Advice for MBA students who hate networking

And for any b-school student who’s wondering, yes, recruiting is WAY easier from this side.

I hated networking events as a student. The whole mating ritual felt so fake. I ask questions and make nice and the recruiters answer questions and make nice, but we both know what’s on the table – an internship, and ultimately a job. But most of the time we don’t talk directly about that.

Plus Darden doesn’t allow you much time to research companies, reflect on what you want to know and form cohesive thoughts about them. That makes it hard to have normal, nice interactions. Instead you ask about the corporate culture while not really listening because you’re trying to find a way to shoehorn your awesome analytical experience into casual conversation.

It’s a sweaty, awkward mess. And, yes, it’s obvious from this side too, and we sympathize. Or at least, I do!

How can you avoid the sweaty, awkward mess? Be yourself. Or rather, be the best version of yourself.

That means asking questions you genuinely want the answers to and sharing things about your experience that are relevant.

Don’t try to be the perfect MBA machine. Instead, try being human. Remember small details and try to connect on a normal level, the same way you connect with the barista or the grocery clerk. It works with recruiters too.

I know, I know, this is easier said that done. But remember that the recruiters you can be yourself with are also likely the kind of people you’d like to work with every day. And the recruiters who make your stomach knot up, well, that’s a pretty miserable work situation.

After all, who wants to feel sweaty and awkward all the time? B-school recruiting was enough for me.


About missmba

What happens when a language-loving, mathphobic liberal arts major goes jumps on the MBA train. Follow my adventures at a top 20 business school.
This entry was posted in Career, Communication, Internship, Networking, Recruiting. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Advice for MBA students who hate networking

  1. I know exactly what this feels like, even outside of business school. Can’t agree with you more, sometimes, you just have to mentally prepare yourself for these kinds of events. I usually walk in with a few goals – maybe talk to a couple of people rather than several to make the greetings a bit more genuine. Sometimes it’s hit or miss. It’s sort of the nature of the game, too. But you can never go wrong relaxing the shoulders, taking a deep breath, and being yourself.

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