So a couple of nights back, at 9 PM I got a call from my interviewer saying that I was offered a job to work at Ericsson to join the SPP team. I freaked outtt! I had made it through an intense process which lasted around 2 months from the date I handed in my application. The process consisted of an application, followed by 6 case interviews. Yes, you read it right. 6 interviews and with different people from the team. Each interview had 2 parts – the personal interview for about 30 mins and a business case which I had to solve in the remaining 30 mins. In preparation I must have put in around 60+ hours in all. So, you can imagine how bad I would have felt if I didn’t get the job.
After a couple of minutes I felt the weight of my success. It has been a lot of hard work and also a slightly off the beaten path, but all of it has been vindicated. I have a long way to go before I reach where I want to be in my life but at least I feel I am on the right path.
It is easy to understand why any rational person might think he or she has achieved this because of the effort he or she has put in and totally deserves it. I dunno, I dont feel like that. I mean, of course, I believe I have worked hard and deserved it but there were so many other people who did countless small things to push me through the journey. I dont think I would have got this job was it not for my classmates, my parents, some of my teachers and a couple of friends. In this post I talk about how my classmates helped me through the journey.
My class was just unbelievably supportive. People really wanted me get this job and I could feel the positive energy. Every time I went to an interview people would wait for me to come out and tell them how I did. Some friends prayed for me and some talked me through times when I was feeling low. In this class I felt safe. I felt so much positive energy and support that telling people about my process actually added energy to me.
So as preparation I had to these case interviews. They need to be practiced live with someone who runs you through a business challenge. Usually how these things work is that I interview my friend and the friend would interview me. So technically it would be mutually beneficial or whatever. Also, you get to learn both as an interviewer and interviewee. So I practiced, I practiced with people who were also applying for Ericsson or other consulting firms but often I practiced with people who had nothing to do with consulting and just wanted to help me. I still cant believe the number of hours people around me put in to give me valuable feedback and helped me learn. I remember the first case I did with a friend who told me I was waaay too nervous and needed to relax. So he took me to his home and we did the case there rather than at school. Every Sunday evening I would go to another classmate’s home to practice cases, it became a ritual and I remember how one Sunday he was very tired from the previous night but still kept his word and did the cases with me. My mentor, who works at H&M, made an hour for me on a very busy Sunday evening and my buddy, an employee of Ericsson assigned to support me through the interview process, practiced a case on the day she landed in Stockholm, though she was super tired and jet-lagged. Another friend did cases with me though he had interviews the next day, and another SSE student who would drill me with difficult cases even though he wasn’t going to apply for consulting anymore. Super nice guy! The number of lunches my friends cut short to practice personal and case interviews with me. I also practiced the personal interview part and my friends gave me so much feedback on the tone, the content and the phrasing. I remember at least one instance where my friend made a suggestion about the phrasing and I tried it out in my interview and I could see the interviewer being impressed.
I spoke about this in interviews. How the supportive and collaborative environment in my class helped me unleash a potential I did not even know I had. In India, I often felt I was working only to get ahead of others but here I feel I work because I enjoy the work and that gives me a rush to really put in effort and learn. If there was one thing I would say is unique about Sweden, this would be it. It is such a funny thing because most people in my class are international students.
It is easy to take this for granted but each one of them has made a small sacrifice or a decision to help me and maybe no one alone helped me get the job but together everyone did. Universities are often looked at as a place to learn and grow. But way too often we look to learn only from our professors and from books. It is easy to miss that people around us, studying with us, come with a wealth of experience, and more importantly character and are in the future going to be employers. I believe, anyone who is blind to learning from peers misses a huge opportunity.
Featured Image source: http://www.mattiashamren.se/portfolio/Ericsson-Kista-Building_03_photographer-Mattias-Hamren.jpg
Picture on the blog by Lasse Lychnell