Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:16 pm

rynabrius wrote:To people who have been successful @ OCI -- to what do you attribute your success?

To people who have been less successful -- to what do you attribute your relative lack of success?

Please be as specific as possible.


If I had to do it all over again, I would use my school's offer tracker more wisely. I know some firms in past years gave out 75%-100% offers to people that they gave callbacks to, and I should have chosen more of those firms to create a stronger safety net.

I think grades matter, A LOT. Being on law review is a lifesaver for those who don't have tip top grades. Same for work experience, which redeems those with good but not great grades. Aside from that, I would say it comes down to some personality and a lot of luck.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:37 pm

rayiner wrote:You're an economics major, and have experience with legal aid and the prosecutor's office. SEC and other government investigations, anti-trust, white collar defense, regulatory litigation, etc, is the perfect pitch for you. You're interested in the financial industry as a result of your economics background, and in government and litigation as a result of your research and prosecution experience. You really want to practice in an area where you can leverage your background and based on your research you were really drawn to government investigations, anti-trust, etc.


Sorry--not sure if I was unclear or if you have me confused with another anon, but I was sociology. Which would be good if I intended on staying in legal aid as a career, but that's not where I'm looking at present. I'm definitely working the regulatory angle, though.

Anonymous User wrote:If you haven't yet, I would definitely target smaller cities with which you have any kind of connection.


That would just be Palo Alto, which is patent territory.

If I had to do it all over again, I would've majored in EECS instead!

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:51 pm

rynabrius wrote:To people who have been successful @ OCI -- to what do you attribute your success?



Bidding firms where my pre-LS WE would be most valuable. Definitely. ITE, law as a career isn't a 'new' profession; it's an application of whatever you were doing prior to law school, only in a biglaw context.

And I have a non-technical background, btw.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:10 pm

rynabrius wrote:To people who have been successful @ OCI -- to what do you attribute your success?


I won't lie; grades are important. However, I think I'm maybe around median or so at my school and was able to have a very successful OCI experience (75% callback rate in a non-NYC market, still waiting on the results of all my callbacks, but have offers at half of the places where I did callbacks so far). I think my applications were helped by the following:

1. Work experience: I came into law school with several years of work experience, although none of it was related to the area of law in which I am interested. However, I used traits I learned in my prior profession and applied them to the legal profession and made sure to talk that up.

2. Creating a personal narrative: One of the particular traits that is apparent from my resume is someone who is always interested in taking leadership roles. I played that up not just through my work experience, but also my involvement in law school activities. Find a couple of things that could do the same for you and it helps form a more complete story of you as an applicant.

3. Being normally friendly and outgoing: I read that OCI Final Results thread and it seems like almost everyone rated themselves an 8+ interview. I'm not sure that's true, but I know I do excellently in interviews. If you haven't ever interviewed for a professional job, do a mock interview so you can get familiar with the types of questions that a firm might ask. If you normally have a fairly likable personality, that's really half the battle.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:00 am

I went to Columbia law school in the late 90s, was a Stone Scholar my first year, and I almost struck out at OCI anyway. After many many interviews, I got just 1 job offer, which was enough but in today's economy I surely would have struck out.

In hindsight, the problem was that I did not project enthusiasm in my job interviews. I just wasn't very interested in getting a BIGLAW job and it showed in my demeanor. Maybe that's your problem too.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I went to Columbia law school in the late 90s, was a Stone Scholar my first year, and I almost struck out at OCI anyway. After many many interviews, I got just 1 job offer, which was enough but in today's economy I surely would have struck out.

In hindsight, the problem was that I did not project enthusiasm in my job interviews. I just wasn't very interested in getting a BIGLAW job and it showed in my demeanor. Maybe that's your problem too.


Something like top 1/3 at MVP, very good WE (I think). Nothing from initial OCI, for which I bid on the least selective firms I could find in NorCal. Fucking career office cheerfully agreeing that this was a good bidding strategy and dismissing my "But isn't SF a really tough market?" concerns. Got one callback through Resume Collect that almost certainly isn't going to pan out (talked way too much at interviews, wasn't feeling on top of my game, tons of callbacks for like one or two spots) and one through late OCI about which I am similarly pessimistic. /self. Yeah, I know, I clearly must be "an aspie" or something. Obviously!

On point, though: maybe it did show that I don't really want to do biglaw long term. But what really gets me is this necessity to show tons of firm-specific interest. One: we don't really know anything about these firms other than maybe a couple practice areas they're good at (and about which we as a practical matter know next to nothing beyond some hazy general perception from when we were paralegals or from what we read in Chambers.) Two: Most of these firms are totally fungible anyway...at least in terms of what one can reasonably find out, and what actually matters to us. (I'm not saying that firms don't have different specialties, cultures, and so on: only that for most people, an offer from Firm Alpha could magically change into Firm Beta or Firm Gamma with no real disappointment or elation at being at a firm that is marginally less "prestigious" in regard to energy securitization or whatever.)

I know, we need to show initiative and all...but seriously, it is criminal just how little the career people have done to prep us. We come into OCI straight from the summer. We do bidding some random day in the summer while busy with our jobs. We only get any kind of advice on this MASSIVELY IMPORTANT EVENT if we call them up, and then at best we get some useless nonsense rubber-stamping. At a T14, it seems like just about everyone could get a decent job with sufficient and timely preparation. Obviously, we bear the primary burden there, but I don't think it's mere entitled whining to point out that we genuinely just do not know much about how this crazy legal recruiting machine (which bears very little resemblance to anything we're used to from before law school) works. I wouldn't be surprised if fully half the class ends up without a "real" job. (As in, a job that both involves actual legal work and can get rid of this debt.)

The fact that they schedule classes during this time period is equally ridiculous, if not quite so harmful.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:55 pm

I got a job in a law firm this year because a long time ago, as an 18 year old, I checked on a form which said "Electrical Engineering"

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:02 pm

stonepeep wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
rayiner wrote:There isn't really much internet/technology law that isn't patent law, and for that clients demand technical backgrounds.


And yet, I personally know at least three people at a CCN who are going to be 2L SA's essentially doing patent lit, and I met lots of first and second-year associates doing patent lit at large firms without technical backgrounds (in addition to people I've met doing tech-related corporate, again with no technical degree). Of course, all these people have good grades...


I think one of the worst pieces of advice I've ever gotten from TLS is that you can't do IP work without a technical degree. It just isn't true. You can't do patent prosecution without a technical degree, but you can certainly get a job doing general IP litigation without one. That most definitely includes work for internet and technology companies. Through OCI I have met tons of people who do IP lit without a technical background.

Maybe the problem is one of semantics, I don't know. But it is just not true that you cannot do work for internet and technology companies without a technical background.


Actually, many if not most firms that do IP have such a strong preference for a technical background that it may as well be required. Most places require the entire IP group to pass the patent bar even if they don't end up doing much patent prosecution. And most places, in NY at least, hire their IP SAs separately from the rest, and you don't just cycle in and out of practice groups, but rather stay with IP the whole time.

So yeah, good luck getting that job doing IP lit without a technical degree.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:12 pm

so what do i do now? i've struck out at OCI, haven't gotten any callbacks from any interviews i've done since, been mass mailing like crazy for the past couple of weeks to firms in three different cities (close to 300 now), tailoring each cover letter to the firm to get any infinitesimal attention from recruiters, but all im getting is radio silence or a flurry of rejection letters.
i can't concentrate on anything else and am slowly developing chronic anxiety. can't sleep, no appetite, can't really hang out cos all i can think about right now is that i want a job. hate to be a downer but i honestly dont know what else i could be doing at this point to get a job. what are you guys (meaning people w/o offers and still looking) doing right now and how are you guys coping?

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby General Tso » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:so what do i do now? i've struck out at OCI, haven't gotten any callbacks from any interviews i've done since, been mass mailing like crazy for the past couple of weeks to firms in three different cities (close to 300 now), tailoring each cover letter to the firm to get any infinitesimal attention from recruiters, but all im getting is radio silence or a flurry of rejection letters.
i can't concentrate on anything else and am slowly developing chronic anxiety. can't sleep, no appetite, can't really hang out cos all i can think about right now is that i want a job. hate to be a downer but i honestly dont know what else i could be doing at this point to get a job. what are you guys (meaning people w/o offers and still looking) doing right now and how are you guys coping?


300 tailored cover letters? jesus... how many hours per day are you doing this?

I don't know what to tell you, it sounds like you are doing everything you can. All I can say is keep at it and hope for the best. Many TLSers will tell you that you need to spend more time networking and less time mass mailing. That may be a possible route, but to me it feels disingenuous.

I've been having trouble sleeping lately too, and it is affecting my ability to study and pay attention in class. Not that grades mean all that much anymore I suppose.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:39 pm

Top 25% at HYS, advanced degree, 4 yrs WE. Still struck out.

I think enthusiasm is key. I actually was excited about biglaw, but I'm a very mellow person. At one of my 2 CBs, a recruiter actually was kind enough to warn me that the partner who'd interviewed me on campus hadn't been sure I was interested, and that I only got the CB because someone else at the firm had really liked my resume. I tried hard to convey the requisite enthusiasm, but to no avail.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Top 25% at HYS, advanced degree, 4 yrs WE. Still struck out.

I think enthusiasm is key. I actually was excited about biglaw, but I'm a very mellow person. At one of my 2 CBs, a recruiter actually was kind enough to warn me that the partner who'd interviewed me on campus hadn't been sure I was interested, and that I only got the CB because someone else at the firm had really liked my resume. I tried hard to convey the requisite enthusiasm, but to no avail.
Damn. Top 25% at HYS striking out? I'm sorry to hear that. What are you doing now? Mass mailing?

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I went to Columbia law school in the late 90s, was a Stone Scholar my first year, and I almost struck out at OCI anyway. After many many interviews, I got just 1 job offer, which was enough but in today's economy I surely would have struck out.

In hindsight, the problem was that I did not project enthusiasm in my job interviews. I just wasn't very interested in getting a BIGLAW job and it showed in my demeanor. Maybe that's your problem too.


Something like top 1/3 at MVP, very good WE (I think). Nothing from initial OCI, for which I bid on the least selective firms I could find in NorCal. Fucking career office cheerfully agreeing that this was a good bidding strategy and dismissing my "But isn't SF a really tough market?" concerns. Got one callback through Resume Collect that almost certainly isn't going to pan out (talked way too much at interviews, wasn't feeling on top of my game, tons of callbacks for like one or two spots) and one through late OCI about which I am similarly pessimistic. /self. Yeah, I know, I clearly must be "an aspie" or something. Obviously!

On point, though: maybe it did show that I don't really want to do biglaw long term. But what really gets me is this necessity to show tons of firm-specific interest. One: we don't really know anything about these firms other than maybe a couple practice areas they're good at (and about which we as a practical matter know next to nothing beyond some hazy general perception from when we were paralegals or from what we read in Chambers.) Two: Most of these firms are totally fungible anyway...at least in terms of what one can reasonably find out, and what actually matters to us. (I'm not saying that firms don't have different specialties, cultures, and so on: only that for most people, an offer from Firm Alpha could magically change into Firm Beta or Firm Gamma with no real disappointment or elation at being at a firm that is marginally less "prestigious" in regard to energy securitization or whatever.)

I know, we need to show initiative and all...but seriously, it is criminal just how little the career people have done to prep us. We come into OCI straight from the summer. We do bidding some random day in the summer while busy with our jobs. We only get any kind of advice on this MASSIVELY IMPORTANT EVENT if we call them up, and then at best we get some useless nonsense rubber-stamping. At a T14, it seems like just about everyone could get a decent job with sufficient and timely preparation. Obviously, we bear the primary burden there, but I don't think it's mere entitled whining to point out that we genuinely just do not know much about how this crazy legal recruiting machine (which bears very little resemblance to anything we're used to from before law school) works. I wouldn't be surprised if fully half the class ends up without a "real" job. (As in, a job that both involves actual legal work and can get rid of this debt.)

The fact that they schedule classes during this time period is equally ridiculous, if not quite so harmful.


I have around top 1/3 grades at MVP too. I have ties to California but didn't make a single bid there, partly because of what I have heard about the market. When I submitted my bids for review, OCS told me "why not bid more on SF? You have ties there. You have no ties to X market." I ignored OCS and ended up with a few callbacks out of OCI and so far the offer rate has been much less than 50% out of the callbacks. It's very hard landing a biglaw job ITE, let alone in one of the smallest markets.

And I fully agree with the classes aspect - I have no idea what is going on in any of my classes right now, and professors have started taking attendance, pursuant to the ABA regulations.

Tip for law students conducting OCIs in the future - take what OCS says with a grain of salt, and also bid below your GPA range. I got callbacks at most of the historically "sub-GPA" firms that I interviewed with, and only a couple of reach firms.

Also, most markets except NYC and DC will absolutely GRILL you on having ties - ties are necessary but not sufficient for landing a job in markets outside of NYC/DC/possibly Chicago. I had one interview in a large market, but not NYC/DC, and every interviewer spent half the time talking to me about the city the firm is located in rather than the firm itself. They asked me what other markets I was interviewing in, and after answering honestly, I think it made me an auto-reject.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Damn. Top 25% at HYS striking out? I'm sorry to hear that. What are you doing now? Mass mailing?


What am I doing now? I'm getting really drunk.

I'll face reality in 24 hours.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So yeah, good luck getting that job doing IP lit without a technical degree.


I already did, but thanks.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:so what do i do now? i've struck out at OCI, haven't gotten any callbacks from any interviews i've done since, been mass mailing like crazy for the past couple of weeks to firms in three different cities (close to 300 now), tailoring each cover letter to the firm to get any infinitesimal attention from recruiters, but all im getting is radio silence or a flurry of rejection letters.
i can't concentrate on anything else and am slowly developing chronic anxiety. can't sleep, no appetite, can't really hang out cos all i can think about right now is that i want a job. hate to be a downer but i honestly dont know what else i could be doing at this point to get a job. what are you guys (meaning people w/o offers and still looking) doing right now and how are you guys coping?


.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So yeah, good luck getting that job doing IP lit without a technical degree.


I already did, but thanks.


You'll definitely be the first person the partners turn to when a complicated circuit schematic needs deciphering - what more could an EE possibly know about that than you? Why would a firm hire someone who has an EE undergrad, when they can hire a non-technical person who needs twice as long to understand what's going on? It actually makes perfect sense to hire liberal arts majors to do IP lit, I only wonder why more firms aren't doing it.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So yeah, good luck getting that job doing IP lit without a technical degree.


I already did, but thanks.


You'll definitely be the first person the partners turn to when a complicated circuit schematic needs deciphering - what more could an EE possibly know about that than you? Why would a firm hire someone who has an EE undergrad, when they can hire a non-technical person who needs twice as long to understand what's going on? It actually makes perfect sense to hire liberal arts majors to do IP lit, I only wonder why more firms aren't doing it.


It's 90% law and 10% technology. There are technical lawyers, technical specialists, etc. that are used.

Non-technical people can still go into patent litigation, but it is becoming rare because of the high numbers of engineers entering law school. Personally, I would be hesitant to enter it because you would be excluded from doing re-examinations (patent prosecution tool done in light or or fear of litigation), less exit options (most in-house patent lawyers must be technical), and other restrictions.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So yeah, good luck getting that job doing IP lit without a technical degree.


I already did, but thanks.


You'll definitely be the first person the partners turn to when a complicated circuit schematic needs deciphering - what more could an EE possibly know about that than you? Why would a firm hire someone who has an EE undergrad, when they can hire a non-technical person who needs twice as long to understand what's going on? It actually makes perfect sense to hire liberal arts majors to do IP lit, I only wonder why more firms aren't doing it.


It's 90% law and 10% technology. There are technical lawyers, technical specialists, etc. that are used.

Non-technical people can still go into patent litigation, but it is becoming rare because of the high numbers of engineers entering law school. Personally, I would be hesitant to enter it because you would be excluded from doing re-examinations (patent prosecution tool done in light or or fear of litigation), less exit options (most in-house patent lawyers must be technical), and other restrictions.


Not sure where this 90/10 comes from. Technical knowledge is essential to an IP litigator - which explains why IP lit is separate from other litigation. It's not some compartmentalized thing - for instance, how do you expect to argue a Markman hearing if you don't understand the patent and how you'd like the claim to be construed.

Anyway, this was all in response to the original "can you be an IP litigator without a technical degree". If the answer isn't exactly "no", it's "only with the greatest of difficulty and against steep odds".

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby MrKappus » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:38 pm

ITT: people w/ science backgrounds try to convince themselves that they're super-special and become dismayed at empirical evidence this is not the case.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby rayiner » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:15 pm

To add my two cents to the debate.

Yes, people do get hired for IP litigation jobs without having technical backgrounds, especially at big GP firms. However, you're at a substantial disadvantage relative to those who do have it. I don't know any classmates who are doing IP without a technical background, and having done a bunch of OCI interviews for IP litigation I've only encountered a few people without technical backgrounds.

In a top IP practice, having a technical background is important. Eg, from Kirkland's website:

Kirkland & Ellis' Intellectual Property Law Practice is one of the oldest such practices in a full-service firm in the country, having been an integral part of Kirkland since 1925. Located in the Firm's Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. offices, Kirkland has more than 290 intellectual property lawyers who are experienced in a variety of technical disciplines and registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Approximately 75 percent of the lawyers are engineers and scientists trained with degrees and professional backgrounds in technical areas.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby BobSacamano » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:32 pm

And now for the T2 perspective...

I could still get a hit in the late innings of OCI but there's a decent chance I'm going to strike out. I'm top 10%, LR, and interview well (I think, I've been enthusiastic, personable, and knowledgeable about the firms, not sure what else to do). I go to a T2 that dominates its market.

It seems like a small set of about 20-30 students were all interviewing for the same positions with about 7-10 firms. Firms are not hiring more than a couple of students, if that. Some may not have been hiring at all. All of my LR peers were interviewing with me. I know I just barely scraped my way onto LR, so a good number of those people have grades just as good or better than mine. From the grapevine it seems like the same handful of students are getting multiple callbacks while the rest of us are getting left in the dust.

I think the biggest thing holding me back has been my lack of work experience. I keep reading here how people discussed their work experience in interviews - my work experience was probably not very interesting for an interviewer or relevant to a SA position and only came up in passing (almost like they had to ask but didn't really care all that much) Why would someone hire me if they can pick between other LR students with slightly better grades and interesting work experience? I can't blame 'em.

I do have one callback. So there's that. My "mass mailing" (which has been limited to the city I'm in) has produced almost total silence, plus one rejection and one "summer program?" I do think it's early in the game for the small-to-midsize firms in my city, though. I'll keep trying.

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby thexfactor » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:43 pm

BobSacamano wrote:And now for the T2 perspective...

I could still get a hit in the late innings of OCI but there's a decent chance I'm going to strike out. I'm top 10%, LR, and interview well (I think, I've been enthusiastic, personable, and knowledgeable about the firms, not sure what else to do). I go to a T2 that dominates its market.

It seems like a small set of about 20-30 students were all interviewing for the same positions with about 7-10 firms. Firms are not hiring more than a couple of students, if that. Some may not have been hiring at all. All of my LR peers were interviewing with me. I know I just barely scraped my way onto LR, so a good number of those people have grades just as good or better than mine. From the grapevine it seems like the same handful of students are getting multiple callbacks while the rest of us are getting left in the dust.

I think the biggest thing holding me back has been my lack of work experience. I keep reading here how people discussed their work experience in interviews - my work experience was probably not very interesting for an interviewer or relevant to a SA position and only came up in passing (almost like they had to ask but didn't really care all that much) Why would someone hire me if they can pick between other LR students with slightly better grades and interesting work experience? I can't blame 'em.

I do have one callback. So there's that. My "mass mailing" (which has been limited to the city I'm in) has produced almost total silence, plus one rejection and one "summer program?" I do think it's early in the game for the small-to-midsize firms in my city, though. I'll keep trying.



How's pittsburgh this time of year?

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Action Jackson » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:44 pm

Is it just me or are all the T2 people posting in the employment forum top 10% or higher? Am I the only one that's noticed that?

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Re: Striking out at OCI- a frank discussion

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:45 pm

MrKappus wrote:ITT: people w/ science backgrounds try to convince themselves that they're super-special and become dismayed at empirical evidence this is not the case.



Yeah, your'e probably right - I'm sure you learn just as much about differential equations in women's studies at Bennington.




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