By this time every year, many students have secured an internship for the summer. After applications and interviews, they’ve hopefully found what they think is their dream job. Still, others are continuing the grueling search, worried they’ll be stuck as a camp counselor for yet another summer.

Thankfully, I’ve figured out my summer plan. But it hasn’t come without stress, worry and hard work. As a Business student, the recruiting season wasn’t foreign to me. My older brother graduated from the Ross School of Business last year, and I had seen him go through two years of internship recruiting and a year of full-time job recruiting. Even with that in mind, I wasn’t prepared for the experience. And I realized something very quickly: The entire thing was a game.

Yes, a game. A game with rules and regulations. Right off the bat, many people disagree with the way candidates for a job or internship are initially screened: through a resume. Judging someone based on one piece of paper isn’t always fair. Someone may be extremely qualified for a job, but if their résumé doesn’t reflect that, they’re passed over. Unfortunately, it’s something we must all learn to live with.

Once I had been offered several interviews, the prep work began — another necessary evil. To me, it seemed logical that everyone would know a little bit about the company before heading into a job interview. I realized this isn’t always the case. In one case (I won’t be using company names throughout for privacy purposes), I was asked for a basic run-down of their website. Obviously, I had taken the time to review it, but I was a little taken aback that I had actually been asked for the summary. Again, this serves as one more way to weed people out.

Many of the companies that recruit in the Business School fly students to their company headquarters for “superdays,” which consist of four to eight interviews throughout a day. I was invited to two superdays. When I received my flight confirmation e-mails, I noticed that the price of the ticket was always at the bottom. These prices were astounding. In one instance, my ticket to a nearby state and back — a one-day trip — cost more than $900.

At the time, I didn’t give it much thought. A month later, I made travel arrangements to visit another company, this time for only one half-hour interview. It was strange that they would fly me out for a half-hour. When I saw the ticket price, I was amazed. $1,100 for one plane ticket, for one day of travel. The amount of money these companies spend on recruiting is absolutely ridiculous. But if these executives don’t have time to make campus visits, it’s another part of the game that must be played.

If you’re lucky enough, these interviews will hopefully turn into internship offers. So, now you’ve received an offer and are thrilled that you won’t be working at McDonald’s this summer. And while you like the company you’ve been invited to join, you’re still waiting to hear back from your dream employer… so what do you do?

In my experience, employers will typically give you a two-week window to accept or decline an offer. But what do you do if at the end of that two weeks you’re still waiting to hear from another company? This is where things get tricky and where playing the game rears its ugly head. I was in this situation just a few short weeks ago, and I didn’t know what do. I could ask for an extension, but that could also make me look like I wasn’t that interested in the position. Or, I could accept my current offer and then go back on it later if I was accepted into my top choice company. Neither of these alternatives were favorable. Unfortunately, many students find themselves in this position. In a professional setting, you don’t want to burn any bridges. When a friend of mine was being recruited for a full-time position in finance, he strung a company along for three weeks only to accept an offer elsewhere. The director at the company he turned down actually proceeded to call him on the phone and yell at him —while using profane language — for 30 minutes. This is an extreme case, but it can happen.

Thankfully, my situation resolved itself. But I spent many nights on the phone with my parents and older brother stressing about what I should I should do and what decisions I should make. Recruiting is stressed heavily in the Business School, but it’s applicable to all areas of study. As young students, sometimes we don’t know how to deal with tricky situations and play these types of games. But the internship experience is often stressed as a huge factor in determining your full-time job out of college, and it can consume the first few months of the year for many. As you’re searching for internships and jobs, remember the one thing that I learned this year: Everything will work itself out. It sounds cliché, but it’s almost always true.

Ashley Griesshammer: Daily’s co-editorial page editor and a Business sophomore.

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