Saturday, July 28, 2012


I got up at 10:30. I spent 2.5 hours on the internet for no reason and felt listless. Banged my head on the wall for my indecisiveness over whether to go to the Farmer's Market, whether I should buy that Lychee drink, whether I should play Diablo 3 or paint.

I'm in that limbo time whereby I have 2 weeks left on my internship and one month left until I go back to school. Something is nearly ending; something is nearly beginning, and I have no definable goal so far to excite me. It's just a period of waiting - waiting for my last day, waiting to get back to Pittsburgh, waiting for the final exam schedule for Mini 1 & 2 to be posted so I can book my tickets to Australia for christmas.

I mentioned in my last post that things are starting to pick up school-wise. Where my Tepper inbox was once full with Wall Street Journal subscriptions that I haven't bothered to cancel and the odd notification from the GSA, I'm now receiving emails from the OLC club, Brewmeisters, CoC, Symplicity (reminding me to cancel that notification too), and now BaseCamp.

Organizational Leadership Club - OLC: We have secured the dates for our case competition! We'll be the first off the line, which is a good thing as it gives a practice run for participants before the career-related case competitions from Amazon, Deloitte, Yahoo, etc start to appear.

Brewmeisters: Looking to set up our start-of-year shindig before school starts and people in the first year panic while us second years scoff and tell them grades don't matter.

BaseCamp: I signed up in May to be a 2nd year mentor, and I got a reminder email today about that. I'm not entirely sure what is expected of me, but the email left this note:

"What do you wish a 2nd year had told you in BaseCamp?"

An interesting question; one I shall have to ponder.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Internship endings

Today marks three weeks left until the end of my internship. This brief respite from the rigours of academia has been pleasant (as has having a paycheck!) but school-related tasks are starting to pop-up. This also means that I will probably be more active on my blog now that I have school-related things to talk about :)

Perhaps the most important thing so far has been the submission of our resume to the Graduating Students resume book. The deadline for submission just passed (yesterday), and I was doing a frantic last-minute edit of my resume in order to get my Blizzard experiences in. (As an aside, I don't quite understand why the U.S. insists on having a 1 page resume, especially when my education takes up a third of the page! That's not enough to showcase my work experiences, but then again, it's my hope that people will transition to LinkedIn). As I was uploading the document, a comment caught my eye:

"If you plan to take advantage of Tepper resources for a full-time job search in the fall..."

It's not normally a sure thing that an intern will receive a full-time job offer at the end of the internship. Conversely, an intern may not want to continue at the company in a full-time capacity. From what I understand, internships are viewed of in one of two ways: a full-time offer is the intern's to lose (i.e. the intern has to screw up bad to not get an offer), or the full-time offer is for the intern to gain (i.e. the intern has to prove themselves to be worthy of the offer). I've been told consulting firms are the former; some of the bigger companies with formal internship programs have the latter.

But at this point in time, late July, I don't think anyone knows if they will or will not be receiving an offer. This resume requirement (so that the resume books can be issued to interested companies in mid-August, before school even starts!) does prove to be a reminder that this internship is a temporary thing, and I may have to update & brush up on my STAR interview stories.

Oh, and get used to wearing a suit again.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Advice for Prospective Students

It's about that time of year when the eager beavers raise their heads to prepare for the next lot of MBA applications. I should know; I've been contacted a few times by various people looking to learn more about my time at Tepper.

I don't mind answering questions - that's why I'm listed on the Tepper Contact A Current Student page. However, I know that 80% of the people who are contacting me are just looking for an "in" in case things don't turn out well.

I can usually tell this, and therefore when/if we actually speak, I tend to end the conversation without offering to help. The offer of help is a sure sign that you know you're in :) But in order to get there, here are some tips:

- First, do a little bit of research on the student you're contacting. Something as simple as a LinkedIn profile look-up gives you some background information on the student. I don't know many students who don't have a profile, so it's a good way to find a connection.

- If the student has very little relevance to what you want to do, go find another. There are psychology studies that say that if there is something that connects two people - whether it be coming from the same background, same school, same interests, heck, even same name or birthday - the person to whom the prospective is reaching out to looks upon the prospective favorably. So, for me for example, if you're female, Australian, lived in Texas, have a business background, love videogames, or want to get into the tech industry, we'd get along great. If you desperately want to get into a Wall Street job, I don't know anything, I'm not interested, and you won't get anything from our conversation because I know that you're trying to do the connect thing without appearing like you're genuinely interested in what I have to say.

- Which brings me to the most important point: be actually interested in what the contact has to say. We're people too, and if you don't give a crap about what we have to say, we don't give a crap about you. However: don't go overboard. It's even more creepy and annoying to have multiple emails, phonecalls, text messages, etc, from a prospective in a short period of time.

- I have mentioned this before, but be respectful of the contact's time. Someone once told me that you should always open up a conversation with "is this a good time for you?". That way, if it isn't, the contact doesn't feel bad in postponing the talk rather than having to suffer through it. It allows for a gracious exit :) Oh, and timezones matter also.

- Be conversational with the contact. Tepper is known to build a student body of down-to-earth, friendly people. So be one of those; don't be stilted and formal.

- Basic polite manners help. If we have a good thing going and I do offer to help, follow up with me and tell me what's going on! I don't necessarily need a thank-you note, but a quick email saying thanks also helps a little. And I may not remember you 6 months down the track. Thankfully, Google threads related emails, so please keep our prior correspondence in any follow-up emails so I can know who you are! I volunteer as an admissions student so I meet a lot of people; my memory is bad enough :)

I've helped out a few people over the year. A couple of folks got admitted without any of my direct input (I can only hope that some of my help was useful); unfortunately one did not make it off the waitlist even with my assistance. BUT, one fellow was waitlisted, kept up his contact with me, I recommended him to be admitted, and a month ago he let me know he got in. :)

But I do want to iterate: do not treat the relationship with the current student as one in which you get a letter of recommendation out of him/her if the time calls for it. I personally am very sensitive to who I would recommend because ultimately, I'm the one saying "I want this person in my class to work with me" - and if I don't truly feel this way, I won't say anything.

Other people may be different; I'm merely talking about my own feelings here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Goals for the New Year

This time last year, I was celebrating the fact that I had finished my last week of employment, ready to pack up and head to Pittsburgh for this new chapter in my life. This time, I have just passed the halfway mark for my internship and thinking ahead on what I hope to accomplish in my last year at Tepper. Strange to put it in that perspective!

It may be too early to write this as a blog post, but I feel it's important (also since I don't have much other content :))

I didn't have many goals coming into Tepper other than the usual: Win case competitions, get a ridiculously high GPA, be involved in too much stuff. Well, two goals got accomplished. This year, I think my goals are going to be a fair bit more realistic.

- Learn Prezi and use it for every presentation that I need to make in the coming school year. Powerpoint is good; but Prezi could also have its uses.

- Get in early and apply for graduate funding to go to GDC next year. As a graduate student, we have access to conference funds provided we apply for them via the in-school process. There are other restrictions, like letters of recommendation and proof that the conference is related to the student's topic of study - but I think I can prove that, given my internship experience. Going to GDC would also help me with my networking efforts; ideally, I wouldn't be networking for a job but more for industry contact.

- take a hardcore analytics class. I've been generally shying away from analytics courses because of a fear that I would be too behind (due to my courseload I choose to take upon myself) and because I feel there are more interesting classes I should take. Ideally, Market Research would be available. My Mini 1 & 2 options have already been decided; so this would mean mini 3 or 4 would have to include a course like this.

- Drink less soda at the free food events. Soda has probably been the one main contributing factor to my tummy bulge I developed over the school year. The other goal tied to this is exercise more! It's amazing how many excuses pop up - and this is a sentiment in which I am not alone in.

- Keep my blog postings to once a week. Not too difficult here, since I managed it during the worst of the workloads.

There may be other goals that come along - like, get a job, pay it forward, etc - but these are the main ones that I'm holding onto.