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Shared Lessons

September 16th, 2019

I was miserable at my old job.

I knew for a long time that I needed to leave, but I didn’t know where I wanted to go. I mean, at this point I am supposed to be an adult, right? How can I still not know what I want to do with my life? It was scary to realize that after all that I had already worked towards, I was less certain now than I was when I was nine and was adamant that I was going to be Empress of the Moon. You grow up with this impression that adults always know what’s going on. Despite everyone everywhere telling you that you “never know where life is going to take you,” you still have this feeling in the back of your mind that you are going to have your life sorted out at some point.

I was not at that point.

But this uncertainty led me to business school (I figured if I was still searching, I might as well learn something while I was at it) at Rice, and to the Consortium.


Over the course of the last year – during classes, recruiting, networking – I ran into more uncertainty. I liked finance, but did I enjoy it enough to go into banking? Definitely not. Organizational behavior spoke to me on a lot of levels, but was I ready to leave engineering behind completely? Not really. Was I being too idealistic? Probably, but meh. Should I even be engaging with companies when I don’t know where I want to end up? Yes, you should.


I’ve come to realize that a lot of business school is about teaching you how to recognize what you don’t know and how to move forward without all the information, and sometimes that is hard for me. It helps to remind myself that I am 100% learning what I don’t want to do and that I have an amazing community of classmates to use as sounding boards. Rice has cultivated such an eclectic pool of smart, driven people who I know I can always turn to for advice. And the Consortium cohort has given me a space where I truly feel safe being vulnerable and admitting when I am scared and maybe still a little bit lost.


I still might not know exactly what I want to do with my life. But that’s ok. And it’s ok if you don’t either.

We will figure it out together. 

-Alex Hampshire, Class of 2020


April 14th, 2019

In the weeks leading up to OP you’ll be bombarded with – verging on begged to consider – internship opportunities with an incredible pairing of companies. These organizations are remarkable, not only for the quality of their reputations, but for their dedication to supporting Consortium and the earnest with which they recruit from our ranks. Suffice it to say, you’ll receive so much attention that you’ll begin to feel obligated to land the big gig in an effort to make the absolute most of the OP experience.

Some of you have no clue what you want to be when you grow up. Some of you know exactly where you’re heading and fear not finding the right organizational fit at OP. Most of you are probably somewhere in the middle. The good news is, no matter what phase of mental preparedness you find yourself in for the “OP experience”, OP has something for everyone.

Like the rest of my cohort, I reviewed the companies recruiting at OP with awe and grand ideas began to course through my mind. However, I quickly learned my target industry and location – Healthcare in Houston – had limited to no representation at the conference. As a husband, dad, and homeowner with tightly bound roots in Southeast Texas, my goal was to earn an internship in the region to maintain stability for my young family. Despite the limited number of companies in my target, I was committed to making OP work for me. No matter where you stand on the spectrum of interest for target OP partners, like me, you can benefit from the experience if you make a priority to do so.

Any Fellow, regardless of interest, has an opportunity to expand his or her network. Have your LinkedIn profile updated and be ready to connect with Fellows from other cohorts. Talk to any companies that spark your interest, no matter how far removed from your target they may be. Many Consortium partner companies have business units in your desired industry that aren’t recruiting at OP. Take the opportunity to get referrals or points of contact within those business units to arm yourself with a launch pad for post-OP internship hunts. Take coffee chats and interview invitations; Consortium partners recognize you’ve never calculated an NPV and that your hunt for a new career is still in its infancy. If for nothing more than an opportunity to practice your pitch and perfect your story, talk to recruiters actively. Finally, be willing to reassess your position. It’s okay to change concentrations or industries at any time in your MBA experience, including OP. If you’re open-minded, the Consortium OP may guide you to the dream job you never knew you were looking for.

In the end, the OP experience can seem overwhelming or not quite pointed toward your career trajectory. Don’t be discouraged by the unknowns and seek opportunities to make OP what you want it to be. You’ll never regret taking a chance at OP.

-Ross Clark, Class of 2020

April 7th, 2019

My journey to Orientation Program (OP) began in late April 2018, as we began to receive emails from companies inviting us to attend their Pre-OP Webinars to learn about internship opportunities. I was surprised to learn that many of these internships required cover letters and applications to be submitted well in advance of OP in mid-June. Zoe and Tamara in Rice Business’s Career Development Office (CDO) were extremely helpful in reviewing my resume and even prepping me in person for interviews. They drilled me on my story and how it connects to my internship pursuits in marketing and consulting. This was helpful for my phone screening (brief pre-recorded set of interview questions to be responded to in real time via video) with Dell in late May.

Fast-forward to June 2018, when I arrived to Orlando for OP. It was a whirlwind, to say the least. There are far more companies in attendance than any one person could possibly engage with during the week, so I carefully crafted my list of eight to nine companies I would visit during the career fair. I had already had coffee chats with folks from a couple of the consulting firms prior to OP, and I had dropped my resume with those companies that provided the opportunity – mostly for marketing internships. Unfortunately, unlike many other Fellows, I did not walk into OP with any interviews lined up. However, during the career fair, I was able to secure interviews with three companies: Colgate-Palmolive, Dell, and Johnson & Johnson.

During the career fair, I had what amounted to a mini-interview with an Associate Brand Manager who was a Consortium alum. It went well, and I was invited to a coffee chat with him later that afternoon. After the coffee chat, I was invited to interview the following day.

My pre-screening interview with Dell in May did not go so well, and I was not invited to interview at OP before-hand. However, I kept the company on my list to visit during the career fair, and after expressing interest and giving my elevator pitch at the Dell booth, I was invited to interview the following day. Apparently, all interviews invitations to candidates in which Dell was interested had already been extended prior to OP, but I made a good impression, so the interviewer opened another interview slot for me.

My interview with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was completely unexpected. While I was taking a break from visiting boots, Sue (former Director of Admissions for Rice Business) found me and let me know that J&J had come across my resume and would like to speak with me. I went right away to their booth and once again gave my elevator pitch. The interviewer suggested I interview for their Medical Devices Marketing Leadership Development Program. I signed up for an interview time the following day.

Since I had already prepped for my interactions with Dell and Colgate-Palmolive prior to OP, those interviews were fairly straightforward. J&J, on the other hand, had not been on my list, so the night before my interview, I headed back to my room “early” to learn about the company. I felt fairly good about my Colgate-Palmolive and J&J interviews when I was done, but I felt that I had done terribly with Dell. I followed up over the next couple of days with emails to my interviewers thanking them for their time and reiterating my interest in their companies.

Later that month, I was pleased to receive an invitation to attend a site visit of Colgate-Palmolive headquarters in New York in July. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, as the visit would take place the day after I was scheduled to have knee surgery. Apparently, this would not preclude me from the next round of interviews in August, which I completed virtually. I was also invited by Johnson & Johnson for a site visit and interview at their facilities in New Jersey in September.

A few weeks went by and I did not hear from Dell, so I assumed I would not be invited for a second round interview. To my surprise, in late July I received a call from my interviewer congratulating me on my internship offer! Turns out I did better on my interview with Dell during OP than I thought.

I was fortunate to receive an extremely generous amount of time to decide on my Dell offer; I had until November 30th to make a decision. I did my due diligence and had several coffee chats with Dell employees and former Dell interns from Rice, and while I knew that I would likely accept, I wanted to take the full time to explore my options. I stayed in contact with Dell employees, particularly HR, via email and phone, while still attending consulting and marketing recruiting events organized by the CDO. On November 30th, I accepted my offer to join Dell this summer as a Marketing Intern. Stay tuned!

-Ashley John, Class of 2020

March 31st, 2019

In general, the Orientation Program (OP) is a very overwhelming experience, and your approach to it can drastically change how you view your success in navigating the experience. Before I went to OP, I thought I needed to land an internship there, which would lead to a full-time offer, which would lead to a multi-year career with that company. This led me to become very stressed and anxious in the weeks leading up to OP, until I realized that although the scenario was possible, it was somewhat irrational. After this realization, I altered my mindset and decided that I would approach OP, and the career fair specifically, as an opportunity to learn more about the companies in attendance, talk to companies I was interested in, and learn about companies I knew little about. More importantly, I started to build a list of contacts and relationships which I could tend to over the summer and fall during the recruiting season.

One of the best tips I heard over and over was to visit as many companies as possible, even if you don’t think you’re interested in working for them. While I had my top choices prioritized, I talked to companies I had only slight interest in, just in case an amazing opportunity arose. For example, CVS had a large presence at the conference and as I learned more about the company, I realized it was a really interesting, dynamic, and growing company that had amazing opportunities for MBAs. I networked with people from the company quite a bit, which led to an interview, followed by an invitation to their headquarters in Rhode Island for a weekend of networking and learning more about the company. The experience gave me an alternative option if consulting didn’t pan out and gave me ample opportunities to practice and refine my pitch, networking, and interview skills.

While I had targeted consulting early on as a possible career path, networking is vitally important for everyone going through the MBA internship recruiting process. I heard that most consulting firms attending OP wouldn’t be interviewing there, but I felt it was still important to talk to them for three reasons:

  1. It is important to start building a network of contacts. The more people you talk to, the easier it will be to determine if that firm is a good “fit” for you.

  2. There are opportunities for additional connections and events. Through speaking to Accenture employees, I received two additional contacts whom I later reached out to based on my prior career and future interests. Additionally, I received an invitation to apply to an Accenture pre-MBA workshop in their Chicago office.

  3. You will hear consulting firms talk a lot about cultural “fit”. Since consultants spend so much time together working, an alignment between the company’s culture and yours is very important to both parties.

OP is your first opportunity to begin building these relationships and touch points that will help you decide which firms to target. Regardless of industry, OP is a great opportunity to start building your network and learning about companies and career paths.

Some of the companies at OP will recruit on campus, but many won’t. OP may be your only opportunity to meet someone from that company face to face. You have a unique and coveted opportunity to meet companies early on in the recruitment process and begin to build strong relationships. Don’t overlook any opportunity, and don’t pressure yourself to land an internship. Listen, learn, enjoy, and follow-up with your contacts!

-Karen Meyer, Class of 2020

March 24th, 2019

Hello, and welcome to our blog!

This space will help us collect and share all the lessons we have learned as MBA students at Rice University and as members of The Consortium. We want to make these lessons accessible to all current members of The Consortium at Rice, future members that want to get ahead of the game, and anyone else that might find it beneficial. We will be discussing:

Attending The Consortium’s Orientation Program (OP)

Applying to business school

Landing an Internship for the summer

Mastering our classes

And bonding

After all, being part of this organization did not only give us access to amazing professional and educational opportunities. It also brought us together, which, in my opinion, is the most valuable part of being a member of the Consortium. If I don’t understand something from class, I know I can ask Veronica. Doug has instilled in all of us a passion for making our program better. When preparing for interviews, I got help from Karen. If I need to connect with someone, well, Norma knows EVERYONE.  And Daniela makes sure there is not too much time between our last get-together and our next one. These are just a few of the amazing people I have been lucky to have learned from as a Consortium Fellow at Rice University. Now, I am honored to extend their lessons to you.

So please, stay tuned, and we promise to find room to keep sharing in between clases and Partios.

Francisco Alvarez Rincon

President of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management – Rice Chapter