This week has been a whirlwind of emotions. Possibly every emotion you can think of, good and bad, I’ve experienced this week. Today I want to talk about the good.
(This is quite a wordy post, and quite personal. If it’s not your cuppa, skip it. My next post will be more entertaining)
We all know what a drag job hunting is. In fact, I think job-searching qualifies as a job on its own. If you’re doing it right, it’s time-consuming and effort-intensive. You research companies in industries that you’re interested in. Carefully craft your cover letter. Put your all into it. Highlighting your strengths, skills, experience and interests in the company, all under 500 words, and still making sure it’s compelling is not easy!
Then you need to tailor your CV to each job. Again, picking out what’s relevant and chucking out what’s not. Except everything seems important! But no recruiter wants to see a CV longer than 2 pages so you must be smart about it and make your CV concise and compelling.
You send out your applications and wait for a response. They start to come in, the regret (a ‘nicer’ word for rejection) letters…
But what’s meant to be will be.
Let me explain.
By some time last year (2014), I knew I didn’t want to work in engineering, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Then I was contacted by some recruiters from a top tier management consulting firm. Let’s call it company X. I was interested in the type of work they did. But due to some of their policies I was an inegible candidate. But this ignited interested in management consulting as a career option in which I could apply my skills from engineering.
A few weeks later, I learnt that another top tier consulting firm, company Y was hiring for their internship program. I applied. And got rejected. Didn’t even get invited for an interview. I was quite bummed. Because I know I am capable of anything really. And rejection makes you question your abilities. Anyway…
A few weeks after my rejection with company Y, I learnt that they were organising a mentorship program at my university and applications were open. I applied and got in. I learnt more about the company, what they look for in a candidate, how they work etc. This program also meant that I automatically got an interview with company Y for their winter internship in 2015.
I was sure that I wanted to be a management consultant. I considered investment banking but decided against it (thank God!). I started seriously applying for jobs in management consulting. And I applied to only management consultancies. It’s a huge risk, I know. But I was pretty convinced byt this point that I didn’t want anything else. So I didn’t bother applying for other jobs.
Of 6 consulting firms that I applied to, only 2 invited me for an interview, 1 didn’t get back to me and the other 3 sent me regret letters. I had friends in similar academic standing as me, and with a similar skill set that got interviews with the same firms. Yet I didn’t. And I beat myself up for it. I’d wallow and complain and feel like life was unfair. But what’s meant to be will be.
I ended up interviewing with the 2 firms. The one was a UK-based company and dropped me because I am a foreign student and work permits are a b****. The other was also a well-established firm, let’s call it company Z.
Also, remember I was automatically getting an interview with Company Y for their internship by virtue of having gone through their mentorship program. But I didn’t want to work the internship in the winter (June/ July). I spent that holiday at home and requested that they move my application to the summer internship. They were most gracious and met my request. When it came to interviewing for the summer internship I requested to move my application, again. I wanted to travel in the summer, so I requested that they move my application to a full-time position for next year. Again, they were very accommodating and did just that.
During my interview process with company Y and Z, I made numerous mistakes. There were some case interviews in which my maths was completely off. For some cases, I was completely clueless about how to solve them or what the problem even was. Yet I was constantly showered with favour from God and got called to follow-up interviews with both Y and Z. Both of which are very reputable world-wide.
Just this week I had my final round interviews with both company Y and Z. And I got a job offer from company Y. A VERY GENEROUS OFFER. Please remember that this is the company that rejected me last year. 15 months later, I’m getting an offer from one of the world’s most prestigious companies. These firms have a 99% + rejection rate. It’s ridiculous. And I’m one of the few that they have sought and want on their team. I’m over the moon. I’m still waiting on company Z’s feedback though.
What’s meant to be will be. The companies that sent me regret letters weren’t meant for me. Honestly. And I can say that confidently in retrospect. I think God was directing me to what was mine. And also testing my perseverance and persistence. If I’d quit last year, I would never have got here. But then also without God’s favour, I would never have got it. I cannot explain how or why my interviewers liked me. But they did. So much so that they overlooked the mistakes I would make because of their ability to see my potential and connect with me as an individual. My journey to getting an offer with company Y started long ago. Through rejections and negotiations. And now an offer. It’s amazing!
Let me wrap it up with a few remarks. Don’t ever quit. Seriously. If you’re reading this and feeling disappointed by rejection, here’s my advice: Cry about it, be sad, stay in bed for a day, or two. Comfort yourself. And after that get up, and try again. And again and again. One of my interviewers asked me what my plan was if I didn’t get a management consulting job. I told him I would try again. Because it’s never been clearer that this is what I want.