Apologies for the delayed update on the AMBA conference that MIM attended earlier this September – between whirlwind travel, sleep deprivation and catching up on MIM-life, this is the first chance I’ve gotten to do a proper recap. When I think about it, it’s probably better this way – I’ve had some time to process and assess the event, and weigh it’s real benefits, both from an MIM student perspective and from an ambassadorial perspective. First, for those that did not catch the small snippit–blogs that we posted while actually at the expo, here’s a quick expo of the event:
Check-in and welcome from the Asia Society, one of the main sponsors for the event. We heard some great, heartfelt speeches about the importance of the event, namely the importance of promoting cultural diversity in the workplace – in all workplaces. While it was nice to be in New York, and hear these speakers, after a day of travel, we all wanted to get some sleep… especially considering the 6:00 am wake-up call for the following morning that awaited us.
This was the leadership conference portion of the event, and started promptly with a presentation by Frans Johansson that really kicked off the day right! Peppered throughout the day were breakout groups, panel discussions and networking opportunities. The nice part about this day was the fact that there were enough options at every breakout session that there was bound to be a topic of interest for everyone. Even better, was the fact that the corporate social responsibility (CSR) panel session that I attended, as well as the session that described how to best get a job overseas were, more or less, redundant information for MIM students! The MIM program is definitely preparing graduates for positions in the sustainability and international-oriented fields. This was the best take-away from the day, if not the entire conference – to hear first-hand the value of preparedness that all the time, money and effort of the MIM program is giving us! Friday night was also the night of the gala – a formal dinner and awards ceremony, filled with entertainment, surf and turf and more networking!
This was the most heavily attended day, as it had the potential to yield the greatest return – the career fair. Literally a sea of black suits, pleather pad-folios and elevator pitches, this was a chance for recent MBA graduates to try and impress potential employers. From the perspective of a soon-to-be MIM graduate, things looked… okay. On the one hand, this was an opportunity to see a cross-section of a job market outside of Portland, which was very refreshing and promising. However, there were a lot of financially focused jobs, which don’t exactly play to the strengths of the MIM program. Another plus was the abundance of overseas jobs. While the MIM program does have the language aspect of the program, the downside is that many of these overseas jobs were looking for native-level fluency, which the MIM program doesn’t quite deliver on (due to the short time-frame of the program, rather than the quality of instruction).
While I was fortunate to attend the entire conference, for students, the time and money commitment (four days during the crucial summer term of MIM, and the $350 or so price tag for the conference alone) may be too steep. Coupled with the fact that this expo is still in its infancy, there is definite room to grow that may make paying attendees feel as though they did not get their money’s worth. However, for MIM student in the future, if you can spare the time, and the airfare, then I would recommend doing what a couple students this year did, and just pay the $65 for the career expo (Saturday only), so you can really maximize your chances of job leads for the lowest possible cost. Just come ready with printed out resumes, business cards and a compelling elevator pitch!