Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In the Big Leagues Now

As I saw the personal contact info for an investment banker at Morgan Stanley splashed across the screen today, the sheer power of the Darden alumni network really hit home. Coming from Canada, everything is very small-business oriented. I meet Presidents, Partners and CEOs quite regularly, but they are usually self-made entrepreneurs. After learning a lot more about I-Banking during the MBA application process, the gravity of where I am now is really hitting home.

There are many things I could write about today: section announcements (I am in Section B, which is pretty much the best section. A few people that I had already started getting to know are in B as well, so that is great. On the down side, I didn't get a Kindle), the weather (still unbearably hot), my long-gone nights of 7-8 hours of sleep or my slowly-becoming-insane schedule. (I am fighting to keep up with email and classes haven't even started...) However, as the career search has been foremost on my mind, I want to touch on that and the career management process at Darden.

Long before I started the MBA application process, I knew I wanted to go into strategy consulting. I want the fast-paced nature of the job, the travel involved, the challenge of new assignments and the opportunity to work with really bright people. I am not an expert in what consulting entails, but from what I know, it seems to be a perfect niche.

The economy being as it is right now, however, is forcing me to examine alternative routes and options. While consulting internships are historically competitive, with hiring down, they are brutally so this year. Since I don't want to reach the end of January and be left with no consulting offers and THEN start searching for alternative routes, I am using this time to give considerate thought into what would also be good careers for me.

The Darden career management process focusses heavily on fit. Each of us have our own unique attributes, personalities, needs, etc. Companies and job functions complement these needs to varying degrees. As I have been sitting in the career discovery forum all day, I've been paying close attention to what resonates with me. For example, while my strength with numbers could be a good fit for corporate finance, being so focused on numbers alone would drive me crazy. Although marketing is not until tomorrow, I know that focusing only on marketing would also drive me crazy. So as I look for jobs in industry, I need either something that will provide a general management rotation (work for a while in finance, then marketing, then operations, etc.) or for a company that will allow me to rotate even without a formalized career track for rotation.

Anyway, there are a lot of other thoughts that have been going through my mind, but I don't need to go on about my own personal discoveries. And I have to go get ready for tonight's networking etiquette dinner... :-)

No comments: