Old Relationships Lead to New Opportunities
Ben Cober MBA’12
Supply Chain & Global Management Academy
Students go through a four-phase process to help them discover the right career, improve their networking and interviewing, and prepare to perform on the job.
There are students who come to Kelley with a clear understanding of what they want to do, where they want to work, and how they’re going to get there. Then there are students who are more like Ben Cober.
“My career plans were kind of nebulous when I got here,” he acknowledges. “I had more of a vision statement rather than a specific target. I knew I wanted to help people learn about the world—to empower them to experience other cultures, history, and science. But what that looks like in practice could be anything from working for a travel company like Orbitz to an institution like the Smithsonian.”
As a result, Ben understood early on that the kind of career opportunities he was looking for probably weren’t going to come to him—he was going to have to find them for himself.
He reached out to his network, including his supervisor from his most recent job at the Cincinnati Museum Center. “One day, I was looking at her LinkedIn profile, saw she had some relationships with people working at National Geographic, and decided to ask her if she could make some introductions. Within half an hour, I got a call from someone in the marketing department who wanted to talk to me about managing an exhibit.”
Another lead came from a lifelong friend Ben who is now working as a videogame programmer for LucasArts. “He made it sound like a fun place to work, so I asked him about internships. He got me the contact information for their internship director, who oversees programs across all of Lucasfilm’s divisions, and she was willing to talk to me at length about opportunities across the whole company.”
While networking comes naturally to Ben—as a former PR professional, he is used to cold-calling strangers—selling himself was more challenging. He worked with Graduate Career Services to craft his story and identify new industries and companies to consider. He also learned to keep things in perspective.
“One evening, I was sitting in the Kelley atrium near a group of recruiters preparing for an event. Just listening to them talk to each other made me understand that they’re real people—they’re like the people you eat lunch with and have class with every day. They’re just a little bit older and further along in their careers. There’s nothing to be scared of.”