Friday, July 19, 2013

Brand You Boot Camp

I don’t know about you but when I received my undergraduate diploma, it didn’t come alone. With it came two competing emotions – the much-deserved feeling of, “hey, I’ve got this,” and the other, more pestering feeling of, “… now what?”.

If you’re planning to attend Brand You Boot Camp, you’ve already begun to answer that question of “now what?”. You’ve been admitted to your MBA program, you’ve (hopefully) registered for classes and now you’re preparing for the next step – starting the path to a completed master’s degree.

Whether you’ve just finished your BBA or are working full-time while attending evening classes, another two years of education might seem like a long process with an end-goal – of moving up, of a new career, of a new direction – far away. But, those two years - full of course work, internships, student activities, and ultimately, the job search – are sure to pass by quicker than you would think.

As an undergraduate student, you had four years to figure things out. Perhaps you started with one major and changed to another. Maybe you hadn’t bothered to visit Career Services until you were a junior seeking out an internship. You had four years to decide your goals and your plan to reach them. Now, you have two.

The shortened timeline and advanced requirements of a master’s degree require forethought and preparation. And, luckily, despite any “I’ve got this” attitude you might have, the Anderson Career Services office has developed a degree entrance program to provide you with just that- Brand You Boot Camp.

As an overly-ambitious Type-A personality, I registered for the first session.

On Thursday night, I hurriedly printed the Brand You homework, only to realize that it required speaking to two other people! I turned to the only contact I had and worked on filling out the rest – I inventoried strengths and talents, made sure to register for Lobo Career Connection and made a mental note to grab Starbucks on my way to boot camp the next morning. (Spoiler alert: You won't need it, coffee was provided.)

As a lifestyle blogger and marketing student, I thought I understood the concept of personal branding well – and perhaps, I did – and yet, I was surprised by how much I took away from this three hour workshop.

Even with a solid resume and job search experience, there was much to learn - from creating your own 30-second commercial (the best answer to that ever present “tell me about yourself” interview question) to developing a professional Linked In profile. For students new to campus, the boot camp also provided an opportunity to meet campus faculty and a variety of Anderson staff – from both Career Services and Advisement. It was also a great opportunity to network with other incoming MBA and MACCT students in a small-group environment.

Starting your master’s degree with thought-out goals, a personal brand and a strategic plan for networking and job searching will help you set high standards for the experience. By attending this short and informative boot camp, you will be prepared for the variety of additional services and events offered by the Career Services Office throughout your two short years at Anderson.

Additional Brand You Boot Camp events are being held this afternoon and on July 19th, 26th and 30th. For more information, please contact Kate Williams at

Friday, July 5, 2013

5 Important Interview Questions

1. Tell us about yourself

Because of its open-ended nature, this question often tricks people up.

  • Good answers:
    • Stick to the basics and provide relevant facts about your education, career and current life situation. Summarize your whole career into 2 or 3 brief sentences describing most important aspects of your career, which you want to use as influences to next career step.

    • Focus on what most interests your interviewer. The answer should target the job, not a personal biography. What really matters is how you can contribute to the company not where you were born.
  • Bad answers:
    • What would you like to know?
    • Do not tell your life history.

  • Though differently phrased, the following questions are basically same as the above question:
    • Why should we hire you?
    • Why are you the best person for the job?
    • What makes you a good fit?

2. What are your weaknesses?

This question is asked to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. Your answer gives the employer an opportunity to see what if anything you needed to make up, if you are hired.

  • Good Answer:
    • Your answer should tell them that you can overcome challenges. Try to address uncertainties in your background. Paint a weakness as a strength. For example, instead of saying that “I am a perfectionist”, phrase your answer as follows:

      “I always take extra time to check whether my work is complete and accurate. I hate redoing my work. Though taking extra time may sound like I make delays in submitting my work, my employers always appreciated the effort I put into and the quality of the work.”
  • Bad answers:
    • I can’t think of any!
    • I work too hard or I am a workaholic

3. What are your strengths?

  •  Good answer:
    • This is a confidence building interview questions. Later in the interview, these strengths become talking points. For example, if you say team work, the interviewer may ask you ‘Tell me an incident where you demonstrated team work’. Only strengths that count for this question are those which are demonstrable with actions at a workplace and add value to the position you are seeking. Be accurate, specific, and honest and don’t be too humble. Be prepared to demonstrate.
  • Bad answer
    • Don’t choose strengths that are not important for the job at hand or strengths that anybody could claim. Who wants to hire someone whose greatest strength is the ability to show up on time?

4. Why do you want to work here?

  • Good Answer 
    • Tell what you have learned about the company, why it is appealing for you. Be specific and share how you can be a benefit to the company. It is ok to reference people you know that are employed by the company. It is ok to tell why you are leaving your current job. But do not make any negative comments about your previous employer.

  • Bad answers:
    • I don’t know!
    • Because it seems like a good place to work.
    •  It’s a great growth opportunity for me.

The above answers lack research, thought and consideration. They have no relevance to the job seeking and are unimpressive.

5. Do you have any questions?

Always have questions for an employer when they ask the above question.

  • Some possible questions might be:
    • Why is this position open? OR Is this a newly created position? Based on the response you can assess whether the company is growing or not and also the importance of the position to the business.
    • Ask about whom you will report to, who reports to you, and which contacts you have day-to-day.
    • Ask how they feel about your performance in the interview.

Anuranjani Korrapati is an MBA Student at the Robert O. Anderson Graduate School of Management.

Monday, July 1, 2013

What I Didn't Do as a BBA

When I was an undergrad, I never really struggled with figuring out what I was going to get a degree in. My family owns a restaurant, Vic’s Daily CafĂ©, so this initially ignited my interest in business. Also, in high school I took DECA, a business class, consecutively for three years. I competed nationally two of those years and had a blast. As a result of being raised in the restaurant industry, as well having such a good experience in DECA, I knew that I wanted to get a degree in business. However, that is as far as my thinking went when I was an undergrad. I think it was easy for me to lose sight as to why I was there because some of the classes were completely irrelevant to my degree. I am sure that some of you can relate to this.

However, in the middle of my undergrad program I took a step-back and truly delved into the reasons why I was in school and asked myself seemingly easy yet in reality challenging questions, like “what I want to do when I grow up.” Long-story short I ended up getting a degree in Business and Economics, as they both complemented each other well and I feel that they have made me well-rounded in my education.

Though I am glad I had this epiphany in my undergrad years, I really wished I would have gotten involved more in organizations and participated in events hosted by Anderson. I totally get that our lives are filled to the brim with to-do lists that seem to grow throughout the day. In my undergrad years I went to school full time (sometimes 21 hrs.), worked part-time, and volunteered mentoring middle schoolers. One of the most valuable lessons in life is how to manage ones time, something that I have always struggled with. Looking back at my undergrad years, I realize that there were many opportunities afforded to me that I did not take full advantage of. Some of these things are:

  • Professors: I have come to learn that professors really do care about our career path and are willing to help us. As an undergrad it can be intimidating going into their office. However, even if you don’t have questions about school work you should still talk with them. Ask them about their profession, like why they do what they do and what steps did they take to get there. Maybe their job is something that you aspire to do. Well, talking with them is a great way to learn more about it and to learn how to someday do that.

  • Events: AGBS, ALPFA, and so many other organizations host events throughout the year. As an undergrad, I did not attend very many of these. I wish I would have. They are a great way to get to learn about organizations, get to know other Anderson students, network, meet employers (potentially your future-employer), and eat some really good food (most of these events always have food, so that’s definitely a bonus).

  • Career Services: Not too surprising that I am mentioning this being an ambassador, but this seriously is an underused resource here at Anderson. Right now ask yourself: “Why am I in school?” I don’t know exactly what your answer was, but I can guess what it was not: “because I enjoy buying expensive books, pulling all-nighters, or aspiring to be a professional student.” You are in school to get a job. But not just any job, your dream job. Maybe you know exactly what that is. Well great, career advisors can help you take the steps to get there. Maybe you have absolutely no clue what you want to do, that’s not a problem at all. Career advisors would love to help you discover what job best suits you. Trust me, I am speaking from experience.

I really enjoyed my undergrad years. However, looking back I could have really benefitted and had an even more enriched undergrad experience if I would have taken advantage of the MANY opportunities available here at Anderson. So don’t just coast through school, but be in it with intention and filled with passion. I challenge you to sign up for an event you’ve never gone to before, talk with one of your professors during their office hours, and schedule an appointment with a career advisor. Enjoy the adventure of being an undergrad student!

Ashely Pandazis received her BBA from Anderson and is now working toward her MBA with a concentration in Marketing Management. In addition, Ashley serves as an Ambassador to Career Services.