This past winter break, the Pan-Asian Career Association (PACA) club at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in association with Carey’s Career Development Office organized the second annual international career trek to China. In the course of 9 days, 18 students from MBA and MS programs visited 9 industry-leading companies in Beijing and Shanghai, including CITICS, JD, Accenture, Amazon, Hillhouse Capital, Roland Berger, A. T. Kearney, L’ Oreal and GE. The event gained favorable comments from both students and employers. As the student leader of PACA, I would like to share six tips on how to organize a career trek:
Diversify the company list: It is never a small cost to participate in an international trek, so we must consider different demands of students from different programs in order to avoid disappointing some students with high enthusiasm. We tried our best to contact many companies covering relative industries, including investment banking, private equity, consulting, health care management, IT, FMCG, and others.
Never hesitate to explore the abundant resources of local alumni: Alumni could be an unimaginable power helping you organize a successful international career trek. In China, there are many Carey alumni, and to be honest, over half of the companies we visited during the trek were secured through connections of our alumni. When the employers heard we were from Carey, they were extremely glad to host us due to the extraordinary performance of our alumni in their companies.
Contact the companies as early as possible: We contacted companies a month before the event because we needed to leave enough time for them to check their schedules, invite core speakers and apply for the venue. We never wanted to make our employers be pressed for time for the reason that it seldom leaves a good impression of us for them. Besides, we also need to allow some time for us to find backups in case some companies change their minds.
Research companies before visiting: We divided our team into different groups in charge of different companies to make a thorough analysis of each company, including its industry overview, main competitors, primary business, and recent news and recruitment needs. We presented the information to other members of our team who were not familiar with that company before. After that, we discussed and prepared for the possible questions we would like to ask the insider of the company we would be visiting. We found that during this process, everyone in our team became well prepared as both a visitor and an interviewer.
Send team profile and question list to companies in advance: We made an exquisite handbook including the agenda and CVs of our team members. In doing so, we allowed the employer to have a better understanding of the composition and background of our team. Besides, the question list could help speakers choose topics and contents they would like to share with us based on our interests.
Be professional: As a student in Carey Business School, “to be professional” was the first lesson I learned. During the trek, my teammates and I reminded ourselves to be professional all the time. We strongly recommended business attire when meeting with a company. Small thank-you gifts always add points on you. Most importantly, never forget to send a thank you letter after leaving the company.