Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Final Tepper Experiences

As I was writing the last post, I discovered a topic I probably should talk about.

So I'm well into my job recruitment phase, much much later than the rest of my class. Last set of statistics said that about 80% had job offers. I'm in that lowly 20% :).

I had my first interview in a while last week, and so I dredged up my old interviewing notes and revised over my STAR stories. I needed to desperately update them to include the stuff I did in my internship. Interestingly, I also found myself talking about the two big projects I'm working on right now - my Capstone and my Mobile App. In fact, my Mobile App project has become a staple mention in nearly every cover letter I write.

Even though we've been told it's OK, I didn't really like talking about my assignments at school. The Mini mester is not set up to be an immersive experience, so all assignments I do tend to be quite shallow. The Teamwork STAR stories I could generate wouldn't be very insightful, as we all tended to divide and conquer. While there have been some good assignments for personal insight, that's all they were - assignments. Things we had to do because we were assigned them, with a narrow band of requirements.

My pro-bono consulting experience at the end of Year 1 gave me some good stories, although I'm not too sure I would go through that again. Then, at the end of last year, I was part of a group who had to develop a Brand Strategy for an existing company. It was a local burger joint called Stack'd. At the end of it, we presented out findings in a presentation and report that the owners actually used. Look, ma, verifiable proof that I can do stuff!
Now, I'm wrapping up my Capstone project, and amazed at some of the things I've been able to do during this time. But more importantly, I feel that my Mobile project is a truly shining example of my education. If we get this published in June, I can now actually point to it and say - "I ran the team that developed that. I identified the features, the target market, and user testing." It is a physical (ahem) showcase of my work, that is very relevant to my career goals.

So many of my classmates haven't had this experience, or have been able to relay this experience in interviews. There is a lack of opportunity to do real projects that people can point to as evidence of their skills.

It makes me wish that there were more project opportunities (outside of tech and/or entrepreneurship).

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