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A Status Update for Mom

Dear Mom,
I don’t mean to scare you, but I’ve just been through what HBS refers to as “hell week,” in which students interview with dozens of companies. In my case, I will refer to this week as “heck week” because there was just one firm that found my background intriguing. Fortunately for them, I only had to waste 30 minutes of their precious time before they figured me out. I will quickly take you through the process of how the company, that I’ll call “Reject-co,” and I were put into contact and, after a brief courtship, eventually parted ways.

I began the process by logging on to the HBS job bank. The name “job bank” is a little misleading, because a bank generally contains items that are of value. My job search strategy was to find all the companies that didn’t require cover letters as part of the application. Reject-co was neither in an industry that I found interesting, nor were they offering a job that I found compelling, but the fact that I could just click “APPLY” to be considered for this position was attractive. Reject-co received upwards of 400 applications from eager young MBAs like myself also seeking that perfect career with a company that doesn’t require a cover letter.

After screening all the applicants, I received a very personalized and friendly yet simply stated email that read, “You have been selected as an alternate with: Reject-co.” It was a little disheartening to read the e-mail footer, “Experience.com, Inc., has enabled over 50,000 employers to successfully connect with over 2 million students…” Using my freshly minted quantitative skills (thanks, Finance I), I calculated that unless each of those 50,000 employers hires 40 people, I’m probably out of luck. My alternate status required me to be home at midnight on a Friday evening madly clicking the “refresh” button on Netscape trying to get the one alternate spot that was available. I had just come back early from a birthday party at Pravda…8 red-bulls and vodka and I was pretty lucky not to pass out before I was able to secure the one remaining spot!! The red-bull helped me to stay awake. My interview was set for 9am.
I jumped onto the computer and began diligently researching Reject-co. As it turns out, per Reject-co’s Website, they have an impressive list of dot-com clients, they service a growing and dynamic industry and, surprisingly enough, they add a lot of value. This just may be a great opportunity…I mean…I like to add value. I called some of my classmates who have worked at Reject-co and they all had great things to say about it…but nobody was going back. I also downloaded Reject-co’s latest financials and to my relief, they appeared to be a financially healthy company…Arthur Andersen even signed a letter saying they were a good company.

I thought the interview went well: Q: Why HBS? A:It was the only school I got into. Q:What’s your biggest weakness? A: Stewardesses. Q: What is your greatest strength? A: It’s a toss up between my biceps and my lats. Q: What is it about Reject-co that you find so attractive? A: 3 words…no cover letter. I was always told honesty is the best policy, so why start coming up with fake answers now?

So anyway, by the time I got home, Reject-co had left a message on my machine saying that while it was refreshing to hear an HBS applicant answer questions truthfully, they didn’t see a great fit. I’m trying the networked job search now…I think the Psychic Friends Network will be the first one I try…then maybe the WB. Wish me luck, I have to get a job before Spring Break…Rio won’t be the same without the benefit of a signing bonus.
Love, Mike

February 11, 2002
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