By Sam Omann, First-year MBA, Marketing
When the opportunity to lead the New York City “trek” was first introduced to me last August, I have to admit I was a little confused as to what that actually meant. Would we be expected to hike all the way to NYC? Was this a reality TV competition, like “The Amazing Race?” I put on my hiking boots, hoisted my biggest backpack onto my shoulders, and headed down to the student services office. Upon my breathless arrival I was informed that this was not an outdoor trek, but rather was a student led employer outreach initiative – and that we could simply use airplanes to visit the companies. Sold!
The reasons why I chose to volunteer to lead the NYC trek were straightforward: I had a geographical preference for the east coast, and last year’s trek visited companies near the top of my list. That last year’s trekkers found the networking opportunities so valuable made this a must-do for me.
|All of the Kelley students that went on the NYC trek!|
My role as trek leader was already paying off in networking opportunities! It gave me a reason to set up informational calls with alumni from these companies - many of which do not recruit on our campus - and practice my “pitch.” It still amazes me how helpful Kelley alumni are and how willing they are to make time for us. Even if a company was unable to meet with us, the alumni were still willing to share their experience at the company and provide additional contacts. I locked in Pfizer for a visit, which was a great win that came with a bonus challenge of getting 17 Kelleys from Manhattan to the Jersey burbs. Needless to say, I developed a few interview stories during this process.
After scheduling company visits, my focus switched to content. We met and heard from very senior executives, peppering them with enough high-quality questions that even Jonlee would be proud. Additionally, Miss Mary Corona worked with GCS to plan a happy hour after the Colgate-Palmolive day so we could network with local alumni from companies we didn’t visit. That’s the good news. The bad news? The bar recently closed due to health concerns. I personally disagree with this decision as I thought the food was great! The happy hour reinforced the value of face-to-face contact when building a network – and if you can do so with appetizers in a Hoosier bar, all the better.