Mid of January at HBS and recruiting is getting more serious than ever. In the past couple of months, companies have been advertising themselves to students by offering information session, free food and drinks and tons of ‘goodies’ – I have a dozen of company branded water bottles at home. Today, the table has turned, as students are trying to secure an interesting internship at one of the top companies by going to a couple of intense interviewing days.
As always, HBS provides a framework for recruiters and students to meet. Two hotels in Cambridge have been transformed into temporary recruiting centers. Students gather in lounges of the hotel, reading through their resumes one last time awaiting to meet their future employers. Then, when the time has come, they will head to one of the hotel rooms and wait for their turn to be interviewed, knowing that the next 30 minutes will heavily influence the rest of their professional lives.
Upon arrival at the DoubleTree hotel, I was astonished to find the hundreds of students scattered around the hotel. All of them Harvard MBAs, nicely dressed up in their dark suits. I couldn’t help thinking that at least I had my European style light grey suit to stand out with. But just like all the others, I would sit on a chair in front of a hotel room waiting for my interviewer to question me to pieces. As I sit on my chair looking at the HBS cattle moving around, I couldn’t help questioning the irony of the process – the world’s youngest and brightest business talents gathered in this hotel looking for their path to conquer the (business) world.
One thing that I found even more astonishing is that some companies would fly out students to different places in the US for an interview. I myself will head to Chicago in a couple of days – plane tickets and 2 hotel nights generously paid for by the recruiting company. Another company will likely fly me to Seattle for a round 2 interview.
I hope the craziness of recruiting will go by fast. I do realize the importance of it all, though I find it difficult to stand out amidst this crowd of smart and highly skilled people. Moreover, the more ‘willing’ and ‘organised’ students have dozens of interviews lined up with all different companies, while claiming their ‘love’ and ‘passion’ for each of these companies. Competition is fierce amongst students in search for their beloved summer internship.
But maybe the real challenge is not with the students, but with the dozens of professionals at the other side of the interviewing table. Good luck to you, recruiters. Good luck in finding the pearls amongst the cattle.