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A Junior’s Professional JournEY

Posted by on Saturday, April 1, 2017 in Internship, Jobs.

“So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

My answer to this question has changed multiple times, but now that I’m a college junior (soon to be senior….yikes), I’ve had to think more critically about my answer (unfortunately, saying astronaut isn’t cute anymore). This past internship recruitment season has opened my eyes to the intricacies of working in different industries, and I’ve realized that I’m most suited for financial and consulting services, both in terms of skills and passion.

Networking for the junior summer internship starts as early as sophomore year. Thankfully, Vanderbilt’s alumni work in all the companies I was looking at, so it wasn’t hard to set up informal chats with them (a.k.a. informational interviews in business lingo). Through these calls, I was able to develop meaningful relationships with many of them, and it was fascinating for me to learn about their transition from Vandy to the “real world”. They also gave me valuable advice for applying and interviewing. Networking may not lead to a final offer, but it gets your foot in the door and plays a HUGE role in helping you get an interview.

And then comes the online application. Although cover letters are important, I’ve found that most companies place much more importance on resumes. It’s just one piece of paper but it takes days to format! The Career Center helps you polish your resume, but the most valuable inputs I got were from my friend, Caroline!

1000 hours’ worth of effort :P

And if you’re lucky to get a first-round interview (it’s pretty competitive), you need to prepare for interviews. All companies have behavioral interviews, but many have a case interview component as well. The Career Center’s interview workshops were helpful. Practicing with friends also going through the process is beneficial as well. After 10+ interviews, my answers for behavioral interviews seemed pretty rehearsed (here we go again about teamwork skills…..), but the case interviews are always a new challenge!

Next, if you make it past the first round, you have another round of interviewing, which is commonly referred to as the “super day”. These often take place in the city you’re interviewing for, and although it can get tricky traveling with classes in full swing, I loved the all-expenses paid trips I made to Boston, New York, and Atlanta!

Future office!

Then, if you make it past that, congratulations! You now have an internship! This entire process is exhausting and demanding because you need to manage networking, applying, and interviewing along with your full class load and extracurricular commitments. It’s like 6 credit hours in itself! Also, rejection stings big time. That’s the worst part.

However, all’s well that ends well, and I am so grateful to be interning with Ernst & Young (EY) in its Transfer Pricing division in Atlanta this summer! Although recruitment is challenging, it helped me grow personally and professionally. Personally, I’ve learned how to be more resilient and persevering, and professionally, I’ve become a better and more confident interviewee.

I cannot wait for my summer in Atlanta, and I’ll keep you updated as I get to know ~Hotlanta~ better!

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