Hello everyone. I am Kshitija Deshpande – First year MBA at Tepper. I am from Mumbai, India.
Every year, the National Black Association hosts a conference and a career expo for MBA students for internship and full-time opportunities. While there were many of us from Tepper – both first and second year – I was one of the international first-year students who decided to brave the rapid waters of National Black Conference in Detroit, Michigan. It was held at the Cobo Center in Downtown Detroit.
As an international student, I was doubly stressed because it was a completely new way of recruiting for me and majority of the companies at the Conference were not sponsoring visas for International students.
Having said that, it was a really good experience for me because I knew what to EXPECT from the conference:
- Build connections with recruiters
- Meet new people from other schools
- Learn how to approach career fairs
Moreover, I also got to know some of my classmates better than before in the process of riding with them to Detroit and sharing an Airbnb with them!
Here are some of my top TIPS to make the most of the conference:
- Recruiters are also people! Take the time to ask them about their day before rambling on your elevator pitch.
- Meet people from other schools and build connections while waiting in long lines.
- Keep some snacks and a small bottle of water on you.
- Ladies, wear flats or comfortable heels – because you are going to be on your feet all day.
- Have a plan in place and zero down on your top 7-8 companies. Keep a copy of the map on you with the companies marked, so you don’t get lost trying to find your company’s booth
- Enthusiasm may go down on Day-2 if you don’t have an interview. Decide whether you really need to stay or not. I happened to stay and talk to some really cool companies on Day 2!
- Especially for international students (like me) : Set your expectations straight and everything will seem a lot better. Keep your eyes and ears open – observe how others are speaking and learn from them. Not getting an offer or an interview can be disappointing but do not forget it’s your experience that matters.
- Finally, make the most of your time there: I collected lots of ‘swag’ ( free goodies from companies), clicked a professional photo at the LinkedIn booth (for free), and also toyed with Microsoft Hololens which was on display! One of my classmates also won an Xbox!
Finally, I believe this conference was just one of the many beginnings of my recruiting experience at Tepper and it has prepared me well for future opportunities.