Tag Archives: networking

Networking for Introverts

My personality type, according to Myers-Briggs, is INTJ. This means that I’m introverted. When I tell people that I just meet that I’m an introvert, they usually don’t believe me. I’m pretty friendly when you first meet me, I love public speaking. That’s the common misconception about introverts– that we’re all a pack of antisocial outcasts that can’t hold a conversation. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

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I actually love people; it’s just that when I interact with large droves of them, it drains me. Because of this, networking for many introverts is a nightmare. However, as a business student, networking is vital for finding a job and then excelling at it.

I’ve learned that networking doesn’t have to be draining. Here’s a couple of tips of how I do it:

  1. Don’t try to talk to everyone at once.
    Seriously, you don’t have to talk to everyone at the event.  Instead, choose a couple of people that you can relate to and concentrate all of your energy on them. This is great because you make a more memorable connection with someone AND you don’t get drained by attempting to talk to EVERYONE at once.
  2. People at networking events want to meet you.
    A lot of my introverted friends are too terrified of talking to anyone at the event because they don’t know what they’re going to say. Don’t be scared. Most people want to talk to you. They want to tell you about their jobs. They want to meet you. Just ask them a question about themselves or the company and the conversation will eventually flow naturally.

Remember, you don’t have to be an extrovert to be good at networking. If you’ve been avoiding networking events because your introvert– stop. You can do it!

International Potluck


Recently, the MPA International Connection hosted a potluck where international students shared foods from their respective home countries. Fortunately, they invited all of us to come and try them out. In good spirit, the domestic students brought some of their own food to share with the international students. Career Consultant Dawn Shaw was there, too, helping promote unity among the varied group of students in the MPA program.

About 25 students brought food from China, Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Mexico, Hawaii, and elsewhere. My only regret is that I didn’t save more room for the Korean BBQ. A bigger sampling might have given me enough ammo to write about another stop on my “BBQ trail” even though it’s pretty different from Texas BBQ.  There was so much food that I didn’t get to eat a substantial amount of any one dish, but I do not regret1610014_294678857356625_2368457516241372259_ntaking the opportunity to try out each one. My contribution, being a southerner, wassouthern-style sweet tea. I made a regular sweet tea version and another one infused with fruit.

Altogether, it was a great way to branch out and try something new that you would not otherwise be exposed to. I have always enjoyed eating foreign foods, but there’s nothing like home-cooking. That is a truism that transcends national and cultural boundaries. It also provided a venue to better get to know some fellow students who we may not have known at all otherwise.

That there is enough interest in an event like this is a testament to the diversity of the Texas MPA class, which is a quality important to me. I have enjoyed my travels outside the US and look forward to future travels, but experiencing fellowship in this context with others who are outside their home countries is the next best thing.



Competing With Engineers for a Sustainable World

A couple of months ago, we all received an invitation to compete in BASF’s Team Chemistry challenge. A fellow MPA student decided to formTexas-mascot a group, and so I joined. It seemed like a fun project – come up with ideas to lessen the environmental impact of football gameday. I love football gameday and I have an interest in environmental sustainability, so it was like a match made in heaven. Of course, the incentive of winning a bunch of money didn’t hurt.

So, we set to work coming up with ideas on how to approach the problem.  We easily came up with a host of small solutions that would have some impact, but quickly got bogged down in the details. After spending some more time pondering our work, we decided to focus on a group  of related solutions and hone in on them.  As Joel said in his most recent article about accountants being risk-averse, we learned from our initial mistakes, found the proper balance, and ended up with some pretty cool ideas.

We were invited to a couple of events by BASF and the Athletic Department to learn more about the initiative and the goals of the competition. One event was a sustainability panel sponsored by UT Engineers for a Sustainable World. The panel was entirely made up of engineers and the audience was entirely engineers … except two of us MPA students. It was very intimidating hearing about them discussing various polymers of which we had no clue of their existence much less their properties. Apparently these students have a big advantage over us with their knowledge of chemicals, considering BASF is essentially a chemical company. The next event was a stadium tour, during which our guides told us about their issues with waste management. Their focus seemed to be only on waste management problems, while our solutions did little to address that.

ConcoursePoster_#2_Sec120But, we pressed on, confident in the power of our ideas despite not having the technical knowledge that is certainly common among our competition. What we do have is a business ingenuity that enabled us to come up with feasible solutions that are easily implemented and have a measurable impact. We used the skills we have learned in economics, finance, and accounting to estimate the results of our proposals. We also used our branding and presentation skills to develop a persuasive format through which to deliver our proposal.

We find out Friday if we are invited to the finalist round, where we will present and defend our ideas in a “shark tank” environment. We’ve had fun putting it all together, and we’re proud of our accomplishments, but it would be great to get to write a “Part II” to this article about our preparation for the finalist round!


Getting the final rose: MPA edition

some of my favorite MPAs.

Every time a new season of the Bachelor or Bachelorette comes on, I try to avoid it, however if I happen to watch the first episode, I’m hooked. Going through MPA recruiting is a lot like the Bachelor. I promise I’m not crazy- so I will explain.

1. You must dress and act to impress. The bachelor isn’t all about looks. I’d parallel this to the fact that MPA recruiting is not all about your resume. Sure, the Bachelor probably looks for a few characteristics in the women the first time they meet, just as firms are attracted to certain things on resumes such as teamwork, community service, extracurricular activities, and a good GPA. However, as recruiting continues, it is less about your resume and more about who you are.

2. There must be a mutually agreed fit. As in any relationship, there must be 2-sides of respect.  There should be trust from both sides and there must be a genuine interest in mutual success. Whenever you recruit with the firm where you are meant to work, this will become a reality for you.

3. You have to be genuine or it won’t work out. Here’s the thing about the Bachelor- sometimes these girls (Courtney for those of you who watched Ben’s season) act one way with the other girls, and another way with the Bachelor. When you act like something you aren’t to impress someone, it won’t work out in the end. This is probably why 90% of Bachelor relationships end up failing. As you recruit and try to find your perfect fit (#2), you have to be genuine. You must be real and true to yourself and your beliefs. If you are lucky, your internship will turn into a full-time offer, which turns into a career. This being said, it is important to begin the student-firm relationship with a true and authentic attitude and be sure that it is the real you that the firm knows.

HOWEVER, there is one huge difference between MPA recruiting and the Bachelor. There is more than one rose in recruiting!

When recruiting is over, I guarantee that everyone will receive “the final rose” from the firm that is perfect for them, as long as you are true to yourself throughout the process. Good luck!

Can Spring Break Last All Year?

Back in day when I skated competitively

Greetings from Spring Break 2012! I know many of my fellow MPA’s were on vacations much more exciting and exotic than mine, but I thought I would share my experience anyways.

I spent my first weekend home for Spring Break not lounging out in the Texas sun, but in a below freezing ice rink judging a local figure skating competition. For those of you who don’t know, I am a US figure skating judge and help judge at a handful of competitions each year. This particular competition I judged at was Showskate 2012 and was different than most figure skating competitions because the skaters are allowed to skate to music with lyrics and use props to help them interpret the music. The competition is great fun for everyone involved, and is very entertaining, thanks to the crazy routines skaters performed.

I love judging because I was a competitive figure skater for 12 years, and judging allows me to stay involved with the sport. I am a huge figure skating fan. Continue reading Can Spring Break Last All Year?