So about 2 weeks into my new routine of swimming a few times a week, I started to have a pain in my lower back. Last night (about 24 hours ago exactly) I had had enough and decided to stop in to urgent care to have it checked out. I found out that I strained some joint in my hip and need to take it easy and recoup. Victory – I knew what was wrong.
I get to CVS to fill the prescriptions from my visit and the pharmacist informs me that my health insurance hasn’t included my prescriptions yet.
My response would have been like Charlie Brown’s to the left had the store not been quite full.
I then remember that I have an app on my phone that has a coupon for discounted prescriptions (Its called “Key Ring”). So reluctantly I try and see if it will knock 10-15% off and I’m told I owe $16 for the two prescriptions.
What is even better is that the pain went away and I was able to get a good night’s sleep for the first time in a week.
I wake up this morning and realize I haven’t put in as much time as I probably should have for my Economics final.
Around 8:30 I head to school to face the music and get an hour of last minute studying in. At 9:30 we start the exam and for about 10 minutes I’m fine. Then like clockwork I turn, restrain my back and fight through the rest of the exam fighting the urge to take one of the pills the doctor gave me which would probably have me answering the questions less coherently than I already was.
After that test I have my strategy class and then another exam in Decision Making with Excel. I can see the light at 3:45 pm and can’t wait to get done with the exam so I can alleviate my pain.
I heard my phone get an e-mail during the exam and paid it no mind. Probably a good idea because it was just about the best news I could get with that “ding”.
The e-mail was an official offer to join Oracle’s Cloud CRM sales team as a Sales Consultant. VICTORY INDEED!
My first call was to tell my dad that yes, I finally have confirmation that I will be employed upon graduation and all of his children will again be in the work force.
Not too much time to celebrate though as it is Ash Wednesday and I had to get to the 5 pm service at St. Peters so I could get a jump on my Finance review for tonight.
It has been a crazy 24 hours and I couldn’t be happier right now but celebration will have to wait for Friday when Finance is done and I prepare to embark on the last 10 weeks of my MBA journey. It’s been rewarding so far.
I think LinkedIn is great as a social media tool to expand your network with. It remains professional and uncluttered of pictures, Farms, Instagram and all the other nuances on Facebook and Twitter. With that being said, I have become more and more annoyed with the “Skills and Expertise” section everyday.
I wonder how many people actually can attest that I have the skills that are listed there – even though many have decided to endorse me. While I am probably taking this far too seriously – I don’t want people endorsing my skills if they have no idea why I have them. If they are ever questioned about how proficient I am at Social Media Marketing, are they going to point to my own personal Facebook and Twitter pages? I hope not because those are not even close to a representation of what I’ve done and can do on the sites.
I also look and see Social Media and Social Media Marketing on many people’s pages. Again – I probably shouldn’t take as much offense but I know that I’ve led Social Media campaigns and see how they can impact the overall organization – but I feel that everyone having those skills listed belittles what I’ve done. Merely having a presence on these sites and using them isn’t knowing how to utilize them in a marketing campaign.
I also see college friends endorse me for Event Planning and Event Management. Don’t get me wrong, I threw great Super Bowl and St. Patrick’s day parties in college (we had a bagpiper at every St. Patty’s celebration and watched one Super Bowl on Malibu Beach) – but I doubt that is what a potential employer is concerned with. While I’m not saying I don’t have the skills – I would prefer if they were only endorsed by those who could speak to events I helped run in a professional setting.
The area I don’t have a beef with LinkedIn is the recommendations. I think that if you want to endorse someone, you should have to recommend them and say why you are comfortable endorsing them. Now I just feel like if someone endorses me, I have to go and do the same for them. But there is my exact dilemma – having never worked with most of the people I’m connected with – I am not comfortable putting my name on their skills. I would say there are a handful of connections that I have been comfortable endorsing 100% – and a few others I have just endorsed because I felt obligated to.
I say all this because I am a firm believer that when social media is used correctly it is a great tool. In fact I’ve written articles as a part of my Graduate Assistantship that point to just that – but it seems like it is becoming just like Facebook where if you like my picture, I’ll like yours. Its becoming more of a quantity over quality thing with LinkedIn and personally, I’ll take quality endorsements and recommendations over a hefty quantity any day. So please take your time with LinkedIn so that there is one remaining area of social media that remains professional and quality.
Last year I had one of the worst flight experience of my life and wrote about it on my personal blog. Basically myself and a classmate were in Orlando for a conference for work and because of bad weather in Waco, they removed us from our flight from Orlando to Dallas because the final leg was cancelled. No apologies.
This past week I had a similar kind of experience but looked at it a completely different way. I was in North Carolina for an interview and on my return, my flight was set to leave at 6:15. At 5:45, they changed gates for whatever reason. Happens all the time, no biggie. Then we hear that they need passengers from that original flight to come back and get their bags. Why they could not just remove these bags and place them by the counter (turned out it was 2 of them) is beyond me. Regardless, we were delayed about 25 minutes. As we taxi’ed out to the runway, we heard from the pilot that the airport had just grounded all flights due to an incoming storm. Long story short, we were supposed to land in Dallas at 8:15 ish. I landed around 11 and didn’t get back to Waco until after 1 AM.
I’d be lying if I said that frustration wasn’t my first emotion but then I started to look at it differently. If I accept a job that has me traveling close to 50% of the time (the position I interviewed for would), then this is going to be a somewhat normal part of the job. There are going to be nights that a flight doesn’t allow me to get back until after midnight and I am going to have to deal with it. Granted I will never have to drag myself out of bed on short sleep to learn Finance again but there will be other challenges.
I also learned never to sit in the row in front of the emergency exit because 1) they are not made for giants and 2) they don’t recline. Easily the most uncomfortable position I’ve been kept in for 5 1/2 hours but a learning experience nonetheless.
Its funny to me that at this point in my MBA career (and life for that matter) that interviews still scare me as much as they do. Between college interviews, first job interviews, graduate school interviews, mock interviews, internship interviews and more mock interviews you would assume that someone would have this process down pat – even if they aren’t all identical. I’ve had awful experiences in interviews and great ones. I’ve walked in fully prepared and had interviews post-crisis. Each experience has thankfully taught me something about future ones, but there is no way to ever know what is coming. With there only being a few months left in my academic career (yes I said the same in 2009), the interviews seem to be getting more difficult but that might not be such a bad thing.
This week I have one that might be the scariest yet. I was invited to visit with Oracle in Charlotte, NC to interview for a sales consultant position. While I am beyond excited for the opportunity, it has been an interesting preparation process. Along with three interviews on Wednesday, I’ll have a dinner, breakfast and presentation in the course of 24 hours. The presentation is the part that has been the most challenging.
For this presentation, I will be selling the product (Fusion CRM) to the product’s managers who will be role playing a client. Besides being a wildly different set up than any interview I’ve ever been through, this will be easily the most intimidating. Selling to and fielding questions from the product’s executives is going to be like trying to sell a Subway Footlong to Jared. BUT, that being said – it should be a really interesting process as well. I’m going to get real world feedback about my research and preparation skills. I’ll gain invaluable presentation experience and get to face everyone’s favorite fear – public speaking.
All this got me thinking of a top fear’s list though and I realized it can’t be that bad because interviews aren’t even in my top 5:
Mark’s Top 5 Fears:
5) Going swimming in the Atlantic Ocean on New Year’s Day - I get to realize this any year Notre Dame loses to USC in football.
4) Roller Coasters – I’m 25 years old and I’ve mustered up the courage to go on a Ferris Wheel – no more.
3) Driving in the rain – If we have adjustable social plans and it’s raining – you can probably count on me figuring out a way to not drive or reschedule.
2) Tom Brady retiring with only 3 Super Bowl rings - This past week, this one has sky-rocketed to the top from not being considered for the list.
1) Spiders. I can’t even watch the spider scene in Jumanji.
Well the waiting game finally ended. (Not completely for class yet but I’m still taking finals so that makes sense). After countless applications, resumes, a number of interviews and a ton of stress – I ended up getting 2 offers for internships within a week’s time. One week I was worried that I wouldn’t get an internship and then the next week I was debating which one was a better fit – not necessarily the worst dilemma but one nonetheless.
I was offered one position in Houston and one in Austin – I am choosing the one in Austin for a number of reasons but I think either place would have been great. Austin offers a lot more to me in exposure and comfort (was not looking forward to humidity in Houston) and I think there might be more of an opportunity to join the company full-time after I graduate. I am very curious to see what the summer brings and what kind of project(s) I work on. I will be doing primarily marketing at this position but I think it should pose some challenges as well. It has been interesting to be exposed to a number of internship possibilities and choose ones that are a bit challenging. One of the main things I have been learning in the MBA program is challenging myself and my comfort levels with certain subjects and areas of business. It makes no sense for me to just do work I am comfortable with and know already. How is that promoting growth? If we want to become the best business leaders we can, that notion of challenging ourselves is vital.
With this waiting game being over though a new one begins. What will I be doing specifically at the internship? Will I like it? Will they like me? There are a ton of questions yet to be answered and I will have to wait to find out. I guess I can say initially they like me because I was offered a position but what will I have to do to keep that?
First things first though – I need a place to live so I am heading back to searching for an apt. in Austin but hopefully can figure that out this weekend.
So we just finished round 2 of finals in Core 1, taking Economics yesterday and Finance today. And now begins the waiting game.
The waiting game is something we have played all of our lives and probably the worst part of any process. In high school, we sent out applications in November and most of the time had to wait 4 months or so to hear from a school. For most people grad school was the same – when I saw the chance to do the Done-In-A-Day program at Baylor I jumped at the opportunity. Those 24 hours of anticipation were brutal but at least it was over. Now that we are in the program we wait for two things. Grades and Jobs.
I am all for taking short answer and essay tests – I have never been a huge fan of scantrons because they only allow multiple choice and true false – not always the best way to test. Although all you have to do with a scantron is put it in a machine and you have a grade. With our tests being primarily essay and short answer/problem based, we now face the waiting game. I think the hardest part is the amount of time we put into the classes and studying for the finals and then having to wait sometimes a week or two before a professor can get to grading them all. Once our class ends, they start with another core and have a great deal to do so it doesn’t allow for really quick turnaround. While it should be easy enough to say – “I won’t worry, I did fine, I’ll just focus on my other classes”, we all know that isn’t the case. This weekend and next week will bring the waiting game for grades from two classes for all of us.
The job waiting game might be more stressful. It is hard to gauge after an interview how it went. The amygdala is a part of our brain that plays a large part in emotions, specifically fear. It has a lot to do with us worrying and thinking that we did something wrong or not well enough. (click here for more info). Turning the amygdala off is harder than you might think. If you figure it out, let me know. Anyways, that part of the brain is definitely active right after an interview and until you hear something from the company. This is where I am at now and mine has been going nuts the past week. The internships and jobs we apply for and hopefully get will decide the next phase of our life after business school – so the worrying is normal. The hard part is to remember that we prepared for these interviews with mock interviews and company research. I am definitely a hypocrite because as I type this I am still worrying that I messed something up with one of mine but that is all part of the waiting game.
Luckily my past few waiting games have been victories: I was accepted to Baylor, I passed IMS, I did well in the first 5 weeks – here’s to hoping that the next week brings equally as good news to all of us.
I would have to say the real challenge of business school is becoming locking down an internship/job while staying on top of everything else in the program. Classes are definitely manageable – like I said before, they all work together so they’re not overwhelming. Trying to keep focused on what deadlines there are and what companies are currently hiring is arguably the most important part but also the most difficult.
It is easy to keep a schedule for yourself and decide when you are going to study, read or write for certain classes. Keeping a schedule for companies of when their deadlines are, what you need to do for each one and not becoming bored filling out the same form 500 times on-line is a totally different story. It is too easy to become discouraged by the companies you don’t get an interview with; but becoming discouraged by the actual process of applying is even worse. Someone needs to sit down and come up with an automated system for applying like the common-app for colleges – Or explain why I need to copy and paste my resume after I upload it.
Time management is a skill I think we all assume we have because we’re in grad school and have been successful in life up til now. This is very misleading. If you assume you have something you don’t work toward improving it and time management is something that we always need to work to get better at. Balancing everything can seem easy – especially when you see other people doing it but it really is an art. There are times in the semester when it is not going to be as necessary and then days or weeks when you feel like no matter what, there is no way you are going to get everything done. Constantly practicing time management is probably the way to go and something I need to get better at.
I got a taste for that last semester when I was turned on to spin class and was able to schedule in my workouts throughout the week. Some things such as being social it is too difficult to schedule in and you end up leaving chunks of time open and then that time is easily wasted. Scheduling in an hour each day to send out an application or resume seems so tedious but it is becoming obvious how necessary this is. Luckily the Career Management course has started back up to keep me in check with applying like it did last semester.
On a brighter note we do have a shuffle board tournament this Thursday night which I have definitely scheduled into my plans as team “Prestige Worldwide” prepares to dominate.
We had the spring Career Fair yesterday and it went much better than the one in the fall. The problem in the fall was it didn’t produce much other than practicing talking to people, telling our STAR stories and making some contacts. Most of the companies in the fall were recruiting only for full-time positions so not many internships were available. However this time around there were many more victories on that front – iwas nice to have them say, “You can go on and apply tonight and let me know when and what you apply for.”
I think all of us left with at least 4 or 5 companies that we could apply for with a contact in HR or Recruiting. I will need to plan better for next year though because I didn’t expect to run out of resumes when I brought 8 and I did rather quickly. I might have to plan better who I give them out to as I didn’t apply for positions with every company I spoke with.
As the career search moves forward I hopefully will be setting up interviews in the coming weeks and doing some mock interview on campus to prepare me. Good luck to everyone else applying!