“Your entire life is going to be defined by how well you can down multiple glasses of wine and still look like you can crack that piece of calculus under 5 minutes”
Wondering who said this? Well, it’s Me! Who am I and why should you care about this quote? Because this skill is going to be the cornerstone of your professional life.
Before I start rambling about the power of these words, let me step back and introduce myself – I am Ketaki Ogale, a 25-year-old media professional from India. I am an MBA student at Fordham University in New York and a student member of the National Millennial Community.
I moved to New York last August, and after about a hundred incidents of getting lost on the MTA, I can finally say I am becoming a New Yorker. I confidently agree to late night subway rides and long walks (in extremely high heels) and need my early morning Starbucks before I make productive human interaction with anybody. This NYC experience sort of sums up the underlying theme of my life. Growing up in a small town in India, to moving to the city of Mumbai to work for a leading film studio, and eventually getting into my dream program at Fordham, I’m quite a specimen of learning by experience. I grew up being thrown, pulled back, and thrown again at the deepest end of the pool. But in the last 10 months, I’ve been fortunate to make all the right mistakes, and in the process, meet all the right people. Today, I am halfway through my MBA program, I’m a peer academic advisor and career counselor, and I have an internship at my dream company, Viacom Media Networks.
That’s quite a work view, don’t you think!
The Viacom gig is big, and while it’s been two weeks since I started working, I am still absorbing the enormity of it. Being an international student, I always worried that I had a disadvantage when it came to job searching because I lacked the crucial element of networking: time.
While my initial reaction was to call it luck, in hindsight, I believe it was hard-work and dedication. Viacom approached the Career Cell at Fordham looking for a candidate with a certain skill-set. Being a graduate assistant for a year now, the advisors thought I was dedicated and smart enough to learn on the job and recommended me. What followed was an in-person interview and a phone-interview with some senior executives. Within 3 weeks of my initial contact with the company, I had an offer in hand.
What were my big takeaways from this experience?
Give your 100% to everything you do. Don’t underestimate any work. I was a GA and the only work I did was filing and replying to phone-calls and emails. Sounds ridiculous, but somebody noticed the dedication and patience I put in and vouched that I could replicate that in this job.
Be optimistic. Opportunities can and will come to you from the most unexpected places. Don’t wallow in self-pity. I remember when I started applying for internships, a senior and very dear friend literally held me by my collar and told me “You think you’re awesome and perfect for a role but you will be rejected. Don’t let that affect you”. I made that the only mantra I slept and woke up to, and it worked!
Rooftop ‘networking’ events. An absolute MUST!
With this background, what am I doing here? Going back to the wise words at the beginning of this writeup, school life and much of our future is going to be determined not by our grades and knowledge, but by how well we can put ourselves out there. Most of the job search process, that you all are or will be experiencing, is about projection and appearance. What matters is the conversation you have with the recruiter over coffee; it's those 15 minutes that can make or break your future with that company.
And that is what our newest blog series, ‘Careers 101’ is going to be about! We will bring to you stories of the craziest, most unexpected job search experiences, funny interview questions, and tales of perseverance. We will bring executives to tell you the 5 skills they look for, and give tips on dressing, networking, and LinkedIn. The National Millennial Community was formed to foster a sense of bonding and create a network of passionate individuals. And our strongest asset, is each other. I hope you enjoy what follows and gain more as you march towards your goals.
Have courage. (You will need it.)
And good luck. (You'll need that too.)
Wish to share your awesome job search story with the community?
Find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.