Career Clusters

A Guide for Navigating Business, Consulting, and Finance Recruitment

Recruitment for full-time and internship opportunities in business, consulting, and finance industries can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. This guide will serve to help you prepare for and navigate your job/internship search, no matter what specific industry you’re interested in. Whether you’re just getting ready to start the process or going through some rough patches, you’ll find tips to help you in this guide.

For more information on specific hiring timelines, visit our “what you need to know about business, consulting, and hiring timelines” blog post.

To help you navigate this guide, find the question that best suits where you are in your process.

I want to make sure I get off to a fast start and stay ahead of recruitment deadlines. Where should I begin?

Good idea to start early! Even if your cluster or industry has a later recruitment timeline (see: industry breakdown), there’s still plenty of proactive steps you can take to set yourself up for success in the near future. 

  1. Read the Career Center’s Jobs & Internships webpage for excellent tips including expanding your network, researching target employers, and more. 
  2. Don’t forget to put the “work” in networking! Whether it’s BC alumni through Eagle Exchange or LinkedIn, recruiters at an information session, workshop or career fair, leaving a positive impression by showing your face, asking great questions, and following up with people that resonated with you can only enhance your prospects.
  3. Build a habit of reading (i.e. actually scroll down the page) and archiving career newsletters and listserv information that come to your inbox–whether they be the weekly Sunday Career Center newsletter, ThisWeekinCSOM major and minor newsletters, the Start at Shea newsletter, or the BCF (Business, Consulting, Finance) ongoing updates. These resources among others are packed with incredible tools, notices on opportunities such as workshops, panels, advising services, and others that will add value to both your career exploration and effective preparation for internship and job searches.
  4. Don’t wait until you gain an interview to start practicing your interviewing skills. Utilize the numerous resources available to you early and often—Career Center or CSOM staff coaching, industry-specific clubs (e.g., Marketing Academy, Real Estate Club, Investment Club), Big Interview, and your own peers are just a few methods of building your interviewing competence and confidence.

I’m pretty sure I’m already behind my industry’s recruitment timeline. What can I do to catch up?

First off, don’t panic! In addition to checking out the following tips here, keep in mind that there’s hardly a period in the year where the “well is completely dry,” when it comes to internship/job opportunities, so to speak. Still, you’ll want to make haste–including adopting the following:

  1. In addition to utilizing the most accessible recruitment channels and networks closest to you, (e.g., EagleLink, BCF internship/job boards, fellow peers and industry-specific clubs such as the Consulting Club, Finance Academy, Marketing Academy), adding an extra dose of resourcefulness and creativity in your strategy will help you successfully get back on the recruitment track. 
  2. Do some of your own recruiting by making personal connections. Find a friend who is going through the same process (this just in: you’re not the only one figuring this out!). Establish yourselves as accountability partners in creating and sticking to your goals, practicing for interviews, recapping takeaways from on/off campus industry events, sharing difficulties and successes, whatever keeps you motivated and taking productive action. Our Student Internship Database can be an excellent benefit in this regard.
  3. When in doubt, apply, especially when on a tight deadline! While of course you should be intentional with your applications, don’t feel that you need to fully match 100% of the job description in order to be considered. As the cliche goes, you’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. In other words, you stand a 0% chance if you don’t apply!
  4. Try not to get too discouraged–remember this can be a lengthy process–weeks for some, months for many others. Also, don’t take it personal if you don’t hear anything back after submitting an application. Take the necessary time to reflect, gain feedback, adjust your game plan with help from the Career Center, then get back on it!

I’ve been applying for some time now, but I haven’t heard back from employers/made it past first-round interviews. What’s up with that?

Glad to hear you’ve been engaging in the process—that’s an excellent step! I meet with students at this step on a daily basis, although the conversation, recommendations, and action steps vary person to person, depending on what they’re targeting, the strategies and methods in which they’ve been using, and their own preferences or needs (e.g., ideal setting, back up plans, whether they’re currently or heading abroad, etc.). A few broader pointers I’ll add on the subject:

  1. Book a 30-minute appointment with the Career Center with a coach (like me!) to share your specific goals, challenges, and resources you’ve utilized thus far. Keep in mind that if you’re physically unable to make it to our office, we offer phone and virtual appointment types. In addition to our 15-minute drop-ins (focus: resume, cover letters, LinkedIn profile critiques, no appointment necessary) we’re happy to brainstorm and share best practices for navigating the tricky internship/job search process! 
  2. Reflect on–and come discuss–your application materials, such as your resume and cover letter. Is your resume appropriately tailored using quantifiable, result-oriented language, and industry-relevant keywords,  or is it coming across as bland? Is your cover letter (if you’re not submitting one–consider it!) uniquely personalized to align well with that specific company and role you’re applying for, or more of a “swap this company name with that one, and voila!” approach? If you get a feeling it’s more of the latter (gulp) than the former, then it’s time to get some professional eyes on those docs, asap.
  3. Interviews (groan, I know!), yes interviews. It’s often the case that while students may not admit it upfront, after a bit of probing it’s revealed that quite a bit of extra preparation could have gone a long away, whether it’s common, behavioral, case, or technical-based. In addition to reading through our comprehensive interviewing guide, similar to above–it’s advised that you visit our office to have a deep dive conversation, or even a refresher course on interviewing best practices, or a full-out mock interview. You can never be too prepared here, and nothing beats practice–no way around it! 
    1. NOTE: In addition to interview prep through the Career Center, as well as Eagle Exchange even, it can be extraordinarily beneficial to take advantage of our databases of current students (CSOMers: check your ThisWeekinCSOM newsletters for an additional list!), such as this Student Summer Internship Database. This public listing features students, their current or previous employer and position, as well as their contact information, so you can reach out and ask about not only interview advice or practice, but also learn more about their experiences and get some of your questions answered, ones that a job description won’t tell you!
  4. Okay, let’s say your resume is spotless. Your cover letter is Pulitzer Prize worthy. Your interview skills? DOPE. Landing the internship or job should be guaranteed, right? Not quite. As cliche as it sounds, landing offers, namely competitive ones, can be a numbers game, especially with such highly equipped BC (and non-BC) candidates! Sometimes, it’s just that simple. However, there’s a reason within and outside this post, I place such a strong emphasis on networking. In addition to the benefits of building connections with those with insight into your industry who can share application and interview tips, but also by adding your “face” to your materials, can pay enormous dividends that only stack on top (or rather, lay the foundation for) of the formal methods of application (i.e. resume, traditional job boards), and may provide just the boost you need!

I’m not a traditional (i.e. undergraduate) student, so what channels outside of OCR (On-Campus Recruitment) do I have? How do I navigate the off-cycle recruitment and hiring process? 

  1. Tap into your fellow alumni network. Both Eagle Exchange and LinkedIn offer two excellent ways to leverage the online community, and perhaps even take the conversation offline. Especially with Eagle Exchange, you can tap into the BCF (Business, Consulting, Finance) industry group and identify individuals to reach out and introduce yourself for,  for a number of reasons, whether that be learning more about their particularly company or job function, tips for enhancing your application materials or interview preparation, or even to learn about other industry-specific job boards, resources, or pathways to consider.
  2. Expand your job search boards and engage with professional associations. Conveniently located within the BCF cluster page, there are numerous online resources and professional associations hyperlinked that provide an enormous array of helpful insights, no matter which specific industry you’re aiming for. Want to brush up on your case interview knowledge? Check out Management Consulting Prep. Looking to access a network and full-time opportunities within finance and banking? Women in Banking and Finance is an excellent community. Seeking a marketing internship but not noticing much within EagleLink? It’s worth checking out and filtering through Marketing Hire’s job board.
  3. Cold calling/emailing: While I don’t necessarily recommend this approach for everyone (and certainly not as a sole strategy to replace the other suggestions within this article), reaching out to companies and individuals without having a specific job description in hand can add a dimension to your overall strategy. Check out this Medium article for some excellent considerations regarding the why, what, and how of targeting via this method. I will add that even if the outcome doesn’t land you an internship or job offer outright, cold emails and calls can potentially help you expand your network, gain insight into an industry’s current and future trends, and practice your elevator pitch and interviewing skills. Sometimes, the process in itself can be rewarding, long as you budget the time and are building resilience to hearing the “nos” (or not hearing back at all)!
  4. Tap into applicable Diversity Graduate Programs. For some industries, such as finance and banking, there are a number of companies that employ specific programs for post-undergraduate alums. For instance, several of the larger BB (bulge bracket) banks have pre-MBA programs: Barclays’ MBA Ambition Diversity Program, Goldman Sachs’ MBA Women’s Symposium, and Bank of America’s Ignite with STEM Diversity & Inclusion Forum, to name a few, provide excellent openings to make quality impressions and network, even set the stages for full-time opportunities beyond. Several of these programs are featured within the BCF cluster page (see: DEI Resources). NOTE: In no way am I recommending you to apply for an MBA just to gain entry to these kinds of programs! Just a great 2-for-1 should graduate school already appeal to you or you’re presently on that route.

Note for Carroll School Graduate (GCSOM) Students, e.g., MSF, MSA: For individual career coaching, you will be best served by visiting the career services staff within CSOM, in addition to the online resources as well as programs & events offered through the Career Center.

Note for Recent Alumni: Alumni of degree-granting programs who graduated within the past five class years are eligible for full access to the services available to undergraduate students, including EagleLink, career coaching by professional staff, as well as events such as career fairs. That being said, things can still be a little tricky, especially if you’ve since moved further away from campus, like out of state. Keep in mind that the Career Center allows you to schedule and conduct appointments via phone or Google Meet on EagleLink!

Jabril Robinson
By Jabril Robinson, Assistant Director, Career Education and Diversity Initiatives

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