Kellogg serial, day three: Eddie

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 three: Eddie
My job search began some 18 years ago when I saw Patrick Ewing, centre for my beloved New York Knicks, battle Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the NBA playoffs. I was 10 years old and hoped I could someday play professional basketball. Little did I realise that I would get the chance this summer—not as a player, but as a businessman.

The journey began when I was admitted to Kellogg more than a year ago. I thought business school could help me make the change from engineering to the world of marketing. More ambitiously, I hoped to find work in the sports business, a notoriously difficult industry to break into but one that seemed to offer a happy marriage between my professional and personal interests.

As the autumn quarter tipped off, I found myself inundated with company information sessions, networking nights, professional school club events and informational interviews with second-year students fresh from their summer internships. The career choices seemed plentiful but, as we all now know, the actual opportunities would become scarcer by the day.

I remember a specific workshop run by the school’s career management department that focused on conducting “independent” (off-campus) job searches. The counsellor asked attendees to start the session by writing down what our ideal job the following summer would be. I wrote “marketing strategy for a major sports entity.”

For the next six months, I dug and clawed through as many resources as possible to learn more about relevant roles within the sports industry. I subscribed to weekly industry reports and emailed at least 50 alumni and contacts of contacts. I set up phone calls with people who were second- and third-degree connections on LinkedIn, reached out to professors—at Kellogg and beyond—who specialised in sports research and, of course, scoured the employment and client-work history of my classmates. Some contacts were great, some were “one and done” encounters and others were non-responsive. My determination grew as the job market contracted; after all I had a genuine personal interest and investment in what I was seeking.

In March, I caught my break. A marketing and business operations role at the NBA found its way to me and I successfully navigated through the recruiting process. Eight months ago I didn’t even know that this department and role existed, but diligence and an unwavering focus on the sort of job, and industry, that would make me happiest ultimately landed me the dream summer internship. There was no established roadmap to guide me on how to do this, but rather only instinct and determination. I hope my story can motivate other current, or future, MBA students to follow their passions before anything else, regardless of the economic climate.

Kellogg serial:
Day one: Daianna
Day two: Reeves
Day four: Jorge
Day five: Sultan

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