Job Search Advice

Reprinted by permission from the R.H. Smith School of Business Association of Doctoral Students Spring 2007 newsletter. Thank you to Catherine Anderson (ed.), Animesh and Corey Angst!

The coming of spring signals the end of the academic recruiting cycle and swiftly approaching graduation. With that in mind, I solicited the advice of some students recently on the market. This article continues in the spirit of sharing experiences begun in past editions which have included advice on how to prepare for comps and how best to approach teaching for the first time.

Here are a few comments from Corey Angst and Animesh based on their recent recruiting experiences. Corey has accepted a position at Notre Dame and Animesh has accepted a position at McGill University, so, they obviously did something right! Here are their words of wisdom:

General Comments

– Don’t be concerned if you are a 5th or 6th year student. It seems that more often than not, the students who are being placed at the best schools either have a post-doc or did something else to warrant the 6th year. Just be prepared to explain why you stayed 6 years and what you accomplished.

– Be able to answer the question: ‘What sets you apart from the other 200 grads?’

– It is extremely important to work with some highly visible people in your discipline. In order of rank, the most important aspects of getting an interview appear to be: 1. School, 2. Faculty you work with, 3. Your area of interest, 4. Publications and pipeline, 5. Some teaching experience

– If you have any say, try to schedule your talks such that your top choice schools are at the middle or end. Don’t do the best ones first! You’ll get challenging questions from the early schools and you want to make sure you have an answer by the time you go to the schools you really want.

– Sometimes you may face a situation where a lower ranked school asks you the reason why you are applying to their school when you are from the Smith School and can get into better schools. Prepare a sound answer for this. Perhaps talk about their particular research focus and the synergy between your work and the research others are doing in their school. You can also talk about the location and other factors that attract you to that school.

Conference Interviews

– Usually 30 minutes long with typically 3 people participating from their side

– Laid back, very conversational, no tough questions (but do be prepared for at least one school to challenge you on your research – it happens).

– Bring a folder with 5 slides about your work, you may find an opportunity to use them.

– They always ask, “What are you working on now?” “What have you taught?” “What does your disseration examine?”, “Who are you working with?”

Job Talk/Campus Visit Interviews

– Schools usually fly you in the night before and have a dinner lined up with 2 or 3 faculty members (don’t get drunk unless you want to talk to 10 people and present one of the most important talks of your life with a hangover the next day). If you have a choice, have dinner early so you get a good night’s sleep

– Job talk day starts early. Some as early as 7:30am w/ breakfast. After breakfast w/some faculty, you may be ushered around to about 8-12 people throughout the day.

– Almost always you will meet the Dean, Associate Dean, and possibly other key administrative folks. These people bring a different perspective and often hit you with intriguing questions such as “If you could ask me (the Dean) to do one thing for the IS/Finance/Accounting department, what would it be?” or “Are you concerned about the Marketing/IS/Management enrollment?” Often I was asked, “Who would you see yourself working with here?”

– You will get an agenda with the names of the people you’ll be meeting. A day or two before you go to the interview, go to the school’s website and write 1-2 sentences on the research interests of the faculty you’ll meet. As you are walking to the next interview, glance at the sheet to get some talking points.

– During the interviews (especially campus interviews) and lunch and dinner meetings, you need to make them feel that you would be a good colleague to work with and spend time with.

– Be very enthusiastic about your research and the potential to work with other faculty in the school.

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2 Responses

  1. Appreciate this posting. Cheers.

  2. […] we’ve covered here before, too. Don’t forget to revisit useful posts from this site here and […]

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