Wednesday, February 18, 2009

B-School Checklist

Over the course of the year, I've come to rely on some essential items that help me get through business school with my sanity intact. If you are headed for b-school this fall, you may want to pick up these highly recommended items:

Smart Phone
I love my iPhone. Not only because it is cool, but because it really helps me navigate my crazy business school schedule. I can check my email, manage my calendar, and even sign up for interview slots while I'm on the go (or, er, in class ...). A few times, I was meeting a person I had never met, and I could easily look them up on Facebook to see what they looked like. If you are blackberry person, I recommend going for one that can get the real internet. It is truly life changing to have internet at your finger tips!

Wireless Headphones
If you are planning to live with a spouse or roommate, these will make your life a lot easier. We waited to long to get these, but once we did they were key! Now my husband can watch the game, while I still get a quiet apartment to work in.
Sennheiser RS120 926 MHz Wireless RF Headphones with Charging Cradle

Zip Fizz
Lack of sleep is par for the course in bschool. I found a great alternative to coffee called Zip Fizz. It's a powder combo of caffeine and vitamins that you mix with water. This stuff has a small but devoted following at Wharton. You can buy it cheaply at Amazon or Costco.
Zipfizz-Healthy Energy Drink Mix, 30 Tubes Variety Pack

I have this on my iPhone, and it has been a lifesaver at times when I've been trying to finish a paper or study for an exam in a distracting spot. All I need is a good station to drown out the noise and I can focus.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Take a DIP in the Self-Doubt Pool

We've just completed the dedicated interview period (DIP), which is a two-week period when all core courses are cancelled to give first-years the chance to "dedicate" themselves to interviewing for internships. Most companies therefore come to campus for first rounds during these two weeks. To say that we have been dedicated to interviewing is a gross understatement. I swear my life has transformed into one long interview. I answer all questions in the STAR format, my wardrobe has consisted of nothing but 2 interview suits and 3 dress shirts, and I have memorized the artwork on the walls of every waiting area the McNeil interview dungeon.

For months we've been building to this point. We've been feeling good about ourselves for so long. We are here at Wharton, one of the most elite schools in the world, and we are proud. We are leaders, strategic thinkers, highly desired by recruiters from every industry and function. Despite the economic disaster that is palpable all around us, we were confident that our hard work, preparation, and passion would get us fabulous summer internships, which would lead to full-time offers.

Two weeks later, what a difference. We've all experienced rejection - whether it was a "you have not been invited to interview" or a "we will unfortunately not be able to move forward with you in the second round process, but we hope you will keep in touch with us" or a "while your qualifications and experience are certainly impressive, we regret that we are not able to offer you a position." Even though we knew it would happen, its still pretty tough to know that the company you've been building a relationship with over the last 4 months is just not that into you. It's a harsh switch - for months the companies have been inviting us to get to know them better, feeding us, inviting us to their offices, and generally wining and dining us. Then suddenly in that little interview room it is now us trying to prove ourselves to them. And they are interviewing 17 people for 2 spots. One single 45 minute conversation decides your fate.

There is definitely some good news to go around, but there has been a lot more disappointment. A whole lot of people are not going to be working in their first choice industry over the summer, let alone their first choice company. It's been quite a reality check. I am exhausted, but I am one of the lucky ones. I got an offer, one I really wanted! But so many of my friends didn't.