October 17, 2014

Despair not! Tips for your summer internship search

Kara Oldford, MBA '15

Kara Oldford is a second-year MBA student who plans to graduate in the spring of 2015. She currently holds an internship position at Lubrizol Corporation.

It is no secret that one of the biggest goals of the first year of your MBA program is to land an internship that will hopefully lead to a full-time position. Before your pre-MBA summer even ends, the seed has already been planted to be on the lookout for that coveted summer internship. Although it may seem premature, it certainly pays off to begin the search sooner rather than later!

I started my internship search process thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I quickly learned that a job might not be tailored exactly to what I had in mind. Even though I started looking in August, I learned that I was already behind for a lot of the bigger companies who were finishing up first rounds of interviews. Fast forward to November and it seemed that all of the marketing internships in the entire country were already filled, but that was far from the truth!

Despite the internship search being a trying and often frustrating process, there were a lot of resources to help me out along the way. One of the best things I did was reach out to alumni to learn about their current positions and their past internships and how they landed either one. It helped to give me a better idea of where other Weatherhead MBA graduates ended up.

The biggest help for me was definitely the Weatherhead Career Fair and the CWRU Career Fair. Although career fairs can be overwhelming, I scored three job offers from connections that stemmed at these career fairs. However, it took more than just showing up to make it happen! I spent more hours than I would like to admit scouring the web for posted positions within companies that would be attending the fairs. I prioritized those companies, but I also wanted to be sure I spoke to other businesses I was interested in despite their current postings. My spring semester internship was the result of a conversation from the Weatherhead Fall Career Fair, and I knew very little about the company or any job prospect before then. I received the initial call for what would become my summer internship after my resume was passed along through a connection made at the Weatherhead Spring Career Fair.

There are certainly some things I wish I had known at the beginning of the search that I had to learn for myself. Even though it seemed that all of the jobs were taken by November, the truth was that many Cleveland companies didn't start interviewing until March. I wasted countless hours scouring job search boards where I received very few responses to submitted resumes. While I found it was important to be aware of the current job postings, my time was definitely best spent connecting with alumni.

Looking back at the internship search journey, I can remember the feelings of despair, excitement and relief when it was over. Although the process took seven months, I was able to secure my ideal summer marketing internship with Lubrizol Corporationand I'm still there!

October 10, 2014

My internship journey

With the semester in full swing, we share with you the journey of current student Jagadish Kumar Ananda Murthy, MBA '15, from Bangalore, India, as he navigates the world of internship searching with the help of Weatherhead's Career Management Office.

I came to the U.S. for higher education to gain a holistic perspective over the business world, acquire
Jagadish Kumar Ananda Murthy, MBA'15
new skills and knowledge, and build a strong professional network. Since day one of my MBA program at Weatherhead, starting with orientation, I heard a lot of conversations about job opportunities, the Cleveland business market, networking, etc., all aimed at securing a bright future, for which an internship in a reputed firm in the field of your interest, was the key. Fortunately, I realized this very early into the first semester and started networking actively through LinkedIn and other avenues provided by the Career Management Office (CMO), such as City Treks to Chicago and New York, Coffee Connections program and mock interviews, to name a few. 

Before I started my internship search, I took some time to decide on what I actually want to do post-MBA and where I would like to see myself five years down the line. This helped me to narrow my options and target specific opportunities/contacts, which saved me a lot of time and effort. Considering my hectic coursework, this was very crucial. Once I was clear that I wanted to leverage my three years of consulting experience with Deloitte, I started to network with professionals from the consulting fraternity—alumni , former colleagues, LinkedIn contacts and others. Though it was easy to connect with various professionals, it was very hard to maintain those contacts and convert them into useful relationships and eventually into job referrals. I concentrated hard on this and treated my internship search as an additional course in my MBA program, thereby dedicating time for it regularly.

My first offer came through CMO’s Coffee Connections program. My advisor was Rohit Reddy, director at AIG, New York. After a couple of interactions, he offered to assist with my internship search. Though he wasn’t aware of any opportunities available in his company, based on my interests, he connected me to his client EXL Services, a technology consulting firm in New York. I managed to convert this referral into an offer after a few rounds of interviews in November 2013. Though the offer was not promising, it gave me immense confidence in approaching new contacts and facing interviews to come.

I met Mark Wipper, a senior official from Kelvin Smith Library, during a city trek in Chicago. This was a very casual encounter but proved to be an important factor in my overall success. Upon constant follow-ups, Mark introduced me to several of his contacts on LinkedIn and almost all of them were in a very high position in their careers. Initially it was intimidating to start a conversation with such contacts but once I spoke with a few of them, my confidence sky rocketed and from then on, I was not hesitant in approaching senior professionals—a very important factor in performing well in the interviews.
My second offer was from Briteskies, a local consulting firm present at the Weatherhead Career fair. After some interviews I got an offer for the position of business analyst. All along, I was mentored by alumni Amogh Garg, Vaibhav Pawar and Akshay Altekar (MBA 2012), Bhargab Banerjee (MBA 2013), Jathin Shetty and many others form the MBA class of 2014. They constantly motivated me, helped me in making critical decisions and ensure I was heading in the right direction. This also helped in keeping me up to date on happenings in the business world.

Bhargab referred me for an interview with PwC, New York, in its ARCA practice. This was a dream opportunity for me as it was one of my target companies and I wanted to make the most out of it. I spoke with a couple of individuals working in this team and learned a lot about the practice in general, which helped me better prepare for my interview. After a telephonic interview, I was invited to the New York office for the final three rounds of interviews. I was able to perform well in the interviews and I got an offer that day, which was a pleasant surprise.

Through my former manager, Yasim Kolathayil, I got an opportunity to interview with Deloitte, but I wasn’t successful in the final interview, which was very disappointing as it was an ideal role for me and it would have been much easier to go back to the firm I came from. I learned a lot from this failure and concentrated on my next interview with Ernst & Young (EY). With experience and confidence gained thus far, I was best prepared for this interview and felt it was one of the easiest among all. This position offered me all I was looking for in an internship and I immediately accepted the offer, which brought my internship search to an end.

During my internship at EY, I had the wonderful opportunity to work for a major automobile company based out of Atlanta, Georgia. I efficiently managed assets worth $10 million and helped reduce taxes by adopting appropriate tax depreciation strategies. I was able to quickly adapt within the team, managed a long standing project and completed it successfully, which was critical in gaining the trust of the client and retaining their business. Two months of persistent efforts paid off as I was offered a full-time position to join post-MBA and selected to represent the team at EY’s International Interns Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida.

A few things I learned during this journey were:
  • Start your internship search early. Getting an internship you desire is a result of constant effort toward your goal.
  • Discover your strengths/weaknesses and work on them throughout.
  • While networking, do not under-estimate any contact; every individual could have something in them that you may benefit from.
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up! Developing meaningful relationships is more important than building your contacts.
  • Applying through a referral is a million times better than applying online.
  • Use resources available—CMO Library and other CMO resources, workshops, mock interviews, Coffee Connections , Employer Information SessionsCareer Fairs and other events
  •  Do not pigeonhole yourself—be on the lookout for multiple sources/opportunities.
  • Once you have an interview lined up, do the best you can to learn more about the position and the firm, talk to professionals in that industry, read related articles and better prepare.
Overall, I had a very satisfactory internship search, with four offers in as many months—two from Big4 consulting firms and two from local technology consulting firms—a perfect end to my first MBA year at Weatherhead. Very special thanks to Meenakshi Sharma, Deborah Bibb, Radhika Ramamurthi, Albert DiFranco, Roderick Ingram, Simon Peck, Michele Murphy and many others for constant support throughout my journey at Weatherhead. 

April 24, 2014

Cleveland Magazine's Silver Spoon Awards

‘Tis the season for Cleveland Magazine's Silver Spoon Awards: “The May issue of Cleveland Magazine presents Northeast Ohio’s “Best Restaurants” with the Silver Spoon Award in a variety of categories.” What a great excuse to write about one of my favorite topics: food!  Not just food for fuel of course – food for fun and for the experience of it.  While the Silver Spoon Awards comprise the whole Greater Cleveland area, I thought I’d start us out in University Circle.  There are so many fantastic places right here to dine, eat, nosh, or however you want to call it.  The weather is breaking into spring, and my hope is that this post will give you some food for thought on where you should head next.

Here would be my University Circle categories and nominees:

Best Casual:
Patio of L'Albatros Brasserie
Falafel Café – This diner-like restaurant serves an array of flavorful Middle Eastern dishes, and American options as well.  I recommend the Taste of the Middle East and a piece of baklava and Turkish coffee for dessert.

Best Fine Dining:
L’Albatros – This brasserie has classy décor, gourmet French dishes, stellar service, fine wine and a grand cheese selection.  Need I say more?

Best à la Carte:
Provenance Café in the Museum of Art – From piping hot mac’n cheese to made-to-order salads, this café’s open kitchen serves a locally sourced, seasonal menu.

Best view:
Provenance Café in the Museum of Art – The bright, open Atrium has grandeur not unlike Severance Hall.  The space feels both indoor and outdoor and, situated in the museum, it draws a diverse crowd.

Best patio:
Dessert at Coquette Patisserie
l’Albatros – Their secluded courtyard is full of sunshine and greenery.
The Jolly Scholar – Their patio is a casual oasis that is synonymous with summertime.

Best dessert:
Mitchell’s Ice Cream – It’s my favorite ice cream, and I recently discovered that slightly melted vegan chocolate ‘ice cream’ tastes remarkably like chocolate mousse.

Coquette Patisserie – Their beautiful pastries are as delightful to look at as they are to eat.  The macarons are something special, whether for breakfast, an afternoon pick-me-up or a light dessert.  They also make a great gift.