Recruiting is in full swing, as indicated by the myriad of coffee chats, Corporate Conversations and professional student group events that are dominating your Outlook calendar. This whirlwind of human interaction can be exhausting and there is an abundance of contradicting advice, sometimes even coming from the same person. In an effort to streamline this advice going forward, it is important to center around three key areas: intentionality, authenticity and resourcefulness.
Be intentional. Focus on creating a target list of companies greater than a dozen. Choose several "dream jobs," several firms on your potential alternate list, and the last few firms should be in an industry or function which you find interesting and in which you have a good shot at getting an interview and offer. Recruiting with the last few firms is something that many students neglect, but is extremely important. If you fortunately receive an offer from your dream job, then with enough notice you can cancel your remaining interviews, allowing other students to benefit. However, in the situation where this does not happen, having a third bucket of attainable positions will give you more interview opportunities and will most likely lead to an offer that will make you happy. Also, remember that in this process you are building relationships with firms that will last beyond the one internship on which you decide. You are building a Booth network that goes beyond these two years.
Be genuine. In terms of conversations with recruiters, this should go without saying. You should be portraying your real personality, within professional reason, in every interaction. Be true to yourself. Everyone attends business school for different reasons, and as the neon sign in the stairwell suggests, only you know the reason that you are here. You will be most successful in your job search if you stay true to that goal. This will also make considering alternate plans much more enjoyable. Look at your interactions with alternate firms as an opportunity to gain knowledge and exposure to different fields.
Be resourceful. Use recruiting events as a chance to gather information and insights. Leverage your friendships with second years to get answers to specific questions. The information you collect now will be essential as you narrow down your list of firms, start to build cover letters, and eventually as you prepare for interviews. That said, make sure that you are taking time to enjoy these interactions, because hopefully these will be your future colleagues, and ultimately this will be indicative of the experience you would have on the job.
In closing, congratulations on surviving recruiting season thus far! Keep up the effort. Once you are comfortable with your target list, have been utilizing your resources and continue to be authentic throughout the process, you will realize it is all worth it. And next year you can be the one giving the advice!