After preparing for the GMATs, applying to Booth, and spending countless hours coffee chatting and at closed-list dinners, structuring my thoughts, and synthesizing my results in numerous case interviews, I finally received an offer from Bain San Francisco, my top choice. I enjoyed my summer, learned a lot, and made many friends, but despite receiving a full-time offer at the end of the summer, I was conflicted. I loved the folks at Bain and liked consulting but ultimately it wasn’t the right fit for me.
First years are repeatedly advised to have a “Plan B” during recruiting. Rarely do they receive advice about having a Plan B in case they secure their dream internship but eventually decide it’s not the right fit for them. There are two possibilities: first, you enjoy the industry but don’t see a fit with your firm. Second, you don’t see a fit with the industry.
In the first case, your top priority is to ensure that you receive an offer from your summer firm that you can leverage during full-time recruiting. Be judicious about networking with other firms during your internship if there is a possibility that word may reach your host firm. However, be prepared to build contacts and attend networking events with other firms immediately after your summer internship. Consulting and banking full-time recruiting events start as early as late August.
The second case is harder, and it is where I found myself. While you will not receive much pity from your classmates, I do have some advice to hopefully preempt and otherwise manage this state. First, refer back to your Career Services self-evaluations to refresh your understanding of your skills, drivers, and interests. Evaluate the internship in light of this perspective.
Second, consider the possibility of recruiting for a second internship in the late summer. This could provide you with additional experience to help you gain perspective on the type of work that is a great fit for you. LEAD facils do not have this option, but everyone else could consider a second internship instead of traveling. The options may be limited, but some students have been able to obtain a second internship with private equity or venture firms, startups, or non-profits.
Third, as you work through the summer, consider what industry and role may be a better fit for your interests. Focus on what energizes and motivates you. Your task is doubly difficult because you must get the offer, do some very deep soul searching and then pivot into a new industry in the fall. Remember that a full-time offer will help with re-recruiting and negotiating compensation packages, even across industries.
Lastly, network! Reach out to classmates and non-Booth friends in the industry that you think would be a better fit and build your contacts. Referrals from existing employees can dramatically increase your chances of gaining an interview.
My own story ended well. I reached out to my contacts at Google and interviewed for and accepted a product manager role. I am currently deciding on teams and looking forward to a role in which I can create and launch new technology products, my true passion.