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My job-hunting journey through the Analytics Mock Interview Program – Yuan Ji, MMA Class of 2021

When I joined Rotman and started the Master of Management Analytics program, I knew that I wanted to work in the data science field. Looking back, my job-hunting journey is a mixture of frustration, excitement, disappointment, and happiness. Diana Byers, our fantastic career coach, engaged in each step in the process effectively. She has been a tremendous help to me in my whole job-hunting journey!

Resume and LinkedIn prep

I graduated from UofT with an honors bachelor of science degree, majoring in computer science and statistics, with a minor in mathematics. While I had some internship experience as a software developer, I had no experience related to data. My resume didn’t resemble a candidate looking for a data-related job.

Upon entering the MMA program, there were a lot of good materials that were shared with us. The materials were a good starting point to build a well-structured and clean resume. These days, LinkedIn is a modern version of a resume, and is also a part of a personal brand. In this starting stage, I took some time to clean up the dust off my profile.

During the program the career consultant Diana hosted lots of resume and cover letter related workshops. She was also always available for all kinds of discussion through individual appointments. After editing my LinkedIn page and resume, she was about to proof-read and give detailed feedback to help me enhance my resume and find my competitive advantage.

I realized that it’s important to have a new resume for each role I apply to in order to demonstrate to employers that I match most requirements in their respective job descriptions.

Whenever I was unsure whether I should put something into my resume, Diana was the go-to person for those questions. She is truly an expert in this area.

Interview prep

Once I had my resume and cover letter prepared, I searched and applied for jobs and got ready for interviews.

In my opinion, there are two types of interview questions. The first type is standard questions; they are very likely to be asked in almost every interview, which I can prepare the answer in advance. The second type is company-specific questions, or I like to call them surprises; they are usually very tailored in a specific way.

The first type of questions can be further broken down into two categories. The first category are typical questions related to my background, such as self-introduction, previous work experiences, projects I did before, etc. The second are questions from online data scientist question banks.

Typically, my answers changed when practicing by myself vs. answering in a real interview, which is why mock interviews are the best place to practice!

As job seekers, we cannot afford the cost of making mistakes in an actual interview. A mock interview simulates a real interview where you can put whatever you prepared into a real test in a safe environment.

The best part of mock interviews is you are going to get feedback. With actual interviews, most likely, you’ll never get an explanation about why you did not receive an offer. For mock interviews, interviewers usually debrief your performance immediately after the interview is finished.

The mock interviewers the MMA program invited are all very experienced; their suggestions and tips were super valuable to me. I was able to improve my answer to specific questions based on their feedback and test if the improved response works in the following mock interview. I also recognized where the holes in my knowledge were, and where I needed to pay more attention while preparing.

After several mock interviews, I became more confident about me answer to those standard questions and much more comfortable when encountering “surprises”. Positive feedback also made me feel more optimistic.

Rotman career services allow MMA students to book as many mock interviews as students want as long as there is an available slot. If you booked multiple mock interviews, the career center would ensure you are not assigned to the same interviewers. The mock interview is also an excellent opportunity to network, which I feel is a super important part of job hunting.

Network prep

If you told me a year ago to network, I would roll my eyes. Probably, you are now doing the same thing while reading this blog. But let me tell you, networking is super important.

Networking helps me get to know successful people in this field and offer priceless advice and opportunity. I am more aware of my capabilities and difference after talking with different people. I found a better position for myself when networking about a role.

Job titles can be very confused sometimes. All kinds of companies are hiring data analysts/ scientists to find insight from the fast-growing amount of data. Different companies may have some twists. Talking with people who are doing the work that I am applying for helps me understand the role's day-to-day responsibility.

I had zero networking experience before I joined Rotman. I was unsure where to start and how to prepare to network with new people.

After booking several appointments with Diana, I learned so much about networking and discussing my networking strategy. Diana addressed all my questions and concerns. I put the framework to test and then debriefed with Diana to make improvements.

Take a break

Job hunting is a long and stressful process. The last thing you want to do is to burn yourself out. Take good care of your mental health during the process; you are allowed to talk breaks and do activities that you can enjoy besides a whole day of studying and hunting for a job. You are not wasting your time; you will only come back stronger!

Best wishes for your bright and beautiful future! Remember, career coach, faculty members, MMA alumnus are all there for you as always.

Good luck!

The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics, and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional. 

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