The Harper Center Interview: Coming Full Circle at Booth

On the second floor of Harper Center, you’ll find the Career Services Interview Suite, full of seemingly endless, alphabetically ordered interview rooms most of us know really well. I’ve had lots of big moments here over the last few years.

As an applicant, this is where I interviewed for Booth with a second-year Admissions Fellow, Andrew. That November Saturday, he answered all my pressing questions about b-school life. As I shared experiences of working in urban schools, but explained my ambition to try something totally different, Andrew assured me it was doable. He told stories of his classmates from teaching, military and science backgrounds who had pivoted to brand new careers. I left our conversation feeling more excited than ever, knowing Booth was where I wanted to be. After I got in, I made sure to email Andrew, and we even had the chance to celebrate together at First Day.  

As a first-year, these rooms are where I practiced for my summer internship interviews with Omar, a student volunteer who’d landed the consulting role I wanted a year before me. I was all dressed up like it was the real deal. Omar kept a stone-cold face the entire 30 minutes of me “cracking the case,” before spending just as much time sharing his notes and feedback. A few weeks later, when I walked into my first real interview at 8 am on Tuesday with McKinsey, I felt ready—like I’d been here, done this before. Thanks in part to Omar, I got a consulting internship offer that Friday.

Flash forward to second year. I became an Admissions Fellow, and spent Saturdays here in this space interviewing impressive Booth candidates to help shape the Class of 2021. As an interviewer, I’ve tried to remember Andrew, and emulate the way his presence put me at ease three years ago. I’ve shared candid stories with prospective students, and I always give them time to fill in anything I didn’t ask that they really want the Admissions Committee to know.

In recruiting, this time around, I was the one leading the first-year soon-to-be consultants through interview practice all Fall. I sat on Omar’s side of the table, dressed in business formal, for hours of their final run-throughs in these rooms. When the first years heard good news, I was as excited for their offers as I’d been for my own a year earlier.  

This is the interview suite—I know the space was created for companies from all over to be able to come into our community and find talent. But the moments I remember the most from this corridor aren’t the nerves, or the recruiters judging my every word. When I’m here, I think about the second years who helped me, just because they wanted to. I’m happy I did the same when my time came.

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