THE JOB SEARCH.
Decisions...decisions... decisions... I did a self-directed job search that produced many possibilities. I have three very different offers with very distinctive features. The first is at a Big Five practice in Detroit. I would perform the standard Financial Analyst function for various automotive clients. The second is at a computer equipment company in Atlanta. I would be responsible for closing three major accounting line items on the company's books. The third is at a utility company in Louisville, Kentucky. I would perform standard corporate finance tasks and implement a very high visibility division-wide "special" project. I am ranking them based on job opportunity, salary, geographical area, and proximity to family.
And the winner is... LG&E Energy in Louisville, Kentucky.
I know what you are thinking and when initially comparing that offer to the other two offers, I felt the same way. However, after further investigation I realized that this little powerhouse of a utility company was by far the best career move. Thus, I followed my heart and LG&E it is.
As far as the rest of my classmates, I am happy to report that offers are coming in slowly but surely. I believe this is largely a result of marketing efforts by our Graduate Career Services (GCS) center. For example, IU teamed up with Purdue to have a job fair. GCS also has organized teams of students to do "self-marketing" presentations to companies located in geographical hot spots.
Graduation is a little less than one month away. Thank God!!!! I am so ready to close this chapter of my life and move on with my professional career. I have four classes, the GA position, responsibilities to complete as the IU CGSM Liaison, and I currently drive to Louisville every week to work part-time at LG&E Energy (they needed me right away so I did what I had to do). My workload is heavier now than it was when I was taking the core courseload.
Despite all that, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is shining bright, baby! My feelings about graduation are almost impossible to describe because for me it represents more than a scholarly achievement. The rigor of the MBA program coupled with the complexities of my life (buying into a partnership, dissolving a previous venture, nurturing contacts established before school, caring for family etc..) has truly pushed me to the limit and to some degree created a monster.
The thought of graduation is about me peeling back the MBA onion and getting in touch with the old Dana. The one that has time to appreciate life. The Dana that loves nothing more than Langston Hughes poetry, a good career challenge, great friends, classic novels, and a blue sky. I am also the first in my family to receive a Master's Degree, so that brings about a unique graduation joy.
WORDS OF WISDOM.
Now that I have more Kelley MBA days behind me than I do in front of me, I would like to share some words of wisdom with you, the prospective student.
1. Business School does different things to different people. Always be aware of what it is doing to you when it is doing it. That may not make sense to you now but when you are in school it will. Most programs will challenge the very core of your business and emotional intelligence. You will be stretched to limits you did not think were possible. You may get challenged on every professional principle you KNEW to be true. Be aware of what is being challenged and accept or reject it respectively. Some people attend B-school and leave as 100% different people/professionals. Others use the MBA program to recalibrate themselves into the professional they want to be.
2. When applying to B-School, make sure your GMAT is tight! As an admissions counselor who has screened applications, let me tell you that applications get more and more competitive each year. A GMAT score of less than 600 barely gets a second look. Also, your essays should make a bold statement about you. Make sure that statement is not, "I'm boring".
3. Be proactive about your job search. Contrary to popular belief, careers do not chase MBAs. MBAs chase careers. Every MBA position has a highly competitive and selective interviewing process. Do not take it lightly and be prepared! Your classmates will be... and he who crosses the finish line first, wins.
4. Work hard during the first year to be at the top of your class. That will determine your internship opportunities, full-time opportunities, and standing with faculty and staff. The first year is when it counts. Your second year will be devoted to the job search, networking, and building/crystallizing what you learned the first year.
5. Most schools are now team oriented so I have to give you my team-forming advice. Always choose diverse teams with a few "superstars" and a few "worker bees". The leadership of the superstars combined with the work ethic of the worker bees make a perfect combination. The two groups keep each other in check and motivated.
Until next time...