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. 

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