[Post by John Whitmer, 2011 MBA Candidate]
While attending the BU Admitted Students’ Weekend event last March, there was a definite theme among the questions being posed by incoming students to the current first year MBAs. The topic of choice was of course, “So, how’s the job market this year?” The respondents did their best to evoke optimism, but reading between the lines uncovered thoughts of doubt, concern and uncertainty about their plans for the upcoming summer. Those of us who chose to ignore the warning signs in favor of higher education would be doing so with the knowledge that we were entering a potentially abysmal job market. One thing was certain: the market for internships between our first and second years would not be “business-as-usual”. Employers might not be knocking down our doors with 3, 4 or 5 offers apiece, and, we just might have to (gasp!) put in a little effort to find that killer internship.
Most people attending that event, myself included, did make the difficult decision to voluntarily leave gainful employment to pursue an MBA. I would like to say that my co-workers, friends and family were completely on board with my plan. Aside from my wife, who has been my rock and guiding light throughout this process, most reacted to my news with confusion and disbelief, followed by supportive comments like, “Good luck, you’ll need it.”
These reactions were actually productive in the sense that they motivated me to come in to this program from day 1 ready to pound the pavement. A real strength of the Boston University MBA program is its Career Center. The career councilors are armed with decades of knowledge across varying industries and are passionate about helping you find work that is the right fit for you. The resources are there, but it is up to you to take advantage of them. They are not going to take you by the hand and drag you through the job search process, nor should they have to, but if you make yourself and your interests known to them early on and utilize their extensive services, you can in fact find success in a down market.
Through networking with BU alums who work at my target companies, maintaining constant contact with our career center and endlessly practicing the interview techniques they provided, I am happy to report that I was able to land my top choice internship for the upcoming summer! It wasn’t easy, but it really shouldn’t be, should it? I don’t know a single member of my class who is here because he or she has taken the path of least resistance. Maybe past classes had it too good, I don’t know, but what I can say for sure is that the pendulum has swung completely in the other direction and we are now required to make our own luck. Take it from me, it can be done, and I am not alone! In just the last week, a number of my classmates have received offers from top companies with highly sought-after internship programs. BU is representing well so far and I am confident that by giving that extra bit of effort we are known for, we will continue our early success.