Many MBA interns end up converting their internships to full-time offers. While locking down your post-MBA plans is a huge accomplishment (and relief) others choose to pursue other options during their second year of business school. Jason Perocho, a recent MBA graduate of UNC Kenan-Flagler, took the time to share about his experience recruiting again as a 2nd year MBA student.
Internships can be positive learning experiences, for what you want and what you don’t want
Jason: My internship last summer was a great introduction into what drives marketing decisions in a large company. This was invaluable for someone who has never worked as a marketer before. I decided to re-recruit because although I loved marketing, I discovered I would rather work in the technology sector versus financial services. I made the mistake of not not giving enough thought into what industry I wanted to go into as I did to what function I wanted to perform.
It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want
Jason: The most important part for me was having an honest conversation with myself about what level of responsibility I wanted to have five years after graduation. I discovered becoming a product marketing manager was my optimal job post-graduation of achieve my plan. I utilized both on-campus and off-campus postings and had no preference between the two as long as the position for a PMM role.
It was mentally tough recruiting throughout my second year since over half of my class was finished recruiting by December. I had to constantly remind myself to keep up blinders and focus on the tech recruiting timeline which occurs primarily in the spring. The positive aspect of late recruiting was the scope of work for potential positions I was recruiting for became exponentially more interesting and business essential the closer I got to graduation. Many of my friends told me they wished they waited to get more interesting roles. I also found that the your negotiation power was much stronger later in the recruiting cycle than earlier at the beginning of my second year.
When it comes to identifying opportunities, persistence and discipline pays off
Jason: I identified five companies and networked with as many people as possible. In order to stay abreast of new postings, I set alerts on job aggregator sites and checked my on-campus recruiting portal daily.
My best piece of advice is to always have a goal for your conversation, whether it be an opportunity, referral or being forwarded to another person. Additionally, ensure to keep in contact with the connections you have made. Several contacts I made who were not able to help me early in the recruiting cycle proved to be invaluable later on.
It’s okay to turn things down
Jason: I was fortunate to get a handful of job offers that I ended up turning down. The jobs I turned down were positions in which companies recruited me rather than vice versa. When companies recruit you, they are looking to fit you into a position that best suits the company. When you a recruit a company, you are recruiting for the position you feel best fits your career. I was offered positions by several firms that did not completely fit in with my career aspirations and was able to turn them down by having a written down goal of what I wanted. My confidence grew that I would get the position I wanted after talking to alumni who took a similar approach to recruitment and reassured me along the way
Highs and lows, but breakthroughs emerge
Jason: The process is filled with highs and lows! The low point was a week out from graduation when I had no solid leads on a job. Even though I was reassured by my Career Management Center and alumni that I was on track for tech recruitment, I felt like a failure because over 75% of my class had secured a position. Keeping the blinders up on my recruitment path proved immensely difficult.
The high point was when three companies came calling all within a three week time span post-graduation, and I eventually accepted a full-time offer with my top choice. It was reassuring to see the opportunities open up as everyone (CMC, alumni, networking connections) promised.
The turning point was literally just the calendar turning over to May/June. If you did not intern in tech, then the opportunities to break in usually do not come until graduation. Tech companies hire for business needs which means a lot of just in time recruiting. Be patient, do the appropriate networking and start applying in April for positions.
There are two areas every Product Marketing interview tested me on: 1) my knowledge of the product and 2) my ability to present. Every firm asked me how much I knew about the product and how it fit in with the overall strategy of the company. Three firms had me prepare a 15 minute presentation on various topics and asked me to defend my position. The purpose was to ensure I was a strong communicator and could handle myself when challenged.