So, I should have mentioned that I deleted a good chunk of posts describing my surprising conclusion to my summer at UCF. While I’ve done my best to be as candid as possible in this blog, I felt as if some of the information I disclosed in those entries was almost too angry. Considering that I still have good friends that work at UCF, I don’t want to wish any ill will upon them nor anyone else working at the firm.
That said, can I just say that it feels really, really good to have rallied from what I considered to be a pretty low point? I mean, the day after I got the no-go on a fulltime offer from UCF, I wasn’t in the best of shape. I returned home for a month, often wavering between moments of despair and cautious optimism, knowing that the economy wasn’t going to be all too forgiving in the upcoming recruiting cycle, and neither were my extremely talented classmates vying for greener pastures.
But, I knew what needed to be done. First, I retook the GMAT in order to obtain that elusive 7xx score that, verified by several of my good friends at all three M/B/B’s, would be a definite bump to my closed listing prospects in the fall (verdict: was closed listed at two of three, and in the words of a good friend at one of the B’s, “screwed over” by the third). Then, I basically adopted a “take no prisoners” approach: my parents would be totally confused as to why I would sit downstairs for hours on end, either studying for the GMAT or writing cover letters or refining my resume. I carried this back to Ann Arbor with me and immediately started cranking on case interviews, refining my core stories, and determining clear, specific reasons why I really, really wanted to work at M/B/B.
…okay, so you’re reading this and saying, “Great, who DOESN’T aim to get a kickass GMAT score, puts hours into his/her case prep and resume/cover lettering, and really, really wants to work at M/B/B?” Great question. No, I won’t sit here and claim that I was more productive in my preparations for interviews than my classmates, but here’s where I may have differentiated a bit…I like to call it the “desperate, but not” approach:
– I was desperate because I, unlike many of my classmates, didn’t emerge from my summer employer with an offer. Many of my classmates aiming for consulting…well, they did, and even if it wasn’t with their top choice employer, it was still a guaranteed wad of cash, signing bonus, and 401(k) if they chose to accept. In some ways, I’m really quite glad I didn’t receive a UCF offer, because it may have had just enough of a psychological effect for me to mosey my way through the recruiting process rather than tackling it like a 300-pound lineman smothering Jimmy Clausen.
– I wasn’t desperate to prove to my interviewers that I really, really needed a job, though. I didn’t force anything during my discussions, and I clearly explained why M/B/B was the right fit for me — and without disclosing any details, why UCF was most certainly not. And I couldn’t be anything but sincere about it: I believed what I was saying, and frankly, they did too. I think it was the confidence, and not the ability to completely smash a case interview (especially if you saw how I performed on my last one with the partner. That story will come soon enough), that brought some success in this process. In fact, one of my interviewers in round 1 made it explicit: “We’re confident that we could put you in front of a client tomorrow.” Being able to crunch numbers fast doesn’t warrant that feedback alone.
All in all, these processes also come with a little bit of luck, too: just today, for example, I got a call from another firm on my list, one which has a far less rigorous recruiting process, to say that I didn’t get the offer. There really are a lot of intangibles that go into this, so the last thing you can get is discouraged — after all, business school is meant to not only get you the opportunities you want, but also to teach you how to fail and recover over and over again. Trust me, I’ve been there.