As a first year MBA student, it’s easy to get swept away by singling in on consulting or investment banking recruiting. However, for me, as the recruiting process kicked into high gear at the end of October, the Net Impact 2017 Conference was a refreshing opportunity for me to join like-minded individuals dedicated to arriving at careers focused in social impact.
A dozen of us Booth students took the trip to Atlanta, GA, the site of this year’s conference, to learn about our “Path to Purpose,” this year’s theme for the annual social impact event. If the conference provided the “path,” the Booth Net Impact co-chairs were our mountain guides.
The Booth Net Impact Group, which takes its name from the same organization that organizes the conference, is the primary resource to students interested in anything from philanthropy to social entrepreneurship. Beyond organizing hotel room logistics, our fearless leaders were eager to share stories and help us first years develop strategies to maximize our time at the events. From organizing both informal and formal prep sessions to sharing internship experiences while waiting in registration lines at the conference, the second-years made sure we came prepared.
At the conference, the events came fast and furious. In between glad-handing our way through the career exhibition, we raced off to the keynote speakers and breakout panels that addressed a diverse set of social issues. In the keynotes, CEO of Clif BarKevin Cleary, told the audience about his company’s focus on the environment and their employees, while ditigalundivided founder Kathryn Finney talked about supporting women business owners. The seemingly infinite amount of panelist sessions focused on everything from racial equity to consulting for social impact.
During down periods in the schedule, the Booth team made sure to take advantage of all the culinary opportunities the city had to offer. Lunchtime was frequently marked by trips to regional fast-food joints that ensured we would not go hungry during the day. One evening, all of usBoothies took a trip to the World of Coca-Cola attraction in downtown Atlanta. There, wehad the opportunity to experience soda varieties from around the globe, with one favorite being a melon-flavored Fanta from Asia, and ride the energy boom and bust that came along with consuming the sugary drinks. However, for me, the highlight of the trip was the pizza dinner the Booth students shared in the evening after the career exhibition. It was a great opportunity for me to share notes from the whirlwind day and bond over dinner, drinks, and shared professional aspirations with a group of people I felt an instant connection to
The end of the conference really marked the beginning of the job search process for many of the people on the trip. Although I have a long way to go in the year and on my path to purpose, it is reassuring that I will always have people, like those in Booth Net Impact, to support me on the way.