Archive for May, 2009

Summer job(s), here I come!

May 25th, 2009 by under General. No Comments.

I just realized how gloomy my last post was. Never mind. As I said, there had to be good news round the corner. Just as I was about to lose all hope, I got the opportunity, or opportunities as I am about to tell; opportunities that not only brought my faith back but also put me back on track and in the race.

The Office of Career Services at our school organized an Internship Networking Mixer, where recruiters from startups, some small-medium businesses and even some large firms visited on campus. I met some of the employers and made some very good contacts.

One of the startups, a Biotech firm based out of Gaithersburg, invited me for an interview. The firm, Human BioSciences, Inc., already had operations in the U.S. and was setting up additional manufacturing facilities in India for a major contract. I was able to develop a good relationship with one of the recruiters and cracked the interview, and joined the firm the following week. The position was unpaid, but the travel and food expenses were covered. I took it up without a second thought knowing that the experience of working in a start-up would be invaluable, especially because I would get the opportunity to work on multiple domains and on high-impact high-visibility projects and in addition, the Bio tech domain in itself would add a new dimension to my profile.

As this position was unpaid, I wanted to get a part time opportunity to take care of my expenses. As I had mentioned in my previous post that some schools were considering creating on-campus opportunities for its students, our school announced multiple positions, all paid, and in numerous departments. The internships were all interesting, and I guess I could not have imagined having that many exciting opportunities and right in our backyard. The positions were in the Office of Marketing Communications, Department of Management and Organization, Office of Career Services, Department of Supply Chain and Operations, Center for Financial Policy, and some more. All the projects were equally enticing. I applied for and accepted an internship with the Department of External Strategy at the Office of Marketing Communications, where an intern was required to develop a Web-Analytic dashboard to measure and track the marketing initiatives of the school and on a separate project, benchmark other top schools and develop a competitive branding strategy based on the analysis.

I started working on these two engagements totaling to 40 hours a week. My luck continued to shine. There was another opportunity on campus that I was very interested in and had interviewed for but had not heard back since long. This was a research project with a renowned professor of Strategy at the Smith School, Dr. Rhonda Reger, and involved evaluating the economic viability of leveraging Wind Energy in the United States. Renewable energy is something that I have always been interested in working on, and I knew this opportunity would expose me to the industry and prove invaluable to my experience as well. I was already working for 40 hours/week, but I did not want to lose this opportunity, so I requested to get the time commitment limited to an additional 15 hours a week. The request got through. I know, it sounds tough as this would mean working almost 7 days a week, but the project provided the flexibility to work from home and I just HAD to do it.

This was now a challenge I set for myself and it was bound to be an amazing learning experience. The three engagements were in entirely different domains. I had no experience in either of them. The projects involved tight deadlines, as I had to complete them over the summer. I was definitely in for some fun times. The learning never stops!

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A summer without an Internship?

May 15th, 2009 by under General. No Comments.

Our exams are over, and our summer vacations are about to begin. The first year of my MBA is now officially over and I have become very concerned about getting an internship. The market seems to be in no mood to recuperate soon and schools across the U.S. are concerned about the students’ not being able to land jobs. In fact, recent articles in the media state that given the huge job losses, many of the alumni have also started getting in touch with their Alma mater seeking help in getting jobs. It sure is getting worse by the day.

The impact of the financial crises on summer jobs has been unprecedented, and initially people were of the opinion that the number of summer internships may even increase, as firms would look for people to get the work done, without having to commit to obligations typically associated with permanent positions. However, all the predictions are coming to naught.

A recent article in Business Week mentioned that more than half of the first year MBA students still do not have summer jobs in many of the top schools. Students have been taking up whatever they can get their hands on – an unpaid opportunity, or some work they would never have considered before. The job scene is tougher for International students, and many, if not most, in many of the schools have decided to head back to their home countries for the summer. There have been very few paid and some unpaid opportunities, mostly in start ups and non-profits, which given a good job market would not even have expected to have MBA’s working for them, but now there is a fierce competition even for those few positions. There have also been ideas floating about in some schools to launch initiatives to provide some opportunities on campus to help the students in this time of crisis.

The summer is around the corner, and nothing seems to be working for me. It is even more frustrating; as it is not that I have not been able to convert the interviews, but that there have been no interviews at all. I did not intend to go back to India for the summer, as I wanted to gain some experience in the U.S. and leverage the knowledge and skills I had gained over the year in school, and I am starting to doubt my decision now.

My MBA dream appears to be losing its shine l but I do hope, in fact, I feel that something will definitely work out, at the last moment maybe, but something good will happen.

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