Posted by Alison Och
On-Campus-Recruiting, better known by its “slang” name “OCR,” is the process that students learn to fear before they have even begun to approach it.
At Wharton, students get caught up in the stress of OCR. Those three letters have our brains programmed to cringe the instance they are uttered. As a senior and a student on the other end of the process, I am here to tell you it’s not worth letting yourself get intimidated by the process, purely focusing on the scary and uncertain aspects. Instead, focus on the opportunities that lie ahead. In my opinion, at Penn, we are lucky to have the OCR process. There are many benefits that this process brings, advantages unparalleled by many other schools. Hundreds of companies come to our campus. They come to us. Think about that. These companies care about recruiting students just as much as students care about the process. I believe that, although OCR can be stressful, there is a reason for it. For students, so much of the work is done for us. Everything is set up. The company schedules an information session and brings its employees, often from far-off places, to come to campus, directly to you.
I am the last person to say that the OCR process is easy. Of course it is hard work and requires diligent preparation and, ultimately, a lot of the process comes down to luck. However, we are fortunate that we have this opportunity to meet directly with individuals from our desired places of employment, to hear from their experiences, and to gain a perspective of what the culture might be like in the job that we hope to attain.
One thing I want to note is that OCR, in its traditional sense, is definitely not for everybody. No student at Wharton should feel confined to a somewhat narrow set of industries or career options. Our minds are molded at Wharton to explore all sorts of career paths, including ones that most of us have yet to know even exist. For some students, there are no companies that come to campus that are of any interest to them. These students should not let themselves get caught up in pursuing OCR, and I commend the students who ignore a process that is not right for them and continue to pursue their passions. Other students are in-between. They have an interest in a few of the companies that come to campus, while they are also pursuing other jobs not included in OCR. A great thing about the process is that you can be as invested or as removed as you feel is best for you- it is easily available job-searching assistance at your disposal, but you should never feel any obligation to use it.
I know that there are many components of the OCR process that may not be “fun.” I simply suggest that students challenge themselves to consider its advantages and the opportunities that the process undeniably presents.