If you read my last blog post about my summer internship at Google, I mentioned four key learnings that I took away from the recruiting process and internship experience. They were: enjoy the process, keep perspective, be thoughtful, and ask for feedback constantly. Since I think these learnings drove a lot of my success this summer, I want to take some time to deep-dive into each of them with you. Regardless of the industry you’re hoping to work within, these takeaways will help you…
- Enjoy the process. It’s super important to view the recruiting process as an opportunity to gain insight into what you want your career post-Booth to look like. Recruiting is stressful and can feel overwhelming, but it can be a lot more rewarding if you approach it like an scientist conducting an experiment. Ask yourself tough questions, test your assumptions, and use the summer to draw some conclusions about what you like and don’t like. Your summer internship does not dictate your future like you might think. In fact, it’s super common to re-recruit, whether to position yourself to have more negotiating power with your offers or to put those valuable personal and professional insights you gained over the summer to use as you explore other opportunities that better align with your goals.
- Keep perspective. In my recent blog, I shared my journey of self-discovery when I realized I want to be a CEO not a founder. At the start of school, I wasn’t keeping perspective on what I liked versus what I wish I liked. I was forcing myself to enjoy the start-up process of a venture when it was honestly a miserable experience for me. When I started to be honest with myself about not just what I want to do but who I want to be, it became so much easier to make decisions related to where I focused my recruiting efforts, the classes I bid on, and the student groups I prioritized. Through this journey, I ultimately landed on pursuing an internship in strategy within tech to start addressing gaps in my experience. I learned that it is okay to change my mind and admit when I got it wrong. It is important to be open to changing course even if your decisions up to this point were based on a now old goal.
- Be thoughtful. The summer is an opportunity to experiment with your career, but the experiment should be conducted thoughtfully. What helped me in writing my goals for the summer was thinking about who I wanted to be as a future CEO. What are skills I admire in leaders from past jobs? What are recurring themes of growth opportunities in my feedback loop that I can address this summer? What areas of business are a black box to me that I want to demystify? These questions will remain open for the rest of my career. It’s the evolution of the answers to these questions that I will stay attuned to when updating my goals and deciding next steps.
- Ask for feedback constantly. I have had a rocky relationship with feedback. Early on in my career, I took constructive feedback personally, and I failed to view receiving and giving feedback as a skill. It was in the last two years that I began to work on this relationship and treat feedback as a skill to hone. The only way to get better at a skill is to practice; so, I ask for feedback constantly. My host and project manager this summer were very receptive to this, and I had the opportunity to receive both positive and constructive feedback almost daily. Fostering this feedback loop was a huge driver of my growth this summer, and it was a skill highly recognized by leadership. Feedback is uncomfortable to give and receive, but it’s a necessary ingredient to success. By treating feedback as a skill to hone, it depersonalizes the feedback itself and helps to shift the focus to action versus reaction.
While everyone’s MBA journey is different, I hope these takeaways inspire a similar reflection for you as you navigate your time at Booth. Stay tuned for more contemplations. Talk soon!