More Lonely, More Leisurely

For weeks in the beginning of January, ambitious first-year students in the heat of on-campus interview season huddled together to pool ideas, and collaborate in an effort for each individual to present his or her candidacy to potential employers in the most favorable light. The collective nature of the initial interview process was inspiring, and put the Fuqua students on the right path, even if the outcomes were uncertain.

The second round interviews, generally at the headquarters of the interviewing firm, took on a different form entirely. Despite a rigorous gauntlet of classes and extra-curricular activities, as well as basketball season, students left campus en masse for quick trips to various parts of the country. It was certainly a more lonely process, and one fraught with the stress associated with winter traveling. These were hardly weekend getaways to the islands, but the tone was often somewhat more leisurely than in first-round interviews.

Frequently, these interviews were preceded by more informal dinners and happy hours for the attendees of these so-called ‘super days.’ It was time to talk with professionals who were in our shoes not long ago, recent MBA grads with less than intimidating demeanors. After this, most of the students scrambled back to their hotel rooms to burn the midnight oil prepping for interviews.

Fortunately, the dynamic between interviewer and candidate transformed between the two rounds. The tone, during round one, was more “What can you do for us?” During round two, the questions started going in the other direction, as the hiring companies, with a firm idea of who they’d like to bring on board, began selling themselves. Once in transit back to Durham, in general the candidates breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that their diligence in preparation and networking had paid off, if not with an offer, then with the satisfaction of a job well done.

With internships in hand, many first years hoped to focus more on school work and other activities, and generally enjoy the privileges of being a full time student again, putting the career search on hiatus … but not permanently. Indeed, these internships themselves will serve as summer-long interviews, a means for auditioning for full time jobs come fall. However, when they do so, they’ll be much better prepared as a result of the significant efforts put in during the fall and winter of this year.