Kellogg serial, day two: Reeves

Over the course of the week, Which MBA? will be following the fortunes of five MBA students from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, as they graduate into one of the toughest jobs markets in memory.

Day two: Reeves
The conventional wisdom is that business school is not the place to “find yourself.” Throughout the recruiting process, you need a story: where you’ve been, what you hope to gain at school and how this will help you achieve those future goals. This can be difficult when you come from an unconventional background.

After graduating from West Point, I spent seven years as an Army officer, including time in Iraq and South Korea, flying the UH60 Black Hawk helicopter. With no corporate experience, it was a challenge to identify what career path would best suit my skill sets. So I scripted a story and passionately stuck to that script until I was accepted at Kellogg. Deep down, I thought that getting into a top business school would be the most difficult part; figuring out what I’d do afterwards was not as much of a concern.

When recruitment started, consulting looked promising. It would allow me to be industry and functionally agnostic; it would expose me to multiple industries; I would work with many bright minds; and, given the recession, it offered some of the most handsome compensation packages going. I jumped in with both feet. I was the first-year director of the consulting club and acted as a project leader for a pro-bono consulting team that worked with a local business. I went to as many recruiting events and information sessions as my schedule could handle. I hit case preparations with focus and intensity.

But after the dust settled, I ended up without a summer job offer. Looking back, I made two mistakes. First, I underestimated how deep the recession would be, and how it would affect the number of offers and profile of successful candidates. Fewer positions led firms to take fewer risks on career switchers. The second mistake was focus—both on consulting exclusively and on only a handful of firms in particular.

Having regrouped and refocused, I find myself pursuing a very different path. More directly leveraging my previous military experience, I am now speaking with aerospace and defence companies. Although it has taken a while to come to this conclusion, I am excited and optimistic about the possibilities that lie ahead. Switching careers is difficult enough at the best of times, but add in the recession and this now has to be my best chance of finding a great job.

Kellogg serial:
Day one: Daianna
Day three: Eddie
Day four: Jorge
Day five: Sultan

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One Response to “Kellogg serial, day two: Reeves”

  1. Bruce G. Says:

    Reeves:

    Your military experience is what differentiates you from the rest of your class. You have had more responsiblity as an officier and hilo pilot than the rest of your class combined. Don’t sell yourself short.
    Your experience is what it is: Command Experience that had peoples lives in the balance of your judgement. It was not a simulation. You were tested and passed. Some employers will recognize that immediately. The rest of life’s responsiblities will pale by comparrison.

    BCG
    Chicago
    [USA, Retired]

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