Be resilient: You need to kiss a lot of frogs to find your Prince (or Princess) Charming. Networking functions in the same way. Do not be disheartened by a lack of response. You haven’t failed until you’ve stopped trying to connect.
Design choices for success: When networking, offer two options for a time to talk (e.g., between 2pm and 6pm next Wednesday or Thursday). Psychologically, people are disposed to pick one of two options that are provided to them. If you offer too many options, there can be decision fatigue, which leads to inaction. If your request is too open-ended, there is little urgency about providing a response. Creating a sense of urgency will generally lead to some action.
Break out of your comfort zone: It is easy to call up your old colleagues and see what they are working on. It is harder (but more valuable) to add new relationships to your network through speaking with classmates, professors, and alumni. Make a point to do this even if you are planning to spend the summer in a city you have worked in before.
Circumvent traditional hiring structures: Whenever possible, talk to a hiring manager or member of the team before you drop your resume on a website and human resources gets involved. (Human resources are the gatekeepers, and hiring managers are the people who actually want you there to help solve their problem.)
I have spoken to lots of classmates. If you are still thinking about which offer to accept, how to structure a search, or what the summer looks like, and you want to talk it through, I am here to listen and help. Feel free to reach out @ firstname.lastname@example.org and we can pick a time to connect.
Before coming to HBS, Ilana Rosen (MBA ’19) spent four years living in Hong Kong, where she worked as an Entrepreneur and Executive Recruiter in the Advanced Analytics space. This summer she will be one of two nationally selected MBA interns to join Marriot’s Management Acceleration Program, where she will split her time between Marriott International’s corporate office and their West Coast regional office.