Tag: WCC



Sally Pinckard of the Weston Career Center

Sometimes the most difficult interview questions are very unexpected, designed to test the candidate’s ability to think on his or her feet and innovate. Don’t be surprised if you get a seemingly off-the-wall brainteaser, like “How many ping pong balls can fit inside the Olin atrium?”

Demonstrate your confidence and ease with ambiguity by being prepared. Most interviewers are really trying to gain information to assess: (1) can the candidate do the job; and, (2) does the candidate fit your culture and organization. These are not trick questions.

Also, being well-read on current events (i.e., read The Wall Street Journal daily) will provide context for small talk, or even help to articulate a business point of view based on current events.

Let’s explore specific questions that often surprise a candidate, or could make one uneasy but requires fortitude and confidence:

A few tips for replying to tough interview questions:

“Tell me about yourself.”

A common opener, this broad question can “throw” many interviewees. It is, in fact, a “sell-me” invitation. Develop a brief summation of your background leading into your interest and desire to work for the organization, as well as your qualifications for the position.

“Why should we hire you?”

From your research, you should know the qualifications for the job. From your own self-analysis, you will have gained insight into your strengths and accomplishments. Mention key functions of the job and discuss your skills in relation to these functions. Use experiences from previous jobs, internships, and activities as examples to support your answer.

“What are your long-range goals?”

In your company research, determine what position you could reasonably reach in five years. Speak to others who have successfully advanced themselves in the organization or profession. Express your desire and capability to grow within the organization. While you may be unsure of your future plans, demonstrate your knowledge of potential career paths.

“What is your greatest weakness?”

Everyone has weaknesses, but remember not to answer in a negative way. Turn your weakness into a positive. For example: “Because I tend to procrastinate, I have learned to work well under pressure and to always get work done on time.”

“Tell me about your schooling.”

The key to this question is to keep your reply positive. Speak well of Washington University and any other schools you’ve attended. You are a product of your schools’ educational programs. Be prepared to address questions about low grades, changes of major, favorite classes, etc.

Guest blogger: Karen Heise, Interim Director, Weston Career Center

Could you use the support of the Weston Career Center or Management Communication Center? Schedule an appointment today. 




Recruiting events are usually large occasions and can be overwhelming if you are not properly prepared. To be successful at such an event, it’s important to prepare ahead of time. Here are a few tips from the WCC about navigating recruitment events. (Be sure to check out Part I.)

Sometimes recruiters won’t accept paper résumés

This doesn’t mean they’re not interested in you; instead, they are adhering to compliance policies and online recruiting procedures. Ask for a business card, and follow up with recruiters after the fair to let them know that you have applied, or plan to apply, online.

First impressions are very important

At recruiting events, employers are not trying to figure out how to screen you in.

Recruiters are looking for things that will screen you out. Your energy level, handshake, dress, and résumé can make you a success or failure in seconds.

Think of talking to the recruiter as an audition

What can you say and do in the first minute of conversation that will make him or her want to grant you an interview? Make sure to smile, have a firm handshake, and look recruiters in the eye.

Keep your energy high, be assertive, and ask engaging questions—especially ones that demonstrate your knowledge of the company.

Ask questions that reflect your research

Do not ask what the company does, what kinds of jobs they have, or what they can do for you. The recruiter will expect you to have done your research and to know these basic facts.

Dress as if you were going to an interview

A common mistake at recruiting events is to dress too casually. Both men and women should wear suits. If you have questions about professional attire, speak with a career advisor.

And last but not least, don’t eat, chew gum, use heavy fragrance, or smoke during a recruiting event.

Collect business cards from recruiters

Also be sure to jot notes about them and the company on the back of the card. Use these cards to send personalized thank-you notes after the event.

Thank recruiters

Write a thank-you note to every recruiter you speak to at the event; save contact information for future networking opportunities and to develop a target list of employers.

If you’re not looking for full-time employment at the time of the event, let the recruiter know.

Recruiting events are valuable—even for students who are not pursuing full-time jobs or internships. They’re a good way to meet recruiters and make early networking contacts. The senior-year job search begins in your freshman year—students who start building networks and identifying potential employers early are the most successful at getting internships and job offers later.




Recruiting events are great opportunities to meet employers from a wide range of industries and potentially obtain job interviews. If you make a favorable impression, you have the best chance of being invited to interview. Time spent at recruiting events can pay off—it’s your chance to see many career opportunities that are open to you, and you may connect with potential employers who can offer you a job. They also provide an opportunity to practice your interview skills in a less formal environment.

Recruiting events are usually large occasions and can be overwhelming if you are not properly prepared. To be successful at such an event, it’s important to prepare ahead of time. Here are some tips from the Weston Career Center:

Get a list of participating companies

Check the hosting organization’s website or looking for printed publications a few days before the event. Usually a list of companies and a map of their locations will be provided for larger events.

Find connections within those companies

If possible, find someone you know who works at a company you’re interested in; alumni are good resources. At the event, you can mention the name of your contact to the recruiter, which can help separate you from the rest of the students.

Research the companies

Employers expect you to know something about their companies before you talk to them. In addition to visiting company websites, you can use annual reports, press releases, and newspaper coverage that can be found on the Internet or in the WCC Resource Area.

Maximize your time

Maximize the brief time you have with recruiters by knowing how your skills and interests match their needs.

Understand the job openings and opportunities

Become familiar with types of career opportunities available at the companies of greatest interest to you (most company websites have this information), and prepare to sell yourself accordingly. You are the product, and employers are the customer.

Prepare your 30-second self-introduction

This should include your name, your education, and your career interests as they relate to the company. In addition, always come prepared with an example of your skills and experiences.

Schedule a mock interview

Set up a mock interview with an advisor to practice your introduction and to discuss your marketing strategy. Practicing will make you more relaxed and confident during the event.

If possible, arrive early

Recruiters may have to leave early, and they can be tired and less attentive at the end of a long day.

If you’re nervous…

Consider approaching a recruiter with a company that is not one of your top choices first as practice.

Choose your top booths ahead of time

It’s important to plan which company booths you want to target, and focus on no more than three to five that are of special interest to you. You can visit more companies if you like, but make sure that your efforts are focused on your top companies first.

Bring several copies of your resume

It is a good idea to have more than one targeted résumé with different career objectives if you are looking at several career options (résumé should be on résumé-quality paper, and you should bring at least one copy for each company you plan to visit).

Stay tuned for part 2!




The past year has been an extremely successful year for Olin Strategy and Consulting Association, an MBA student-run and led organization aimed at developing leaders in the disciplines of consulting and strategy.

As a measure and testament to our success this year, we are happy to announce that 18 students received full time offers to join external consulting firms and 12 students received offers to intern at external consulting firms.

We are very excited to have increased the percentage of consulting offers to 13% of the MBA class. Our MBA students will be joining a variety of firms including: Accenture, Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group, ECG Management Consultants, Navigant Consulting, McKinsey & Company, and North Highland Consulting.

OSCA members with WCC advisors.

OSCA members with WCC advisors and faculty

Recently the students were able to sit down for a luncheon with some of the outstanding faculty at Olin who have previously worked in consulting firms. Students were able to gain insight on how to succeed going forward in their internships/full-time offers by hearing stories of their professors and learning about the “do’s and don’ts” of consulting.

In addition to faculty support, we were joined by our awesome  Weston Career Center (WCC) staff members who helped make the luncheon possible and have been our biggest supporters all year long.

Guest blogger: Sarah Lobo, MBA Candidate 2016, President, Olin Strategy & Consulting Association




Mark Schlafly, who is currently the interim director of the WCC, has accepted a position as executive vice president of Waddell and Reed.

At Waddle and Reed, Mark will assume responsibility for their 1,850 advisors, lead their advisor acquisition strategy, oversee the recruiting department, and manage the investment products group. It is a tremendous opportunity for Mark and we celebrate his success.

I’m happy to share that Mark will remain affiliated with our Olin family, though with far fewer hours to spend with us as he moves forward in his new endeavor. To quote Mark, “It is too hard to leave these incredibly talented students, and I would be honored to remain a part, even though small, of their future dreams.”

Karen Heise

Karen Heise

We are pleased to announce that Karen Heise will serve as our new interim director of the Weston Career Center. Karen, a 13-year Olin veteran, is highly qualified for this role. She served as interim director of the career center in 2008, which ensures that the WCC has an experienced leader at the helm. Karen is currently an employer relations manager with the WCC team, partnering with firms to develop and implement recruiting strategies to hire talent from across Washington University. She also leads Olin’s alumni strategic initiatives to involve alumni in employer relations, student development, and career preparation. Prior to Washington University, Karen was a recruiting and HR manager with EY, Capgemini and Towers Watson where she led university and experienced-hire recruiting programs.

Please join me in thanking Mark for his contributions to our outstanding career services and congratulating Karen as our new interim director of the Weston Career Center. We are in good hands as we continue our national search for a permanent career center director.


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