Friday I-Motivate Meeting
In the MBA program, our peers are often our best asset. We all come from different backgrounds, work experience, political and social views, etc. and we all can help each other to succeed. This was the very thought second-year MBA student Olaide Lawal had when he decided to lead an initiative called I-Motivate. I’ve asked him to write a guest blog outlining the program and its benefits:
I-Motivate is a peer-to-peer student network within the Illinois MBA Program with the main objective of helping Illinois MBA students achieve their career aspirations. At I-Motivate, we leverage some of the strengths of the Illinois MBA (the small class size, closely-knit relationships etc.) to help one another win. Also we strongly believe that an individual is responsible for building his/her own career. Even though the Illinois MBA program provides us with a lot of opportunities, it behooves us, as individuals, to not only make effective use of those opportunities, but to also create new opportunities for ourselves. This is particularly true in today’s challenging job market where the importance of focus and preparation cannot be overemphasized. Thus, we are determined to be the most prepared for the best career advancement opportunities out there.
Within I-Motivate, we have smaller groups called I-Groups that are organized by functional interests (for example consulting, HR, General/Strategic Management etc.). We currently have about six I-Groups and we intend to form new ones as we get larger. These I-Groups help to increase sharing and accountability within the larger group.
Some of our activities include mock interviews, resume and cover letter critiques, meetings with industry experts and employer networking receptions. Our weekly meetings are geared toward fine-tuning our skills, enriching our functional and industry knowledge and building our professional network. For example, we conducted mock interview sessions at this week’s meeting. This session did not only simulate the job interview experience, but it also gave participants the opportunity of playing the role of both an interviewee and an interviewer. Hence, the session provided us with a platform to learn from one another’s mistakes and strengths.
Furthermore, we host case interviews (in conjunction with BCS and IBC), organize one-on-one peer mentoring and share success secrets with each other. As much as we can, we build on each other’s successes and professional connections. For instance, we realized by tapping into the personal and professional connections of the current MBA student population alone, we are able to enrich our professional network in ways that we never thought possible. Simply explained, everybody knows somebody thus when we share our network, our reach increases exponentially.
We have made some progress in our past few months of starting. We launched the I-Motivate blog, kicked off the I-Groups and initiated a 15-Minute weekly meeting (which we refer to as I-Check Sessions) where we learn from industry experts, alumni and current students on various career related issues. We have also created Facebook and LinkedIn pages which we intend to use to post jobs and other relevant information. But let me also add that we have some exciting plans in the pipeline. We plan to host some company visits whereby Illinois MBAs on various career tracts will visit different cities for networking and career development purposes. We plan to have 3 tracks – the Silicon Valley track, the New York City track and the Chicago track. We hope that these tracks will increase our visibility to employers as a program and also help us reach out to companies that do not currently recruit from Illinois. We want to be the first name on every recruiters mind. Secondly, we want to help incoming students get prepared for business school. We want to help incoming students become early birds who will start preparing for their internship search and other career advancement opportunities months before the start of the program.
I-Motivate is a fantastic way for the MBA students in this program to benefit from each other’s social capital and experience. The relationships that are formed while in business school are often life-long and can embody the importance of personal networks. I wish Olaide and the I-Motivate group the best in their endeavors and look forward to seeing what the future brings.