November 19, 2010

Networking, Networking, Networking

Post by:
Ajay Mehta
MBA 2011

How to network is one of the many tools that you learn and perfect as a MBA. It starts when you get to campus and start practicing your elevator pitch within the first week. The career center helps you reach out to alumni/companies that you are interested in and learn about prospective careers where you have to use your pitch to strike up conversation and get your foot in the door.

Networking can be a complicated procedure in some cases, especially as a second year. You’re getting all these names of people that could possibly put you in your dream job, but you have to balance ‘using’ someone, to not being desperate and straight up asking for a job. It’s a fine line to walk but can be extremely rewarding if you play your cards right. Not only can you meet some good people with interesting backgrounds, but being a student allows you to really ask someone what they think about their career. You can gather honest answers about companies, job titles, and corporate culture which are invaluable when it comes molding your own career.

This is a skill the school helps you build with various seminars and practice with your peers. In some cases, tactics that my classmates were using proved to be extremely helpful for me, or the advice I received from practicing with professors and counselors. As a second year I’m realizing that this is a crucial aspect to finding the job I truly want which is the primary goal of pursuing a MBA. Most jobs are found by using your personal network which at BU, is constantly growing. At times, networking feels like more effort that its worth, but in the end it’s a rewarding experience and something you will continue to do throughout your personal and professional careers.

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November 14, 2010


Post by:
Juan J Estrada
International MBA 2011

The semester has been advancing at a quick pace. All of a sudden we are almost a month away from the end. The long term tiredness starts to kick in, that feeling of fatigue that doesn’t go away completely after a weekend of rest.

Times continue to be exciting, however. I attended the NSHMBA conference in Chicago two weeks ago and it was a great experience. At the beginning I felt like just another bee in a swarm desperate for a job. As the conference evolved though, I came to realize how crucial it was to focus my effort. At the beginning I made the mistake of inquiring at a consulting firm’s booth without really having done thorough research on the company. I have close friends who have been at this firm for a couple of years. I thought I would give it a shot with what I knew from them about the firm, but it was certainly not enough to get me past the inquiry. There were dozens of people in the lines for this and other consulting firms and I had not even trained myself for case interviews. I realized I wasn’t ready for the consulting firms, but I could in any case focus on life sciences and healthcare companies. I had done research on a couple of them and my background in medical devices could really call their attention.

Most of healthcare and life sciences companies had booths only for marketing and finance, interesting fields but not where I could play my best cards. I found a healthcare company that had a line for project management and I decided to go for it. I found out by talking to them that they sponsor international students, something fairly uncommon among the companies attending the conference.

In the project management line I talked to a manager called Erin. She works in projects related to insurances and reimbursements, and since I am interested in technology, she told to come back at a later time so I could meet someone who worked in the field of my interest. I went back a couple hours later and met Matt, a manager of Innovations and Information Technology. He introduced me to one of the VPs of the company, responsible for human resources, who liked my resume and invited me to party with the company that night and to an interview the next morning. That night at the party I met as many employees and managers as I could. My interview the next morning went well, I got the contacts of the people I met in LinkedIn agreed to apply to any position I thought fitted me. I just turned in my application a few days ago and am currently waiting to hear back.

The rest of the conference went well; my attitude changed after that first reward and felt much more confident talking to recruiters. The healthcare company reminded me the differential value I have to offer, what changed the feeling of being one more of the bunch. I realized how much of a difference it makes to target efforts at what best fits you as a candidate and how crucial it is to have a confident attitude. I talked again to the consulting firm and got a clear picture of the recruitment process, sold my skills, and met several recruiters. I ended up leaving the conference with a good taste in my mouth.

About the author:

Juan is a first year International MBA student. Before coming to BU he worked coordinating a project on the development of a medical device in Madrid, Spain. Through this European Commission sponsored project, Juan had the opportunity to inmerse in a variety of European cultures both in professional/organizational and in social terms. Prior to his experience, Juan had obtained a Biomedical Engineering bachelors at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. Having grown up in Colombia, Juan enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with tropical ingredients, dancing -specially latin music- and keeping up with the news and what is going on in the world.

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November 7, 2010

Reflections: Year 2, going by quickly

Post by:
Lauren Abrahams
MS-MBA 2011
Public & Nonprofit Management
MBA Council, PNP Club, Net Impact

Tomorrow at 7am I will click on the “register” button and sign-up for Spring 2011 classes. It’s hard to believe that these are the last classes I will take at BU. It’s my last chance to take a class that will round out my resume, or to finally sign-up for that class that everyone says you can’t leave BU without taking. I didn’t think it would be this difficult, but how do I choose between a class that seems practical for my career aspirations and one that sounds incredibly intriguing, but is not quite career-related? And then, of course, is the secret (or not so secret) dream of every second-year: to only have class three (or two!) days a week so that we have time to “work” and “search for jobs.”

All of this class planning has made me think about each day, each MBA event, each dinner with friends a bit differently than I had been. All of the sudden I find myself walking down the street thinking “this is the last Nov. 1 that I will spend in Boston” or “this is the last MBA Halloween Party that I will attend.” It feels sort of silly since, until this past week, I’d only lived through one Nov. 1 in Boston and attended one MBA Halloween Party—it’s not like I have a huge history to reflect on. But I think it captures the essence of what the BU MBA program is like.

We all uproot and move to Boston (and even if you already live here, your daily life changes so much I imagine that it’s kind of like uprooting…) and are thrown into a whirlwind of classes, networking, info sessions, and new friends. By the time the second-year rolls around, things become “normal”—you ‘re back in the swing of classroom learning, networking becomes a bit less awkward, you realize that you don’t have to attend every info session, and friends become family. And just as that happens, you start looking ahead to life post-BU degree and you start to feel things tugging at your roots again.

I’ve decided, though, that even with a move back to California, a new place to live and a new job (fingers crossed!) looming ahead of me, I won’t lose sight of what’s right in front of me now: three more East Coast seasons and a lot of time to spend with friends. And these last classes that I’ve spent so much time agonizing over, of course.

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