After I finish my M.Eng (Master’s of Engineering) thesis in the spring, it will be time for me to leave MIT and venture out into the real world. So, I’ve begun to search for the perfect job to excite, challenge, and otherwise fulfill me.
So far, I’ve met a *ton* of companies. I can tell, thanks to previous internships and projects, that there are some that I am not a match for, some which would be alright, and only one (so far) that I would love. I think my interview with them went well, but they’re also incredibly selective.
I’m beginning to be a little more polished in interviews, now that I’ve experienced enough of them to have an idea of what’s coming. Some companies will rephrase their questions, but in the end they want to know the same things: who you are as a person, and how that will fit in with the company. (It’s actually pretty similar to college admissions, once you get past the surface differences.) One thing that has been paying off for me is the time I spent in UPOP (MIT’s Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program) two years ago. They do an outstanding job teaching MIT students how to interact effectively with companies. My title comes from a motivating example they gave us at the beginning of their program. A company representative at a career fair came to MIT and reported that the students lacked social graces. A student had actually come up to them and asked, “Do you have jobs? Can I have one?”
Speaking of uncomfortable situations: I was waiting for an interview lately, just before 9:00 am. (That’s not the uncomfortable part; I like mornings.) There were over a dozen other students waiting with me to interview with various companies. A recruiter stuck her head into our waiting room and called a name. There was no response. “Strike one!” she announced, and left. Ouch. You know, I looked at the clock when she came in. It was 8:59 and 30 seconds. So in my book, the student was not yet late. And if they had been on an MIT schedule, with classes and meetings tending to start at 5 minutes after the hour, the student would still have over 5 minutes to arrive. I guess my high school band teacher had it right after all, “If you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time you’re late; if you’re late you’re left. ”
As high school seniors work on their applications to MIT, they should make sure to submit materials in a timely fashion. You should also take the appropriate tests and let MIT know how you scored. But the main focus of your attention should be on showing the Admissions Office who you are as a person. I get emails regularly from applicants who are nervous about the other aspects. They want to know my SAT score and my fr iends’ SAT scores and my mom’s SAT score. But that’s not the point! Don’t let yourself get too wrapped up in having the right numbers. Just in case anyone has missed it thus far, I’ll bold it. Tell MIT what motivates and excites you. They want to admit real people, not academic robots MIT wants to admit people who, besides being intelligent, will contribute to our amazing community. It’s one of those things I like about MIT.
Good luck, applicants! And wish me luck, as another type of applicant!