Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

My First Informational Interview

Other than an intro to information technology class that I had taken this past semester at Babson, I have not otherwise received any further experience that would enhance my knowledge of the IT industry. That is why I chose to utilize this assignment and reach out to Mary Dolan, the Regional Director of Information Services at Shriners Hospital for Children- Boston. I plan on concentrating in information technology at Babson and I sought to expand my network at Shriners further than the development professionals within my own department. Therefore, I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to speak to an established professional with so much healthcare experience:

As a rising junior in college, I have been on numerous interviews of all sorts. However I have never experienced the opposite role as the interviewer. That being said, interviewing Mary has probably been the best experience I have received as an intern thus far. Mary attended Providence College where she received a bachelor’s degree in Health Policy and Management. She later received her masters from Northwestern University, where she studied medical formatics.

Going into the interview, I had numerous important questions prepared. However, our interview was so conversational that I could hardly find questions in my notes that she hadn’t already answered. Ironically, the most valuable word of advice I received from Mary was the importance of communication. During a time of trial and error, it has definitely been stressful trying to figure out what the perfect career choice would be for me. Mary helped me realize that it is normal and okay to not know. She shared stories of internships she disliked and how her career choice after school was totally random and not directly related to her degree. When I asked about the potential for job growth in the healthcare/IT industry she said, it all depends. Her success and promotions were largely earned due to her ability to communicate better than others. In fact, she had beaten out employees that had been at organizations for many years before her. She explained how a struggle within the IT industry is the lack of technically savvy individuals to communicate. During times of hardware failures, viruses and software issues the work environment will get very stressful and the need for strong communication methods must be in stride. I then asked Mary what kind of authoritative figure she is and she answered, one that is very demanding and tough at times, but also understanding and easy to communicate with on a daily basis. At this response, I immediately asked her if she had been an athlete, because as an athlete myself, I could sense that she was well disciplined and held qualities of a team player. This gave me confidence in the skills I have acquired over the years, because the core values and interpersonal skills I have gained by being a part of a team have taught me the qualities in a good leader.

I am extremely thankful for all the time Mary gave me. At the end of the interview she took me on a tour of her department and introduced me to her employees. My experience was very positive and I feel more confident to move forward on the path I am currently on. Thanks Mary! 🙂