Our Darden Career Center colleagues recently published a great compilation of advice for students concerned about career opportunities given the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic from alumni who graduated during crises like the dot-com bubble burst, post-9/11 and the global financial crisis. The helpful tips included:
Understand that your career is a long-term process
Shelley Reese (MBA ’08), Amazon principal product manager, shared, “Take the long view. It might not pan out that you get your dream job in the next one to two years. By no means should that stop you from positioning yourself for that dream job,” Reese says. “Use it as a springboard. You’ve taken two years to invest in yourself, so take the next two years to continue investing in yourself.”
Lean into the Darden network
Sap Sinha (MBA ’08), Surgical Care Affiliates regional vice president, runs health care facilities in New York, at one point the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sinha says he’s seen it all. As an international student, he feared graduating without a work visa and with large debt.
“All of my career changes are because of Darden people,” Sinha says. “Interviewers select you because you have Darden on your resume. Graduating in 2008 as an international student, we leaned on people through no fault of ours. Don’t be afraid to go for positions that say they don’t hire international students. If there’s a Darden alum, they will find a way.”
Apply experiences learned through the Darden case method and general management curriculum
Sarita Finnie (MBA ’01), Bayer vice president of integrated shopper marketing, graduated when the dot-come bubble burst in May 2001. The September 11 attack came four months later. She found herself out of work until February 2002 and credits her ability to bounce back to qualities like grit and resourcefulness.
“I wasn’t held back by an uneven start. I attribute that to the quality of Darden graduates. This place steels you to be resilient and solve problems,” Finnie says. “It’s how you rise above the crowd, even if you pivot and start in a different direction.”
Read even more alumni wisdom on the original blog post, Darden Alumni Encourage Resiliency, Optimism For Job Searches Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic.