Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The First-Semester MBA Internship Hunt

After months of preparation beginning well before classes even started, I was determined and ready to land a brand management internship at the upcoming National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Conference in Philadelphia. I wasn’t 100% sold on marketing or brand management, but I knew that this conference was my best opportunity to get a foot in that door. While I didn’t have much success with the pre-scheduled interviews, I was confident that I could secure at least one on the career fair floor.

On the first day of the conference, I worked my way through my list of target companies doing my best to pitch myself as a competent, emerging Brand Manager. On several occasions I was close to earning a spot on the interview schedule, but my non-marketing background seemed to be a major turnoff to most employers. With a background in supply chain management, I realized attempting to transition into a marketing-focused career would be difficult, and corporate recruiters seemed to agree. I made one final stop at the Relish Careers booth to learn more about their MBA job search platform then headed back to my hotel. After a disappointing first day, I spent the evening thinking long and hard about my future career path.
The author reflects on his internship search.

The next day I woke up early and adjusted my resume to emphasize my two years of logistics experience. I realized I could offer a company much more in a supply chain role than in a marketing role, so I adjusted my “sales pitch.” This turned out to be a good idea as I was able to secure an interview spot for a supply chain internship with the very first company representative I talked to. While I didn’t get an internship offer from the event, I knew the right opportunity would come.

Following the conference, I checked the Relish Careers website every day for new internship postings. One day, I noticed an Inventory Planning Supply Chain Internship opening with Lowe’s that seemed right up my alley, so I applied. The next day I was contacted by a Lowe’s recruiter who wanted to set up a phone interview. This led to another interview which led to the internship offer I was anxiously waiting for.

The recruiting process is stressful. It takes a lot of work, and you don’t always see the benefits right away. My biggest pieces of advice to future MBA students are to be flexible and be patient. If an employer thinks you would be better in a supply chain role instead of a marketing role, why not try it out? An internship is just 10-13 weeks, and you may just fall in love with the work you end up doing. It’s also important to be patient. If you don’t get an internship offer at the NBMBAA Conference, don’t stress. The Georgia MBA program has a 100% internship placement rate, so the Career Management Center does a great job of pointing students in the right direction. Just build up your resume, fine-tune your interview and “pitching” skills, and check the Relish Careers website every day.

By Nick Banister, Georgia MBA Candidate Class of 2019

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

New MBA Advisory Board

This Thanksgiving week, we pause to give thanks to the many collaborators who contribute to the Georgia MBA brand: our hard-working students and alumni, our loyal corporate recruiters, community partners in Athens and beyond, and the newest of this bunch, our MBA Advisory Board. The MBA Advisory Board is a group of MBA alumni and employers plus selected Terry faculty teaching in the Full-Time MBA Program and members of the Full-Time MBA staff; it’s rare to see such a dedicated, diligent group of volunteers.

The MBA Advisory Board is formally charged with making recommendations to the MBA Committee of the Terry Alumni Board. In its first year, the MBA Advisory Board met twice in Athens, once at our Buckhead campus in Atlanta, and worked as four separate committees throughout the academic year to make recommendations on the most popular MBA concentrations: Marketing, Analytics, Operations, and Finance. The first year of the MBA Advisory Board culminated in a presentation to the Dean and other Terry administrators to make recommendations for curricular enhancements to these concentrations – to ensure that our curricula align with the needs of the marketplace.

In its second year, the Advisory Board is tasked with recommendations on the Full-Time MBA core curriculum. The goal is for the core curriculum to provide a more integrated learning experience so that graduates have the optimal knowledge and skills to apply their MBA experience to current-day business situations. The three committees this year include More Integrated Thinking, More Advanced Business Software Skills, and More Interpersonal Effectiveness.

In addition to suggested curricular enhancements – many of which have already been implemented – the Advisory Board has helped expand our corporate outreach, and all workshops in our new Friday Features series have been sourced from the Advisory Board.

Our faculty, staff, and facilities are among the best in the country, but our MBA Advisory Board is at work to make a great product – the Georgia MBA – even better!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

National Black MBA Association Conference 2017 in Philadelphia

This was my first time attending the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Conference, and it was a whirlwind. I started preparing in the summer before first-year MBA orientation after speaking with the Career Management Center (CMC) staff, who advised that I attend and put a lot of time and energy into applying for internships well in advance of the actual career expo. Starting in July, I checked the NBMBAA job board each day to find the right internship opportunities, and I continued to refine my resume. Multiple times I scoured the whole NBMBAA job board, which often had over 1500 jobs posted at one time!

The author after his interview at NextEra Energy.
The hard work and deliberate planning paid off. By applying so early in the process, I had seven interviews and three company social events lined up before NBMBAA even began. A lot of the CMC programming in August and September is focused on winning job interviews on the floor in the first two hours of the career expo. The career expo floor is a bit of a circus, as there are over 200 companies there who evaluate your potential fit in a matter of seconds. The CMC prepared us for the chaos with mock interviews and pitch practice – too many times to count – and if you present yourself clearly and confidently there is plenty of opportunity to land an interview on the floor. While I did land an additional interview on the floor, I’m glad I did most of the work up front.

The most difficult part about the whole experience is balancing classes with the applications, interviews, company social events, and company research; having to learn about different industries and prepare for interviews in a variety of roles/industries presented its own set of challenges. Overall, I think the NBMBAA experience was very worth it – and I think my classmates agree. Multiple classmates received job offers from the NBMBAA career expo.
As Bernard notes, the expo floor is a bit chaotic.

I also participated in the NBMBAA Case Competition, which overlapped with the career expo. My team – which included three other Georgia MBAs – didn’t place, but I anticipate a stronger showing next year now that we know what to expect.

My main advice for students new to the NBMBAA experience would be to prioritize your time and be deliberate in applying, prioritize your time at expo itself, and prioritize your social events by which companies you would actually like to work for. To make my time in Philadelphia most effective, I mapped out the companies on the floor, planned my wardrobe and packed my suitcase well in advance, and prepared thoroughly. I’m proud to say that because of the hard work that I put into preparing for NBMBAA, I have many great options for an internship this summer that will take my career to the next level. One leading financial firm created an M&A role for me, and they’ve never had an intern in that group before. So my final advice is to talk to companies that you’re interested in, even if the advertised roles aren’t quite what you’re looking for. If you impress your target companies, they may even create a position for you to attract good talent!

By Bernard Saunders, Georgia MBA Candidate Class of 2019

[Editor’s note: Every year, a large portion of our MBA student population attends the career expo put on by the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA); in 2017, Philadelphia was the host city and this was an even larger event than in previous years since NBMBAA combined forces with Prospanica. In most years, Prospanica and NBMBAA are the two largest national MBA career fairs. While there is a focus on recruiting diverse talent at these two events, any of our MBA students are eligible and encouraged to attend NBMBAA and/or Prospanica. There are other population-specific MBA Career Fairs, including the Asian MBA Career Expo, National Association of Women MBAs Conference, MBA Veterans Career Conference, and Reaching Out MBA Conference (ROMBA). This year, we had 74 Full-Time MBAs and 24 Professional MBAs attend. In 2018, NBMBAA will be in Detroit and Prospanica will be in Milwaukee.]