Stay focused on your chosen career path

By Madeline King, Class of 2017 Career Adviser 

By Madeline King, Class of 2017 Career Adviser 

January and February can be challenging times if you’re doing a specialized search that involves mainly off-campus recruiting. The pull of the “herd mentality” is stronger than ever as people file in and out of Harper in suits, chatting eagerly about their on-campus interviews and offers. However, if that’s not your chosen path, don’t get distracted! Instead, focus on what you can do to put your own best foot forward, even if it looks quite different from many of your peers.

As someone who is running their own specialized search, I can vouch for the start of the New Year as an incredibly valuable time to make substantial strides in networking and job applications for a wide range of opportunities, whether it’s in social impact, venture capital, or entrepreneurship. Here are a few tangible action items to pursue:

  1. Keep up the networking! For many people doing specialized searches, such interactions can create leads for both summer and full-time roles. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so leverage the flexibility you have now in your schedule to build relationships that will pay dividends for years to come. If you met with people earlier in the school year, now is the time to touch base with them via an update email or phone chat.  

  2. Spend more time off-campus in winter and spring quarters than you did during the fall quarter to ensure that you are getting valuable facetime with the opportunities you want to pursue. Consider arranging your academic and extracurricular schedule to accommodate those coffee chats you’ve been wanting to have or self-guided treks you’ve been wanting to make. Remember that you have to go find things—they are probably not going to come to you!

  3. Take a lab class or access other experiential learning opportunities--great ways to start building real work experience in a new space. You can source these through a combination of the Booth curriculum, clubs, competitions, and the alumni network, as well as the various incubators and affiliation groups located throughout Chicago.

  4. Remember that on-campus resources are still valuable. Continue to monitor on-campus events and GTS for opportunities that may be a good fit for you. Pro tip: set up alerts using the “Advanced Search” function so that you don’t have to check GTS manually.

  5. Iterate on your target list as you get new information and make connections. A place that you really liked in October may no longer be viable by January, and that’s fine. At any given point in time, try to have 5-10 places you’re pursuing, in terms of networking, learning about their work, and so on.

The Booth community can offer a tremendous amount of support for non-herd activities, especially if you’re courageous and speak up about what you’re looking for. Best of luck staying strong and focused on your chosen career path, and know that we are cheering for you and always available to help!

Madeline is always available (by appointment) to chat with students about their career paths.

Don’t Give Up the (Intern)ship

Eric Klein '16, Career Advisor

Eric Klein '16, Career Advisor

On January 8, 2005, the attack submarine USS SAN FRANCISCO (SSN-711) was transiting submerged at flank speed from Guam to Brisbane for a much-needed liberty stop. This Saturday morning was unfolding normally by all measures, as the crew cleaned their spaces and prepared for an afternoon drill set. Suddenly, at 11:42am, an earth-shattering crash rocked the ship’s hull, ejecting the crew twenty or more feet from their seats. Recognizing a collision had occurred, the Officer of the Deck ordered the Diving Officer to emergency surface the ship, and although the forward main ballast tanks had ruptured and were leaking air, the diving officer managed to surface the ship using an emergency blow to the aft main ballast tanks. One sailor, Machinist's Mate Second Class Joseph Allen Ashley of Akron, Ohio, tragically lost his life due to injuries from the collision, but the other 114 members of the crew were saved.

Much like USS SAN FRANCISCO struck an uncharted underwater seamount, unplanned events and sheer bad luck can affect even the most prepared. But the Principles of Shipboard Damage Control can help you get back on track in your internship or full-time search, even if you feel like you are floundering.

Know how to use and maintain damage control equipment. Ensure you are using all available job search resources to their fullest extent.

  • GTS Job Postings contain hundreds of new job opportunities, with new ones posted every day. For example, at the time this article went to press, GTS contained 456 full-time and 151 internship job postings.

  • In addition to the public Employment Report, Career Services also publishes an internal Employment Report containing five years of data on where specific students accepted internship and full-time offers. You can access this report through the Career Services webpage on the Booth Intranet. This can help you in identifying companies that may not be on your radar, but ones that have hired from Booth in the past.  

  • Booth has reciprocity agreements with several other top MBA programs, which gives you the ability to view job postings at partner schools, if you are willing to visit in person. You can email crc@lists.ChicagoBooth.edu to arrange an appointment.

  • Career Advisors and Career Coaches offer their time throughout the Spring and can help you refine your search strategy.

Know your way around the ship, even in the dark. Continue to refine your elevator pitch, your “walk me through your resume” story, and your SOAR frameworks. Solicit and apply feedback on these stories from your peers.

Have confidence in your ship’s ability to withstand severe damage. You’ve trained for this moment, and no one else has put in the work that you have. Remember that you are a student at the world’s premier MBA program, Chicago Booth.

Finally, remember the 10th Principle: Keep cool – don’t give up the ship.


Eric recalls passing a placard of these principles countless times on his daily pre-watch inspection.