Informational Interview

Informational Interview Reflection                                                                                                                                         

Often, when we see a successful person, we only see their end result—we fail to see the hard-work they have invested as well as the simple daily activities that brought about their success.  We also usually do not get a full understanding of that person and what their career and accomplishments mean to them.  Through a conversation with a successful individual in your field, you can gain an insight into their unique professional journey and be in a better position to make smart choices as you begin your own.

  1. Connect your LinkedIn profile to JindalConnect. This was part of your LinkedIn assignment done previously in this class. Then, use JindalConnect, LinkedIn or some other method to finda someone who is working in a field of business or for a company you are interested in.  If you cannot someone through JindalConnect, utilize LinkedIn or some other means to find someone who is working in a field of business or for a company that interests you. Try to select someone who currently has the job or a job similar or a business to one you would like to be in within ten years after you graduate or at company where you would like to work.

NOTE: Remember, just because you contact someone does not mean they will respond or be willing to participate so you will need to identify two or three alums to make sure you get one who can do it.  Other guidelines:

  • NOTE:  No Relatives
  • No UTD Professors or Staff
  • No UTD Students
  • No one at Your Current Employment unless you discuss it with me first
  • Someone Working at Least 5 Years After Graduating
  1. Contact the prospect using JindalConnect or some other means and set up a face-to-face or phone chat meeting.

REMEMBER: This person does not know you—this means that you will need to reach out to them in a professional and friendly manner. Cody Meyers has put together a very helpful FAQ for students about the Alumni Interview project. The link is here:

NOTE: Non-JSOM majors should try to use LinkedIn to identify some potential interviewees in the company/field/etc. that they are interested in. Ideally, they would be able to find someone who graduated with a degree from UTD and is working in that field. However, a UTD grad is not required.

  • Prepare for the interview by conducting research on both the person and the company where they work.  Make certain that you go into the interview with adequate preparation so that you do not waste the professional’s time and present yourself as a professional. 

NOTE: Preparing questions ahead of time is great but remember you are not conducting an interrogation.  Plan your questions so that you can be conversational with the professional.

  • Remember that your individual executive summary assignment which summarizes an article related to either the company or the industry you have chosen for your informational interview. 
  • If you did other research (besides reading articles) to prepare for your interview, tell me in your essay exactly what kind of research you did.
  1. Conduct the interview.

NOTE: You must either take notes or record the conversation for later use so be sure to ask permission to do so before you start your conversation.

After the interview, reflect on what you learned and how the information can potentially inform choices you will make in your time in JSOM.

  • I do not need a copy of your notes from the interview or a transcript of the interview.
  • Construct a roughly three page, double-spaced reflection of about 800 words which describes what you learned/gained from the interview.

NOTE: You are not constructing a transcription of the interview so simply paraphrasing what the professional said is not appropriate—this paper is mainly about you, what you learned, and what you will DO with what you learned.

  • Include these section headers on your paper:
  • Introduction
  • Interviewee’s bio
  • Advice from interviewee
  • Student’s reflection on advice from interviewee
  • Research or Article information and how it related to information from interviewee. Be specific in telling me which articles you read to prepare for the interview (title of article, author, publication and publication date). If you did other research to prepare for the interview, tell me exactly what kind of research you did.
  • Conclusion
  • Also, be sure to include all the points that I ask for on the assignment rubric.

IMPORTANT: At the bottom of the third page, provide the name, company, phone number, and email of the professional you interviewed. 

As a student, you are in a unique position to make contact with and learn from actual professionals in your field.  Taking the easy way out on this assignment and selecting a random or previously known person will waste this prime networking and skill development opportunity.  If you take the easy way out – trust me – you will regret wasting this opportunity to meet and learn from someone who could open a door for you down the road.

Some guidance:


Smallwood:  3200

Informational Interview Essay

Feedback Sheet 

Interviewee Info Provided by Due Date and Interviewee Met Requirements  
Professionalism (20 points)  
Essay was submitted through TurnItIn on due date.10
Essay features correct and required formatting5
Essay is roughly 800 words5
Writing Style (40 points) 
Essay demonstrates college level writing regarding word choice10
Essay demonstrates college level writing regarding sentence structures10
Essay demonstrates planning with a cohesive flow and construction10
Essay demonstrates appropriate proofreading10
Content (140 points) 
Essay shows that research was done prior to interview and student relates research to what interviewee said. Essay explains specifically and precisely what kind of research was done. If reading articles was part of the student’s research, the student provided the article title, author’s name, publication name and date of publication as well as a summary of the article and how it tied to the interviewee’s comments.10
Essay includes evidence that interview was actually conducted10
Essay features biography of the interviewee 
    Essay explores the educational background and training of the interviewee10
    Essay explores the professional and workplace background of the     Interviewee10
    Essay explores any future goals the interviewee has5
Essay features advice from the interviewee 
    Essay pinpoints specific areas of advice from the interviewee to the writer10
    Essay discusses areas which were of surprise to the writer5
Essay features reflection on the part of the writer 
    Essay explores how the information learned in the interview can and will     affect the writer’s journey10
    Essay features discussion on how the writer plans to move forward5
Essay features an introduction with a clear thesis5
Essay features conclusion which summarized the essay5
Essay features the requested contact information of the interviewee5
                                                                                 Total points earned /150            


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