If you think the search for the perfect career starts in the last year of your degree plan, you couldn’t be more wrong.
The early bird gets the worm, and the early #UHBauer student gets the internship, the connections and eventually, the dream job. Resources like career counseling from the college’s Rockwell Career Center, along with networking events from student orgs and specialty programs, are designed to connect students to employers.
#UHBauer Social Team member Laiba Khan, a MIS sophomore, helped us with today’s blog post that highlights three #UHBauer students getting an early start on career prep.
MIS and Accounting Sophomore
Audit Analytics Co-op Intern, Spring 2019
I started/decided to recruit with this company beginning Fall 2018. After applying and being interviewed, I was contacted about my offer about four weeks later. My interview was mostly comprised of behavioral questions and some technical question on accounting basics.I think that something that helps make you stand out is what you do with what you learn at school. Especially with Exxon, they like to see students take initiative. Ask yourself, “What can I do to take what you learn outside the parameters of class and the coursework?”
I had started to learn to code Python and created a GitHub with small projects. Even if it’s small, I think it shows a lot about your passion for your studying. I wish I would’ve known that reaching out to people is completely acceptable and is not being creepy and is in fact quite impressive. I feel like I was always awkward reaching out to people for coffee or lunch to talk about their jobs, or if you have any specific questions about their career. I think I was always scared that I would be wasting the professional’s time by not having anything steadfast to discuss. But I learned that it’s a very good way to not only network, but understand what working in that company or even profession looks like, so you can make better informed decisions about your own career.
Something that was really helpful was realizing that it’s important for people to see you time and time again. So, make sure to meet the employees every time they’re on campus, and that way they know how interested you really are. Another very important item is to reflect on your experiences. Leadership opportunities, leadership conferences, internships, co-ops are all great, but if you are not taking time to reflect on them, they don’t contribute much. After every conference or internship, think about what you liked, didn’t like, or what kind of work did you do, how was the culture, etc. Reflecting is going to help you understand what you’re looking for in your career!
Also, just relax and realize that there is no formula for recruiting, it’s not a cookie-cutter process, and it will be different for everyone!I was on a dance team for the first year of my college career, and I love talking about it, one, because I absolutely love dancing and can talk forever about that, and two, because it is a great experience to elaborate on teamwork. Typically, when we are asked questions about working in a team, we tend to resort to group projects (which is still a great example), but this is just something different.
Accounting and Finance Freshman
MassMutual Texas Gulf Coast
Intern, Summer 2019
Directly following my completion of final exams in May, my internship will begin. So, in the days following the end of my spring semester, I will sign a 120-day contract to officially begin my internship. The role will consist of shadowing a Managing Associate, Antonio Acosta, learning the ins and outs of financial planning, as well as sales.
My process was actually quite unique. I first met the recruiting director and the managing associate at a Bauer Honors Career Mixer on October 5, 2018, and then a second time on October 24. At that second meeting after networking with Antonio for around 10 minutes and expressing interest in an opportunity with MassMutual, he put his number in my phone and the next morning sent me a text inviting me to the office on October 29. I immediately began going through all the usual interview prep steps. It went amazing and then a little under three months later, I received my official offer from the company. Of course, I tried my best to keep in contact with Antonio at least every two weeks. In my first interview I was asked only three questions. Why I am interested in an internship with MassMutual? What would I bring to the company? And, if I have any questions for him. Keep in mind at this point, Antonio and I have already built a solid relationship, so he already knew my personality pretty well. However, after those three questions I had to fill the rest of the hour with my own questions — an experience I was not entirely prepared for but something I was able to do fairly well in.
I found that admitting that I am a freshman that has no experience in the role I was interviewing for and gladly offering to shadow instead of seeking an independent role with little guidance was extremely beneficial. My manager found me as a young, passionate student with a lot of potential and being able to humble myself was a major key to securing the offer.
I wish I networked with other members of the company. Currently I know about five others when there are so many others I could have met and connected with. Earlier I mentioned humbling yourself during your recruitment process, however, I would highly recommend finding a way to exude passion and confidence. If you are not used to doing that definitely start to practice. Of course, don’t go over the top with the passion as it has to be genuine and organic, and the same goes for confidence.
Tax Intern, Summer 2020
I first applied to the PwC Explore day, which is essentially a company visit where you get to explore how you would fit in with the culture. About a week later, I was contacted by the recruiter who sent me several different opportunities that I was eligible for. I applied in late February 2019 through their website.
I heard back about an interview in early March and received my offer during Spring Break. The night before the interview, we had a pre-interview dinner. This was essentially a time to get to know your interviewers and network with current interns and associates. Unfortunately, neither of my interviewers were at dinner. If they were, this would have been the best time to make a good impression and break the ice. Just remember to be friendly and be genuine.
The actual interview consisted of two back-to-back 30-minute interviews. Both of mine were very conversational with a couple of behavioral questions thrown in. I think the best thing to do is to remember that the interview is a conversation. It’s really hard to remember because of course, you’re so stressed about doing well, but I really think it makes all the difference. For example, while my interviewer was talking about his career, he mentioned how he traveled during his first big project. I asked him about the cities he had traveled to and we ended up having a mini-conversation about a city we had both been too. Even though this didn’t really pertain to the interview, I think it helped establish a personal connection that could be built upon.
Another thing that I think consistently makes me stand out in an interview process is that I am doing a minor in Phronesis (politics and ethics). I chose this minor because I genuinely love the topic and classes. In every interview, I people have asked me about it. That is not to say that I believe everyone needs a minor. I think what makes it stand out is that it’s something different and something I am truly passionate about. So, when interviewers ask me about it, they see that although I love business, I also take time to further my passions.
I think one thing that I wish I had done differently was to practice more beforehand. As silly as that sounds, I now know that it was something that was necessary for me personally. I didn’t want to practice beforehand because I didn’t want to sound rehearsed, but if I had even a little bit, I believe my answers to the behavioral questions would have been stronger. I think that recruiting season as a whole is pretty stressful. It’s back-to-back interviewing and constantly trying to make yourself stand out.
One thing that made it easier for me was the idea of building a “personal brand”. I remember when I first heard about the concept, I didn’t really get why it was useful until I started recruiting. Before my first interview, I came up with three different stories to apply to all questions. One to answer the “tell me about yourself” questions, one to use for a strengths/weakness question and one to talk about a challenge or conflict I overcame. Then when it came to interviews I would just tweak them a little bit to the company and I think that took a lot of stress off of me. My favorite answers to this are either traveling or trying new restaurants. Not that original, I know, but relatable enough to where it helps the conversation. I always try to weave in some skill that I know they are looking for. For example, communication is always important to companies, so I talk about how traveling has helped me understand different cultures and the importance of cross-cultural communication.