Monday, February 18, 2008

Of persistence, opportunity and chance

I spent most of my winter break writing cover letters and applying for various positions with different firms. I did, however, get to spend a very exciting New Year with friends in New York. After a fun ‘New years’ I was back to the grind putting in more applications, customizing my resume and cover letter every time to ensure that I brought forward my interest and fit. First 2 weeks of January were also spent practicing 2-3 cases, frameworks, doing company research and behavioral interviews for a total of 6-7 hours a day. I also believe that my colleagues (at least those with consulting focus with whom I had ample interactions) spend about the same effort if not more. News was not nearly as good. I had a few consulting interviews but acceptance rate from application to interviews was about 10%. Having worked hard and practiced tons of case and behavioral interviews I was confident as I went into the first week of recruiting. As far as I can tell I did well but I couldn’t make it to any second rounds. After 3 weeks of recruiting I was left with just one more interview after which I had to focus my efforts to more off-grounds search which I had already begun in earnest. I attributed part of the results to the fact that we have stellar Darden candidates and as you expect recruiting for top firms is very competitive. The other part I attributed to ‘Chance factors’, a claim that may be contestable. I found it hard to really fault any of my performances and felt I just needed to persevere. Most of my friends looking for consulting were in the same boat albeit they still had one or two interviews with top consulting firm off-grounds. So did I and that too with my top choice!

The process started exactly the way I didn’t want it to. My flights were delayed constantly and though I kept recruiters in loop I ended up an hour late for interview. I had to rush into my first interview and I struggled a little bit with numbers. In between the interview I remember thinking that my chances were pretty much over as great performances in previous interviews hadn’t got me anywhere and with mistakes I probably wouldn’t get too far. However, I quickly shook myself of the negativity and focused on the task at hand to end the interview strongly. I kept thinking positively, smiled and even joked with the recruiters about the situation and airline industry. My second interview was much better and did my best to show my interest in the firm, my positive attitude, enthusiasm as well as my adeptness at tackling complex problems. It paid off! I got the second round and I really felt fortunate because I found myself less deserving that with my other interviews. Later on I felt it had more to do with attitude and adeptness at handling the situation that the just the case. I was extremely motivated as I went into my second rounds and did exceptionally well.

Result – I got the offer
Moral – hard work, positive outlook and persistence pays dividends
Opportunity – though I did not elaborate earlier I took my opportunities to get this interview and though I could have sulked about my current situation I saw it as an opportunity to create an impression. Many might not agree with my conclusion but I feel that made a huge difference
Chance –mitigate what you can and forget what you can’t

As I got back into town and over the course of the weekend I found that many of my classmates had some exciting offers. Well deserved, I may add. This seems to have been an excellent week for Darden students on the recruiting front . We also seem to be doing better than comparable schools. (For more factual data and comparisons please wait for updates on career websites of each School, my claims are based on hearsay and perceptions)

At the same time I do know that many of my deserving classmates are still looking for jobs. Mostly because they have opted to do something close to their hearts or do something different. I hope you can take some confidence of my story. Also I know for sure that you will get what you want because for one you are at Darden and I have seen what you are capable of. I know from my life that I have come this far not because of easy successes, but because of failures and obstacles that challenged me and my audacity to continue to dream big and explore uncharted waters.

I remind you once again of Robert frost’s lines
Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

So go ahead, dream big, and get what you want!

2 Comments:

Paige said...

CONGRATS!!! Very exciting to hear. Thanks for the kind words on my blog. Best of luck in the future. Keep the chin up and the positive outlook. I like it! :D

Poornima said...

A very motivating and inspiring write-up!!

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