Illustration by Alessandra Felloni
People come to graduate school for many different reasons:
- The Network
- The Brand
- The Knowledge
- The Access to Professors
- The City / Location
When students complain about paying too much, I generally think that they are referring to the knowledge part which, in the information age, is admittedly extremely cheap. However, those who come to SIPA for the network, access, and brand realize they are getting their money’s worth. However, it is important to know how to leverage these things.
Ultimately, many of us (if not all) come to graduate school to find a job. In the Professional Development class, the professors emphasize the importance of networking. Here are some tips for how to turn SIPA’s network into an actual internship or job:
1. Utilize SIPAlink. Go to the website. Log in. Check out the “Internship Report Database” on the top right menu.
2. Industry filter. Search for industries you are interested in. Here you have a huge list of past students which have done internships in just about every industry. You can filter by the industry of interest. Now, you have a list of potential contacts.
3. LinkedIn. Search for them one by one. When you find the person, connect with them. In LinkedIn you have 300 characters to use as an intro letter. Not much, but it is enough. You can fit in the following content: [I saw your internship review at XXX on SIPAlink] [I am interested in working in this field and was wondering if you were willing to speak to me briefly about your experience]
4. Informational interviews. As the days pass, you will start getting responses to your LinkedIn invites. Schedule the informational interviews and then go through with as many as possible. Be sure to ask good questions and ask if there is anyone else your interviewee would know who might be worth talking to.
5. Keep Track. In just a few weeks, you will be tracking the status of 100 people. You need to keep an excel document updated follow all of them. Each person has their own methods which you can develop on your own.
6. Play the numbers game. Every Saturday morning you might send out 30 LinkedIn invites. Of these, 15 might get back to you; of those, 10 might schedule a call; of those 2-3 might know of a relevant open position and every once and a while they will ask for your resume!
7. Keep at it. In my experience, this continued for about two months and, I promise, there were plenty of times when I had doubt about whether this was a good use of my time. In all, it was about 90% networking, 10% online applications. In the end, however, it paid off!