Making the most of the end of Core

Valerie Zhao, MBA 2020, Core Fellow

by Valerie Zhao |  Valerie is a 2Y MBA, MBA Core Fellow and co-president of the Management Consulting Club (MCC).

With midterms finished, you may be feeling some combined sense of dread (impending final projects and exams) and excitement (to be home for the holidays and a break from school work). Not to add another thing to your list, but don’t underestimate how productive this time can be for your recruiting journey!

I’m excited to share a few of my tips and lessons learned, in the hope of helping current 1Ys navigate their time.

  1. Create a long-term plan for coursework. Look ahead at deadlines, especially for team projects and job applications, then communicate those dates with your teammates. This will help you all balance the workload and avoid last-minute scrambles, when you may feel that you are trading off academic learnings for recruiting deadlines. Every year, someone will blank on a key due date – don’t let it be your Core team!
  2. Start translating your Sloan experiences into interview answers. While it’s only been a few months, you may be surprised by how many of your core semester experiences are relevant for recruiting conversations. I found it especially helpful to reflect on what I’d learned and done that was consulting-y, since I was recruiting for management consulting (OP project, anyone?). Since my background was in something totally different (tech product management), it was helpful to have something tangible to speak to during interviews.
  3. Ask early for in-person support. Calendars fill up around the holidays with the added constraints of travel. If you think you may want to sit down with someone for recruiting help, whether it’s a practice case or resume review (the CDO offers mock interviews and is open over the holiday break), lock in the time early. This is especially important if you’re interviewing for roles during IAP, as it’s unlikely you’ll have in-person interview prep support between the end of finals and the new year.
  4. Consider your balance of holiday activities. This means making time to actually enjoy your time off! Even if you have IAP interviews, you should not spend all of your time on interview prep. That said, if you happen to be in your target city during the holidays, you might schedule in-person meetings with target companies (I did this when I was home in the Bay Area and could easily visit the SF offices of consulting firms). It’s a great way to demonstrate genuine interest and affiliation with your target geography.

A little about me: I’m a 2Y MBA serving as a Core Fellow and co-president of the Management Consulting Club (MCC). Prior to Sloan, I was a product manager and saleswoman at Catalant Technologies, a Boston-based startup. Last summer, I interned with McKinsey & Company in Silicon Valley.

By Valerie Zhao, MBA '20
Valerie Zhao, MBA '20