Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Job Update

OK, I know it's been a long time since I've last posted, but here's a long post to hopefully make up for it.

Open House is this week so, of course, I'm going to talk about what might come after or, if you prefer, out of the program - your full time job.

I'll give away my ending first - I found and committed to a job!  I am very excited that in July I will be joining Corning Incorporated.
The offer letter and all the other details!
I had to tell them to send it to my MIT address, not my internship address which was on the resume I used to apply to the job.
A view of the Corning HQ building where I did one of my interviews from Market St. in Corning, NY (Yep, same Corning)
For those of you not familiar with Corning, turns out you probably are, you just aren't aware of it.  Corning's specialty is glass and one of their more popular products made it's consumer product debut on the front of the original iPhone.  Gorilla Glass, as it is known, is now protecting over 1 BILLION devices and is itself in it's third generation.  After LGO, I will be working for Corning's Manufacturing Strategy group.

Now, back to job hunt logistics...

When you arrive in June of your first year, the dance of familiarization begins with the partner companies.  They host events; you begin networking.  Networking to find out about internships, but also to begin imagining and understanding who you might want to work for after school.

When the rest of the MBAs arrive in the fall, LGOs attend a MBA class called Career Core.  This can feel over the top sometimes, since you will not need help finding an internship, but you will have to reformat your resume into Sloan format for inclusion in the Sloan Resume Database (which companies can pay to access).  [The main gripe with this class is probably that it's only/always offered on Friday.]  This is when you will begin meeting all the various members of the Career Development Office (CDO), who will be at your disposal throughout your two years at Sloan.

Tip: For job hunting updates and help, try and work consistently with one, at most two people at the CDO.  That way, you don't have to spend part of your appointment time explaining your background or hunt progress and you can jump into what you really need perspective on.  The one exception to this is mock interviews, where the more people you can have give you an opinion of how you present yourself, the better.

In the fall of your first year, off-cycles will find out their internships, interviews will happen for on-cycle internships and pretty much at the same time, the 2nd years will be coming back from their internships and doing the full-time job hunt.

In the fall of your 2nd year, LGO has a week of dedicated recruiting with the partner companies.  Often times students will take a few days to a week before or after this period to participate in additional on-campus recruiting opportunities that the CDO coordinates for all Sloan students.

When I applied to LGO, my impression of the full-time job distribution of students was that students who didn't work for partner companies, did not either because they didn't want to (because of location or role or other specific restrictions they had put on their search) or because they went into consulting or did their own start-ups.  I had the idea that partner companies were happy to have anyone who wanted to join them.

For background, here are some of my employment related stats:
3 years of work experience before LGO (average is five)
2 jobs in those three years (one of which was not engineering/manufacturing)

I knew I was working against the odds to some extent.  I should have also known I was working against the odds when 15 partner companies came to recruit for LGO recruiting week (12 if you don't count the separate divisions of Raytheon and UTC) and each of these companies did not come bearing at least four jobs.  There are 49 LGOs in my class of 2013.  During partner company recruiting, we'd be going head to head with our most direct competition...and hurricane Sandy would hit.  Skype interviews anyone?

Some LGOs would go on to second rounds, others offers, others still, multiple offers.  I would not.  For certain people, this system works very well and you'll know where you're working my Christmas.  I had presumed I would fall into this bucket.

If that answers most of your questions, great.

If you want to get into the nitty gritty of the saga, read on...this is all my personal story and as they say "individual results may differ"

Despite interviewing with seven partner companies (only four other LGOs interviewed with the same number or more companies than I did), nothing panned out.  That week was rough.  I did a couple CDO on-campus interviews as well, but had no bites.  I asked for feedback from a partner company that rejected me but that I thought I was a particularly good match with and they told me that I was the #1 candidate for a position they chose not to fill.  This was a company that had brought a huge list of jobs and only intended to fill a few of them.  Geesch.  That was the biggest combo of compliment and dis I had received in a while.

The most complicated recruiting part of the fall was that I was asked to one second round interview.  However, this fell during the Iceland trek I went on and the company was not willing to be flexible or reschedule my interviews, since they were bringing a bunch of people to campus at once.  So, it's possible that could have been successful, but due to schedule conflicts, I was never able to find out.

I took time to get over all of this.  I did some more applying in November and December, but not much would move on the job front around or especially after the holidays.  Note: as far as job hunting in the new year, no company seemed to really do much with regards to contacting me until around mid-February.  January can and likely will be kind of a wash.  There was one exception - after submitting my resume for a general strategy position Corning posted to the CDO September, they wanted to schedule an on-site interview with me...on December 20th.  So, as part of my move home from my GM internship, I stopped in Corning, NY to get to know them, to learn more about the position and to see how we got along.  The people were friendly and the HR manager said she liked me and my background.  She wasn't sure that this position was the best fit but she said that she'd keep looking.

In the meantime, after the new year, I turned my job hunting into overdrive.  I had decided that I did not want my significant other to move from his job.  For multiple reasons, it would work better that way.  However that left me with a "specific location" restriction (after having gone through the regular LGO recruiting looking more broadly).  I decided I was now only looking within a ~100 mile radius of a 15,000 person town in PA.  AWESOME.

With this new make or break location criteria, I went to partner companies that hadn't brought jobs in November.  I even re-approached a partner company that had rejected me in November.  I went through the database that the CDO had and looked into every big/name brand company I had heard of in that area of PA (as well as parts of NY and NJ) that did manufacturing.  All in all, between soft inquiries, full applications, speaking with alumni and everything else, my whole job hunt from start to finish involved contact with companies about over 30 positions.  I really, Really, REALLY wanted to write about this as it was happening, but A) it would be giving information away during the whole application/interview/negotiation process and B) it was a total emotional rollercoaster (honestly, I'd say I worried about "B" more).

Turns out, what ended up happening is that Corning did get back to me asking about an interview for the manufacturing strategy job rather than the general strategy job.  I then spent weeks jockeying to get on people's calendar's individually, since an on-site with all the interested parties could not be arranged.  I did about three more phone interviews and a Skype interview and then, three months after the original on-site and almost 6 months after I had originally submitted my resume to Corning, I received a phone call saying that an offer letter was in the mail.  HOORAY!


My process was not standard.  It was not fast.  It required extensive research and work.  I will not be working for a partner company right out of school.  However, I found a company that worked to understand where I could be a best fit in their organization.  The team at Corning I feel really did their due diligence on role compatibility and on me as a person and I look forward to seeing how things go this summer and onward.

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