Winter break didn’t only mark the transition from first semester classes to second semester classes; it also meant a major shift in focus for myself and many of my first-year MBA classmates. For much of my first semester, my time was mostly devoted to a heavy dose of coursework with some internship research and exploration sprinkled in there when I had time. But as the calendar switched to 2014, my attention quickly shifted to my search for summer employment.
With application deadlines now staring me right in the face, the pressure to find a job definitely turned up a notch in January. Luckily, at Smith we get a nice 3-week break to handle the onslaught of resumes, cover letters, behavioral interviews, case interviews and other fun activities that come along with the internship search process.
One of the most frustrating parts about the search is that it often feels like so much of an employer’s decision-making process is completely out of your hands. While this is of course true to a certain extent, one of the most important things that I learned over break – as obvious as it may seem – is just how much you can improve the way you present yourself to companies through practice and repetition. Whether this applies to writing cover letters, doing mock interviews, or networking, I was actually able to see marked improvement in my performance through regular practice over these last few weeks. This obviously isn’t an earth-shattering revelation, but for whatever reason it took a few weeks without the normal distractions for this to truly sink in with me. Now I just have to hope that it pays off when it counts and we’ll find out soon enough.