Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Recruiting Joys

Ah, the familiar feel of empty halls, half-filled classrooms, and scheduling blackouts. National Black has arrived this weekend, and many of my classmates have made the trek to Indianapolis to interview and recruit with the big firms there. Once again, I have opted out of attending since none of the companies I'm interested in are going to be there.

In fact, I have done very little recruiting this semester, which is a heightened contrast to many of my second year classmates. These two minis are devoted to full-time recruiting, and it's not unusual to see a cluster of second years spending their time in class composing cover letters. As one friend pointed out - this is the only time that companies are going to be doing MBA graduate recruiting. After this semester, it's on an as-needed basis. My career choices fall into the as-needed bucket, as many tech firms are notorious for not holding a position open for a year (too much changing in the industry). Google, I think, is an exception.

While I am not actively looking, I am aware that other companies are reading the resume books. I've had a couple reach out to me already, to see if I'm interested. One such company was one that had piqued my interest during the internship search, and while recent news-worthy events have made me cautious about the wisdom of pursuing any opportunities with them, I scheduled a screening phone call with them.

In the first 30 seconds of the call, I was reminded of the multitude of etiquette lessons that I researched over the summer on the best practices for interviewing project. The one the stood out most prominently in this situation was don't use speakerphone if there is only one person on the line. The recruiter did not know this lesson, as she used a speakerphone. I could not hear the recruiter, as the speaker picked up every echo. Even after we hung up and redialed to see if the connection was bad, I still got the awful echo effect. I mentioned it, but she decided to keep going. I couldn't hear her when she spoke quickly, which probably caused me to incorrectly answer the questions she was asking. It was a frustrating phonecall; a call that I was eager to end because it was so bad. Adding insult to injury, I got the feeling that she was fishing for more information on the "secret project" I worked on with Blizzard. I stayed away from any detail, and I could tell that was annoying her. I can't tell if she was just trying to actually ply me for that information, or just didn't realise that I was being vague intentionally since, clearly, I'm held to an NDA.

I know at this stage, we're supposed to be eager and willing to take on any job opportunity that comes our way. And maybe I should've also been more insistent that we talk on a connection that wasn't so bad. But I've had some issues with the etiquette of this company in my internship search, and this experience just added on to that bad perception. Do I want to work for a company that doesn't consider basic etiquette and politeness as part of their recruiting function? I think my interactions with this company has been very telling of what it would be like to work there, and I don't think I would care for the place.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dean's Reception & Awards

I just came back from the Dean's Reception & Awards Ceremony. It's an annual event where the Dean makes a speech, the GBA president makes a speech, a guest speaker makes a speech, and academically gifted 2nd years receive awards for various subjects. I know I covered awards in a prior post. There were two award recipients that seemed odd to me - one was a complete surprise because I would've sworn another class member would've received it (more deservingly in my opinion); the other award was also surprising but it made sense that the recipient got it.

Again, I was reminded of the stark differences a year makes. As a first year, I flitted around at the reception post-ceremony, talking to as many people as I could find. This year, I found a table and was content to eat there and chat to the odd person who wandered over.
First year, I was eager to keep the party going.
Second year, I left somewhat early and immediately changed into my comfy houseclothes to do some homework

First year, I had dreams and desires to be up on the stage, with visions of imparting sage advice and talking about what I had done for the student body.
Second year, I had to fight the urge to pull out my phone and browse Twitter, given how little I cared.

I guess it has started to emerge - the apathy that I've been told sets in with the second year. I can't say I've checked out, but I'm starting to see the school experience as no longer "mine" to do with it as I please, but more a legacy to leave behind.

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Hangout

Over year 1, because of both the peculiarities of my schedule and the notion that I would do more work at school than at home, I spent all my free time in the Tepper Master's Lounge. I had a chair that I would always go to, a well-positioned seat that gave me access to two armchair-connected tabletops as well as a side table and a platform for my feet. A lot of people knew to find me there when I wasn't in class. It also allowed for easy access to hot water (for my cups of tea), as well being able to stick around until the last minute to get to class. I chatted with people in the Lounge, and was one of the first to grab the free food that came by after corporate or club presentations.

This year, things have changed. I am no longer a frequent presence in the Master's Lounge. In fact, I rarely even stop by. I could blame the fact that the first years have taken it over, that my class schedule doesn't require me coming into school until later in the day, that I now walk to and from school instead of relying on my partner to pick me up after work (which required me waiting until he was finished). I could even point the finger at the fact that a half of my classes are in the school of Computer Science (due to track-specific courses being cross-listed with SCS). But the real reason is actually quite arbitrary: Posner Hall has become an icebox.

Someone, somewhere, decided that 62F was the perfect temperature for a building to be at. Last year, the rooms were adjustable with their own thermostats, but it's not the case this year. I start shivering as soon as I step through the great glass doors. The classrooms, it seems, don't suffer as much, but the Master's Lounge collects all the cold air!

Fed up with needing to put on eight layers just to be in that one room, I went wandering around campus to find a suitable place to spend a couple of hours. I found it almost by accident.
The Gates Center, which is the newest building on campus, is very accommodating. I walk through it on my way to my Track-specific classes. Driven by curiosity, I explored the center and found my new hangout - it's a lunchroom/lounge with plush seating, well-stocked coffee bar, an outdoor patio, outlets galore, quiet students, AND more importantly, a 72F temperature.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Scholarship Opportunities

Well, I'm starting to get back into the swing of things and now that internship/summer discussions are complete, I've noticed that the conversation tends to turn towards scholarship recipients.

Tepper doesn't provide a list of scholarships, so a lot of what I'm about to say are pieced together through hearsay and grapevine.

There are three levels in which a scholarship is granted. The first level is during the application process. Typically, this is where the Consortium comes in. The Consortium is where many minority applicants (i.e. hispanic, native american, and/or black) apply to Tepper through. It grants a full, merit-based scholarship.

The second level is part of the regular application stage - i.e. someone applies directly to Tepper. No extra work is required to be considered for a scholarship. This is where the Forte Foundation's Fellowships get granted. The Forte Foundation looks to promote women MBA representation. I have a Forte Fellowship, which had me all excited until I realised that nearly every woman in my class has a Forte Fellowship. Fear not, men, for I have noticed that nearly every man receives a merit scholarship for roughly the same amount. It takes a little glow off the prestige, but every little bit counts.
There are also other scholarships that are granted at this stage, like the Alumni Association scholarship and a couple of others I'm not familiar with. I stumbled across this site which also lists some fellowships that are available, but typically to people who come from a certain country (Australia unfortunately not on the list :(  ). There are also a handful of students who receive Dean's scholarships, which is also full-ride on tuition but given only to "exceptional students."

The third level happens when the student is at school. It's rare to have one during the first year; I think there was one but the name of it eludes me. It's the movement into second year in which the rest of the monies are granted.
Now, I received notification that I received the Judi Nusbaum and Lynne Skinner Graduate Scholarship this year, which partially funded my Forte Fellowship. If anyone follows me on Twitter, I had excitedly announced this fact. The partner to one of my classmates mentioned that my classmate also received a scholarship partially funding his merit scholarship. I felt like the "everyone gets a scholarship" baton was being passed around again, like I discovered for first year. I felt honored to have a scholarship, don't get me wrong, but I didn't feel special.

Conversations with my classmates, however, indicated that it wasn't the case. So that's kinda cool.
The prestigious Ford scholarship was also communicated to the recipient probably around the same time. The recipient is the person with the highest GPA of the class from the first year, and he/she gets a full ride for the second year. I don't know if there are any other benefits, but I know about the full ride.

At one point last week, a couple of people and I were talking about Level 3 part b: the specialty awards. The Ford Scholarship recipient is honored at the Dean's Reception, which happens pretty early in the school year. This year it's a tad late. There are also a number of awards that are given to second year students for their performance in specific subjects in the first year: accounting, finance, operations, organizational behavior, marketing, strategy. Maybe a couple of others. There's also one for exemplifying school spirit. No-one is entirely sure a) what the criteria for winning the award is. Maybe it's highest GPA. Maybe it's dedication to the subject; b) what the recipient gets. One person I talked to swore that the recipient received some sort of cash award; or c) if the awards have already been communicated to the recipients. I haven't heard anything through the grapevine yet.

We've still got a few weeks to go for that.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First week back at school!

This week concluded my first week back at school! I have only one class in the mornings; everything is evening and afternoon. This is tough, since I'm a morning person and have a tendency to really not pay attention during the 3.30-5.30 class slots.

However, the workload is relatively light. So light, that I took up another class. Also, this class is taught by a former NASA astronaut, which I felt was good bragging material.

The first week was full of seeing my other classmates for the first time in a long time and exchanging discussions on our summers. They typically went like this:

"Oh, how was your summer?"
"Awesome! I had a great time"
"Are you going back?"
"Maybe. I haven't received my offer yet/I'm shopping around. How was your summer?"
"Great! I learned a lot"
"Are you going back"
"Perhaps. I haven't received my offer yet/I'm shopping around."

Half the class probably forgot who was going where. I know I did. What helped later on was that the CoC sent out the second year internship listing. This listing collates all the internship information from each one of the second years who submitted a resume to the resume book so that first years can see who was working for their target companies and talk to them about their experience. When I was scrolling through this listing, I was reminded of who went where.

The calendar is starting to fill up also with club activities, group meetings and various meetings with first years. The group meeting situation is especially onerous since no-one wants to do morning meetings for some reason, and prefer afternoons. With all this, I still don't feel overwhelmed. I hope this feeling stays for the mini :)