Freeman students are fortunate to have networking days, called Freeman Days, off campus in a variety of cities in the U.S. The goals of these events are to provide career education, alumni networking, and employment opportunity exploration. Each student is given a schedule for the two day event catered to his or her career interests. The schedule includes information sessions, site visits to different company offices, and a networking reception. Students are also encouraged to set up individual meetings through self-developed contacts during his or her off time.
The most recent Freeman Days was in Houston, TX. I attended this event because of its focus on the energy industry. The participating companies spanned the realm of upstream, downstream, financial services, logistics, consulting, and so on. My schedule consisted of five meetings located at the Tulane Houston campus and also some on site throughout the Houston area. My first meeting was downtown with an energy investment and merchant bank. The information session exposed me to the different financial services of the energy industry and showed me what a career in this segment would look like. My second meeting was with an energy consulting company. The presentation explained the different types of consulting the firm offers and also discussed the format of a project based career. Compared to the first presentation, I learned about a completely different segment of the energy industry. My third presentation was with a utilities company, which was very interesting. I usually don’t think of utilities when I think of energy, but this presentation definitely changed my thinking (and my career search!). After these sessions, I had the opportunity to attend a Q&A session with a Freeman MBA alumni. The alumni provided advice for our internship search and ways stand out from other potential candidates. His advice was truly valuable in helping me steer my career search in the right direction for attainable positions.
The last event for the first day was a networking reception. This was a low key event that allowed us to meet multiple alumni from businesses across the city. It was interesting to hear the multiple career paths of these individuals and to learn about even more segments of the industry that I wasn’t familiar with previously. The information I learned helped me to pinpoint the target segments for my career search. This event was also a great way for the students to network with each other.
As for my second day, I had a site visit with an energy IT consulting company. The site visit was great; we took a tour of the company’s office and got a true sense of the company culture. There’s no better way to see if I would “fit” with a particular company than to see the working environment on a normal business day. My second and last visit was on site as well with an upstream oil and gas company. This visit was more intimate with only seven students around a conference table with the Freeman alumni. This setting allowed for more discussion on the current issues facing the energy industry and also the financial positions available to graduate students within an oil and gas company.
Overall, the whole Freeman Days Houston experience proved to be a success for all who participated. I believe I learned priceless information from these alumni and professionals that I can already begin implementing into my career search today.
MBA Candidate 2014