Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Notre Dame Mentor Says: Be Prepared

MBAs should start their job search early, not take it personally, and be familiar with "99% of the questions they will receive in the interview," says Karen O. Dowd

Q: What is your philosophy on the job search?
A: The MBA world is smaller than people think. There are about 500 companies actively hiring in the MBA marketplace, nationally and internationally. Students must work to understand the key industries, functions, and companies that already believe in the value of MBAs. From there, they can narrow down where they might fit. A lot of prospective students make the mistake of coming here assuming that the whole world is at their feet. The more successful students will understand the MBA market earlier and be more efficient in their job search efforts.

Q: Are certain MBAs having more success in their job searches?
A: The job search is the most demoralizing, de-energizing thing a person can go through because it's extremely deflating to one's ego. Most people cannot stand the idea of picking up the phone and making a cold call. Every time they are interacting with people for those two years, they are being evaluated. The students who are more upbeat and don't take things personally are the ones who are most successful.

Q: How do you encourage students to express themselves in an interview?
A: I tell students they have to be natural. The more natural they are, the better the dialogue will be. It's imperative that they feel confident going in that they are the best match for that position. If a student can't make a convincing case in 10 seconds or less about why he or she is the best person for that job, then he or she shouldn't be interviewing. Before the interview, candidates must prepare so they won't be caught off guard. They should be familiar with 99% of the questions they will receive.


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