New Semester, New Challenge: Interviews

Monday, March 21, 2016

A warm welcome to the new semester all my virtual friends! As the days begin to grow longer and our hearts bask in the few extra hours of sunshine; we hit the books once again, rejuvenated! May be a tad bit wiser from all we learned over the last semester and the break. Along with the knowledge, we carry with us the saplings of all the networking accomplished in the previous semester. This is the time when they start bearing fruits in the form of interviews and tangible opportunities.

One of the first steps we take to prepare ourselves is to think through our STAR stories. This enables us to be in a better position for the behavioral interviews. Although most of the questions seem like something we can handle on the fly, do not be beguiled by appearances. This is our first impression at the organization we dream of joining! We need to think through our professional and personal experiences to gather the most relevant ones, which bring out our traits. The practice with Graduate Business Career Center (GBCC) coaches and second year peers really helps you a lot. This is doubly beneficial, as it boosts your confidence through practice and you also get an experienced take on your answers. We also recently had Behavioral Interview Mania, annual event organized by GBCC, wherein we were paired up with multiple second year students to practice our STAR stories and also get their valuable feedback.

As you are busy preparing your STAR stories, don't forget to keep an eye out for the reason you prepare them! During the first few weeks of the semester you will have myriad of “on campus recruiting” (OCR) internship opportunities, with various top 500 companies. Sometime you will find more than a single interview on the same day. At the same time be ready to travel across the Twin Cities or the United States for your second round interview.
With the STAR stories and applications under our belt, we move on to the next part in the rigorous process of internship interviews! Case studies...It is a common misconception that only those who mean to tread on the Consulting path have this blocker to conquer. With changing interview processes, many companies, from the marketing giants to the operations' organizations, require you to complete at least a short case. Be ready to brush up your core marketing concepts, 4Ps, 5Cs, STP. It is the time when we put our first semester learning to a good use. Though undoubtedly, for a consulting enthusiast, these will form the core of their preparations. Remember to revise all the case studies and have as many discussions with the second years as you can manage.

Most importantly, this semester will test your time management skills! Between rushing off to second round for your dream organization, keeping a check on your assignment deadlines and ensuring your network remains well is a tight rope walk! Internship preparation, academics and networking, each one of them are equally important but the right balance between the three is really difficult. At times like these, your scheduler definitely becomes your best ally! 

However, it is equally important that we don't lose ourselves in the catacombs of ambition! It is really important to relive your stress with the activity you love, I have joined in Racquetball. We need to remember to keep some time to do what makes you the superb person you are, the things that make you smile, people that stand by you and crucially, ...for yourself! On that note, I would like to sign off this time. Have a healthy and gainful semester!