While classes don’t start until next Monday, January is a very busy time for our First Year students. Why? Interviews!

January 3 marks the official start of on grounds interview season, which will run until February. During this time, all of the companies that visited grounds in the fall for events, briefings, receptions and/or our Career Fair return to conduct interviews for summer internships. Typically, over 100 companies will participate in on grounds recruiting each year.

Here’s how it all works:

Students can apply for on-grounds recruiting job postings starting in October, with resume drop deadlines beginning in November. Students receive interview invitations in December and January for interviews taking place in January and February.

The companies hiring the largest number of students interview in early January, while smaller firms target late January and early February. Expressed by industry, students interested in Consulting, Big Tech, Investment Banking, General Management or Marketing usually interview in the first half of January. Students seeking roles with Private Equity, Asset Management, Venture Capital or Small Tech firms interview in the latter half of the on grounds period. This is, of course, a general timeline, and each company’s schedule will vary based on its MBA recruiting process.

However, for our students, this process really begins well before the start of the new year. From advising appointments (including a career kick-off meeting in the summer prior to the start of school) to company and industry research to resume and cover letter sessions to mock interviews, students spend much of the fall preparing for interview season. And, as we noted in our recent Employment Report post, students are supported in these preparations by a host of people including career advisors, career club members, Second Year coaches and alumni.

While most students will secure their summer internship through on grounds recruiting, there are a number of other resources available to students as they conduct their job search, including Interview Forums in Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, job postings as well as the Darden network.

We recently caught up with Casey Floyd, Director of Employer Engagement and Recruiting, to talk a little more about on-grounds interview season:

What’s the most exciting thing about this time of year for you?

This time of year is the culmination of all our work that began last March. It’s great having employers return to grounds, and it’s obviously tremendous to see students get the internship they have been working so hard for.

What do employers like about Darden students?

Employers repeatedly highlight Darden students’ ability to succeed in team environments, to analyze data and to make decisions.

What would you want a prospective student to know about the career resources at Darden?  

The entire Career Development Center’s number one priority is helping students get where they want to go. When a team is so passionate about their job, it results in individualized support for each and every student. And the resources at Darden go well beyond our department – recruiting here is a team sport and everyone steps in to help.