How to Successfully Navigate the First Year Presentation in Business School

HandshakeAfter months of anticipation you’ve finally arrived on-campus to begin your 1st year of business school. As the anticipation starts to subside and you’re excitement levels return to normal, it’s time to turn your attention towards recruiting.  Many 1st year MBAs are anxious to get this part of the business school experience kicked off as soon as possible. For their benefit most schools have in place restrictions that delay contact with recruiters for 1st year MBAs.

However, once these restrictions abate the official kick-off of recruiting season begins with the 1st Year Presentation. 1st Year Presentations are a fixture in on-campus recruiting and this event is the firm’s opportunity to introduce the company and the yearly calendar to 1st year students. The way a typical 1st Year Presentation is structured, the first half of the event will be very much presentation style with the firm walking students through general information about the company, recruiting calendar, and an introduction of the participating firm employees in attendance.

The second half of the event is typically reserved for networking. During this time students have the opportunity to meet with firm employees and get a feel for the company and what makes it unique. Bigger feeder industries like consulting will sometimes have large amounts of employees from across the country and from various functional roles. Even with the potential for you to access employees at these events, remember that there will be many students in attendance just like you, so be sure to make the most of your time.

The key to successfully navigating a 1st Year Presentation begins with preparation. Most see this event as an opportunity to learn what the firm is about.  Taking this approach does not allow you to make the most of your time at this kind of event. By conducting research on basic information related to the hosting firm, it is much easier to focus on deeper, higher level information at the event. This manifests itself best during the second half of the event where the format is more open and students can connect directly with employees. Many will ask generic, boilerplate questions to the participating employees. Take a different approach and ask more introspective questions that will not only impress the employee but also provide you answers to your questions.

Also, be smart about which employees you network with. If you are seeking employment in a specific region or functional role make sure to connect with employees that are relevant to your career goals. The most senior person in the room is not necessarily the most influential in the recruiting process, so target employees like recruiters and staff most relevant to your needs.

Successfully navigating the first year presentation is a great start to the recruiting process, follow the tips above to set yourself up for success with your dream firm!

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Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here