As the first snows of January begin to fall and the full-time MBA students return from their winter break adventures, the Center for Brand and Product Management starts preparing for on-campus interviews with top companies from around the country in hopes of securing our summer internships. We’ve spent the last semester meeting with career services to strengthen our resumes, training with second years to perfect our STAR stories, and going to information sessions with companies like Kimberly Clark, Proctor & Gamble and Intuit. The time has come to put our skills to the test when a dozen companies come to campus for a gauntlet of interviews.
Over the course of a week and a half, I interviewed nearly every day with companies in the CPG, tech, food, and med-tech industries. Never have I had so many top companies interview me in such a short time frame. My locker was packed with my suit and spare blouses, extra padfolios and information on each company. I spent my free time researching company values and industry trends, searching LinkedIn for information on my interviewers, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Each day was at least one, if not two or more interviews. Some companies had call back interviews the next day, some made offers on the spot, and others would get back to us in a week or more.
On its own, on-campus recruiting is a grind. Add in 4-5 new classes with 2-3 hours of homework a night, deliverables, and my project assistantship and I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep for a span of 2 weeks. I missed as many classes as I attended, but I could count on my classmates and core team to keep me up to date on notes or help me through my economics homework. As the gauntlet begins, everyone is nervous and tense, but as the week wears on we lean on each other more than ever, sharing interview questions and comparing company notes. We laugh about our mistakes and cheer as the first of the offers start to roll out. I expected it to be competitive between my classmates and me, but it’s much more of a team dynamic. We are genuinely happy for each other as offers are extended. The second years buy us lunch or coffee and encourage us to keep going.
All in all, I completed 14 interviews in ten days and received four offers from some of the most recognized companies in brand and product management. I never expected to have exposure to this level of companies, let alone have to consider competing offers. Now that on campus recruiting is over, I’m faced with an even bigger challenge: choosing which of these incredible companies I want to learn from this summer.