Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Consortium OP 2011: Alumni Are Welcome

Consortium alumni, you are invited, too.

The Consortium's annual Orientation Program is not merely a five-day celebration of the Consortium's first-year MBA students. Alumni are welcome and can get involved in various ways. If they attend, they take advantage of the program's varied offerings--from career-strategy sessions to leadership and development seminars. And of course, the always-popular career fair.

Granted, the OP (including the Consortium's 45th this year in Minneapolis) is intended to be a memorable, festive welcoming event for over 300 first-year MBA students. First-year students get a head start on business school; 17 top business schools get acquainted with students formerly known to them for their GMAT scores, glowing recommendations and pertinent work experience. Corporate sponsors, by the hundreds, get access to diverse talent and get an early start on recruiting for summer internships.

Alumni can join the festivities, too. Consortium MBA alumni often say they want an opportunity to relive the OP experience of  their first years. But  now as experienced professionals, they look for reasons to attend and for programs geared to their interests and spots on the long career path. More and more, the Consortium has responded.

This year's OP will include ample programming for alumni--whether they are first-year associates at Morgan Stanley or team vice presidents at New York Life, whether they are in transition or they seek guidance on how to get the coveted promotion.   Throughout the orientation, alumni will be able to reconnect with their schools, with classmates or with others with similar interests.  Several school meetings and sessions are planned. 

A few workshops tailored for alumni and experienced professionals are scheduled. Alumni may also want to attend other sessions--including career panels and or seminars on innovation, leadership and strategy.  Alumni will flock, too, to various networking receptions and dinners.

Most sessions are intended for first-year students, especially career panels, which provide an in-depth introduction to, for example, corporate finance, investment banking, investment management and energy.  Alumni, however, in the past have appeared at such panels, especially to catch up on industry trends, to provide their own candid viewpoints, or to give feedback and guidance to first-year students. Career panels also attract alumni in transition, who, say, might have experience in marketing, but are pursuing roles in finance sales & trading.

Alumni in the past and certainly those in 2011 treasure the widespread corporate presence at the OP.  First, sponsoring corporations help make the event possible. Second, corporate representatives, officials and recruiters are visible and active throughout the several days. Accessible and approachable, they are eager to start relationships and recruiting dialogue with students and alumni.

This year, as usual, several companies will sponsor corporate receptions. Year in and year out the Consortium's major sponsors, such companies as 3M, Bank of America, Kraft, Colgate-Palmolive, Mattel, Nestle', Pepsico and Walmart will host gatherings.

The culmination of the OP's vast networking experience is the career fair, often held in a large hall with hundreds of company representatives present and willing to discuss careers, opportunities and specific job openings at their respective organizations.  Alumni are welcome, and many in past years have flown in just for this event.

Alumni need not attend the OP just for job search, career switching or transition soul-searching. They may come to help and be involved. The Consortium this year is welcoming alumni who want to volunteer to help in the dozens of program events, receptions, and panels. They may assist in advising or encouraging first-year Consortium students, who brace for the overwhelming tasks ahead of them in business school.

As in the past two years, the Consortium Finance Network (CFN) will have an OP presence (along with other Consortium special-interest groups). CFN will be at the career fair, will invite finance students to join, and will distribute (electronically) its guide for MBA students interested in finance careers.  Alumni in finance can invite students to join CFN and help steer them toward summer-internship offers.

For Consortium alumni, the OP need not be a one-year wonder or a fond first-year memory. There is a spot or role or purpose for all MBAs in Minneapolis.

For more information about the OP's schedule and registration this year, see

For MBA alumni interested in volunteering, contact D-Lori Newsome-Pitts at

Tracy Williams

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