How to be successful in a virtual career forum

The Spring edition of our Virtual Career Forum is here! This is the time when IESE MBAs can get a chance to interact with recruiters, business leaders and alumni across different industries and learn about internship or full time career opportunities. In this edition, we have 37 companies participating including BBVA, EDP Renewables, Eli Lilly, Google, KraftHeinz, N26, Uber, Zara and many more!

How can students make the most of this event? Ziad Moubarak (MBA 16) from our Career Development Center shares his top 10 recommendations for getting the most out of attending virtual company presentations.

1. Use Linkedin to prep

It’s important to do your research beforehand. Keep updated on the latest company and industry news. Identify the speakers, so you know their backgrounds and what are their roles. It can also help you to formulate questions in advance, to gain insights into their work and assess if this is what you’re interested in. You can even connect with speakers on Linkedin before the presentations, but don’t forget to use a personalized message.

2. Dress for the occasion

Getting dressed appropriately in smart, business attire will put you in the right mood to engage with employers. There may be opportunities for small group or individual chats so dress as you would for an in-person fair. That means no pajamas!

3. Have a professional (virtual) background

Have a neat, uncluttered background on your screen. It is distracting for the presenter to see too many personal belongings or movement behind you. If you can, use the virtual background that IESE provides which clearly states your name and school. This can go a long way.

4. Keep your camera on

It can be tempting to hide behind a black screen and keep your camera off, but don’t make this mistake. If you can’t be seen, then it would be almost impossible to make an impression. It is much more engaging for the presenters to be able to see your faces and know who they are interacting with, so try to keep the cameras on the whole time.

5. Speak up

Don’t be shy, this is your chance to shine so be ready to chat. It’s easy to simply type your questions in the chatbox, but you will leave a much stronger impression if you are speaking directly with the recruiter or presenter.

6. Raise your hand early

You are probably very familiar with the Raise Hand function on Zoom or Microsoft Teams by now. Use it! 🙂 If you have a question, don’t wait to ask. Be the first speaker in the Q&A to ensure your question gets answered.

7. Prepare your questions

Show that you know what you’re talking about. Do proper research and have specific questions for the presenter about the company, the industry, the career opportunities or their personal journeys. Try to keep it broad enough for the other participants too.

8. Introduce yourself briefly when asking questions

Before you ask your question, always let the presenter know who you are and your interests. Virtual Career fairs lack “spaces” for informal networking, so take advantage of the time you have unmuted to make the biggest impression. Try not to overdo it though, keep it short and sweet.

9. Join the breakout rooms

Often, companies will host breakout rooms after the main presentation to interact with smaller groups of students. This is a good way for them to identify motivated students and for you to connect with them further. If this is a company you are truly interested in, don’t lose this opportunity to chat with recruiters. They have taken time out from their hectic schedules to be present and you should too.

10. Follow-up

If you’re interested in continuing a conversation with the companies, make sure to send a thank you message via a Linkedin invitation or email. It’s always good to be specific about what resonated with you on that day, so take notes during the presentation. Be sincere in your message.

Good luck!

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Ziad Moubarak View more

Associate Director, Career Development Center
Covering Healthcare, Agribusiness, Chemicals, Africa and Middle East
IESE MBA Class of 2016

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