Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nervoxcited about the internship

The quarter is winding down, and although there are still some considerable hurdles that I need to clear (1 project, 2-3 presentations, 2 HW assignments, 3 finals), I am thinking more and more about the summer ahead. I alternate between excitement and nervousness about the upcoming internship.

On the one hand, I'm really excited about the chance to get back into a work environment to do something that doesn't start and end at the Jake (Jacobs). My only professional experience so far has been at IBM, and I want to find out if I can do well in a different industry/career/role or if my past success was a fluke.

On the other hand, I am a bit nervous about the potential pitfalls.  In particular, what if I end up sucking at the work; like no matter how hard I try, I am just not cut out for it.  That would be a bummer.  Or what if I end up hating the work in general? It's one thing to read about it and hear about it second-hand, but it's another thing to actually do it.  Fortunately, all of the BCG folks that I've met so far have been amazingly helpful, down-to-earth, and friendly, so I am fairly certain the work environment will be great.

The way I see it, my summer experience can end in 1 of 4 ways:
  1. I like the work, and I get a job offer. That would be great!
  2. I like the work, but I don't get job offer.  Total bummer, but at least I have some insight going into full-time recruiting to help me direct the job hunt. In this scenario, I also revisit my original "essay" answer on post-Kellogg career objectives, because I still find myself drawn to those goals as well.
  3. I don't like the work, and I get a job offer.  This is a tough situation, and it's really hard to predict how I would handle it.
  4. I don't like the work, and I don't get a job offer.  It sucks that things didn't work out, but at least I walk away knowing that consulting isn't for me.  Then I definitely revisit the essay answer and go from there.
I've conveniently summarized the four scenarios along with a conservative assumption that each one is equally likely to happen.

Like the work Yes Yes No No
Get a job offer Yes No Yes No
Desirability:):(:|:)
Probability25%25%25%25%

As you can see, I have a 50% chance of happy face, a 25% chance of indifferent face, and a 25% chance of sad face....so clearly the odds are in my favor!

I'm sure I'll have plenty of more time to think about this in the 5 day period between my last final and my first day on the job, but for now, I have to pack and wrap up some HW for the week.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cleared another hurdle!

I am uber-stoked and relieved that I managed to clear another big hurdle, both in terms of workload and stress. Yesterday, I woke up, did my morning stuff, and then sat down at my desk, one of the 4 major pieces of furniture in my apartment, around 9 AM. I spent the next 14 hours (barring a short trip to pick up groceries) researching, ideating, and writing my main section for the Advanced Business Strategy project, which is on NBC. At first, I was hoping to just wrap up the portion covering my first question, whether or not NBC should try to expand its portfolio of networks. But as I got into the groove, I decided to go for broke and try to write the whole draft in that sitting.  I knew that if I could just get that down, it would radically improve my situation going into the final 2 weeks of the quarter. And boy howdy! I was right.

It is safe to say that this class has been the most workload-intensive one that I've had at Kellogg so far.  We had assignments due every week that included case write-ups, a presentation, project progress reports, and feedback to the other groups on their project progress reports.  In addition, we had the standard preparatory materials on the plate, including articles, textbook-style readings, and cases to look over.  Finally, there was the group project, which began with an intentionally broad question that we had to run with. 

That project itself took up a fairly substantial amount of time every week, in part because I wanted to be sure to work on it periodically instead of waiting for the last minute when I thought things would get rough (of course, they did).  The project required a lot of research, first to understand the industry enough to get an idea of what questions to hone in on and then to research those questions.  I ended up collecting data at the library, running regressions on it, scouring the web for raw Nielsen data, reading blogs, articles, etc, and conducting a couple of interviews.  Every new source led to new questions and holes that had to either be researched or disregarded.  One of my classmates remarked that the project is "an endless blackhole" in terms of the time that can be spent on it. 

As the deadline approached, I felt myself getting more and more stressed out about the prospect of sitting down to try and dump all of these ideas I had swirling in my head into a coherent and convincing write-up.  It didn't help for managing the stress that I had to stop going to the gym in order to free up some more time to work on everything (speaking of, I am seriously considering starting up yoga again next year).  Fortunately, now that the first (and likely final) draft is down on paper, I feel alive again!

I don't know if I succeeded in crafting a good write-up, but I at least know that it is done. Forty-plus hours of my life translated into 7 single-spaced pages, 5 exhibits, 3400 words, and 20 citations.  Unfortunately, I am still not done, but what is left (compiling the 4 sections and writing a 5-page executive summary) should hopefully be trivial by comparison.  And of course, I still have 4 assignments left to turn in for the class.

Now, I can turn my attention to analyzing data and putting together a presentation for my Marketing Research group project.  I also have a trip to Austin coming up this weekend to visit the GF!  Will be amazing to forget about this stuff for a little while.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Distinguished Lecture Series - Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson speaking at Kellogg

Simon Johnson, the former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund and an author on  BaseLineScenario, came to speak at Kellogg today as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series.  He covered financial reform a bit, his thoughts on "too big to fail," and the financial crisis (recent and future).

I'm glad that I happened to have some free time to go catch the speech, which I enjoyed.  The speakers that come to the school have been hit or miss for me, and I've learned that a fancy title doesn't always equate to being a good speaker, with good broadly defined as dynamic, interesting, and engaging.

Simon was kind enough to give out 100 copies of his latest book on a first-come-first-serve basis and yours truly managed to snag one, which he signed for me.

I imagine that the video of the speech will eventually be available on the Kellogg Speaker Videos website, and it may even be public; that seems to be the trend with the latest ones in the series.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Breathing Room

For the first time in the last 10 or so days, I have some breathing room, which has allowed me to rest and recover a bit.

At the end of last week, my Power in Org met met to finalize our paper outline, which is about Lorne Michaels from Saturday Night Live, and divide out the work per the Divide and Conquer teamwork style that I have come to prefer.  As soon as I knew what I was responsible for, I was able to get to it and begin writing. I spent pretty much all day Sunday and most of Monday evening working on my section, which discusses how he handled (not well) the events leading to his temporary departure from the show.  The final draft came in at 5 pages with 2 original exhibits (see below for one of them), and I was ridiculously relieved to be able to send it to my team, effectively removing that weight from my shoulders.

  Based on a lecture on Conflict Management. You don't want it to get to "Hot!"

I decided to take advantage of the wave of momentum that I was feeling and also tackle my Personal Assessment for the same class.  I had fallen behind on my planned schedule for it by about 2 weeks, and I wanted to make up for lost time.  I started working on it last night, and after a glorious 8 hour of sleep, I finished the first draft today.  Ideally, I'll take some time to review the draft and make improvements before submitting it in 2 weeks, but realistically, it may already be the "final" draft at this point.

I want to highlight how awesome it felt to get a full 8 hours of sleep last night.  This quarter I've been getting between 5 to 5.5 hours of sleep every night and compensating with coffee (lots of it).  After a while on this schedule, I felt myself slipping into a haze that impacted my ability to do work, understand what I had just read, absorb the concepts I was learning, etc.  Unfortunately, once I was there, I think it became a bit of a self-reinforcing cycle:  it was taking longer to get things done, so I was getting less sleep than I wanted, making up for it with coffee....wash, rinse, repeat. I am not going to let myself get into this situation again next year (4 classes per quarter all the way).

Here are a few other quick updates.
  • I learned that a classmate was recently diagnosed with and treated for eye cancer.  I was relieved to read that it was caught very early on, and he is doing well now.  
  • Stephen let the cat out of the bag that we are working together on an early-stage project.  It has been pretty difficult to devote time to it, but when you are excited about something, you somehow manage to make time for it.  So I've managed to acquire a pretty good working knowledge of Amazon Web Services, particularly EC2, during the last month.  It's not my first time doing something like this. Back in 2008, I created a Perl/CGI/MySQL-based service (OIBoard - Online Investment Board....terrible name I know) that was basically like Craigslist but for nonprofits or other orgs seeking funding, volunteers, etc.  I was just starting to get some user-created content on it when I got admitted into Kellogg.  That prompted me to stop working on it.
  • I secured my apartment for the summer in Dallas. It is only about 2 blocks away from the BCG office, so it should be extremely convenient.
  • I used the spoils from the Best of Blogging award to get a new camera: a Canon sx210IS.  I figured that since the gift card was a result of documenting my experience, I might as well spend it on something that I can use for that purpose.  I chose the camera based on its optical zoom range and ability to record HD movies with stereo audio (clutch for concerts).  I tried it out last weekend at a Greg Laswell concert, and I was a bit disappointed with its performance in low-light conditions.  Even after setting the ISO to 1600 (max it supports...and I'm willing to live with the graininess) and dropping the F-stop to as low as possible, the pictures still came out really dark.  The camera also allows you to adjust the shutter speed, but that's pretty useless without a tripod. On the movie/audio front, it fully met my expectations. See for yourself!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rough week

Ladies and gentleman. I present to you The Wall of Assignments!

This week has probably been one of the most stressful for me so far in school thanks to a workload "perfect storm" that I anticipated a while back.  Earlier this quarter, I realized that the workload was going to be pretty rough after completely overlooking an assignment, which my team was able to cover.  I knew that I would need to do a better job of staying on top of everything to avoid getting caught off guard again, so I drew up my "Wall of Assignments" (pictured above) for this quarter.   This gave me a quick way to keep track of the assignments that were due each week (just have to bend my neck a bit to look up).

When I was surveying the quarter's workload, I realized that the 3 group projects and my personal assessment for Power In Orgs could pose a problem, particularly if all of the work ramped up at the same time,  which would probably be close to when the assignments were due.  Unfortunately, that is pretty much how things have played out, and that workload coupled with all of the one-off HW assignments has made it increasingly difficult to keep up.  In response, I've pretty much had to stop doing any preparation for my classes (reading, looking over notes, etc) to focus solely on assignments that are due.

Fortunately, since I anticipated the flood, I was able to prepare for it somewhat.  I've been working on my Advanced Biz Strat project regularly throughout the quarter, and I am pretty much done with all of the back-end work, so now I can focus on writing my component.  I freaked out earlier this week because I thought that my work was going to be invalidated by my teammates, who are not quite as far along on their respective workstreams.  That would have been absolutely disastrous, but I think we got it all under control.  My other step for mitigating the problem was to start working on my personal assessment early and try to add to it every week.  I'm about 60% done with it, and it is due in 3 weeks, so I think I'll be OK on it.

My goal for this weekend is to spend all day on Saturday and Sunday writing for my Power in Org project, Power in Org personal assessment, and Advanced Biz strat project.  I'm pretty slow at writing because I tend to labor over every word and every sentence, so I don't expect it to be a pleasant experience.

I was in my Operations class this morning, when I figured out a few reasons that group projects can be more difficult to manage.
  • Dependencies and Statistical Fluctuations - These two items when taken together can reduce the  throughput (amount of work that gets done) of a process or system (your team).  For example, when you are working with a team, you have to plan the work around multiple, conflicting calendars (dependencies!).  So, you might want to use a light weekend to get a head start on a project or assignment, but if your team has conflicts that weekend, then forget about it (statistical fluctuations!).  This works both ways, since sometimes your team will want to work on something when you aren't available.
  • Classic Hold-up Scenario -  Until your team has fleshed out the project, agreed on the final deliverable, and assigned tasks, any time that you spend on the project may be wasted.  This reduces your incentive to try and work on it independently (to avoid a commitment that puts you in a disadvantageous situation - sleepy!) and makes it harder to smooth out the workload required for an assignment or project.  For example, you might spend a few hours researching a particular scenario, which ends up being passed over for a different scenario when your group meets.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Portion of my Power in Org personal assessment

I have to write a 15-page-max personal assessment for my Power in Organizations class that details a career situation (my internship), my goal for that situation (a full-time job offer), and how I intend to apply the concepts I have learned to achieve that goal.  I have been working on the paper periodically, and fortunately, I am only about one week behind schedule.  I am hoping to wrap up my first draft in a couple of weeks so that I can either review and improve it for a week or else submit it and focus on the other big projects that will be due.  Of course, it has occurred to me that that is probably wishful thinking.

I just wrapped up the third section, which is a historical assessment of my past performance.  I thought it was interesting enough to share, so if you have some time to kill, feel free to take a look.
By far, my most important source of political capital has always been Human Capital.  At IBM, I made it a point to learn as much as possible about my work and the technology I was working on as quickly as possible.  I accomplished this by putting in extra hours, reading everything I could get my hands on, and working closely with my teammates during my internship.  The extra effort paid off, leading to a part-time position while I completed college, and eventually, a full-time offer.  I built up my expertise to be deeper and broader than necessary for my role in order to increase what I could offer my department.
As my expertise grew, I began to gain a reputation within my organization based on my strong technical skills, which were highly valued at IBM.  This reputation allowed me to take on roles that were normally reserved for people that had more experience, such as leading teams, planning projects, and leading a pilot program across departments.  Fortunately, I had no problems collaborating across departments, and this helped me gain a reputation outside of my direct organization.  This was very beneficial because there were periodic leadership meetings in the organization where my name would frequently get dropped as a potential candidate for critical projects.  I continued to nurture my reputation by devoting more time to building my Human Capital in order to become an “expert” in a few areas that were not already covered in the organization.  As long as I avoided any egregious mistakes, the Reputation Capital was self-reinforcing given that I kept getting assigned to high-profile projects.

As I prepared to transition to Kellogg, I realized that I had focused too much on my Human Capital at IBM and not enough on my Social Capital.  The work I was assigned was increasingly time-consuming, making it hard to devote any significant amount of time to networking and “greasing the wheel.”  In addition, I had foolishly convinced myself that I did not need to network to build my career as long as my technical skills were strong.  This problem was compounded by my reluctance to seek out and develop mentoring relationships.  I placed too much confidence in my ability to manage everything alone, when I should have been seeking out feedback and advice from people that were more knowledgeable about the company.  I ignored the many apparent signs that my strategy was wrong.   By the time I started to address this deficiency, I had already finalized my decision to leave the company for grad school

I did a much better job of wielding influence tactics, although I did not know I was doing so at the time.  My style has always relied heavily upon reciprocity, which I leveraged by helping colleagues whenever I had a chance, even if it meant going out of my way to do so.  I never really considered this a political tool, so much as the right thing to do when someone approached me for help, and I would gladly put in the extra hours to do so.  I was advised by my friends at IBM that this was heavily contributing to my long work hours, but it was something that I could never change because it is so ingrained in my character.  I built up a lot of good will by helping others, and that made it much easier to get them to help me out or go the extra mile whenever one of my projects was falling behind. 

I have also been very successful in influencing my colleagues by getting them to Identify with me.  Fortunately, I have a broad range of interests that normally allow me to find some common ground with whomever I meet.  For example, during my interviews for the BCG internship, I learned that I had several shared experiences with both of my interviewers, including a common background in engineering started at the same university and a position in the undergrad rugby team, that I was able to bring up in conversation.   With my professional colleagues, I always limited myself to only asking them for things that I would be willing to do myself.  I found that this willingness to work side-by-side on projects helped a lot in maintaining a close relationship with the teams I managed.

My enthusiasm, work ethic, and technical skills were the keys to my success, but these were accompanied by recurring sources of failure.  The first one was my tendency to get involved in too many activities concurrently.  I viewed every activity as an opportunity to learn something new, and that drove me to take on more than I could handle from time to time.  Fortunately, I initiated a lot of the activities myself, so I never had a problem reducing my workload whenever necessary.  The second source was my waning interest in projects that I was involved in for an extended period of time.  Once I felt that a project was no longer challenging, I lost interest in it, and that prompted me to search for other opportunities.  This was the reason that I would occasionally abandon my own initiatives, such as creating new automation tools, even if I knew they were viable.  The last source was my complete ignorance of the rules of the game.  This hindered my ability to acquire resources, led me to focus on the wrong individuals when I needed something that was out of my immediate control, and made it much harder to enact the change initiatives that I thought would help either the customer or my team

Friday, May 7, 2010

Social media panel at Recruiter Day

I was so proud of my nameplate
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a social media panel at Kellogg's Recruiter Day in order to provide the "student perspective."  I'm not really familiar with Recruiter Day, but from my cursory experience, it seems like an annual event that allows the school to maintain strong ties and share ideas with companies eager to recruit Kelloggers (and honestly, who wouldn't be?).  This particular panel covered the topic of how companies should utilize social media in their recruiting efforts.  I was impressed with the number of folks that attended the panel and the companies that were represented.

Although I have written about the topic before, being asked to participate was what motivated me to write this recent post, which allowed me to collect my thoughts on the subject.  I'm glad that I did, because I was joined by some heavy hitters: Kellogg's Director of Web Marketing & Social Media and a VP from LinkedIn, a professional networking site that I think all students should use.

My key takeaway from the panel was that companies (at least the ones present) know that they should be using social media, but they are still trying to determine the best way to take advantage of all of the tools that are available.  I was glad to hear that they are taking it so seriously, and hopefully they came away with a few bits of useful information from us.  It seems that we (the panelists) were all more or less on the same page, though I have to say the others were much better at verbalizing the positions.  Here are some notable quotes, which I'm paraphrasing:
  • Unleash your workforce - This was getting at the notion that companies should utilize social media's potential for connecting individuals and building relationships.  We also discussed the value that authenticity (knowing that this is coming from an employee and not an HR department) adds on top of this.
  • Understand the mode of the various tools - For example, if someone goes on Facebook, they are probably more interested in looking at pictures than hearing about the latest research report on emerging management trends in the BRIC countries.  Use this understanding to place suitable content on each channel. Along the same lines, you probably aren't going to use LinkedIn to share photos with friends.
I'm glad that I had a chance to share some ideas and hear other perspectives on the topic.

On a side note, I'm in the middle of locking down a place to live in Dallas over the summer.  I put in an application with an apartment complex that is about 3 blocks away from BCG's office.  Hopefully everything will go through without a problem, because according to this research study, the "daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting."  Basically, shorter commute time = more happiness.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

From ClearAdmit Best of Bloggin' nominee to....

winner, which I am so grateful for! Thanks to everyone that visits the blog, whether by accident (sorry) or intentionally (really sorry).  I'm glad that I can do a small bit to share this amazing experience o' mine with all of you.

Stephen came out from under his rock, which I have to admit is pretty nice, to write a detailed post about the ClearAdmit 2009-2010 Best of Bloggin' results earlier today.  I wish that I could just copy and paste his entire entry here because it pretty much says everything there is to say about it.

Fortunately, Kellogg had a very strong showing in the final results.
  • DreamChaser, an incoming Class of 2012 student, took home the award for #1 applicant blog, as well as a few of the other honors
  • Dino got the #2 best student blog, as well as the Best Resource for Applicants award, which was well earned
  • Stephen grabbed on to the #7 best student blog position and Best Representation of Student Life award
  • and yours truly took home the #1 student blog award, as well as a few of the other items
There were also some notable bloggers that I've had the pleasure of interacting with that either placed, including BizWiz, The Dreamer (not to be confused with Dreamchaser as I did earlier today much to my chagrin....I'm so sorry about that Dreamer!!),  or were missing, including Jeremy, who I imagine was excluded because he is in the JD portion of the JD-MBA program right now.  On top of these fine folks, there are a number of other bloggers worth checking out in the final list.

As Stephen mentioned in his post, the ClearAdmit page is a fantastic resource for applicants.  I still check their Fridays from the Frontline posts regularly to see what is going on with students and applicants.  

After the results were announced, I received an email from Kellogg's Director of Web Marketing and New Media to congratulate me.  That is one of the neat things that I've experienced at Kellogg so far; they have been very supportive of the blogging and tweeting.  For example, a few months back when I was in the Boston University Tech Case competition, the @KelloggSchool Twitter account, which is managed by a very nice admin that I've met, helped spread the word about our team.  And today, they tweeted this:

How cool is that?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Update on my Advanced Business Strategy project

Here is an update on my research for my group project in Advanced Business Strategy (MGMT-943).  We were asked to focus on the following question:
Given Comcast's acquisition of NBC, what should NBC Universal Television's strategy be and why?
After doing some initial research, I focused my part of the project on if NBC should own more or less TV channels (like SyFy).

Fortunately, there have been a lot of stories on the TV industry recently, including a special report in this week's Economist (I never read this magazine before Kellogg, but I love it now), a blog post on affiliate fees that made its way through Twitter,  and a BusinessWeek article from March on the industry's strategy for controlling online distribution.

At this point, I've settled on the following ideas, but I'm chatting with a Kellogg alum, who I reached out to via LinkedIn, in the industry this week, and he may shed some new light on the subject.
Given audience fragmentation, NBC should acquire more TV channels to capture a larger share of fragmented audiences.  In particular, it seems that audiences are increasingly shifting toward basic cable offerings, so that is where NBC should focus any future acquisition efforts.

A few reasons why NBC should own channels instead of using contracts to distribute programming:
  • Better flexibility in distribution and programming decisions across TV channels; can use this to position programming to improve a show's chance of success (lead-in audience, etc)
  • Can consolidate redundant functions, such as advertising and ad sales, to reduce costs
  • Are incentivized to strengthen the channels' brands, which increases the probability that a program on those channels will become a hit
  • Gain leverage against other distributors and content creators
  • Unique cross-channel advertising and programming opportunities
Here is some of my data so far.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Social media as a recruiting tool

I've written a couple of posts in the past to highlight the different ways that consulting companies are using social media for recruiting.  At the time, I was mainly interested in pointing out that most of the big firms are doing a poor job in my opinion, with the exception of Deloitte.  I think the reason for this is that the firms know they should have a presence on the different social networking sites for recruiting purposes, but they haven't put any time into figuring out the best way to leverage each one.  Instead, they try to apply a one-size-fits-all strategy, or worse yet, they just set up a placeholder to get it out of the way.  Unfortunately, I think that this haphazard strategy sabotages the opportunity to utilize social media successfully, and that probably just affirms the earlier decision to not devote much time to it.

Here is how I think some of the various sites could be put to good use.
  • Facebook (Multimedia and Events) - This is easily the most important place to have a strong presence.  Amongst my classmates, there is simply no other social networking site that compares, and given that the average time users spend in FB monthly is almost 3x higher than the runner up, I think it's safe to say that holds outside of Kellogg as well.  FB is an amazing tool for sharing stories, videos, and pictures.  It has several benefits: 1) people spend a lot of time on FB daily 2) the items show up conveniently in their stream (they don't have to go to other sites to find them; I'd wager that students don't visit company websites very often) with previews 3) the items can be shared very quickly with others.  Furthermore, FB has become one of the most popular ways, if not the most popular, to invite people to events.  It wasn't so long ago that Evites were the standard, but now it's FB invites.  If you use FB as an RSS feed (just posting links to your own stories) or as a placeholder, then I don't think you are maximizing its potential.  Here is how a few of the top consulting companies stack up in FB (not surprisingly, Deloitte is on top, measured solely by followers): 
Facebook
Company Followers Usage
Deloitte 6,136Multimedia, Stories, Events
BCG 5,440 RSS Feed
McKinsey 4,263Placeholder
Bain 1,218RSS Feed
Booz 15Placeholder

  • Twitter (RSS Feed and personal interactions) - When I first wrote about this, I argued that Twitter should be used "for connecting individuals and building relationships; something that I think could go a long way in giving applicants a better sense of the culture at the firm."  I still think that is true, but I also think it can be used effectively as an RSS feed because there are a lot of people on Twitter that visit the site primarily to consume/discover information.  There are still some big firms that haven't established an official (or central) account, but I don't think that is a major loss in terms of recruiting.  Twitter still pales in comparison to FB when it comes to active users.  It seems that Deloitte may have a slight edge on Twitter, though it is more impressive when you consider that they have a lot of accounts (the most as far as I can tell) and many have at least 500 followers. (references is the number of times that account was tweeted at or referred to, as determined by a quick search at search.twitter.com)
Twitter
Account Followers References (from others)
DeloitteHealth 4,8561
Mck_biztech 4,653 0
Deloitte 4,4284
DeloitteUS 2,2220
BainAlerts 1,8591
LifeAtDeloitte 1,7133
McKinseyAPD 6880
BCG 00
Booz 00

  • Foursquare/Gowalla (event tracking and stats) - I still don't see much of a big role for location-based services in recruiting, but this could change depending on adoption.  From what I've seen, my classmates are taking to Foursquare a lot faster than Twitter. I think it might be useful for tracking who attended specific events (though Foursquare is less useful because it doesn't restrict where you can check in based on GSP coordinates).  For example, you might send out follow up information to all of the people that checked in at a recruiting event or track the statistics of your events to try and determine the ones that are most/least popular.
  • LinkedIn (placeholder) - Unfortunately, LinkedIn just doesn't get enough daily interaction to warrant spending a lot of time on it as a recruiter.  People hop on to it sporadically for a few core reasons: 1) get a job and 2) add friends.  Outside of that, you probably won't find college students spending much time on LinkedIn.  I certainly think it is worthwhile to set up a quick placeholder but not much more than that.  UPDATE: I had a nice chat with a LinkedIn representative at a panel at Kellogg, and I realized that I was completely wrong here; something that was even evident by how I use LinkedIn regularly.  In particular, the fact that students don't spend a lot of time on the site isn't as important as what they get out of it when they do go to the site.  For example, the fact that I've been able to successfully reach out to alums at different companies via LinkedIn makes it immensely valuable for me, although I don't spend hours on it. So it is worthwhile to spend some time thinking of how to set it up to be most valuable, which is in a professional context.
Recruiters shouldn't expect to see immediate dividends from their efforts in social media.  Like most things, what a firm puts into it will ultimately determine what it gets out of it.  Furthermore, there are limitations on the impact it can have.  An amazing FB presence probably won't lead a student to select a new, small firm over a McKinsey, but it may just make the difference for those students that are straddling the fence between accepting or rejecting an offer.