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MBA Journals

MBA Journal: A New Factor in the Job Search

MBA Journal: A New Factor in the Job Search

Photograph by Cindy Singleton

When I came to the Wharton School last July, bright eyed, eager to learn, and decidedly single, I did so with many expectations of what life would look like in my last semester. Something I was pretty sure I’d have: a job. Something I was extremely sure I would not have: a fiancé. My crystal ball may be due for a tune up.

About five seconds after my plane touched down in Philadelphia last year, I started dating a fantastic local citizen named Alex. We’re both in programs that are wrapping up this year, so when we started applying to and interviewing for jobs, we also began tiptoeing around questions about what was going to bring whom where, and why, and when. Dating in the two-year time vortex of business school is a fascinating beast. Sensitive conversations about life, love, and location will often be brought up much earlier than would otherwise happen, and even if both people are willing to consider each other in their decisions, the mere fact that they have to decide so early can be unsettling.

I was fortunate to find someone who made no secret of his openness to move to Cincinnati when I was thinking about working there, which made it easier for me to be open in return once I decided not to accept my summer offer. Part of the reason I went to business school in the first place was to be employable in many cities—though I loved Los Angeles, I didn’t enjoy being bound there by the entertainment industry. As Alex started ranking his various options, I certainly liked the idea of some more than others. But I wasn’t ruling out anything. I hadn’t yet told him that I’d go wherever he went (because, as my aunt’s mom Rachel once told me, in her lilting French/Brazilian accent, “If a man knows that he has you, he will crush you”). Still, I at least knew that we could make it work if we wanted it to.

Alex found out in December that he’s headed for Seattle this summer. It was his top choice and a city I’ve always loved the thought of, so there was much to be excited about. Having not been there since I was nine, I wasn’t ready at first to say I was officially moving there, but a visit in February, which included some killer crab benedict and a marriage proposal, certainly helped.

In addition to deciding where my job will be, I’ve also been homing in on what exactly that job will entail. Although I love working with and around people, it turns out I do better as a lone wolf than as a member of a highly interdependent team. Though I enjoy the structure and defined borders of a larger, more established company, I thrive under conditions in which I take a bunch of nonsense, wrangle it into submission, and shape it into something meaningful. Although it’s very early in the process, I have a few interesting early leads, some of which are semi-traditional marketing jobs, others of which are totally off-the-wall, even by my admittedly generous standards.

So here I stand, a few weeks away from graduation. My lack of employment seems to have staved off the worst effects of senioritis, though it’s possible that I’m also in denial of the fact that I’ll be leaving so soon. Again, I’ll be headed to a new city, bright eyed and eager, with many expectations of what life will be like, most of which will probably—hopefully—be delightfully wrong.

Between journal entries, you can keep track of Lindsay’s business school adventures at the Business Schools Facebook page. Follow the Bloomberg Businessweek B-Schools team on Twitter.

Lindsay Miller is a second-year MBA student at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Before business school, Miller was an editor at Lifetime Television. In addition, an ad she created for Dove Body Wash won a national competition and aired in front of about 40 million people watching the Oscars.

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