M.S. in Commerce 2020, Marketing & Management Track
Undergrad: B.A. in Economics with a Minor in Film, University of Michigan
After: Procter & Gamble, Assistant Brand Manager (Greater China)
Many students who join the M.S. in Commerce Program have concerns and questions about the job search; however, the extensive resources and professional opportunities at McIntire expand our potential and empower us to achieve success. Commerce Career Services (CCS) is one of our top go-to resources throughout the job search. Below are my personal reflections when I look back at this overwhelming but rewarding year, and I hope they will help you in your career search.
The earlier, the better
Always start earlier. This is one thing I learned from doing networking calls during the summer before the Program began, and this is particularly true when it came to job hunting. Kelly Eddins, Director of Graduate Career Development at CCS, reached out to all the incoming students in May to remind us to kick off the process as soon as possible. Along with many useful materials such as resume, networking, and mock interview tips, and more, she also offered individual advising calls in the summer. This helped us get to know her and CCS resources and allowed us to introduce ourselves to discuss our career aspirations. Thus, I was equipped with a fully polished resume and clear about my career goal even before entering the Program.
Time management is essential
The fall semester is rigorous, and it goes by quite fast. Every day is packed with both academics and recruiting events, which makes time management an indispensable skill. The workload is heavy, as this 10-month program includes 40 credit hours of coursework. In the fall semester, we go through the Integrated Core Experience, which gives students an overall introduction to many business topics within the context of global business. All classes are discussion-based and built upon real-life cases and projects.
There are also a great number of CCS events happening at McIntire nearly every day, including company information sessions, Commerce Career Day, networking dinners, symposiums, workshops, and so much more. I highly recommend finding time to attend these events as much as possible because there is no better place to practice your networking and communication skills while expanding your professional connections. Juggling recruiting and courses is expected throughout the year, and it is much less stressful if you can manage your time well and recognize how to prioritize. International students also have the additional task of watching the job markets in their home countries, as you want to have a multifaceted approach to the job search.
Be ready to tell your stories
Early in the fall semester, there was an assignment asking students to deliver a brief presentation about themselves in front of the class. It was not simply an ice-breaking activity, but a great opportunity for everyone to understand themselves better. The assignment was a great starting point for the recruiting process because every individual is a brand, and how you present your brand is important. Be sure to have a story prepared for each of the major points on your resume, and then share your stories with people from various perspectives. Schedule mock interviews with the CCS career coaches, and take advantage of the Employer-in-Residence program, which is exclusive to McIntire students. These are good ways to get insightful feedback from experienced and credible sources in order to craft your own unique and compelling story. There were two rounds of behavioral interviews when I was interviewing with Procter & Gamble, and I believe I stood out from other candidates by exercising good storytelling techniques. For students who may lack real-world project management experience, all the projects we completed during the semester are valuable to capitalize on.
Adopt the right mindset
Each industry has its own recruiting season, and it is not uncommon to see your peers running off to interviews or accept offers while you’re still looking. The recruiting season for marketing runs much later than finance and consulting and doesn’t really kick off until the spring semester. Thus, it is important for students who want to land a career in marketing or advertising to maintain composure under the pressure of seeing their friends land jobs. On the positive side, the later timeline also grants us more time to get fully prepared, with a clear understanding of the industry, an eye-grabbing resume, a list of target companies, and a confident smile.
Learn more about the M.S. in Commerce Program and sign up for an advising appointment with an admissions counselor.