Business School: A Family Affair – An Inside Look at the Booth Interview Training Program

The recent sea of suits, ties, and high heels at the Harper Center signals the beginning of another year of internship recruiting on campus.  However, before most first years step into the hallowed halls of the interview center, they have already spent countless hours in preparation with the help of second years who have been there before.  This pay-it-forward culture is amazingly pervasive at Booth, and something that makes the school unique.  One of the seminal events each winter (and a shining example of this culture) is the Interview Training Program (ITP) that allows first years to participate in a full, videotaped mock interview with a second year volunteer.

Internship recruiting is a whirlwind experience that is enough to make anyone’s head spin.  Beyond having to re-construct your resume, learn how to write effective cover letters, and practice interview stories, first years also have to find out the processes around signing up for and engaging in interviews.  The ITP program is meant to be an entire top-to-bottom practice run that helps students prepare for the interview phase of their recruiting process (this comes after countless hours of programming and support around resumes and cover letters – see Darren’s post here).  This weeklong event kicks off with wInterview, a day-long workshop the first Saturday of Winter quarter that preps students for both general behavioral and industry-specific interview questions.  Roughly a week later first years have the opportunity to sign up for a company-specific mock interview.  The ITP mock interviews are true dress rehearsals for internship recruiting as students are required to dress in business attire and are given realistic interviews by second years who have company-specific interview experience.  In the end, the first years are able to receive real-time feedback on areas they need to improve, and are even given a video recording of their interview so they can go home, pop some popcorn, and relive their experience again and again.

Having experienced the benefits from ITP last year, I was excited to have the opportunity to sign up as a volunteer this year.  Since I interned and am going full-time to a role in corporate finance, I haven’t exactly had people beating down my door for informational coffee chats, so I was really looking forward to helping out first years who are interested in this function.  Although I was initially a little nervous about giving direct feedback to people I had never met before, it was an incredible experience.  At  Booth we like to see everyone else succeed, so it was incredibly rewarding to be able to (hopefully) set up some other Boothies for success.  That to me is really what is really what’s at the core of Booth’s pay-it-forward culture:  In the end, we’re all in this together, and we genuinely want to see those around us succeed.  This culture is something that attracted me to Booth, something that I’ve come to understand even more since I’ve been here, and definitely something that makes me glad for my decision to come to Chicago.

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