On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) at Columbia Business School – The New York Advantage
The process of obtaining a summer internship and subsequently a full-time offer certainly seemed daunting before I went through it, but reflecting upon my experience, it was a very structured process whereby the Columbia Business School network was supporting us throughout the journey. With all the resources and assistance the Career Management Center (CMC) and the Professional Clubs offer, it’s really up to us to take full advantage of the help we need. Columbia has a special advantage for recruiting, and that’s the New York Advantage. It’s often talked about in our PR materials, but it’s totally true. Most firms have their headquarters or at least major offices in New York City, and they hire hundreds of us every year, so there’s a tremendous Columbia network just a quick subway or taxi ride away. Because of the easy access, recruiters come to our school to talk about their companies frequently and we can easily go visit them, too. It makes such a difference in the recruiting experience because we don’t have to take regional trains and planes, book hotels and take time off to go visit companies and alumni. Multiple companies come visit us daily, so even if you don’t yet know exactly what you want to do after you graduate, you will have opportunity to explore and learn about a variety of options. I ended up obtaining my summer internship at J.P. Morgan’s New York office through Columbia’s OCR and will be going back there full-time.
More on OCR and available resources..
So what’s OCR, and what’s the process and timeline? Generally, companies that know their hiring plans well in advance participate in OCR. Banking, finance and consulting positions typically make up the bulk of the OCR opportunities, but there are also many marketing, general management, real estate, healthcare, government, and other opportunities that interview on campus. The general process is: (1) attend corporate presentations and coffee chats (Sep-Nov); (2) set-up and attend informational interviews (Sep-Nov); (3) apply to job postings by submitting cover letters and resumes (1st yrs: mid-Nov; 2nd yrs: mid Sep); (4) attend interviews on campus and then typically at the corporate offices for further rounds (1st yrs: mostly in Jan; 2nd yrs: mostly in mid-Oct to mid-Nov). They key is to research and network as much as possible in order to be shortlisted for the interview list. Here are some of the resources I utilized:
Professional Clubs – Because I was interested in the Financial Services industry, I joined all of the Finance related professional clubs, including the Columbia Investment Management Association (CIMA), the Investment Banking Club (IBC), the Sales & Trading Club, the Columbia Finance Organization (CFO), and the Private Equity & Venture Capital Club. I attended many of their educational workshops and panel discussions to learn about the industry and enlisted my resume on their Club specific Resume Books (I received quite a number of calls and emails from recruiters who were looking for Japanese speakers). There are various recruiting trips as well, and I helped organize the “Asia Trek” over winter break to visit all of the major banks in Hong Kong to see what it might be like to work out there (this was through the Asian Business Association). There are ones that go to London and the West Coast as well. The Clubs also offer mentorship, resume reviews, and mock interviews throughout the recruiting season.
Career Management Center (CMC) – The CMC has a lot of resources online and in their own library that you can utilize. They also provide us with access to Career Advisors who live on campus (Executives in Residence) as well as Alumni Advisors that you can set up meetings with. In my case I spoke with a distinguished Japanese woman working in the buy-side in New York. I also took advantage of a number of workshops including self-assessment, ‘developing your pitch’, networking, interview skills, salary negotiations, resume / cover letter review services, and mock interview (they video you).
Informational Interviews with Alumni – Because you will be in the City, you can easily set up ‘Informational Interviews’ with Columbia Alums who will usually be happy to set up a coffee chat to discuss their experiences with you. Informational Interviews are usually required for most Finance jobs, and the expectation is that you contact as many of them as possible. The more you do and you are liked, the more chances of you being on the “close list” for actual interviews – only a limited number of students are invited for interviews, after a whole season of meets and greets. In most cases, the companies that come to present at school will provide a list of alums you can reach out to, but the CMC also has a list of graduates and where they are working, so you can email them to see if they can spare time to chat with you (and you typically go to their office). My recruiting was very focused, targeting only 3 companies, but for each one I reached out to 4-5 people and they were all more than happy to meet and speak with me. As alums, they actually want Columbia students to come to their firm over other B-school students!
As you can see, all the help we need is there, and it’s up to us to make the best use of them. I hope this gave you a flavor of what it’s like to go through Recruiting at Columbia Business School. You can always find out more from the Career Management Center. Best Wishes!
（執筆者： B, Class of 2010）