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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