At Darden, time flies. When Dhruv (my husband) and I got admitted to Darden, he shared an article differentiating between the top schools in US. The article compared business schools to cars. Harvard is compared to Rolls Royce for its exotic appeal, Hass is for practical minded people like Toyota is and Darden is like Ford because it prides itself on being “built tough”. I never realized how tough.
Five months into the course, we have already come to end of three terms. The stress-laden months, so –called bloody October and black November swung by and we’re at the peak of recruiting season for summer internships. Recruiting in top US business schools including Darden is extremely rigorous and competitive. While representatives from a number of firms regularly visit the school and come on-grounds for recruiting, there are tons of other opportunities off-grounds. Sky is the limit and it’s imperative for each one of us to explore it further.
Here come the job-treks. Every year, Darden facilitates organization of various student-led job treks where groups of Darden students visit the campuses of the firms that they are interested in recruiting for. These job treks span across the country and the world. They enhance the recruiting experience in a number of ways. I did two job treks this year- Seattle and San Francisco and led the one to San Francisco along with two other classmates. The main intent of the job treks is to help students in getting a summer internship-the experience however extends further beyond. I’ll explain how:
Your network for life
The best part of being in a diverse business school such as Darden is the enriching network of friends and colleagues that you build for life. Job treks offer a way to extend your network beyond your classmates to the alumni and strengthen these connections.
Explore new regions
The job treks are specially helpful for international students who seek employment in US. They give us a chance to visit new places, learn about the culture and cuisines there and develop a perspective on the kind of place where we would want to spend the next 5 or 10 years of our lives. I visited Seattle for the first time as a part of the job trek and loved the artistic charm of the city despite the gloomy winters.
Learn about new industries
Business schools are ideal for career switchers. Darden, being a general management focused school is specially so. The job treks are very useful to learn about new industries and the work-culture there. For instance, I visited Fluke Corporation during the Seattle job trek and got a chance to see an actual manufacturing shop floor. It was good to see the concepts we’ve learned in operations, put into practice. For a classmate who worked in the insurance industry before Darden and regularly interacted with his very senior (and old) colleagues at work, the relatively younger employees in high-tech firms we visited such as Google, Facebook was a pleasant surprise.
As a part of all job treks, we typically organize alumni receptions in the cities we visit. These are a great opportunity to meet alumni in the region, including ones from the firms we could not visit during the trek. My personal takeaway from the receptions at Seattle and San-Francisco was tons of tips from the alumni on first year recruiting. The alumni, after all have been through our ordeal and cam empathize with us.
Loads of fun
Last but not the least, the job treks are a fabulous opportunity to have loads of fun with our friends and classmates. My Seattle and San-Francisco visit consists of many check-marks on my bucket-list including Seattle space needle, visiting first ever Starbucks, Napa Valley, the ice-cream sundae at Ghiradelli square and a drive on pacific-1 along the breathtaking views of pacific coast.
The next two months bring lots of aspirations, expectations, fear and excitement as we start recruiting for summer internships. The job-treks have indeed inspired me to strive towards my goals and helped me explore things that matter to me.
Happy winters ! Happy festive season and a new year ahead!