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A Cold Day in Hell

Ok, so maybe it’s Hell Week, not actually hell, but you get the idea. I decided that the best way for people to cope with the trauma of the upcoming week would be to share in the misery of others. With that in mind, I interviewed a couple of classmates to get their stories of how to deal with RC Hell Week.

TG: Robin, rumor has it that you have 29 interviews during Hell Week. Is this true?

Robin: I’m appalled that you would have your facts so wrong, That Guy. I only have 24 interviews this week. Five of the companies I’m interviewing with aren’t coming to campus until next week.

TG: Oh…. Sorry, my mistake. Could you tell me what analysis led you to conclude that 24 interviews is the appropriate number for Hell Week?

Robin: Well TG, that’s easy. I realized that some companies start interviewing early in the morning, while others interview into the evening, which provides about 12 interviewing hours per day. They interview from Monday to Thursday, so that means 48 hours of interview time during Hell Week. I calculated that the average interview takes about an hour, which is perfect because that leaves me a full hour of extra time per interview for my amazing follow up questions. You know what they say, “It’s always a good sign if it goes into overtime.”

TG: Wow, spoken like a true Baker Scholar. But, don’t you think it will be somewhat exhausting to be interviewing all that time?

Robin: Oh, not at all. I talk at least 10 times per class, and for almost the full hour that I meet with my study group, so I am well prepared to speak for hours on end. After all, that’s what the HBS model is all about, right?

TG: If you say so. How were you able to manage your schedule so that you could fit all of these interviews in?

Robin: Oh, that was no problem at all. I spent about 12 hours with career services getting them to contact a couple of students to see if they would mind switching.

TG: Wow, only a couple of overlaps, that’s pretty impressive.

Robin: Yeah, only 15 people had to change their slots. No big deal at all.

TG: Don’t you feel like other students might have resented having to reschedule their interview to accommodate someone who already has so many others lined up?

Robin: Gee, I hadn’t really thought about that. Oh well, what’s done is done.

TG: Well Robin, it seems you have this whole hell week thing worked out. Good luck with all of those interviews, I’m sure you’ll knock ’em dead and don’t worry for one second about that ridiculous advice that Career Services gave us about olfactory issues. I’m sure they weren’t referring to you.

Robin: @$%$$#^ you, That Guy.!

Now let’s take a look at how another classmate is dealing with Hell Week.

TG: John, I’ve heard that you don’t have any Hell Week interviews. What’s your logic?

John: Well, to be honest with you TG, I applied for quite a few jobs, but just couldn’t manage to get an interview with anyone. I haven’t had to deal with this much rejection since senior prom. It’s ok though, I’m telling people that I’m not interested in consulting or banking, and that the companies I want to work for don’t interview during Hell Week.

TG: That’s a shame about your luck John, but at least it sounds like you have a good plan for dealing with it. I’m curious though, what do you attribute this lack of interest to?

John: Well TG, at first I thought there were just that many people who were more qualified than me. Then I found out it was really just a group of about 25 people who submitted applications and took interviews for jobs they don’t even plan on taking just to “have options”.

TG: Really! I wouldn’t have thought HBS classmates would be that selfish and inconsiderate!

John: Well, you see, these people claim that it’s their right, nay, their responsibility to apply to all of these jobs just in case they don’t get offers from their top companies. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to be happy that some of my classmates are doing so well. I’m sure they would feel the same way if the roles were reversed.

TG: Yeah right John, whatever helps you sleep at night buddy. Anyway, couldn’t you even get an open slot interview?

John: I tried that too TG, but I just wasn’t fast enough at clicking the “Sign Up” button on the Job Bank. After my performance on the closed list applications I spent a lot of time practicing my click-through skills, but I just wasn’t fast enough. I guess that on top of not being the most qualified applicant, I’m not the most skilled mouse jockey in the class either.

TG: Well John, that really is a shame. Tell me, since you aren’t interviewing during Hell Week, what is your plan? Taking a trip?

John: I wish, TG. Unfortunately, now that the Hell Week applications haven’t gone my way I figure I better spend the week getting started on my networked job search. I’m also going to be watching a lot of episodes of “The Apprentice” looking for business tips and catching up on current events. You need those current topics to discuss with recruiters, right?

TG: Sounds like a great plan. What kind of companies are you planning on looking into?

John: Well, since the consulting and banking gigs haven’t worked out I’m thinking that the logical next option is social enterprise. It seems like the obvious choice given the circumstances.

TG: Well I’m glad you’ve found an alternate avenue to pursue so quickly, and very similar to your first two choices too. Anyway, good luck with the “networked job search” John.

John: Up yours, TG.

Well, as you can see different people have slightly different takes on Hell Week. As for “That Guy”, don’t worry, I’m not taking your interview slot. As you read this, I’m sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico. I won’t be back until Sunday night, so I’ll see you Monday morning. You’ll recognize me because I’ll be the one with a great tan and hopefully an internship offer at Dick’s Last Resort, San Juan.

February 2, 2004
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