Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How To Turn Your Internship Into a Full-Time Offer

Written based on the expertise of Eric Johnson, Executive Director of Graduate Career Services. For the full version of Eric's talk, click here

With the stress and pressure involved in finding the right internship, it can feel like the war has been won when you finally hear that you got the offer. Truth be told, the hard work is just getting started. There are two primary objectives for your summer: #1 to obtain an offer and #2 to gain experience that translates well for a full-time job search while leaving a favorable impression on those you worked with throughout the summer. One major point to highlight here – even if this isn’t your dream company, do not throw in the towel for the summer saying, “It doesn’t matter if I get an offer. I don’t want to work here anyway.” Full-time recruiters will be asking whether or not you received an offer, and there’s no sense in wasting a summer because you’re not exactly where you want to be.

A few things to note from a career standpoint; you should be practicing interviewing all summer long and making it a point to meet one new person each week. We’d recommend contacting the alumni chapter for the city you’re in. It’s a great chance to expand your network and connect with people outside of your company. You should also be in touch with recruiters from companies you’re interested in for full-time opportunities. You’ve laid the groundwork during your first year, but don’t let those connections fade over the summer. Let them know where you’ll be spending the summer, and check in throughout the summer. Keep in mind not to share any sensitive information – violating a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a huge red flag for what could be a potential employer.

Pre-Start Date – Whether or not your internship will be successful begins before you get to headquarters. Use the time between getting the offer and your start date to become as much of an expert you can be on the company you’ll be working for: read industry reports, listen to the Q1 earnings call, set up Google alerts for your company, and research their competition. Begin figuring out how the company makes money as this will be a key piece of information for you to be able to add value. It’s okay for this understanding to continue through week one of being on the job. This is also a great time to set up a call with your manager. While it may seem like a given that they’ll be there for your first day, it is summer and your start date may fall near a holiday or a vacation. Better to know now than on your first day so that you can make a plan.

Week One – Once your official start date hits, have a conversation early on about how success is defined, the project(s) you’ll be working on, and what the deliverable(s) for the end of the summer look like. If you have a voice in when the deliverable is due, make the request that you present or turn in the deliverable the week before you’re slated to leave. This way there will be time to complete any follow-up items and transition your work to the person who will continue with the momentum you’ve built. Scheduling a midpoint presentation is also a good way to gain exposure and socialize your project progress and yourself. If you have any say in this, try to put it on the calendar early. 

Weeks Two and Three – This is when you’ll start getting into the thick of it. Use the first part of this time for research and data collection. From here, you’ll begin to synthesize the information which will lead to the foundation/outline of the story you’re going to tell. One outside the box tip that might be helpful: at this point, it’s often valuable if you’re able to sit in on a sales training or customer service call center. This will help get at the heart of the issue you’re trying to resolve.

Weeks Four thru Six – Now it’s time to begin forming your argument/hypothesis. Be transparent throughout, but particularly during this time. There shouldn’t be any surprises for your supervisor or stakeholders. Making sure you have their backing now will save you a huge amount of time on the back end and ensure you’re meeting expectations.

Weeks Seven and Eight – The ideal time to start building your final deliverable is 3-4 weeks prior to your end date. If you’ve got a twelve-week internship, you can wait until week seven or eight, but be sure to make the adjustment if your internship is shorter than this. It’s also important to be practicing with someone, whether that be other interns, your coach, or your academy director. No matter who you choose, the first time you give your presentation should not be the day of your final presentation.


As your internship comes to a close, complete any and all follow-ups that resulted from your final presentation, and begin to transition your project to the person in charge of continuing it. Be sure to schedule a formal review with your supervisor before you go. Connect with other companies you’re interested in for full-time positions, and update your LinkedIn and resume, once again being cognizant of NDAs. And voila – that’s basically it. Enjoy the little bit of summer you have left, and come back ready to go in the fall!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

5 Questions All International MBAs Have Right Now (and the Answers to Them)

When families look back on the generations who came before, it’s always a particular point of pride for a member of the older generation to say, “I was the first person in my family to attend college.” In a world where a master’s degree is the new college degree equivalent, what is holding students back from being able to make this particular claim for themselves?

For many domestic students, the hold-up comes from a financial perspective. For those who’ve grown up outside the US, one very real fear in their mind right now has to do with the prospective employment environment waiting for them on the other side of the degree. Eric Johnson, Director of GCS, addressed some of these fears in a recent webinar, and we wanted to share the answers our office has when it comes to some of the most common questions international students have right now.

1.       What is the current employment for international students?
If you plan to work in the US, upon completion of your program you will need to apply for an H-1B visa. The H1-B lottery is conducted every April where 85,000 visas are distributed. Since graduation happens in May, you may work in the US for nearly a full year on what is called OPT. Of the 85,000 H1-B visas given, 20,000 are reserved for master’s graduates (YOU!). In 2016, there were a total of 40,000 applications submitted by master’s students, meaning the chances of being selected were approximately 50/50. At this point in time, the odds of getting an H1-B visa today are the same as they were a year ago.


2.       What percentage of international students end up employed in the US?
Of the international students who are seeking employment in the US, over 90% of our students get jobs! Obviously an encouraging statistic, but we don’t want to mislead you: the job search is harder for international students but certainly not impossible.


3.       Which companies sponsor at Kelley?
We don’t have a list, and even if we did, it changes from year to year. Of the 100 companies who come to campus, we’d estimate that half of them sponsor. And that’s just counting the people who come to Bloomington to interview. Half of all students land jobs “off campus,” so by no means are you limited to the 50 who sponsor who come here. Whether you choose to conduct your job search off campus or on campus, our overall recommendation we would be to target global businesses who can relocate you if your H-1B isn’t approved. A full list of companies who sponsored H1-B visas last year is available at http://www.immihelp.com/h1b-visa-sponsors/.


4.       What will help improve my chances of landing a job in the US?
The first piece of advice we give would be not to come here looking for any job in the States. Be focused on what it is you really want to do to ensure long-term success in your career. The best thing you can do is to present yourself as the best candidate – which requires that you identify the skills, interests, and values which separate you from other candidates. Then focus on the jobs that value these attributes. Beyond that, be willing to be coached – listen to the advice of the professionals who’ve worked with prior students in your situation. Immerse yourself in US culture in order to be an effective networker – building relationships is the key to landing a job, and most networking conversations are about US sports and pop culture, or the things happening at the university. Finally, try to find roommates from the US, so that you speak English as often as possible, and familiarize yourself with US topics and customs.

5.       What sets Kelley apart for international students?
The biggest factor that sets Kelley apart from other business schools is a partnership called Immigration Bridge. Kelley has partnered with Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP, one of the top immigration law firms in the country, to assist international students and recruiters with matters related to employer sponsorship. They’ll help navigate the waters of the tedious paperwork that comes along with an H1-B visa. Accuracy and timeliness are common factors that can hold up the application process, so to virtually guarantee these are out of the way is a major win. It’s also a great solution to employers who are open to employing international students but don’t want to deal with the paperwork.


Getting an MBA as an international student has always posed a risk, but figuring out how much risk you’re able to tolerate is key in making the final decision about where you end up for business school. While we’ve given some highlights to the most common questions our office receives, the full version of Eric’s podcast can be found here and plays best in Internet Explorer. For any additional questions you may have, please contact gcshelp@indiana.edu

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Not Your Average Networking Post

Written based on the expertise of Cindy Hosea, Associate Director of Graduate Accounting Program and Information Systems Graduate Program – Kelley Graduate Career Services.

Cindy Hosea
Jane* conducted her job search like just about most other college students. She applied to jobs that fell within her scope, showed up for career fairs, and went to nearly every company-hosted event on campus. Which is why she was left confused and discouraged when she was approaching graduation without a job or even the prospect of an offer.

When she approached her career coach, it wasn’t hard to figure out what had happened. Jane had been showing up to the right events, but she hadn’t been engaged. Fortunately, she made another right choice in showing up to career services. Her coach explained that companies weren’t hiring her because they didn’t know her – there was no one advocating on her behalf. The session that happened in Cindy’s office that afternoon was a breakthrough, both for Jane’s immediate job search and the rest of her professional career. Their plan of action first set out to tackle the self-limiting thoughts that were holding Jane back from networking from the start.

Hurdle #1: Networking feels so awkward. I hate pretending to be friends with people to get what I need.
If this is your mentality, you should feel awkward! No one enjoys being used. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that the urgency of getting a job often can get in the way of building a relationship. Relationships take time, and although you may not feel like that’s something you have much of at the moment, successful networking is going to take commitment and a change of attitude.

Hurdle #2: Why would they want to talk to me?
This isn’t as much about them as it is about you. When you strip everything else away, this is actually your pride getting in the way. It can be hard to put yourself out there and risk rejection, but so many people are just excited to help! Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would feel if someone wanted to learn about you – pretty good feeling, right?

Hurdle #3: I don’t know what questions to ask.
Nothing that can’t be taken care of with a little planning. Making an agenda for your conversation takes a little work, but that’s the least you can do. It can be as simple as:
"Do you mind if we start with a few questions about your career, in general, and then more specifically to projects you are currently working on? My goal for the call is to learn ___."  
From there, just go with the flow. Have a list of open-ended questions prepared ahead of time, but be open and flexible to how the conversation progresses. If your conversation partner says something interesting, it’s okay to deviate from the list and ask a follow-up question.

Jane’s story has a happy ending. She developed relationships with several people Cindy put her in touch with, and she ended up with not one but three offers before graduation. Once the alumni got to know her, they knew Jane would represent them well and they would look good for bringing in such great talent, once again proving networking isn’t as one-sided as you might have believed. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of getting out of your own way to help both of you out.

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Don't Sell Yourself Short: 5 Things to Do Before Signing on the Dotted Line

Written based on the expertise of Kendell Brown, Associate Director of Alumni Relations – Kelley Graduate Career Services.

You’ve had your eye out for this job for months, endured multiple rounds of interviews, and waited weeks in agonizing silence to hear your fate. The day has finally come where the silence has broken and the offer is yours!

After going through this long and arduous process, the temptation to sign on the dotted line and make it official is attractive. But this is 2017. You owe it to yourself to take a long hard look at the deal in front of you and open up discussions for negotiations. According to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, nearly half of workers accept the first offer given to them. Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University asserts that by not negotiating, employees are costing themselves anywhere from $1 million to $1.5 million over a lifetime.

With so much at stake, why is half the population so hesitant to even bring up the conversation? The most obvious reason that comes to mind is the fear that the offer will be rescinded. The probability of an offer being taken back is extremely low, especially if the discussion is done in a respectful manner. Negotiations are an extremely normal part of business, and there’s no reason to feel bad to engage in one. That being said, we do have a few words of advice for when the time comes.

1. Identify your values.
As strange as it may sound, your values are at the heart of every piece you will negotiate. Asking for a higher starting salary isn’t so that you can stockpile your cash, but so that you’re able to do what’s important to you. Whether it’s a trip to a foreign location, a bigger house for your family, or the ability to be able to leave at 5 pm every night, what’s most important to you will be displayed through your asks.

2. Be specific in your requests.
By being specific in what you ask for, you give the company something to react to. Ask for more than you’re willing to settle for, and work in a bit of wiggle room for when they counter. On that note, don’t make outrageous suggestions. (i.e. asking for a $200,000 salary when the offer says $150,000.)

3. Have evidence to support your demands.
Asking for more money “just because” isn’t a very effective way to get more money. Hiring managers are bound to have much more empathy if you’ve gone through and added up rent, student loan payments, and the cost of living in a city like San Francisco. And if you have other offers with more alluring benefits, don’t be afraid to bring that up, too. They want to know!

4. Ask for everything at once.
The hiring process is drawn out as-is. Don’t lengthen it by piling on request after request. Chances are, your HR contact isn’t the one who has the authority to approve the changes, so project a put together image by making all of your requests at one time.

5. Be prepared to accept; It’s not a game.
Simple as that: be professional, and don’t waste anyone’s time if you know that no matter what agreement you come to, you don’t want the job. Go in with the mindset that you’ll accept if your “bottom line” is met. 

While negotiating can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Come in with a game plan but know that if you’re asking your employer to be flexible, you should expect the same of yourself. Most importantly, come armed with the courage to let your voice be heard – the employer isn’t the only one in a position of power.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Secrets to Interview Success from a Former HR Professional

Written based on the expertise of Nicolette Johnson, Associate Director of Consumer Marketing – Kelley Graduate Career Services.

Is it the things you said or the things you didn’t say in an interview that come back to haunt you? As a former HR professional who has sat through 200+ interviews, Johnson would point to the latter. She made the transition from the employer side of the table to the person coaching the interviewee two years ago, and she has advice for applicants when it comes to what they miss.

They don’t explain their unique value to interviewers.
In order to describe what they bring to the table, candidates must understand three very important and connected pieces of the story. First and foremost, successful applicants understand who they are. They know their brand and can confidently communicate that to an employer. Secondly, they point to what sets them apart. 

Side note - if you’re struggling to come up with qualities that make you stand out, take time to dig deep and reflect. What have other people told you that you’re good at? Because of how often you’ve heard it (especially if it comes from mom), it can be easy to brush off and look over. But the family, friends, and co-workers who know you best can be great help when it comes to identifying what sets you apart. Another option is to get a fresh set of eyes on your resume. Something that seems trivial to you might be really interesting to someone else.

Finally, and most importantly, what’s in it for the company? Be sure to be clear about how your particular skill set will contribute to their goals in the future.

On a similar note, connect the dots.
Having passion doesn’t mean a darn thing unless you tell the interviewer how that passion will help you be better at your job. Does it mean you’ll dig in more because it’s a topic that interest you? That you’ll be more creative? Or that you’ll work harder? The same goes for experience. If you have ten years under your belt, great. So what? How will the skills and capabilities you’ve learned serve your new employer well? Don’t leave them guessing – be explicit about how your skills connect to what they’re looking for.

When they ask why this company or role, have a real answer.
Real in two forms. First, Do. Not. Be. Vague. You come across unprepared, as though you haven’t done an ounce of research on the company. Not a good look. Secondly, don’t sound packaged either. Dig deep – every company has something interesting. Find that nugget, and run with it!

Under no circumstances should you use the job description as your answer to “what are your strengths?”
Please. Don’t pretend to be the perfect match for what the company needs. Determine your unique strengths first, and then see how you align with the job description. A recruiter can tell the difference between someone who's being genuine and someone who's giving all the right answers to get a job. 

Not preparing for the interview so that it’s “conversational.”
It doesn’t allow you to be “more conversational,” it makes you look like you didn’t take the time to prepare for the interview (because you didn’t). By doing the research ahead of time, you’ll be more conversational because you won’t be flustered when they ask you a question. 

We get it – there are a lot of things to keep in mind when you go into an interview. But take our advice and set yourself apart. And if you do use these tips in an interview, send us a note to let us know! We’d love to hear about your progress. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2 Keys to a Successful Job Search

When deciding on a business school, the quality of companies who choose to recruit on campus makes up a large part of the criteria students evaluate. The Kelley Corporate Relations Team pulls through in big ways, bringing in names like 3M, Bain, and Amazon that most students will end up working for. It’s an ideal situation: these companies are looking for potential employees with a certain skillset, and these students are looking for companies of the highest caliber with meaningful work.

But for others, the big names either don’t hold as much allure, or they have their hearts set on something else. Whichever the case, some students find themselves recruiting off campus in a situation that more accurately replicates a job search, outside the bubble of Kelley recruiting.

Sumedha Makker, MBA ’17, came to Kelley with a desire to change careers and a passion for fitness. When she decided to get her MBA, combining the two was non-negotiable. She landed her dream internship with Glanbia Performance Nutrition and had an incredible summer working in an environment she loved… so how did she do it? At the core, there were two things Sumedha did that made her efforts a success.

It started with using her resources – she first reached out to Ray Luther of the leadership academy, and he provided her a connection who had previously attended Kelley. She was also proactive in her search. Using the powers of LinkedIn, she discovered she had a mutual connection with the CEO of Isopure, Chris Hickey. She reached out to her former classmate, and he introduced the two.

The self-identified factor that made Sumedha most successful in her job search was her genuine interest in Hickey and the company. When she talked to Hickey, her only motive was to learn about his career and how he got where he was. She knew that they didn’t have a program specifically for MBAs and wasn’t expecting it to turn into anything. During the conversation, they connected well, and her passion for fitness shone through. Hickey liked her so well that he connected her to the human resources department at Glanbia, the nutrition giant who was in the process of acquiring Isopure.

When she arrived at Glanbia, Sumedha says it was the MBAs within the organization who helped create the norms and expectations for the position. Looking back on her time there, something she wishes she had done differently would be to sit down and have a formal conversation before jumping straight in. “I ended up working a lot over the summer, which was great, but by the end, I was exhausted.”

For others looking to recruit off campus, there are a few qualifications Sumedha would give. First, be okay with not knowing what to expect. Most companies don’t know what they’ll be hiring for as far out as companies who specifically set out to hire MBA’s. There will be extra waiting time and likely a lack of organization. The extra waiting applies on the back end as well; these companies participate in more of a just-in-time strategy, so you have to be okay with not having a full-time offer when it’s all said and done.

She would also advise students to feel like they are able to negotiate. “It’s challenging when it feels like the company is doing you a favor since they don’t normally hire for MBA-specific roles, but balance that with the fact that you are bringing value to the company and should be fairly compensated for it.”

In the midst of the search, it’s easy to put those blinders on and focus on the task at hand. Resist that temptation and use your resources – particularly those within GCS as the launching point for your next career move. Kendell Brown serves as the associate director of alumni relations, offered to all Kelley alumni at any point in their career. Reach out to her for more information or set up an appointment.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Stop Tripping - 5 Actionable Steps to Get Out of Your Own Way

Based on the expertise of Christina Schmidt, Associate Director of Business Marketing – Kelley Graduate Career Services

Getting a full-time MBA requires a lot of sacrifice, but you already know that. If you’re uprooting your life and taking two full years off of work, I bet you’re willing to do everything within your power that will help you succeed. No matter how great your academics are, how many extracurriculars you participate in, or even how many people you meet, the one thing that will sabotage your efforts (if you’re not conscious) is you. Take a look at the following list and make a note to be mindful: these are things coaches see happen on a regular basis.

Not saying thank you. Kelley career coaches cite this as the number one blunder students commit. As incredibly simple as it sounds (and the minimal effort it requires), not saying thank you is one of the most foolish and quickest ways to make people turn away. It doesn’t matter if it was “only” an informational interview; anytime someone willingly gives up their time in an effort to help you, a small gesture like a thank you goes a long way in communicating what you think about them. If you want to take it a step further, The Muse has three tips on writing a thank-you note people won’t forget. 

Coming across unprofessional. Recruiters are used to corporate environments where many people are vying for their attention. In light of that, be sure any written material that you send uses proper English – spelling and grammar. When going through a pile of resumes, glaring errors make it an easy decision as to which ones will be tossed out first.
Unprofessionalism can also come across verbally. Particularly for those whose first language is not English, practice is key. Although it can be a challenging language to learn, if recruiters see you’re making progress with each interaction, that sends them the message you’re willing to make the effort to be a better employee. On a similar note, when you are having a conversation with someone, be conscientious of things like personal space and cultural norms.

Taking the summer off. Yes, you may be back in the working world, but this isn’t just a time to apply your new knowledge from the classroom. It can be easy to jump back into old habits, but don’t slide backward; continue networking the way you did when you were looking for a job. As GCS Director Eric Johnson would say, never eat lunch alone. 

Being timid at your internship. We hear you – being the low man on the totem pole can be intimidating, but being too nervous to speak up or ask questions sends your boss the wrong message. Use your words to figure out the details of your project, but don’t stop there. Go beyond the objectives and ask questions that will clue you in as to how the office operates. Your offer is likely contingent upon whether or not you know whom to impress. Figure out the office dynamics and get a feel for who the key influencers are.

Only talking to companies you’re interested in. It may seem counterintuitive, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. By holding a conversation with someone from a different company, you just might hit it off. And even though that might not change your mind about their company, it makes them much more inclined to leverage their network and reach out to a contact they have at a company you are interested in. Everyone has value, and by writing off someone who isn’t in your “plan,” you’re closing yourself off to opportunities you haven’t yet imagined.


These five helpful hints aren’t earth-shattering – we totally get that. But we do promise, they happen a lot more than you’d think. Whether you’re getting an MBA, applying for a new job, or are just out in the working world, make a conscious effort to be mindful and put these into practice. It might open up a few more doors than you’d expect.