By Nick Banister, Georgia MBA Candidate Class of 2019
After months of preparation beginning well before classes even started, I was determined and ready to land a brand management internship at the upcoming National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) Conference in Philadelphia. I wasn’t 100% sold on marketing or brand management, but I knew that this conference was my best opportunity to get a foot in that door. While I didn’t have much success with the pre-scheduled interviews, I was confident that I could secure at least one on the career fair floor.
On the first day of the conference, I worked my way through my list of target companies doing my best to pitch myself as a competent, emerging Brand Manager. On several occasions, I was close to earning a spot on the interview schedule, but my non-marketing background seemed to be a major turnoff to most employers. With a background in supply chain management, I realized attempting to transition into a marketing-focused career would be difficult, and corporate recruiters seemed to agree. I made one final stop at the Relish Careers booth to learn more about their MBA job search platform then headed back to my hotel. After a disappointing first day, I spent the evening thinking long and hard about my future career path.
The next day I woke up early and adjusted my resume to emphasize my two years of logistics experience. I realized I could offer a company much more in a supply chain role than in a marketing role, so I adjusted my “sales pitch.” This turned out to be a good idea as I was able to secure an interview spot for a supply chain internship with the very first company representative I talked to. While I didn’t get an internship offer from the event, I knew the right opportunity would come.
Following the conference, I checked the Relish Careers website every day for new internship postings. One day, I noticed an Inventory Planning Supply Chain Internship opening with Lowe’s that seemed right up my alley, so I applied. The next day I was contacted by a Lowe’s recruiter who wanted to set up a phone interview. This led to another interview which led to the internship offer I was anxiously waiting for.
The recruiting process is stressful. It takes a lot of work, and you don’t always see the benefits right away. My biggest pieces of advice to future MBA students are to be flexible and be patient. If an employer thinks you would be better in a supply chain role instead of a marketing role, why not try it out? An internship is just 10-13 weeks, and you may just fall in love with the work you end up doing. It’s also important to be patient. If you don’t get an internship offer at the NBMBAA Conference, don’t stress. The Georgia MBA program has a 100% internship placement rate, so the Career Management Center does a great job of pointing students in the right direction. Just build up your resume, fine-tune your interview and “pitching” skills, and check the Relish Careers website every day.