When we last checked in, I was waiting somewhat less than patiently to find out whether I had a job offer from Procter & Gamble (PG), where I interned over the summer. Between the intensity of my 12 weeks of work and the breathless anticipation of the five weeks of staring at the phone that followed, I had all but signed on the dotted line mentally. The principle of wanting what you don’t have was certainly at play, but I’d also done plenty of thinking throughout this time about whether I would accept an offer if I were fortunate enough to receive one.
With the exception of a few especially frustrating days, on which I threatened to drop out of school and move to Montana (and it should be stated that I’ve never even visited Montana), my answer was always yes. I want to do brand management. P&G is the gold standard. The transitive property of recruiting implies that I want to work at P&G. I boldly (or lazily, depending on your view of such matters) decided not to apply to any of the firms that came to recruit at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in the fall. I liked the company, the city, and the people—what more did I need to know?
The phone finally did ring with good news on the other end. I hung up and promptly performed a ritual familiar to most dog owners wherein I sprinted around my living room furniture half a dozen times before collapsing in a heap and gumming a tennis ball. In addition to all the other reasons I’d already decided I wanted to work there, P&G decided it wanted me. I had a few weeks to make the official call, but I thought there was little chance I’d change my mind.
I changed my mind. I still can’t say enough good things about P&G or my experience there, and if I were to do brand management, there’s no other place I’d want to do it. (My classmates who interned elsewhere felt the same connection with their companies, somewhat rejuvenating my faith in the recruiting process.) Ultimately, I found that the strongest argument I had for doing brand management was that it was the best fit for my interests and talents within the galaxy of traditional MBA jobs. While it was a decent fit, I know there’s something better out there, perhaps just in a slightly different galaxy.
I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that I’d go in a nontraditional direction on the way out of business school, since that’s the way I came in. I stand by my decision to opt out of on-campus recruiting this fall; it’s hard for me to see myself at a place that hires droves of MBA students 10 months in advance, so I’ll save my energy for a more individualized search closer to graduation. I’ve even accepted that I may be graduating without a job. In the meantime, I’m taking interesting electives that I hope will be useful in my future career, and trying to figure out exactly what that career will be.