Saturday, October 15, 2016

2016 38th Annual NBMBAA Conference in New Orleans, LA

This past week, I went to the 38th annual NBMBAA Conference in New Orleans, LA. More information here:

It was my first time at a conference and the experience was pretty cool. Just the sheer size and number of companies present at the NBMBAA conference alone left a very positive impression on me. Some of the things that I enjoyed about the event were walking through all the different booths and mustering the courage to talk company representatives.

Overall, I feel as though the event is probably best for people with a lot of experience or relevant experience. In comparison to on-campus recruiting, the convention seemed like a less effective source of internship opportunities for career-changers. There are just too many people at the event with great personalities, creative backgrounds, and relevant experience vying for those 1-2 positions.

But although I wasn't able to convert most of my booth visits into an interview, I personally still felt as though the experience was worth the price I paid to fly to Louisiana. And this is where future first-year MBA students who are also career changers will have to make their choice. If money is an issue, then going to this conference may be a 50/50 decision. I didn't see a lot of career changers (like art to finance type career changes, not engineering to supply chain type career changes) get interview opportunities. If money isn't an issue, then definitely go. There are other things you can get out of the event in addition to interviews. At the end of the day, for me, at the very least, I was able to practice and refine my 30-second pitch, I was able to work on my ability to adapt to different booth dynamics (some booths wanted you to get to the point, some booths wanted to talk), and I was able to walk away from the event more knowledgeable on what to expect and what to bring next year.

Looking back at how I prepared for the conference, I definitely over-prepared and focused my time on the wrong things. I spent the days leading up to the conference studying leadership questions and making detailed company profile word documents when I should have been working harder on my 30-second pitch and how to market myself within a short time frame. On the convention floor, I quickly discovered first-hand that there wasn't going to be enough time for each applicant to gush over how much they knew about the company.

So, a lot of discoveries and developments over the past week.

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