to succeed in my B school life here and even in my future career in the US.
I really like how the workshop is conducted and that we paused several times to have some discussions about the documentary, make and understand comparisons between diverse cultures and how the culture around you influences how people think and act. I think this is very important to understand, especially when studying in another country…how can you be successful in your job search, or in a society in general, if you don’t understand the culture and the people you look to work with?
Furthermore, I love knowing more about Rochester, the city I decided to come and study in from China. It helps me make small talk and connect with the people around me when I can understand and relate to the community. For example, we all know Susan B Anthony, the building, but we don’t know that there is a long story behind that name. After Sara shared stories about our city, Rochester, in civil wars and humanitarian movement, I feel more involved with the city and proud to be studying in a land mark university of the city.
Finally, I really love going through our discussions on Characteristics of Americans! I think many people take it for granted that foreigners understand everyday American living. For example, I was shocked to learn that when Americans ask, “How are you?” it is simply a greeting and that it is not a question about my health or family and that tipping in the US is expected to be 15-20% of the bill. I ask myself, “How professional can I present myself around others if I didn’t know this information?”
I feel that understanding the American Mindset, allows us to understand the people and how to successfully communicate in a new culture and be proud to be a part of it. It allows us integrate with Americans and feel confident that we are not just visiting a culture, but becoming a part of it and that I can be successful here in Simon and in the US.
Click on the links below to view full details in LibraryThing.
Big Data Demystified by David Feinleib
Too Big To Ignore by Phil Simon
Disruptive Possibilities by Jeffrey Needham
100 Conversations for Career Success by Laura M. Labovich & Miriam Salpeter
The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing by Thomas Nagle
Power Pricing by Robert J. Dolan
These titles, and many more, can be borrowed from the Career Research Center with your UR ID card. To browse our entire collection, visit the Career Research Center on LibraryThing.
by Anu Mukund, MS Marketing ’14
Like many other rookie Simonites, reaching out to alumni can seem like a daunting task. How do you form a professional yet personal email? How many conversations should you have with said alumni before you reach out to connect on LinkedIn? What should you address them by? Mr./Ms. or by their first name? And the list goes on and on. Thankfully for us, the CMC offers so many tools and resources to answer many of these questions. Yet it can still be unnerving to commence the alumni-connection journey.
For some of us, coming across bios of inspirational alumni happens on LinkedIn or a company’s website. For me, it happed a few weeks ago when I was strolling out of The Buzz. With coffee cup in hand I walked over to my folder to check for any new grades. As I closed my folder I gazed up at the many TV screens geared at new business and stock developments and one screen dedicated to esteemed alumni. The screen was paused on an MBA alumna who had, since graduation, written many books, worked in exciting industries, and currently served as faculty in a university.
This was my first of many a-ha moments at Simon. If I reach out to this alumna, maybe we could establish a strong connection. And who knows where that could lead to? I immediately grabbed my pen and scribbled down her name and graduation year. And then I ran to class.
A few days later, I sent an email to the Buzz Alumna. I mentioned my background and, more importantly, how much I wanted to learn about her background and career path. After triple-checking my draft I sent the message and closed my laptop, hoping for the best. Days went by with no reply and I began to wonder if I had sent my email to the correct address, or maybe my message just got lost in the depths of the cyber world. Could that be possible?
While walking to class, two weeks after sending my original message to the Buzz Alumna, I decided to send a follow-up email. As I opened my phone to type down a reminder to do so, I received an email from a faculty informing me that the Buzz Alumna was coming to Simon to talk to current students about her experiences after graduating! What were the chances of this working out?
I attended Buzz Alumna’s seminar and afterwards introduced myself to her. When I mentioned I had sent her an email, she immediately assured me she had received the email and just had not been able to answer it properly yet. We exchanged contact information and made plans to connect on LinkedIn.
After meeting Buzz Alumna, I am more confident about networking with Simon Alumni. Many are often willing to meet, share, and guide us in any way to help us in our own careers, even if your initial outreach goes unanswered.–My lesson learned from this experience? Perseverance and the attitude that things will work out for the best are needed for growing and moving forward.
Every summer, Advertising Age invites the advertising and marketing community to nominate and vote for the most rewarding marketing, media or technology reads. The results are in, and we are pleased to offer several of the winning titles at Simon Career Research Center:
- How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know, by Bryan Sharp
- Brand Rituals, by Zain Raj
- The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Intimacy, by Bryan Pearson
- Sexy Little Numbers: How to Grow Your Business Using the Data You Already Have, by Dimitri Maex
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
- The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – but Some Don’t, by Nate Silver
- Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
Borrow any of these titles, and many more with your UR ID for up to two weeks.
Other books on the Ad Age list available through Rush Rhees Library:
- Marketing in the Participation Age: A Guide to Motivating People to Join, Share, Take Part, Connect, and Engage, by Ellen Johnston
- Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy, by Phil Barden
- Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, by Henry Jenkins
To see the complete list, visit The Best Marketing Book You Read This Summer on adage.com
Have you read any of these titles? Share your thoughts!
Click on the picture below to be directed to LibraryThing for more details on our new additions, or click on any of our titles to be taken directly to that book’s details on LibraryThing.
Power Pricing: How Managing Price Transforms the Bottom Line by Robert J. Dolan
These titles, and many more, can be borrowed from the Career Research Center with your UR ID card. To browse the collection, visit the Career Research Center on LibraryThing.
An informational interview is a brief meeting with someone in a profession or an organization you want to explore. An informational interview is NOT an interview for a specific position, nor is it an opportunity to ask an employer if they are hiring.
An informational interview allows you to do the following:
- Explore a specific industry, field, organization and/or position. Assess whether it’s a good fit for your skills, personality and career goals.
- If you already know the field or organization is a good fit for you, do an informational interview to network and gather more information about that field/organization.
- Observe and get a feel for different work environments.
- Connect with professionals who may have tips about future job or internship opportunities.
- Develop the social skills you’ll need in professional interactions.
Remember that you shouldn’t use informational interviews as a way to apply for a specific job or internship opening. You can ask about overall opportunities in that organization or profession, but don’t ask for a job.
1. How to Find People to Interview
People are usually very willing to talk to you. The easiest way to begin this process is to start with someone you know, or someone a friend, relative or professor knows. Below are other places to find names for interviews:
- former bosses
- professional associations
- alumni groups
2. How to Request an Informational Interview
After you’ve found someone you want to talk to, contact that person to request a brief interview. You can call, or send an email or letter. Usually you’ll ask to meet for 20 to 30 minutes. Include the below information in your initial contact:
- Your first and last name
- How you got his or her name
- A brief summary about yourself (2 or 3 sentences is plenty)
- The fact that you’re contacting the person for an informational interview
- Your phone number and email address (if you leave a message, say your name and number slowly)
Sample Phone Scripts:
IF THE INTERVIEW IS FOR CAREER EXPLORATION:
Hello Ms. Jones. My name is Jane Doe and I am an MBA candidate at the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. I received your name from Professor John Smith. I’m doing career research in the field of marketing, which I plan to pursue after graduation. I’m hoping you could meet with me for 20 or 30 minutes for an informational interview to discuss the field. If that would be possible, please let me know when that might be convenient for you. My name again is Jane Doe, and I can be reached at 585-123-4567 or email@example.com.
IF THE INTERVIEW IS TO NETWORK:
Hello Ms. Jones. My name is Jane Doe and I am an MBA candidate at the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. I am beginning my job search and I’m hoping to conduct informational interviews with professionals in the field of marketing. My goals in meeting with you would be to gain your perspectives about the field, and perhaps referrals to others in your network. If you could meet with me for 20 or 30 minutes, please let me know when that might be convenient for you. My name again is Jane Doe, and I can be reached at 585-123-4567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Tips for the Interview
- Be flexible. Work around your contact’s busy schedule when arranging a date and time to meet.
- Research the occupation/organization ahead of time – many leaders in the field of career search will say that it is appropriate to ask the interviewee what their organization does. Ideally, you will have done the research already so you can maximize your interactions with them so you can get to the information you weren’t able to find on your own.
- Dress professionally. Formal clothes aren’t necessary (like suit, tie, dress), but avoid jeans, shorts, etc.
- Arrive 5 to 10 minutes early.
- Bring a list of questions you want to ask. (Don’t forget a notebook and pen to take notes.)
- Ask for additional names of people you can contact, and ask if you can use this contact as a referral.
- Before you leave, be sure to ask for the person’s business card, so you have accurate name, title and address information.
- After the interview, send a thank-you note. Do this within 24 to 48 hours of meeting.
It may be appropriate to bring your resume to the informational interview. This is NOT to apply for a job, but in case you want to request feedback about your resume. You could also ask the person to pass it along to others if appropriate. Another option is to send your resume along with your thank-you note after the interview. (You can say something like, “I’ve included my resume in case opportunities come up in the future.”) Tailor your resume to the specific company as much as possible.
4. What to Ask at the Informational Interview
Below are a few sample questions. You’ll likely have lots of your own questions too. Be sure to think this through in advance so you know what to ask. Don’t forget to bring your list of questions with you if you prepare one.
Questions about the Organization/Company:
- What does your company look for when recruiting people?
- What other types of positions in this field are available in your company/organization?
- What does a typical career path look like in your industry?
- How has the company grown and what are its strategies for future growth?
- How would you characterize the culture of this organization and/or your department? For example, would you describe your position as closely supervised? Is this a high-pressure organization?
- What is the dress code here?
- What is turnover like in this organization? Why do you think people stay or leave?
Questions about the Field or Position:
- What background is necessary or helpful for this position?
- What are the best ways to enter this field? What are the best ways to learn about specific job openings?
- What are the most important skills or traits for a person going into this field to have?
- What are some of the current trends or changes in this field? What about challenges or controversies?
- Can you suggest professional publications and associations related to your field?
- What do you do in a typical day or week?
- Does this position go by any other titles in other organizations?
- What are typical career paths for people in this field?
- Does this type of position typically involve a lot of team projects, or do you work independently?
- How did you become interested in this field?
- What are the most satisfying aspects of your work?
- What experiences in your background have contributed to your success in this career? Would you have done anything differently?
- Can you suggest other companies where I might want to contact people?
- Can you suggest other people I might meet with to gain additional perspectives about this career, or about future job or internship opportunities?
Keep in mind that preparation is the key to success and in order to maximize the opportunity to speak with your informational interviewee, be sure to conduct enough research ahead of time on their organization and prior career path.