As part of the upcoming Business Career Expo on March 25, we are running special commentaries from our graduate business students on the hunt for the best jobs in the worlds of management, finance and beyond. The Business Career Expo, which is co-hosted by the Beedie School of Business, is the largest business-themed student career expo in British Columbia. We think you’ll find their unique perspectives both helpful and inspiring – given the particular challenges of looking for work in the current economic environment.
As uncomfortable as you may feel talking to a stranger, it’s something you “just gotta do.” When I entered the MBA program, all I knew about what I wanted to do after graduation was that I did not want to go back to my old job. I am still figuring out what I want to do, and this is where information interviews come in.
So how do you get an information interview? I got one through the human resources office of a company I was interested in. I had attended several information sessions, but they never sent someone from the department I was interested in. I approached the HR representative, and asked for a referral to someone who was in the department I wanted to work in. My other informational interview came through a referral from a classmate.
Through these interviews, I learned about the companies more, and also the day-to-day life at these offices. As the people I interviewed were more advanced in their careers, they worked in different roles in different companies. So I was also able to learn about other companies and careers.
One common theme I took away is the importance of volunteering. Besides being able to put it on your resume, you will also gain valuable skills that pertain to the career you’re interested in. It’s a risk-free way of trying out your skills while giving back to the community. Most volunteer positions would be supervised by someone who is actually working in that particular industry. This would give you an opportunity to develop a relationship with these professionals, and they are generally very open in giving advice on what you need to do to get ahead.
All in all, you need to get out there and meet new people. SFU Alumni is also a great resource. Look them up on LinkdIn and send them a message. Most of them would be more than happy to help. Also, don’t forget the previous year’s MBA cohort. They just finished the program, and can let you know what to expect from your courses, and what to expect afterwards.
Lastly, don’t forget to have fun!!