What an opportunity! I was first attracted the third annual NAAMBA (National Association of Asian MBAs) Conference in New York last month because of the companies that were sponsoring the event (IBM, McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, Dell and PepsiCo to name a few). I wanted to connect with recruiters and gain some guidance how I might better approach a number of my target companies.
Being the first conference I’ve attended, and considering I’m currently looking for employment, I was determined to put my best foot forward. I did the usual research on current job postings and companies and brushed up my elevator speech. I also searched all the panelists and speakers on LinkedIn to see if they could possibly be future sources for guidance or helpful contacts at a company that I was looking to pursue.
At the conference, I immediately had the opportunity to network with recruiters and representatives from a number of large corporations, and many offered to pass forward my resume to HR even before I had asked to connect with them after the conference.
What really blew me away was the access I had to executives at Fortune 100 firms. I met with a VP from McDonald’s at the networking breakfast, a VP from The Coca-Cola Company at the workshop on Global HR Challenges & Opportunities of Managing a Global Team of Diverse Talent and yet another VP from PepsiCo at the C-Suite Executive Round Table. I connected with a number of them in person after the event, though I am still working on getting past personal assistants of the others.
What did I really learn from this conference?: Preparation really does go a long way. Before leaving for New York, I took a trip to FedEx Kinkos to put together a mini version of a management portfolio to leave employers and future mentors. This was especially helpful because not many other job seekers had one. It bought me a few extra minutes with each recruiter and let my work speak for itself.
All in all, the conference was an incredible opportunity to connect with professionals across a number of industries and learn about current issues Asian professionals faced in corporate America. I plan to attend again next year, and hope to see more Pepperdine faces there!
What upcoming conferences are you planning to attend?