By Tulio Bracho
First-year MBA Student, Strategic Finance Academy
The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) celebrated its 23rd Annual Conference and Career Expo between October 4th and October 6th in Orlando, Florida. This year more than one-hundred and thirty companies went to the conference armed with their recruiting teams with just one objective in mind: identify and capture the best human talent for their organizations. Out of the 1,500 students who attended the conference, 68% were enrolled in an MBA Program.
Indiana University and the Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) sponsored the IGOE fellows to attend the career expo in order to develop networking skills and explore professional opportunities. This was a particularly useful experience for me to learn more from the companies I am interested in and to establish relationships with them. This opportunity also served to strengthen ties between the IGOE fellows.
Although the power of networking is widely recognized, sometimes it is important to remember why it is so powerful. My own perspective is that the advantages of networking go beyond meeting people that can possibly help us at some point in our lives. Even though this could be true, there is one more benefit of networking that we sometimes forget. What I am talking about is what we learn and discover from ourselves when we meet other people.I believe that interacting with other people, listening to what they have to say, seeing how they behave, and paying attention to how they respond to our words and actions are all very powerful tools for personal growth. However, in order for these tools to be effective, we have to be conscious and open to receiving the information and analyzing it. I had a personal experience with this at the NSHMBA convention.
While I was waiting in line and putting my ideas in order to speak with one company representative I noticed that the person behind me had a semblance of concern. I introduced myself and we started having a friendly conversation. As we kept talking, he opened up and shared his concerns with me. He had recently graduated with a Masters in Accounting and still did not have a job offer. He had made a sacrifice to cover the expenses to travel to Orlando and attend the career expo. I understood his situation and tried to be supportive and cheer him up. I offered him my spot so he could talk to the company representative first and have more time to go and talk with others. He accepted and was appreciative of my offer.
Later in the day I saw this person again. He approached me and said, “I was looking for you”. I was intrigued. He told me that he had spoken with another recruiter and thought my profile would be a good fit. I thanked him and went to go speak with that recruiter. Indeed, my profile was a good fit for the position the company was hiring for, and after speaking with the representative for a little while, I was offered an interview. I’m glad I got the chance to network with that company, but what struck me more was how eager my new friend was to help me.
That is the power of networking, so powerful that it must be based on some sort of physical law of action and reaction. It’s a power that comes from inside, spreads out, multiplies, and somehow comes back to you. I am thankful that NSHMBA gave me the opportunity to experience this power of networking firsthand. I will always remember Professor Carlos Vinola’s quote about networking, “If you go into a room and you do not meet someone new, at the least you've missed out an opportunity of learning something or making a friend, and at the most, making a million dollars."