UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Blog

Early networking success

January 6, 2010 By Jeremy Bergwerff

I’ll try to not be too much of a flag-waving UNC Kenan-Flagler patriot, but there were a few things that occurred over the last couple of weeks that I wanted to share with my fellow business school community.

One of the locations that I’m considering for work when I’m done with school is back in my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Because of that and the continual stressing from the school to network, network, network, I thought I’d take advantage of the Christmas trip back north to meet with a few people. I used one of the connections I’d made at the Urban Land Institute back in November (read about my trip here and here ), and tapped a few others as well. Overall I netted five meetings, which, I felt, was great. Coincidentally, shortly before we left for break, Business Week published an article suggesting that exact thing. Our Career Management Center forwarded it to us, and it provided some good tips and encouragement.

Not to toot my own horn, but to just share some excitement, I think my meetings went pretty well. The meetings were informative, encouraging and most of all, productive. I learned a bunch about the companies, the area and the industry. I got a few more leads of people to talk to and learned of some areas where companies have needs even in this difficult economy.

Another pretty cool experience occurred in one of my meetings. While I was briefly describing the structure of my program here at UNC one of the partners I was talking with pressed me a bit and wanted to know something I learned. Just out of the blue, I started talking about a concept that we learned in Alison Fragale’s class Leading & Managing called “non-rational escalation of commitment.” As I was describing it, this partner expressed that it was something he saw in his industry and we proceeded to have a great discussion about what I learned and how it applied to his work. Not only did this elevate the quality of our conversation, but it showed me some of the real benefit that I have the potential bring to companies from what I’m learning here.

It’s not that I ever disbelieved in networking, or didn’t think that we’re learning good stuff, but it’s pretty neat to see the tools in practice, especially this early in the game.

Jeremy Bergwerff
Class of ’11

One Comment

  1. Terri C
    1/10/2010

    Jeremy,
    That is so like you, home for the holiday’s and your out in meetings. You my friend will go far, keep up the good work. Nice to see your already using some of what your learning, it helps to make that move a bit more acceptable.

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