As Brandeis International Business School students, we have an incredible resource: executives who volunteer their time to meet with us. Through the Executives in Residence (EIR) program, you can schedule a 1:1 meeting for advice and conversation on topics including industry trends, interview preparation, networking, small-talk and job search strategy.
About my Experience with the EIR Program
First-year me had “no idea” what I wanted to do following graduation, and didn’t even know where to start looking. Everything seemed so fabulous and interesting (except maybe accounting). I sought a lot of advice during my first year because I really felt like I was lacking the direction that so many of my fellow students seemed to have. However, I kept hitting this wall when, and understandably so, the person whose advice I was seeking would say: “Well, I can’t really help you if you don’t know what you want. What do you want?” I didn’t know! That’s why I needed advice, I thought. This happened time and time again.
My big “breakthrough” finally happened in a meeting I had with one of our EIRs. I walked in and we introduced ourselves, and then I was so prepared for that wall that I practically talked myself into hitting it. However, she stopped me, stood up, and said: “Okay, so let’s figure out how to get to what you want so that you can move forward.” She grabbed a marker on her way toward the white board and began asking me questions that really got into the nature of who I was as a person and what I was looking for in terms of qualities versus the job itself (fast paced, full of variety, people oriented, international touch, with some sort of impact, etc.).
This different perspective on asking myself what I wanted was a profound turning point. It allowed me to find more specific paths to explore by figuring out which jobs, industries and companies had these qualities. It seems simple, I know, but it was eye opening and I genuinely use what we came up with on that white board in almost every interview when people ask where I want to be in 5-10 years.
This year, I continued to meet with one of our EIRs: Jill Greenberg. We decided, after a while, it would be most helpful to meet just about every other week. Jill was incredibly helpful as I searched for a full time job. She was there for whatever I needed. Whether it be more concrete like review of a cover letter or less concrete like advice on a conversation with a potential employer, Jill somehow always understood where I needed a little push. She was absolutely influential in my interviewing process for my job post graduation. She even set aside the time late at night before my final interview to listen and give feedback for a presentation I would be giving to my interviewers.
Even though I have now reached many of the career milestones for which Jill helped me prepare, I still make sure to regularly touch base with her. Like with any meaningful professional connection, I know it is important to connect back with those who made a difference in my career journey and say “thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to speak with me.” After all, watching us grow and achieve our dreams is the very reason EIRs volunteer their time in the first place.
So, no matter what stage of career or personal development you might be in, get to know our EIRs. After my experience with the program, I can definitely say that my biggest piece of advice for you is to start now! Relationships are built over time and ongoing, and EIRs are willing to help you in any stage of your career.
For more information on the EIR Program, including bios and how to set up a meeting, check out this guide. You can also get a sneak peek at our EIRs in action from last Fall 2020’s Ask an Executive Panel.
Kimberly Milando ‘20, MA’21 and CSE Senior Career Captain, recounts her experiences with Brandeis International Business School’s Executives in Residence (EIR) Program. In this original blog post, she encourages other students to participate in this program, as it was extremely impactful on the trajectory of her own Career Journey.