Thursday, April 21, 2011
I'm pleased to report that this blog was once again selected as a Clear Admit's Best of Blogging nominee. Last year the blog ended up ranking 6th overall for student bloggers.
That's certainly nice feedback, and even more important is the positive feedback I've received from so many of the blog's readers... which has made this whole endeavor very worth while. As my time at business school draws to an end, I am exploring different ways to keep this site relevant and useful to future applicants. Some ideas include bringing in new bloggers to continue the tradition and post more experience for the readers. Stay tuned.
Posted by MilitaryToBusiness at 1:06 PM
Saturday, April 2, 2011
With less than a month of cases remaining for me at HBS, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on how some of my classmates are spending their precious remaining weeks:
1. Look for a job (maybe 15%)
There are generally three types of people still looking for work:
- Some committed to finding a private equity, hedge fund, or niche market job (5%?)
- People looking for start-up opportunities (5%?)
- Students just looking for anything (5%?)
2. Conduct "last minute" networking
Students are having weekend brunches, weekday dinners, or mini-retreats with classmates they wish they had gotten to know better. Some students are also re-visiting past professors in order to help cement relationships. Basically, students are investing time in relationships that they would like to retain after we all graduate and head our separate ways.
3. Relax, reflect, and share
HBS has been an amazingly positive journey. Graduates from this school have learned a tremendous amount about business, leadership, values, life, and relationships. They deserve some time to relax and reflect on this amazing experience. It's unlikely that we will ever again be surrounded by such a large peer group of highly diverse individuals. People have not started to become overly nostalgic yet, but I can see it coming from a mile away! Students who are pleased with their choice of full time employment are the most relaxed of all; just enjoying their days, planning summer travel, and waiting for decent weather.
4. Express regret about their job choice
According to frequently quotes statistics, HBS students tend to change their job within the first year or two after graduation. Many students from last year's class have expressed to me how they hate their job and are looking toward radically different career tracks.
Students who accepted investment banking positions are rather open about how they are just doing it to "do their time" and move on, and some who accepted management consulting jobs are expressing second thoughts about their decision. Several who accepted consulting jobs from top firms are also looking at options to delay, defer, or even completely alter the terms of their employment to create space for alternate opportunities.
I hate to dime out an individual company, so I will keep it generic. I've observed that when students were mostly attracted to a company because of its brand and the certainty of financial stability, as opposed to the culture or the work itself, their loyalty seems to be bit thinner than at competitors. Now in the spring several of those same students are being exposed to some of the exact same entrepreneurial job opportunities that they would have after spending two additional years at these high end firms... and this creates a dilemma for many.
To be clear, there are many students are who going to really enjoy their consulting roles and consulting is a great fit for them. But it can be a difficult fit for those who want to lead, have significant responsibility, and immediately create change. Yet as I've discussed before, consulting is a great transition platform for former military to penetrate the business world, gain experience, credibility, and financial stability. So it really is a tough decision and a natural source of tension for many.
In general and not surprisingly, students who accepted a job offer in the fall because they wanted to spend their signing bonus over the winter holiday, not have to continue to recruit, and in general so that they "wouldn't have to worry about it" are the ones who are now not looking forward to starting their job. On the positive side, they tend to be very high paying jobs, so it can certainly be a lot worse!
If you're looking for more answers than questions, I've written two other articles on the subject:
So what about me?
Some have emailed to ask what my plans are. In general I am pursuing entrepreneurial tracks and I have several great options on the table but have not committed yet. I've been given the opportunity to run a small business, join an extremely high potential start-up, and I've also been offered funding to start my own venture.
HBS has given me many powerful skill sets; one of which is the ability to say "no" to amazing opportunities. My first year I wouldn't say no to anything. I would proactively explore every function and industry and accept any invitation to learn about opportunities - and I recommend this educational approach - especially for those who don't come from the private sector. My second year I narrowed down my choices and sought out more focused opportunities, but I would simultaneously never say no to a PE or VC firm for example if they reached out to me. A couple of weeks ago I had an extremely prestigious firm reach out to me to discuss a potential position. We were very quickly able to agree that it would not be a good fit for me and I was able to move on to other discussions without regret.
Before HBS I never would have even had these opportunities, and my first year at HBS I wouldn't have been able to know if I wanted to pursue them. But now after two years, I know myself well enough to have the confidence to not pursue every shiny ball that bounces in front of me. This frees me up to focus and pursue the best fit and use my time most productively. So HBS has not only given me the skills to succeed in whatever I pursue, it has also helped me prioritize and reduce the white noise of life. These are just a few of the many great things that HBS has given me.