By Julia Zupko, Senior Associate Director, Career Management, Chicago Graduate School of
Developing strong personal relationships with students allows you to convey great aspects of your firm to candidates who may not be familiar with your industry reputation, have preconceived notions about your firm, or have never even heard of your organization. Additionally, strong relationships make students’ decisions to interview and/or accept an offer with your firm more compelling, as they feel as though they are directly impacting personal relationships they’ve developed along the way.
However, it can be challenging to develop a personal connection and convey the differentiating features of your firm to prospective candidates – especially with so many firms focused on the same pool of MBA talent. Below are tips and advice on how your firm can develop strong relationships, and thereby a positive reputation, with MBA students.
Bring as many firm representatives to campus as possible when holding an event with a large audience. The better the representative-to-student ratio is (1:5 is ideal), the better the conversations. The key is to invite representatives who are informed and enthusiastic about the company – not necessarily senior executives. Remember, if it’s “your people” that make you different, it’s important that candidates get to meet these people!
Hold a unique “high touch” event. The most memorable events center on quality conversations – these include speed networking rounds (representatives rotate amongst small groups of students), networking tables with themes of firm attributes rather than career function, or several firm representatives taking a very small group of students to a sports game.
Reach out to students as individuals. Some of the smaller firms which recruit on campus are champions of this method, often matching alumni firm representatives with students who share similar backgrounds or interests. The time and effort of personalized contact, combined with the representatives’ openness and availability to answer all questions, fosters positive relationships.