By Nash Wills, Staff Writer
It’s that time of year again: internship and job search season. A time when stress levels begin to rise, PAR statements are practiced in front of the mirror, companies start to call, and the task of answering the crucial question of where you will be either next summer or next year takes on a new level of importance. During this season of uncertainty, it is imperative that you separate yourself from the competition and show that you’re the best candidate for the job, and there is no better way of doing that than by being more knowledgeable than everyone else on the company or industry that you are trying to break into. On top of the stress of an upcoming interview, research and preparation can seem like a daunting task and not all of us, myself included, are suave enough to just “wing it” on an interview. Therefore, like the majority of people in the world, we must prepare… meticulously.
Last week I received word that I was to have an upcoming phone interview with a company. I had two days to prepare, and to be honest, the job was in an industry that I didn’t know much about. I was nervous, running low on time, and eager to impress. I went to some of the more experienced Thunderbird students with questions on their strategies for tackling company and industry research. With their advice in hand, I went to the IBIC only to find that a lot of the subscriptions to industry research firms that we once had at Thunderbird were gone. My hope had diminished but was not completely gone. I had attended a huge state university in undergrad and knew that ASU had to have similar resources. I called the ASU Libraries, was directed to the business librarian, Lydia LaFaro, and from there began my ASU Libraries enlightenment. Lydia patiently walked me through all of the incredible business resources that we as Thunderbird students now have access to through the university-at-large.
A lot of people do not realize, and therefore do not take advantage of, the vast amount of subscriptions to business research resources that we now have at our disposal via the ASU Libraries. These resources, if used properly, can be an invaluable tool for projects, papers, and, most importantly, interview preparation. For example, did you know that through the ASU Libraries website you can download entire industry and company reports for each fiscal year? And these aren’t just your average, everyday reports. These are detailed write-ups from research firms that others pay thousands of dollars per year in subscription fees in order to access. For entire industries, they meticulously spell out key statistics such as total revenue, profit, industry growth, and number of businesses. They show the external drivers of the industry-at-large, the different products/services within the industry and the proportion of revenue that each one accounts for, the demand determinants and the types of customers they target, the international scene, the competitive landscape, the major players, and the operating conditions. The list goes on. Knowledge is power, and for anyone who is truly looking to impress during an interview, these are resources that you just can’t pass up. Listed below are the links to the ASU Libraries’ Business and Economics databases and the Company and Industry Research flowcharts, respectively. You have to toggle with them for a little while in order to get the hang of it, but once you do, you will never go into an interview underprepared again.