Picking a Career, Interviewing Right, and More Job Talk

This article originally appeared on the Accepted Blog.


So, what do you want to be when you grow up? And if you do know what your dream job is, how will you land it?

We could think of no better person to join us for a talk about careers than Karin Ash, formerly director of the Career Management Center at Cornell’s Johnson School, career coach at Cornell’s College of Engineering, and Director of Cornell Career Services.

Listen in on our talk and leave a comment in the show notes to add your voice to the conversation.


Born to Work in Career Services and Admissions (1:42)

Karin is one of the few and the lucky. She’s had a career direction nearly since the cradle.

The Two Most Common Reasons for Leaving a First Job (4:57)

Watching students agonize over job offers during grad school and then switching jobs soon after, led Karin to conduct a study of reasons for leaving a first job. The winners? Moving to live near (or away from!) family and the job prospects of a significant other.

Finding Meaning on the Treadmill (7:47)

Racing from a top kindergarten to a top elementary school, high school, college, grad school… and finally a top job can leave little time for reflection. Free time is hard to come by, but if you want it, you can create it. If you don’t know what to do first, start reading! The right books can help you self reflect, figure out what you enjoy, and find direction. Often students who figure out what they want, actually do end up with a job they enjoy. Karin recommends a couple of books and we’ve linked to them below.

If you have a book or resource that really helped you discover your career path, please share in a comment.

When What You Love Doesn’t Pay (14:06)

What happens if you are lucky enough to discover your passion, but unlucky enough that your passion doesn’t pay the bills? Take a job that takes you as close to your passion as possible, advises Karin. It’s a big world out there and if you do your homework and have enough enthusiasm you can make doors open. Be creative.

The Challenges Faced by the Career Services Office at Different Types of Programs (17:27)

  • Undergrads: Many are being supported by parents and simply don’t feel the push to sweat over finding a job. The challenge is getting them to explore.
  • MBAs: Only 3 weeks after they arrive, MBAs are interviewing for the internships that are so key to what they might end up doing after b-school. The challenge is getting them ready — fast.
  • Engineers: These folks are brilliant, but they don’t believe it. The challenge is building confidence and teaching them the importance of networking (especially for international students).

Employability in MBA Admissions (20:50)

Adcoms – and employers – know what your business school courses consist of and what skills you’ll learn. What they are on the lookout for when accepting and hiring are the qualities that make successful leaders. Think confidence, good communication skills, the ability to influence and persuade, and a track record of exceptional leadership.

Business School and Career Change (25:30)

It’s not only the classic “career changers” who leave b-school with a new direction. Be warned: your classes and professors can have a very strong influence on the direction your career takes. Exposure to different fields has caused many a traditional student to veer away from their well-planned path. Keep an open mind, take (or create!) opportunities to learn things you are passionate about.

Advice for Strat Consulting Hopefuls  (28:21)

Consulting firms don’t really care what your undergrad major was or what you did before grad school. They are seeking candidates with top scores, sharp skills, and excellent communication skills. Acing that case interview is vital. There is also a little bit of bias towards athletes, and other candidates who have proven that they have drive.

Resume Tips (32:16)

Keep your resume simple and straightforward. Have the resume focused on supporting your goal. Use action words so that you don’t use extra verbiage (organized, managed, analyzed…). Include extracurricular achievements and leadership roles only if they were very important to you! Keep it to one page: don’t list references, every single honor you’ve had in your life, or less than relevant information.

Cover Letter Tips (34:29)

The excruciating task of cover letter writing becomes must easier when you are passionate about the job you are applying for. Simply introduce yourself and explain why you’ve sent in your resume. Detail what job you are applying for and what makes you the right person for the job. If you can include the name of someone you spoke to at the company, its great to show that you’ve done your research and really want the job and the employer.

Job Interview Prep (36:15)

Practice, practice, practice! Find out exactly what the company you are applying to is looking for and highlight everything in your background that relates to it.  To sound poised and articulate, you need to practice.

Case Interview Prep (37:51)

If you have a case interview coming up, it is important to read (and understand) sample interviews. As always, there is nothing like practice. If you can, get a consultant to spend half a day giving you a practice case.

Why Karin Does What She Does and Loves What She Does (38:39)

The excitement of helping young people figure out what they want to do with their lives –and get there- has kept Karin going for 30+ years.


About The Author:

Linda-AbrahamAccepted.com has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top universities since 1994 – they know what works and what doesn’t, so follow Linda Abraham on Google+ and contact Accepted to get started or visit Accepted.com for all your admissions consulting needs today!




  • Linda Abraham

    Linda Abraham is the founder and CEO of Accepted, the top-tier admissions consultancy that helps you unlock your competitive advantage. Linda has written or co-authored 13 ebooks on the college admissions process. In 2007, she co-founded the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) and became its first president. For the last 20 years Linda and her highly credentialed, experienced team have helped thousands of applicants get accepted to top colleges and graduate schools worldwide, including but not limited to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, and MIT. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, US News, The Sunday Times of London, Businessweek, Poets & Quants and MBA Podcaster.

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