Summer has arrived and Tippie first-year MBAs are ramping up for the valuable internship experience. Ryan Jennings set his vision far-reaching in hopes of landing an international summer opportunity and found one outside his back door in Muscatine, Iowa.
I worked overseas before coming back to get my MBA, so I knew a company and role with international exposure was high on my list during the job search. I worked closely with Career Services to bounce ideas back and forth and to build a solid strategy for my search.
The Tippie Job Search Guide was very beneficial to navigating my search. Working through the guide and exercises helped me remember experiences I could discuss during interviews and led me through the process of creating my elevator pitch. The first-year students have an opportunity in the fall to prepare for the major career fairs by attending a “mock fair.” Approaching second-year students posing as company representatives allowed me to practice selling my elevator pitch in a safe environment
I also used the online career resources to apply for jobs and to stay informed of on-campus company presentations and interviews. InterviewStream is a resource for Tippie students to practice interviewing skills with just a computer and a webcam. Watching a recording of myself interview many times improved my self-awareness and overall skill level.
After utilizing the many resources at Tippie to prepare and develop my job search and interview skills, I then turned my focus to attending as many career fairs as possible to get maximum exposure to a variety of companies. Out of all the companies at these fairs, I was looking for a manufacturing company with international expansion strategies and opportunities for me to work overseas.
I encourage incoming first-year students to develop a job search strategy early on that works for you. Based on my career goals, I knew early on that career fairs would be an important part of my job search strategy to gain access to many different companies. I highly recommend attending at least two major MBA career fairs as well as the University’s undergrad fair. Preparing for the fairs well ahead of time is important to making the investment of time and money worth it.
To best prepare:
- Start researching early in the fall and determine which fairs will fit best for your career goals. Work with Career Services and your second-year coach to strategize.
- Practice your pitch with Career Services, your second-year coach, a friend, or with InterviewStream. You may not have a lot of time to make a first impression, so having a strong pitch will help tremendously.
- Once you decide on a fair and register, download the list of company attendees and narrow the list to companies you are interested in working for.
- Research companies on your narrowed list and find one or two points that interest you about each company.
- Apply to the career fair job postings as early as possible (at least a couple weeks prior to the fair is best). Companies will source candidates and schedule interviews in advance. You can use the interest points from your research in your cover letters.
- During the career fair, refer to your notes about the companies to recall the research before approaching their booth.
- Be confident, have fun, and good luck!
I went to three career fairs, including the on-campus undergraduate fair, where I first met with HNI. I was able to secure a summer internship with the Muscatine, Iowa-based office furniture manufacturer focusing on finance and emerging markets. My role will be based both in Iowa and China.