Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Recruiting: Keeping Score

The Winter Garden at the GSB is probably one of the worst places in the world to be right now. No, I'm not talking about the cleaning crews vacuuming away. It's hard to believe that interviews for internships for my class started only last thursday - feels like I have seen hundreds of people running around in dark suits for, like, forever. And the offers are starting to pour in. Like TDC said to me this afternoon, our world has suddenly been divided into two camps - the Haves and the Have-Not-Yets.

I am actually finding it uncomfortable being in this building. The talk everywhere is of closed lists, second rounds, and that daily evening routine - waiting by the phone for the interviewer to call. Without realizing it, I'm partaking in the same conversations too - something I intended not to. I should really stay away from this madness.

This afternoon, I was chatting with a couple of my good friends who have not been second-rounded yet, and it was like their fears and worries about finding an internship started to affect me. I have never been gladder running off to a study group meeting ! Good luck guys, it's still early days, it'll all work out soon. It's not my place to offer advice, but really do I like this quote:

Let others cheer the winning man, there's one I hold worthwhile.
Tis he who does the best he can, then loses with a smile.
Beaten he is, but not to stay, down with the rank and file.
For he shall win some other day, who loses with a smile.

While on the subject of quotes, I found this one by Vince Lombardi quite topical:
“If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?”

In addition to the Haves and the Have-Not-Yets, there is a third category of cats that make a special effort to enhance the reputation of MBAs as the scum-of-our-earth: the Have-but-Want-Mores. This is an, admittedly small, category of the population that is not satisfied with the five-odd offers they already have, including their 'top' choices. They somehow find the strength in them to go at it every day, seemingly until Kingdom Come, moving from Banking to Consulting to ....

Now, I know all about choices and free will and competition and winners and losers-should-suck-it-up and la di dah. But, I can't find it in me to condone this behavior. Many years ago, I was an undergraduate student at a college that had no working campus placement system. A few of us decided to change this and put one in place for my graduating class. I visited dozens of companies with a friend asking them to consider recruiting at our school, knocking on doors of people who didn't even bother to acknowledge our presence. It was a gruelling experience, but one that hasn't let me forget how precious the recruitment opportunities we have at the GSB are. I might sound like a pinko, but I do believe that they need to be used judiciously.

I think there is a sense of entitlement at this place - that all these jobs are one's to take. I think it is absolutely awesome that we have the choices to pursue a variety of career interests. Truly Awesome. But, one can't forget that this is not a community of One. Every offer that one accumulates (knowing fully well that they already have others that they are more interested in) is an offer that someone else wanted to but doesn't. I know I can't expect much sympathy for this argument, given that this place is all about the Individual.

But, every individual here is also here because of a certain thing they want to develop called the 'network'. I have to ask - are you better served by having a classmate work at a 2nd Tier firm because you cornered a Top Tier job that you knew you weren't going to take? You know that the companies aren't going to go back and make other offers once you decline. In a delightfully perverse way, you are better served by stopping and thinking about your fellow classmates.

I will be remiss if I don't point out again that such examples are a small minority. For the most part, those I have had conversations with are stand-up folks who have removed themselves from the running once they got their top choice jobs. I admire that because I think it is the right thing to do.

In my opinion, Keeping score is not the point of this entire exercise. Finding the right place for each one of us is.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't you simply find your own job for the summer instead of running around with the rest of the cows?

The way the summer MBA internship is described leads me to believe that MBA students have never had jobs.

26 January, 2006 08:51  
Blogger Live said...

Do you want to find an internship in spring and summer in 2006? Just visit You can see countless internship more than any other internship job sites

26 January, 2006 17:11  
Blogger The Dirty Canuck said...

holy smokes. after our conversation in the Wintergarden, i had an entire post, pretty much exactly like this, in draft. i shall heretofere hit 'delete' since you've already put it up, but strange how one conversation can get continued after the fact by the two participants in almost exactly the same way.

28 January, 2006 11:23  
Blogger Hawkeye said...


u just expressed my sentiments. cant believe i am part of a rat race. and rat race it is over here.

not-closed-listed -> bidded -> secound rounded -> waiting -> sometimes dinged -> sometimes angry -> sometimes smiling

13 February, 2006 19:08  

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