A Step Toward Leadership

Posted October 9, 2014 By atucker

By Ajay Rattu, Peer for Career

As the semester is well underway, many Baruch students have their daily interactions with the Baruch campus and its student life. However, many students fail to understand the importance of obtaining leadership position throughout their educational career. As a sophomore who is well-rounded with the student life in Baruch through personal experiences, I can say that leadership, both educational and professional, is imperative in any student’s career. It is leadership that separates a student from the rest of the student body and helps one jump-start their professional career. Contrary to popular belief, obtaining a leadership role is not out of reach for many students. It can be as simple as joining a club or program on campus or off campus that creates the foundation for you to move forward in the world.

My first semester at Baruch College was a bit daunting; I was coming from a small private high school where the graduating class was smaller than the amount of students that fit into a large lecture hall. As a freshman I really did not know where to begin or who to talk to at Baruch because it was just so overwhelming! I naturally became a commuter student who did just that- went to class and then back home. Luckily for me I had great Freshmen Seminar mentors who exposed me to a leadership program in Baruch called “T.E.A.M. Baruch.” I was initially reluctant to join on the assumption that it was probably a waste of time. Although I initially felt skeptical, I ultimately applied and was able to become a part of the program. I can say that applying to T.E.A.M. Baruch was one of the best things I have done for my educational career. Becoming a part of T.E.A.M. Baruch and learning about my strengths as a person, student, and fellow peer gave me the confidence to pursue other leadership roles in Baruch including the Peers for Careers program at the Starr Career Development Center (SCDC).

Becoming a Peer at the SCDC was a major change for me because I was now a part of a huge department that dedicates itself to helping students be at their best when looking for job opportunities. My role at the SCDC helped me understand how important leadership is to any student. Along with earning qualifications to review resumes, cover letters, and thank you notes, I am able to highlight and implement my skills in the corporate world. Using what I have learned from my spring Tier 1 training, assessing and making the best of a situation in a professional environment becomes simple because of the confidence I have gained along with the absence of anxiety. Being part of the SCDC opens many doors for a Peer by giving a student insight about all the helpful programs that everyone should take advantage of. The SCDC provides a number of helpful tools including their resume, cover letter, and thank you notes workshops. Other workshops the SCDC coordinates are Networking 101, On Campus Recruiting, and Mastering the Job Interview just to name a few.

Looking back, I am surprised at how one decision made such an impact on my college career. I have gained so much insight on how to properly present my brand and communicate with employers. Through this leadership role on campus I am able to advise my fellow peers when it comes to preparing for an interview or responding to a job posting. Many students are not sure about what to join, so here are some of the main and well known programs at the SCDC: Max-Berger Pre-Law Program for potential law school students, Financial Leadership Program for junior-year Finance Majors (applications due at the end of sophomore year), Rising Starr Sophomore Program for rising sophomores, Passport to Partnership for sophomore- and junior-year accounting students, and of course the Peers for Careers Program which has helped me grow as an individual and as a student.

If you are not entirely sure about any particular program to join, I suggest first starting by applying to T.E.A.M Baruch. The application process is very simple and should be electronically submitted before 5PM on October 31st, 2014. The application can be found on the Office of Student Life website. Some of the programs other than Peers for Careers within T.E.A.M Baruch are: Freshmen Seminar Peer Mentors, Orientation Leaders, P.A.W.S. – Peers Advocating Wellness Services, and Peer Academic Advisers. Any of these leadership roles is a great way to create your presence and become a part of the student life at Baruch. For more information about the programs mentioned above, you can visit the T.E.A.M. Baruch website. By the end of the training, students are aware of their role on campus and as emerging leaders representing Baruch!

While T.E.A.M Baruch and Peers for Careers are great programs to join and to take advantage of, there may be other programs that students are interested in. I highly encourage you to ask about the different clubs and organizations to find the right one for you by going to general interest meetings and club events. Finding a program that you are very interested in will make all the difference in your educational and professional career along with how you develop as a leader. Good Luck!

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Diary of an Intern, Episode 7: Finding Two Mentors

Posted October 7, 2014 By atucker

10/7/14, 4:00PM

“A little busy bee?” What did Gary really mean? Why would he call me that? Even Google doesn’t have an explanation of that phrase. Ahhhh… Why is it so annoying? I kept thinking and thinking and I didn’t realize that I was walking towards the glass door. “Ouch! My head!” Seriously? I literally bumped into a glass door. I looked around and people were laughing out loud. Great, now I would probably become the superstar of the company who hit the door with my head. I hope nobody took a picture and shared it on our company’s social media page.

I couldn’t stay for one more second and wanted to run away. However, a familiar voice from behind prevented me. Who was that? I turned around and saw Ricardo, a director that I met from our last social event. HE remembered ME? Now it’s even more embarrassing because he probably saw me hitting the door with my “brilliant” head.

I stopped for a second and he was already in front of me, laughing. I was right. He saw it. My life is over. I swallowed those embarrassments and pretended that nothing had happened. I said hi to him and we started chatting while walking to our offices. Obviously, he saw that I had something in mind and asked me what was bothering me. I began to hesitate in answering because I was scared that this was going to ruin my career. However, he seemed to be a person that I could trust. “Ok, maybe I could give it a try and see if he could help me.” I told Ricardo that I was helping another department and what happened between me and Gary. Surprisingly, he was not surprised about what was going on. More surprisingly, he was a very close friend of Gary’s. He told me that Gary called everyone “a busy bee.” More importantly, he said Gary is a super nice person, but his facial expressions can sometimes be misinterpreted. He even suggested that the three of us go to lunch together, but in order to make the company pay for the expense, it had to be a mentor-mentee lunch. That was exactly what I wanted. I needed one, no, two mentors to guide me through my internship. Immediately, I asked if he could be my mentor. “Deal!” He said. Haha, I felt so relieved. Great! Now, I have two mentors.

In the following two weeks, I asked Ricardo and Gary a lot of burning questions and they gave me the most valuable suggestions I had ever received. I performed even better in my job and continued building great relationships with the team. However, terrible things also happened to me every now and then for some reason. I went to meet a client contact to gather some information about our current project but he refused to do anything. He seemed super mean and uncooperative. We only spent five minutes talking and he had to run to another meeting. I sent him multiple emails to follow up but he didn’t reply at all. What’s worse was that Ricardo was on vacation and Gary was out of office for a business trip. What should I do? How should I communicate with this client contact outside of our office? Should I tell my manager about this? What would my manager think about me not being able to gather the information that I need?

 

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Finance Recruiting Step 5: Networking

Posted September 3, 2014 By atucker

By Michael Jimney, Risk Solutions Analyst at BlackRock

 

Without a doubt, networking is the most important part of the recruiting process. You can have the most in-depth technical understanding of the markets or an M&A transaction, but without building connections your knowledge can all be for naught. Networking ensures you are more than just a name on a page. During internship recruiting, Human Resource recruiters receive hundreds of resumes for any open position. This book of resumes is typically passed on to employees in each division, and they are expected to give their opinions on which candidates to interview. To the over-caffeinated Analyst, with no time to read every single resume, this stack amounts to a long list of names. Thus, the best case is when an Analyst sees your name and thinks “I know this kid, they could be good here,” and quickly recommends you to be interviewed.

One opportunity for networking is at corporate events. For sophomores and juniors, these events are a way to cast a wide net or to get to know a variety of professionals. Companies targeting Baruch students will typically hold corporate presentations on campus. These events usually consist of a presentation that includes information about the firm, the positions for which they are recruiting, how to apply, and will also offer students a chance to network (introduce yourself and ask questions) with various professionals. One rule of thumb is ALWAYS to bring a pen and notebook. Take notes about each professional and any other relevant information DURING the presentation. It will allow you to plan who to network with and what to talk about (for more details about asking good questions, see post 2 HERE). During the presentation, it is a good idea to write down how to pronounce any names which are new to you. Making a good first impression can be a bit rocky when you mispronounce someone’s name; by contrast, it shows a great level of interest if you properly pronounce a difficult name on the first try.

Another opportunity to build connections is when someone offers to refer you to a contact in the business. For example, your friend says “I know an alum working in risk, you should reach out to him.” Typically, the next step would be to email this contact and ask about setting up a time to meet in person. The two benefits of this kind of networking are 1) a warm introduction, and 2) the person works directly in a role you are interested in. A “warm” introduction, such as this, is different from a cold one because the relationship has been brokered by a 3rd party who knows both you and the professional. NOTE: your mutual friend is putting their reputation on the line by making the referral, which adds to your credibility and first impression. The connection will likely think “If our mutual friend thinks they are good, I can at least give him or her a chance.” On the flip side, it is possible that people could hesitate to refer you to their contacts if they are concerned you will embarrass them. By sending an under-prepared student to an industry insider, it can make the mutual friend look bad. So if you have just started showing an interest in Credit Risk, do not be surprised if your friend is not quick to connect you to their contacts. Once you take the time to learn about the industry, they will likely be more willing to make referrals.

The second benefit is that you know the new connection works in your field of interest. At networking events, it can be difficult to anticipate who will be there or which groups will be represented. With a referral, you can ask your mutual friend or check LinkedIn for background information about your networking target. This will allow you to prepare industry specific knowledge and questions to ask during the conversation. One warning – not all potential contacts will be interested in meeting. At networking events, people are there for the specific purpose of meeting intern prospects. While a referral can connect you to a professional, that person may be too busy or not interested in a meeting. If they do not respond initially, balance being persistent with respecting their time. Perhaps reach out by phone and follow-up via email, no more than twice.

The final method of networking requires some bravery: the cold contact. With a cold email or cold call, you have no connection with this person. This can be necessary if you cannot find an alumni or friend with a connection to your target industry, or if you want to rapidly expand your network. The key to cold contacting is volume. Sending an email to five or ten people may not get a reply, but sending emails to 50 or 100 might. Remember, the person you are emailing or calling has no obligation to respond. In fact, you run the risk of creating a negative impression if your attempts to connect are unprofessional or annoying. To counter that, look for ways to build credibility. If you send a generic email saying you want a job in equity research, you may not get many responses. Instead, if you write an equity research report and attach it to your email, you demonstrate your seriousness about the career and peak their interest, and are likely to get a better response. It is also important to take time to craft a thoughtful email or call script which tells them who you are, why you are reaching out, and why they should consider you in the most succinct way possible. You will want to have it proofread by many people, each time asking “Would you read this if it was in your inbox?” and/or “is this annoying?”

When it comes to forming new connections, first impression is key. Preparation and doing your homework can help you maximize your first impression so take the time to do your industry research (See Post 1 HERE), develop your soft skills (See Post 2 HERE and Post 3 HERE), and learn about relevant technical skills (See Post 4 HERE). It is not uncommon to meet professionals who have worked in the industry longer than you have been in school, so do not try to BS them. Before meeting with someone, I usually take a mental inventory. The point is to understand which topics I am prepared to talk about and which ones I should avoid. For example, before going into an event I may feel that I am up-to-date with the news and ready to talk about the equity market, but I do not have a good understanding of the foreign exchange markets. This does not mean I will avoid the currency traders during the event. Instead, I try to make sure that when the topic of cross country currency hedging come up, I will not get pulled into a deep discussion of the idea. I will be transparent about the fact I do not know about the subject because I have not learned about it, not because I do not understand it. The worst thing you can do is keep nodding your head and saying yes I agree. The trader will assume you are absorbing what he is saying and will expect you to add to the conversation, or will see you are just yessing him. In either case, you are wasting their time and yours.

The final step to networking is the thank you note. Often overlooked, this simple follow-up is not to be underestimated. After meeting with someone, send a thank you email within 24 hours (make sure you put thought into the timing of your email, sending it on a Friday afternoon is a bad idea). This email should consist of you thanking them for their time, showing excitement or interest in the material, and reference a unique topic you discussed. This is especially important for meeting someone after a networking event. Speaking about a unique topic will help the professional, who probably met dozens of eager students in a very short time, remember who you were. With even the simplest of notes, you are telling the professional that you are interested in the topics discussed and would be receptive to future communication. Students who do not send thank you notes risk being quickly forgotten.

Now that we have discussed the major tools necessary to land an interview, next I will talk about actually preparing for an interview.

 

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Fall is here, which means it is career fair and recruiting season! September will bring two major fairs: the CPA Fair on Friday, September 5, and Career Day on Friday, September 19. Whether you are a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, be sure to check out as many of these upcoming events and workshops as possible to maximize your current job search or get a head start on your career development. RSVP and additional information available on Starr Search:

1) Senior Start-Up

Thursday, August 28, 2014 12:30-2:30

NVC 14-220

Senior Start-Up is a program designed to help SENIORS get a jumpstart on their careers. We provide you with information about the On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) program and strategies on an effective job search. The event will also feature a keynote speaker from BlackRock.

*Attendance at this event qualifies you for both Internship and Full-time OCR. Check Starr Search for additional OCR workshops*

2) Writing Winning Resumes

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 2:30-4:00

NVC 2-190

Attend this workshop and learn how to develop and design a professional, marketable resume that will be well received. Format and content will be covered.

*Check Starr Search for additional Writing Winning Resumes Workshops throughout September*

3) CPA Fair

Friday, September 5, 2014 12:00-4:00

Baruch Main Gym

Open to all undergraduate and graduate students in accounting. BUSINESS ATTIRE IS REQUIRED.

4) Mastering the Job Interview – Basic

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 12:30-2:00

NVC 2-190

How do you prepare a personal pitch? How do you respond to challenging interview questions? What questions should you ask and avoid asking? How do you close the interview? Attend this workshop and learn the steps to follow before, during and after the interview to increase your chances of landing the job you want.

5) Networking 101

Thursday, September 11, 2014 2:30-4:00

NVC 2-190

Networking is one of the most powerful yet often under-utilized strategies in a job search. Learn the tools to develop and nurture a network of professional contacts so that you can find your next job like a pro and uncover the hidden job market. Discover the secrets of effective networking in this workshop, including how to develop and maintain a networking relationship, and utilizing social media for your networking needs. Students will have the opportunity to practice their networking skills.

6) Resume Rush

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 12:30-4:30

NVC 2-190

What is Resume Rush? It’s a day set aside to have your resume revised & polished on a first- come, first- served basis. Bring a paper copy of your resume to take advantage of this opportunity to have your resume reviewed before Career Day.

7) Career Fair Success Strategies

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 5:00-6:30

NVC 2-190

Are you planning to participate in our upcoming career fair on September 19th? Attend the Career Fair Success Strategies workshops and get the competitive edge! Learn tips on how to stand out from the crowd at the fair from seasoned student leaders.

8) How To Impress A Recruiter

Thursday, September 18, 201412:30-2:30

Location TBD

Learn tips on how to impress a recruiter, whether you’re attending a career fair, corporate presentation or going for an interview. Guest Speaker from Target.

9) Career Day

Friday, September 19, 2014 12:00-4:00

Baruch Main Gym

Open to all undergraduate students, all majors. BUSINESS ATTIRE IS REQUIRED.

 

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4/7/14 4:00PM

After much careful thought and already checking in with my own team members, I decided to check in with my supervisor to see if there is any way I could help out and be more productive. Not only to resolve my boredom, but also to help me establish an identity as a diligent employee in the eyes of this company. I want to make a great impression because, who knows, it might lead to a job or reference in the future.

 My supervisor was glad to see that I was being proactive and seeking out ways to help. I mentioned hearing that Stephanie and Mary’s team was swamped and asked if it would be prudent at all for me to get involved. Well, my supervisor was intrigued and suggested that I help out with less technically intensive tasks so that their team can meet their project’s rapidly approaching deadline. Thankfully, we are under the same wing of the company, so in this case offering help paid off.

Stephanie and Mary introduced themselves to me, and I tried to keep calm even though I still felt awkward having eavesdropped on them just the other day. I also met an intern on their team, Gary. He gave me a very firm handshake and seemed friendly enough.

For the next couple days, I found myself tearing through some spreadsheet data entry and felt happy as could be – finally, I was doing something useful! This calls for a celebration – coffee! I was so excited to finish the file I started yesterday that I didn’t even go for my morning coffee, and when I did, I bumped into Gary.

“So, you’re just a little busy bee aren’t you? I was going to get around to those spreadsheets,” said Gary, as he walked away with his cup of coffee – no cream, no sugar, pure black.

What is with his tone? Is something bothering him? I wondered. But I carried on, happily and diligently going through the list of spreadsheets. Yet every so often I would look up to see Gary walk by with furrowed brows, avoiding eye contact.

It felt unwelcoming. Am I intruding on his territory or annoying him by taking on these tasks? What should I do now?

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Finance Recruiting Step 4: Technical Skills

Posted December 10, 2013 By atucker

By Michael Jimney, Financial Leadership Program (FLP) Correspondent

Technical skills have a special place in every finance student’s head.  They are the core skills you develop once you land your dream job; yet, at the same time, students live in fear of having these skills tested in an interview.  The perceived difficulty associated with technical skills can dissuade students from various positions because they do not feel prepared to have their skills evaluated.  Thus, the purpose of this post is to demystify technical skills and to point you in the right direction when developing these skills.

Many students misuse the term “technical skills.”  Students tend to think of technical skills as a catch-all for any skill that involves numbers, formulas, or math.  When preparing for interviews last year, I read the largest technical skills guide I could find.  My strategy was to understand everything in the guide and then I would be ready for anything.  The mistake I made, along with many others, was presuming that technical skills meant the same thing across positions.  When evaluating which industries to initially target for an internship (see Step 1 HERE), one of the goals is to identify what an analyst, for example, does on a daily basis.  You can also get the scoop by asking a professional good questions about his or her role (see Step 2 HERE).  Now is the time to convert that knowledge from “Can I see myself doing this?” to “What do I need to know if I want to do this?”  Each position has a different set of technical skills required, so it is important to identify what they are.  For an investment banker, this includes understanding concepts related to valuation, financial statements, and the deal process.  For a trader, technical skills are more about understanding the markets, macroeconomics, and tools like Bloomberg.  Diving into a huge textbook of everything finance can be time consuming, confusing, and intimidating.  When you are trying to decide which skills to develop, be specific and clear about which role you are targeting.

Another thing to realize is that technical skills do not necessarily have to be quantitative.  Math and logic problems tend to be feared because they can be “tested” in an interview.  However, many of the skills you would not consider technical are actually very relevant.  I have found a few core skills that are a must for any job in finance, and none of them are based in mathematics.  They are:

  • Following the News/Markets
  • Reading and Summarization
  • Written and Verbal Communication
  • Attention to Detail
  • Problem-Solving

If you only do one thing to prepare for a technical interview, I recommend following the news and markets.  Doing so is the best way for students to learn about finance, end of story.  As I listed in Step 1 (HERE), there are many periodicals and news sites which are great resources.  By reading the news every morning, you will have a greater grasp of industry trends, the economic situation in the US and abroad, current deals, investing ideas, and topics to use when asking insightful questions.

Related to keeping up-to-date with the news is your ability to read.  Any analyst role you work in will require you to read a large amount of material.  Thus, keep an eye on how much you are actually retaining.  The more efficiently you can translate words into information which you can use or explain to others, the better you will be at your job.  Breaking down documents or news into a few key points is what separates a mediocre analyst from a great one.  For example, investment banking analysts are responsible for reviewing 10Ks.   If you cannot articulate why you are using certain numbers in your model or why a company made a certain decision, in either an email or conversation, no one will trust that you have done a good job.

Attention to detail is another prerequisite for any position in finance.  Because you will be dealing with money, everything you do needs to be precise and accurate.  Especially if you are in a client-facing role, a mistake in the details can have a negative effect on both your analysis and your reputation.

Finally, a more obscure but still technical skill is problem-solving.  This is your ability to break down a problem and identify the best way to resolve it.  This has nothing to do with how groundbreaking your solutions are, but how you actually identify what the problem is.  During your internship you will constantly be faced with tasks or materials that are completely new to you.  Your ability to problem solve will determine how you tackle these unknown challenges, almost like solving a puzzle.

While the above skills are required for any position, there are specific skills required for each role in finance.  For a position like trading or asset management, a lot of emphasis is put on understanding the market.  This includes giving a stock pitch and having a view of where the macro-economy is going.  Understanding how to analyze a security is also important, including using fundamental analysis (price to earnings, and other key ratios) or doing bond math.  Being able to do math quickly is also a must, so prepare to be able to do multiplication and division in your head.  I especially recommend knowing how to convert 1/8 into decimal form.

Equity research will require one to have some market understanding and security analysis, but it will also put a lot of emphasis on written communication skills.  This makes sense considering the main responsibility of the research analyst is to write a detailed report of their stock analysis.  Market risk positions also revolve around understanding the market but can be far more math-heavy.  Being able to speak about VaR, statistics, and probability is important.

Looking at the skills required for a position in investment banking or credit risk, you will find a very different set of requirements.  An understanding of accounting, specifically how to read financial statements, is an absolute must.  Knowing various valuation techniques is also important, so make sure you can build a DCF from scratch and understand what the inputs, including WACC, terminal value, and free cash flows, actually mean.  The different parts of the capital structure are also important to learn so you can accurately identify a how a company is funded.  The fork in the road is which communication skills are emphasized.  Credit risk analysts are required to submit reports of their findings, which means writing skills (while qualitative) are a technical skill.  Investment Bankers require more of a blend.  Verbal communication is important for interacting with clients, but written communication is just as important to produce the stacks of pitch books required from an analyst.

As you speak to professionals, you will gain a better idea of which skills are required for a particular group.  Once you identify which skills to focus on, it is helpful to use time-based objectives to ensure you are making progress.  Set up a series of checkpoints with specific goals you expect to reach by certain dates.  For example, I may have a goal to finish a book by December 1st and build my own VaR model by January 1st.  Please also note that you do not want to cram for an interview.  Yes, I understand it works for class, but interviewing is a different game.  Immediately following a test, your mind will purge the facts and definitions you crammed in.  When interviewing, you must presume there is always a second or even third round.  If you have Super Day a week after that first round interview, are you going to re-cram all that information?  What happens when you have an interview pop up with only 24 hours’ notice?  Memorized answers are too easy to forget and will be obvious to anyone interviewing you.  Committing to memory your walkthrough of a DCF will quickly break down if you miss a step, lose your place, or are asked to explain a specific part in more detail.  However, by actually taking the time to build a DCF, you will understand the steps through experience.  It will take time, but learning what each piece of information actually means gives it more permanence in your mind.  An interviewer’s job is to differentiate knowledge and problem-solving from memorization.

I am sure some of you are disappointed I did not just post a list of skills you must have for each position.  The truth is each job is unique in the skills required to be successful.  Many finance professionals will say “it isn’t rocket science.”  The reason for that is because factors beyond technical skills are also important to be successful on the job.  For example, the firm’s culture, its size, and the structure of the internship program will impact one’s ability to land that full-time job.  As a student, an intern, and even a first-year analyst, it is expected that you will be on a steep learning curve.  You don’t need to learn everything now.  Instead, estimate which are important skills to cultivate now but know this will be an ongoing process.  Once on the job, put yourself in your team members’ shoes and think about what skills they have developed.  Then, just as you did to prepare for interviews, create a new list of skills you want to target and set up your calendar goals.

The term “technical skills” can be scary if you think about it as an oral exam.  I prefer to think of them as tools in your toolbox, which you will need to demonstrate you know how to properly wield.  You cannot memorize how to swing a hammer; you must do it until you get it right.  Stay tuned!  I will discuss a few strategies to meet professionals in Step 5: Networking.

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Balancing Graduate School, Career, and Family

Posted December 5, 2013 By atucker

By Camille Hall, Higher Education Administration Intern, Starr Career Development Center

Separately in their own categories, graduate school, a career, and family each demand a significant amount of time and effort that can be challenging to manage for any person. For a number of individuals, like me, you may find yourself at some point in your life having to juggle all three at once. This is not an easy balancing act; however, it is possible if you choose to undertake it.

As a graduate student finishing up my Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Administration course work at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, the journey has not been easy and I would like to share some lessons learned from my experience.

1. Plan Ahead!

Before applying to graduate school, take the time to do the following.

1.      Find programs that offer courses at time frames that accommodate your work schedule.

2.      Consider how many courses you plan to take each semester.

3.      Plan your commute not only from your job to grad school but also your commute from grad school to home.

If you are a resident of New York City, you may live in one borough but work in another borough. In addition, depending on the location of your graduate school, you may find yourself traveling through three boroughs each day that you have class. When I was accepted into the School of Public Affairs, I was pleased that all of the courses required for my degree began at 6pm. This offered me enough time to commute from my previous employer located in Jamaica, Queens (at the start of my graduate experience) to Manhattan. However, I live in the Bronx. Therefore, I developed a true appreciation for the MTA’s unlimited metro card.

2. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate!

Communicate with your spouse/partner: It is important to share your higher education pursuits with your spouse or partner. This was critical with my husband because my school schedule affected his schedule, especially since we are both working parents with a young child. Having a conversation and implementing rearrangements and/or adjustment to various home responsibilities will allow you both to continue meeting the needs of your child and home life.

Communicate with your employer: It is important to inform your employer of your goals to grow professionally by pursuing a higher degree. This is critical because your employer may offer you more flexibility in your work schedule, tuition reimbursement, or a promotion after you complete your degree. With my current employer, I was given flexibility in my work schedule to complete my internship at the Starr Career Development Center at Baruch College which I value greatly.

Communicate with your professors: In some cases, informing your professors of your student/parent status in advance may allow him or her to be more accommodating to you if your personal schedule conflicts with your academic responsibilities at some point. For example, a couple of weeks after I gave birth to my son in August 2010, I chose to take a fall semester course. However, with new motherhood, I had to reach out to my professor and inform him that I would miss the first class. He was perfectly fine with it and appreciated my dedication to my course work as I transitioned into a new personal responsibility.

3. Budget!

Grad school is expensive! You may be able to find ways to reduce your cost or receive full funding. However, for a number of individuals, paying out of pocket is their reality. In addition, when that reality includes raising a child and maintaining a home, financing your education  is even more challenging. Therefore, smart financial planning and budgeting will be essential to staying on track with your course work goals. My graduate school progression was delayed due to my poor financial planning. As a result, I experienced semester breaks in course work and found it difficult to afford summer course work.

4. It’s All About Time Management

I’ve found that it is extremely important to enhance your time management skills. Learning to manage your time efficiently and effectively will assist with completing various tasks. However, throughout the juggling act, it is imperative to schedule in some down time for yourself. Even if it is simply making sure to sit down and watch your favorite TV show or DVD, you will feel recharged afterwards.

5. It Really Takes a Village: Develop a Support System.

Depending on your situation, seek assistance from your spouse or partner, family, friends, neighbor, or a combination of all. Keep in mind that your graduate school may have child care services and other parent resources available to you. Baruch College has an Early Learning Center that offers childcare and education to children ages 2 ½ – 5 years old. Even if the child care services are not feasible on your end, it’s helpful to stop by the Center to receive any information that you may find useful.

6. In the End It’s Worth It!

As I stated before, the journey will not be easy. However, it will be worth it. As I reflect upon my own experience, my goals to better myself have been met. With more education, I am confident I will find more opportunities for career advancement or successfully transition into a new field. In addition, I am pleased to be creating a strong academic foundation for my child to later use as inspiration for his own future academic and career endeavors.  I’m sure you will find your current balancing act is worth it for similar reasons.

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Career Corner: Changing Your Major

Posted November 22, 2013 By chall

By Akash Shah

(As orginally published in the Ticker:http://ticker.baruchconnect.com/article/career-corner-changing-your-major/)

Changing your major is common in college. According to NBC News, two out of three students entering undergraduate programs in the United States are undecided about their majors.

In addition, about 50 percent of American college students will change their majors at least once while in school. Students who have taken a well-rounded selection of coursework can make a more informed decision regarding major change.

At Baruch College, students well into the end of their junior year change majors and may even switch between the three schools, School of Public Affairs (SPA), Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and Zicklin School of Business.

Jennifer Harrington, undergraduate coordinator of the Office of Academic Programs at SPA, and Keisha McLeod, undergraduate coordinator of student affairs at Weissman, say that many students who considered themselves to be on the business track have contemplated changing their majors to public affairs or to a major at Weissman.

Furthermore, according to Judy Tse, director of undergraduate services at Zicklin, approximately 500 students have changed their major within Zicklin since January 2013.

There are several reasons why students change majors; most commonly, student’s interests and passion have changed.

Another reason is when a student is unable to meet certain academic requirements. For example, Harrington and McLeod explained that calculus is a Zicklin requirement, which often prompts students to reconsider their major choice.

Before you select a major, you should research what major is best for you. One way to do your research is by visiting the STARR Career Development Center and meeting with a career counselor.

You can also take career-related assessments like Focus 2, the Strong Interest Inventory, and the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) to decide on your majors.

When deciding your major, be thorough in your self-assessment: try to identify your interests, key personality traits, your values, your skills and lifestyle preferences.

Since changing your major can impact your career objectives, you should explore prospective occupations and industries that correspond to your new major.

However, keep in mind that your major does not define your career trajectory.

For instance, you can be a psychology major interested in finance and pursuing a career in human resources. The skills you gain from your major can be applied to numerous fields.

Robert Freedman, academic counselor for the Office of the Dean at Zicklin, indicated that students should also perform academic self-assessments.

Specifically, if a student’s academic standing does not meet the departmental requirement, he or she should consider changing majors. Freedman suggested that students speak with their peers, professors and professionals to learn about their intended major and how it might relate to career opportunity.

After performing all the necessary assessments, student should take steps to create a plan for degree completion.

When creating an academic plan, meeting with an advisor at the Center for Academic Advisement can be beneficial.

The advisors can provide additional information about different majors offered at Baruch.

They will also help you to reevaluate the information in DegreeWorks and to plan which classes you should take during your remaining semesters at Baruch

If you decide to change your major, go to the registrar’s office to learn which documentation must be submitted. Also be aware that switching majors between different schools might entail additional steps.

Whether you are forced to change your major or you do so by choice, switching a major does not have to be the end of the world.

In fact, when you start to focus on all the opportunities that come with this change, it can bring clarity and optimism.

For many, this could be the first time that they have undertaken an in-depth self-assessment, and this could improve their chances of making a satisfying decision.

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By Michael Jimney, Financial Leadership Program (FLP) Correspondent

Networking is an important component of obtaining an internship or job.  Considering any professional you meet will probably be speaking to several students in addition to having a full time job, truly standing out is a challenge.  One good way to do this, which we have already touched upon, is asking good questions.  Here, I will focus on another skill you need to master to differentiate yourself: the personal pitch.

A personal pitch is how you describe yourself to someone you meet.  Commonly referred to as an “elevator speech,” it is a short summary of who you are and a bit of insight into what makes you unique.  It is called a pitch, just as a marketer uses the word, because you are selling something: yourself.  People will quickly get a first impression of you, so a strong pitch is a way to guide the impression.  As a result, crafting your pitch takes a bit of practice and preparation.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when giving a personal pitch is listing everything on their resume.  In a conversation, you only have a little bit of time to convey who you are; listing everything on your resume can be tedious and boring.  If you meet someone on an elevator, as the name implies, you will have about 30-60 seconds to speak.  If you meet someone at a networking event or for coffee, you can have 1-2 minutes.  Practice allows you to know ahead of time what you want to say so you can maximize the use of your time.  So, let’s dive into the actual preparation.

The best way to determine what topics to feature in your pitch is to start with a list.  Start by listing all of your past jobs, clubs, and activities on a piece of paper.  Many of these will already be on your resume, but include those that aren’t.  Next, for each of these experiences, write down every project or task you worked on while you were there.  There will be plenty of obvious ones, like the major analysis you worked on for weeks as an intern, but this list should also include the little things.  Tasks that you might have only worked on for an hour or for a day are important to include.  A week into my first internship, I built an Ikea shoe rack for one of the traders –  include little things like that on your list.  While it may seem silly, I frequently talk about it in my pitch.

Next, think about what skill(s) each of these tasks boil down to.  Made cold calls?  The underlying skills being developed are sales and public speaking.  Prepared news summaries for your boss?  That teaches you how to follow the markets and improves your written communication skills.  Do this for all your jobs. Keep an eye out for themes like teamwork, problem solving, analysis, and technology skills.  While projects are likely to involve a component of each, the goal here is to identify the primary skill.  No task is too small or insignificant.  My shoe rack example is about bonding with the team and having an attitude that no job is too small.

Now that you have all your experiences and skills listed out, it is time to create your pitch.  As I discussed in Step 1 (here), you should already have some understanding about which roles you are interested in and which skills are the most relevant.  Therefore, try to feature projects that best showcase your relevant skills.  For Asset Management, one of the skills I really wanted to promote was my ability to follow the markets.  When I give my pitch, I describe why I transferred to Baruch (to study Finance because I like following the markets), how I was able to get into my first internship (I demonstrated an ability to follow the news), and the work I did to develop my market and economic analysis skills (projects that involved staying plugged into the markets).  Another important point to see from my example is how there is a story to my pitch.  I show a progression of events, moving from point A to point B.  As you go, show which skills you were able to develop.  If you just tell someone what you did, it does not differentiate you from anyone else in that role.  If you tell them about how you were able to develop skill X and Y, it shows them a little more about who you are.  When I want to convey to someone that I can take on any task given to me, no matter what the challenge, I dust off my Ikea shoe rack example.

Once you have the basic outline of your pitch, you need to practice (a lot) with friends or colleagues.  The goal when delivering a personal pitch is to get the other person interested in your story.  You can tell if your pitch is good because the listener will be engaged and attentive.  Don’t worry about including everything; if you do it right, you will have the rest of the conversation to share the details.  When it comes to networking, a good pitch will help the conversation get off to a good start or make the new contact want to stay in touch with you.

Keep developing your pitch as the school year goes on because you will use it for job applications and for interviews (where “Tell me about yourself” is a common interview question).  By taking the time to list out all of your experiences, you can adapt your pitch to any occasion or build on it as you become more comfortable.  Once you have your personal pitch down, it is time to cultivate skills specific to your target position. Stay tuned for more about this in Step 4:  The Technical Skills.

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By: Nadezda Semenova, Peers for Careers Correspondent

(As orginally published in the Ticker: http://ticker.baruchconnect.com/article/career-corner-establishing-a-mentoring-relationship/)

Very often, we do not realize how important having a mentor is. However, as history has shown, successful people do not achieve greatness without the help of others. “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself” is how Oprah Winfrey once described her relationship with her first mentor, Mary Alice Duncan.

Specifically, she was the fourth grade teacher who helped Winfrey “to not be afraid of being smart.”

While mentorship is crucial to developing our careers, students who are starting to build their personal network may face the question: where do I find a mentor?

As Sheryl Sandberg writes in Lean In, “[mentoring relationships] probably won’t develop from asking a virtual stranger, ‘Will you be my mentor?’ The strongest relationships spring out of a real and often earned connection felt by both sides.”

You may already experience such connections with your parents, professors, peers and friends. Although you may not refer to them as mentors, these people may provide you with advice, guidance and constructive criticism.

Another way of finding a mentor is through networking. As Julie Winkle Giulioni wrote in her book Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: “Today, the lines between mentoring and networking are blurring. Welcome to the world of mentworking.”

Mentoring is especially relevant to Baruch College students who have access to weekly corporate presentations, panel discussions and other networking opportunities. Finding a mentor can be as easy as engaging in meaningful and thoughtful conversations with professionals during an on-campus event and then following up with them afterwards.

Baruch also provides a formal mentoring program, Executives on Campus (EOC). The program provides a forum where students and willing mentors come together with programs like the Academic Year-Long Mentoring Program and Mentor for a Morning. Jacqueline McLoughlin, Director of EOC, notes that both programs have grown significantly.

This year, the program made 360 mentor-mentee pairs for the year-long program, compared to 200 pairings last year.

The foundation of a good mentoring relationship is mutual trust and respect.  It is also important to be clear on expectations. Often, students have the misconception that a mentor will do all the work for them or will hand them a job. Either of these assumptions is wrong. Having a mentor is a privilege and involves showing effort.

The mentor-mentee relationship is about becoming a better communicator, figuring out career goals and aspirations, and developing professional connections. For example, mentors can share their insight in the industry, help you to create and polish your resume, and prepare for an interview.

Another important aspect of mentoring relationship is communication. Because people have different personalities and schedules, it is good to learn of a mentor’s preferred method of communication and have a clear time frame for meetings and follow-ups.

Do your homework before coming to the meeting, have questions ready, and think about topics you want to discuss. Communicate your goals, obstacles and achievements on a regular basis, and be open for an honest feedback.

In addition, it is necessary to remember that mentoring relationship is two-sided. Mentees mistakenly believe they have nothing to offer and feel uncomfortable constantly asking for help.

However, each mentee has his/her interests, actions, and progress, which can entice mentors to want to help. Read articles authored by your mentor, learn more about their industry, invite them to speak on a panel at your club event, or simply ask what they are working on now. All these actions will help you to contribute to cultivating a stronger relationship.

Once this relationship is established, like any other, it will have its peaks and hollows. As a mentee, it is your responsibility to stay in touch. Keep your mentor updated about your achievements and progress.  Having a mentor requires work, but it definitely pays off.

 

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By Michael Jimney, Financial Leadership Program (FLP) Correspondent

Generally speaking, soft skills refer to your ability to interact with others.  Think about that.  How you address someone, what subjects you raise, and how you smile or nod during a conversation are considered skills.  These nuances feed into someone’s impression of you. In Finance, it is critical to be aware of the impression you are making on others.  Because you will only have one chance to make a first impression, try to develop your soft skills before that first handshake.  Knowing how to create a good impression is important.  Luckily, there is one weapon that can be the key to your networking arsenal, and it will be the topic of this post – specifically: How to Ask a Question.

Networking is an essential component of your finance internship/job search.  To effectively build your network, you need to create a connection with your contact.  This means doing more than listening to them speak at a company presentation and collecting their business cards.  One way you can build a rapport that will establish a real connection is to ask questions.  In addition to creating a connection, it also allows you to gain insights and information into a particular career.  Before I explain how to craft a question effectively, it is important to know there really are such things as good and bad questions.  In order to better understand how your thought process works, professionals look at the kinds of questions you ask as a reflection of your judgment.  Asking a bad question may not do you any irreversible harm, but a good question can make a big impact in making an impression.

Consider the four kinds of questions students generally ask when meeting with professionals (listed below in order of importance):

  1. The insightful question
  2. The attentive question
  3. The typical question
  4. The wrong question

Starting from the bottom, there are some questions which are just wrong.    How much leeway you have with asking a wrong question is directly dependent upon the person with whom you are speaking.  If you are talking to a Managing Director, you do not want to ask him what an investment banker does.  That will make you seem lazy and gives off a bad impression, because you could easily have read about it on your own time,.  However, asking that question to a current student who interned at an investment bank or a recent graduate is reasonable (albeit typical).  Another wrong question would be “How much do you earn?” This is a question that makes most people feel uncomfortable.  Asking about something they just explained is another no-no, as it shows you were not paying attention.

Typical questions are those you will frequently hear being asked.  Those old standards include:

  • “What does a typical day look like?”
  • “How do you like working at company XYZ?”
  • “What do you do for fun?”
  • “Do you recommend any books or reading materials?”

Truthfully, these questions are an effective way to get information about the company and/or a position.  Questions about what their typical responsibilities are or what skills they view as the most important are a good way to understand if the role fits your interests.  When you first start networking, these will likely be the types of questions you will frequently ask.  Just keep in mind that these questions will not get you noticed or remembered.  Over time, try to shift from these typical questions to the insightful and attentive questions, otherwise known as the “good” questions.

The attentive question is where you take something the speaker has said and dig deeper.  For example, “Earlier, you mentioned your involvement in the ABC transaction; could you tell me a little more about it?”  The benefits of such a question are: 1) the speaker will know you are actively listening, and 2) you will get additional information about a subject where you might be lacking knowledge.  A good rule of thumb: people like to talk about themselves.  If you show a bit of interest in something they have done or mentioned, they will be more than happy to talk about it.

The final and most important of the aforementioned categories are the insightful questions.  These questions connect outside learning to the subject at hand.  For example, asking a banker “Considering the recent growth of the ABC sector, do you see the focus of your group shifting over the next few years?” shows that you are paying attention (like an attentive question) and you are also looping in outside information.  Here, you get all the benefits of the attentive question with one key difference: you demonstrate that you are learning about the finance industry on your own time.  The more detailed or complex the outside info, the higher the return will be when it comes to making a positive impression.  Make sure you understand what you are bringing up because it is easy for a professional, who probably knows more about the topic than you do, to tell if you are just trying to sound smart.

In Step 1, I discussed the significance of researching the finance industry.  Asking questions while networking is one way you could use that knowledge.  It is also very important to stay up on current events.  The Wall Street Journal is the standard (students get a discount price: http://student.wsj.com), but there are plenty of other periodicals or news sites like the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, Barron’s, and The Economist that are worth reading.  The more time you spend reading, the better your questions will be.

When it comes to speaking to professionals, you want to spend most of your time asking insightful and attentive questions.  That way, you get meaningful information from your networking contacts while leaving a positive impact.  Questions are a great way to make a great first impression, but it is not the only skill you need to cultivate.  In the next post, I will be going over how to develop your own personal pitch.

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Finance Recruiting Step 1: Understand the Industry

Posted November 8, 2013 By ellen-stein

By Michael Jimney, Financial Leadership Program (FLP) Correspondent

Going through internship recruiting as a Finance major can be stressful.  Months of preparation culminate in only a few 30-minute interviews to prove that you are, indeed, more qualified than the hundreds of other candidates the firm is considering (all of whom go to schools with larger footholds in the finance industry).  Once you finally make it past the interviewing gauntlet, otherwise known as a Super Day, you will wait, seemingly forever, for a phone call with some good news.  Taking the time to develop the skills necessary for finance recruiting can determine whether you will be waiting for your dream firm to offer you an internship or if you will be evaluating your back-up plans.  As a senior here at Baruch, I survived this process.  I would hardly classify myself as an expert, but I can pass down some wisdom I gained after experiencing this process firsthand.  Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of posts on how and when to develop the skills you will need during the finance recruiting process.  This week, I will be tackling Step 1: Understand the Industry.

Recruiting for a typical junior is a long process.  While applications are due in December and January, there is a lot of prep work that must be done during the fall semester.  It may seem like a disproportionate amount of pressure getting placed on one semester of school, but it is important to understand that a successful summer internship could lead to a full-time job offer upon graduation.  To ensure your hard work pays off, invest time to do your homework about the industry for two reasons:

1)      You will know which roles best suit your interests.

2)      You will be able to speak intelligently to professionals.

While the second point is very important for networking and interviews, the first point can actually be very complex at this early stage.  Most students have a preconceived notion about the world of finance.  As a result, they quickly bucket themselves into a particular career path.  Usually these careers center around Investment Banking (IB) or Sales & Trading (S&T) because those are, by far, the most well-known roles.  I, too, was guilty of this and realized that it presented several problems.  Firstly, I did not have a realistic expectation of what such a position entailed nor what skills were required to successfully secure my place.  Secondly, there were several positions I had never considered and even some that I had never heard of which would fit my skill set far better.

Take the time during this initial step to actually learn about all of the diverse roles available in the world of finance.  Go beyond the job descriptions and focus on learning the actual skills required in each job.  A role like Credit Risk requires a similar skill set to IB given its focus on valuation and analysis of capital structure, but it has a different daily schedule.  Students who enjoy the markets and are therefore considering S&T can apply that interest to Asset Management, Market Risk or Wealth Management.  Finance and Operations also provides exposure to the world of finance by taking advantage of project management skills which most students do not fully appreciate.  Explore the Vault guides to learn more information about roles you find interesting (they can be accessed by logging into STARR search, https://baruch-csm.symplicity.com/students).  Such information might include what Analysts are expected to do on a daily basis, what skills they need, what their work/life balance looks like, and what you will actually be learning once on the job.  While learning about different careers, remember to research which companies actually employ those groups/roles.

When you transition from researching finance positions to understanding the financial companies, a good place to start is by learning about the major firms.  The biggest things you will want to take away are: what lines of business they have, how the firm makes money, and how they stack up against their peers.  The finance industry can be complex so understanding the big picture can help later in the process, when more exotic firms or concepts arise.  Annual reports are a great place to get specific company information (but can be very complicated for financial firms).  Try leveraging additional resources like financial websites and a Bloomberg terminal, available in the Subotnick Center (http://zicklin.baruch.cuny.edu/centers/subotnick), which can give a more simplified look at the industry.  Once you have the basic map of how major firms operate, it will be easier to understand the roles they contain.

At this point in the recruiting process, your goal is to form an opinion on a few target positions and companies upon which you can focus your efforts.  Landing a job requires hard work, so you want to make sure you are working smart.  Your interests and targets may evolve as you learn more.  It is important that you make a conscious effort to expand your understanding on a regular basis.  For the truly dedicated, this is a great time to get involved on campus with a professional club.  As a member of the Wall Street Club and the Financial Leadership Program, I benefitted from listening to guest speakers share about the industry or teach a specific point of finance.  These activities gave me greater exposure to experienced points of view.  Baruch is a school full of students who willingly go above and beyond to break into the financial services industry, so your classmates and alumni should not be overlooked in your quest for information.

Reaching out to students here at school is one thing, but communicating with industry professionals is a totally different league.  In Step 2 of this series, I will cover how to effectively prepare your soft skills to ensure you are getting the most from networking.

 

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How to Succeed at a Job Interview in IT

Posted November 8, 2013 By atucker

By Jason Ioffe

The field of Information Technology (IT) covers a plethora of career paths which support the backbone of nearly any modern industry – from medicine, to finance, to video games and countless more. Database administrators ensure the security of a company’s most precious data, and cloud architects guarantee stable access to that data, anytime and anywhere, through internet-based distributed computing networks. Software engineers and web developers work together to create powerful, intuitive tools for an organization’s customers and internal use. All the while, IT consultants find themselves constantly seeking ways to improve the technological foundation of a firm. Finding a steady career in any of these roles is contingent upon mastery of concepts in computer architecture, and this mastery should be made perfectly clear to an employer during a job interview.

In my experience, most prospective employees are turned away from positions in IT due to poor performance during technical interviews – especially software and web developers. Speaking as a developer, I can tell you what traffic lights, whiteboards, and word puzzles have in common: they can all come up during your interview. While companies will not usually expect you to write efficient code on the spot, they will still evaluate the way that you think and organize the world around you. It will not be uncommon to hear thought experiments such as “How many traffic lights are in Manhattan?” or “How many cows are from Canada?” If your instinct is to immediately search the internet to provide an accurate answer, then you will disappoint your recruiter. Questions like these, though seemingly useless or bizarre, exist to test your analytical approach. For instance, let’s take “How many women in the United States earn over $150,000 per year?” An efficient approach would be to first limit the group to the amount of people who earn over $150,000 per year, which would be a very small subset of the US population, and then extract the women from the result to derive your answer. Being able to organize available data to reach solutions with minimal strain will get you far in the world of IT.

Sometimes, time sensitive tasks may require you to work quickly. IT interviewers commonly ask prospective employees to draft solutions on a whiteboard. These may range from visualizing the organization of data flow within the firm to actually solving small programming puzzles. If you are a programmer, you will likely have to design simple algorithms or data containers. Do not be afraid to adopt a naïve solution in these time-sensitive circumstances – it is better to be timely and right than end the interview without a solution.  For instance, you may be asked to find the shortest distance between two given words in a text file. An acceptable approach would be to test every word against every other word. This would be considered “N Squared” complexity, and you should be familiar with “Big O Notation” to describe the complexity of computing algorithms.

Even if your dream firm uses database architectures or programming languages you haven’t mastered yet, be optimistic and show that you can adapt. After all, the concepts are the same. IT is not so much about memorizing exact syntax, but rather being able to analyze and organize the world around you.

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Junior Ramroop: A Hardworking Alum’s Journey to Success

Posted November 1, 2013 By alina.nesterenko
JARamroop_photo for Starrlights(1)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Read the remainder of this entry »
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The Four Year Plan for Career Success

Posted October 31, 2013 By chall

By David Tsui

As an underclassman, determining what you want to major in is difficult enough, let alone choosing your desired career after you graduate. In addition, there are other distractions that pry freshmen away from focusing on their futures, such as getting used to the new environment in college, adjusting to the college workload, making new friends, and participating in social activities. It is great to enjoy the social aspects of college, but students should keep in mind what they might want to do after they graduate. After all, the job market is getting more and more competitive every year, and as a result many students start their career planning as soon as their freshmen year.

In their freshmen year, students should try to obtain any type of work experience, strive for a strong G.P.A., and attend on campus recruiting events hosted by corporations to explore the possible careers they might be interested in. Obtaining a decent G.P.A. and getting work experience should be the student’s primary goal. Without strong grades, opportunities will be limited for the student. Work experience is a great way for young adults to enter the “real world” and apply the skills they learned in school to their jobs. In today’s world, it is crucial to obtain work experience before graduation because of fierce competition.

After their freshmen year, sophomores and juniors should further their career development by joining professional organizations related to their career interests, look for internships relevant to their majors, and attend networking events. The benefits of joining a professional organization are to help students take on leadership positions that will enhance their communication and teamwork skills and to build a network within and outside of the organization. With an internship, students will get the opportunity to see if their major is the right fit for them and if they are willing to continue pursuing that career path. Lastly, attending recruiting events will let peers see the corporate culture and job opportunities a company has to offer. In addition, these events allow students to network and keep in contact with the company’s representatives such as recruiters and other employees; these connections could be crucial leverage for senior year.

When senior year arrives, it’s time to put all that hard work to the test! Even though it seems that all the necessary pieces are in place, there are other equally qualified candidates gunning for the same position as you. This is where one develops a unique and interesting yet genuine story for their interviews to differentiate themselves from the other candidates. The story can be derived from one’s internship experiences, networking events, student life participation, or other relevant experiences. Sometimes people prefer to continue their education, so they might opt for graduate school. Mid-junior year to senior year would be a great time to start prepping for standardized exams or attending target schools’ information sessions.

In the end, it is better to start your career development early than to procrastinate until the last minute. Some students fall into this trap and many end up regretting not being proactive in their professional development earlier. The consequences can range from delaying their graduation date, to changing their majors, to being confused about career interests and goals after college. So don’t delay. Start working on your career development today!

 

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Career Corner: Interviews

Posted October 28, 2013 By chall

By Jiaxin Yu, Peers for Careers Correspondent

(As orginally published in the Ticker:http://ticker.baruchconnect.com/article/career-corner-interviews/)

Getting an interview requires effort—the never-ending process of preparing resumes, networking, writing cover letters, and applying to postings can be tedious.

Eventually, however, the work pays off, and you are invited to an interview.

Interviewing can be intimidating, but it does not have to be if you properly prepare. With preparation, it is reasonable to expect the interview will go smoothly.

While students may want to cram the night before the interview, as they would for an exam, this is not a recommended strategy.

Interviews are conversations—not oral exams.

You need to be prepared to talk about yourself and your experiences. It is easy to fall into the trap of not adequately preparing, since you assume that you know all about yourself.

However, stuttering and struggling to find the right words during the interview, especially for simple questions, may throw you off and inhibit your ability to get the job offer.

Most interviews will start with, “Tell me about yourself.” Knowing this, take the time to prepare a personal pitch that directly answers this question.  It will set the stage for your confidence level for the remainder of the conversation.

The Starr Career Development Center (SCDC) has received employer feedback that many Baruch  College students display a weakness in articulating why their skills match position qualifications.

Employers also cite not doing thorough enough research of the company or position as another area of interviewing weakness.

Over the summer, SCDC created and launched a workshop specifically with the purpose for researching companies to address this issue.

Key things to review include the company’s mission statement, corporate culture, as well as the services they provide.

Being well-versed in your knowledge of the company’s vision and development can help you elaborate on how you can be an asset to them.

If students want to practice their interview skills, they can schedule mock interview appointments online through their Starr search accounts.

To make the most of a mock interview, bring your resume and position description.

On the day of the interview, be well-groomed and wear appropriate attire. Business suits need to be cleaned, ironed, and well-fitting. Making a strong first impression is key.

Additionally, it is suggested to arrive at least 15 minutes early for an interview.

These extra minutes allow you to sort out any nervous thoughts before you actually go in.

During the interview, remind yourself to focus on your strengths. Be prepared to elaborate on your skill set though relevant experience. If the recruiter asks about your weaknesses, state them—but also demonstrate the steps you have taken to minimize them.

At the end of the interview, ask the interviewer questions. Whether they are about the company or the position, be mindful to ask things that show thoughtfulness and are not available through a simple Google search.

Preparation is key for a successful interview.

Students who dedicate an adequate amount of time and effort to interview preparation are better equipped to present themselves in a self-assured way that will best earn consideration and acceptance from recruiters.

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Career Corner: Leading

Posted October 11, 2013 By chall

By Jason Ioffe / Peers for Careers Correspondent

(As orginally published in the Ticker: http://ticker.baruchconnect.com/article/career-corner-leading/)

Baruch College’s student population, which consists of more than 14,000 undergraduate students, has given rise to more than 200 on-campus clubs and organizations. The mission of campus clubs can vary from focusing on professional development to health and fitness, religious and cultural history as well as honor societies and fraternities. All students, whether they began their Baruch journey as freshmen or transfer students, are actively encouraged to participate in these student-led activities. It is important to challenge yourself and go beyond merely attending events by actually stepping into a leadership position.

Club committees and executive boards allow students to exercise their strengths in a practical setting. For example, if you like graphic design, consider being the chair of publicity for any given club.

While clubs are nonprofit, they operate with real budgets and test problem-solving skills, both of which will translate directly to the workplace.

Coordinating amongst club members requires the ability to collaborate, negotiate and delegate. Furthermore, students will develop transferrable skills that are highly valued by employers, like attention to detail and time management.

Additionally, club leaders must constantly learn about their target audience because the student population is constantly evolving with the matriculation of new students.

Employers often look to hire students with campus leadership experience. The primary reason for this is due to the enhanced soft skills—verbal and written communication—that many club leaders possess. While courses may help you develop subject-matter expertise relevant to enter a given industry, the possession of soft skills is equally valued by employers. The constant refinement of your communication skills gained through experience leading a club will benefit you in your field of work.

It will also help you to feel comfortable meeting new people and building your professional network. By combining technical and soft skills, prospective employees show they can work well in any team to produce tangible results and stand out from the competition.

By getting involved in leadership roles during their undergraduate career, students also gain crucial insight into their own personal leadership styles and the roles they take on in group settings. Some people may be driven to achieve goals in short spans of time while others may excel at bringing people together or resolving team conflicts.

Everyone has unique strengths as leaders, and by understanding their individual strengths, students will discover what team settings work best for them. Applying personal strengths in the workplace results not only in more efficient work but also in creating a more pleasant and natural-feeling work environment.

As mentioned, there is an enormous variety of clubs in which you can participate. Take advantage of your time at Baruch to experiment with different interests and meet new people. There is no single best club to join, so explore and enjoy any that may appeal to you. Rest assured that all leadership positions on campus offer opportunities for personal development and can hold a strong place on your resume.

By making a positive impact on the college community, your legacy will live on long after graduation and guarantee a strong professional network to depend on for years to come.

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Career Corner: LinkedIn

Posted October 11, 2013 By chall

By Manal Janati,  Peers for Careers Correspondent

(As originally published in the Ticker: http://ticker.baruchconnect.com/article/career-corner-linkedin/)

For students pursuing a career in business, one common piece of advice is to create a LinkedIn profile. However, the next steps to take are often unclear; after all LinkedIn is more than just an online resume. As LinkedIn users know, there are many ways to maximize its benefits. From connecting with professionals to emphasizing specific skill sets, it is imperative to create and continually develop a strong profile.

To clarify, LinkedIn is a professional social networking site where individuals can showcase their resumes and respective strengths. The site also facilitates networking, applying to jobs, researching companies and sharing information.

LinkedIn offers many great features, including the fact that job seekers are no longer limited to a one-page resume. It grants individuals the scope to upload documents and presentations to create a portfolio of their experience. Thus, you can display all of your undergraduate work and leadership capabilities on your profile.

Furthermore, you may choose to add a professional story, through which you can creatively communicate your professional objective, expertise and career goals to potential employers. You can also feature certain recommendations or endorsements on your profile. Thus, it can be helpful to ask colleagues and previous managers to write a few sentences on your skills.

Yet another way to feature skills on your profile is to list them yourself. This is a great way to add transferrable skills, such as public speaking, teamwork and leadership, all of which can apply to a broad set of career paths. Using these keywords will increase the likelihood that your profile will be found in searches, and you may even find that people will endorse your skills.

Whether you are creating a profile just now or have one already, be sure to upload a professional photo. Try to refrain from using cropped photos after a night out with friends. First impression matters, so make it a good one.

This also extends to LinkedIn connection requests. When connecting with professionals, it is recommended that you tailor the message specifically to the recipient. It may help to read their profile beforehand to find commonalities or material for questions to ask them. People have different policies when connecting with others, and some are more willing to connect with strangers than others. By customizing your LinkedIn request, you may increase the likelihood of actually connecting with that person.

On top of everything, LinkedIn serves as a personalized informational tool. As you use the system, LinkedIn will start recommending articles you can read, jobs you can apply to and groups you can join.

Getting involved with groups that relate to your career interests can help you learn about the professional world and can catalyze your networking. Once you join a group, you should also try to participate in the group discussion.

LinkedIn, like most social media tools, is constantly changing and adding more features. The best way to stay updated on new features that will strengthen your profile is to visit the Official LinkedIn Blog. There, professionals offer advice ranging from ways to improve usage of LinkedIn to the interview process and job search.

Strengthening your LinkedIn profile is an ongoing process. Investing time into the aforementioned steps will ensure that your profile is more than just an online resume.

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We are pleased to announce that Starrlights has been selected by the Metropolitan New York College Career Planning Officers Association (MNYCCPOA) for the first-place prize in the 2013 Alva C. Cooper Awards for Best Practices in Career Development.

After being launched in Fall 2012, we have posted nearly fifty pieces of content including alumni interviews, career tips, student stories, career fair reviews, and SCDC announcements as well as re-published Ticker articles from our column “Career Corner.”

Starrlights has become a platform to share student voices to a larger audience outside of the Starr Career Development Center—which serves a school population of over 17,000 students.

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From left: Editor and Peer for Career Kamelia Kilawan, SCDC Deputy Director Dr. Ellen Stein, Webmaster and Peer for Career Jason Ioffe, and Student/Staff Liaison Jillian DiBlasi pose at Google after receiving Alva C. Cooper award.

The Blog Team, Dr. Ellen Stein, Kamelia Kilawan, Jason Ioffe, and Jillian DiBlasi presented at Google’s headquarters in New York on May 3, 2013 to highlight ways the blog has amplified the voices of Peers online.

Starrlights is just one innovation stemming from The Peers for Careers program made up of a highly trained group of student leaders who provide resume reviews, cover letter critiques, and mock interviews. In addition to writing Starrlights, Peers also write a weekly Career Corner column in the Ticker school newspaper, and facilitate a variety of career-related workshops and presentations.

We would like to sincerely thank MNYCCPOA for selecting our blog for this prestigious award along with Deputy Director Dr. Ellen Stein for her guidance and genuine support for this project and the Peers for Careers program.

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Using Academic Experience to Strengthen Your Resume

Posted February 7, 2013 By Kamelia Kilawan


By: Carolina Pena

Carolina Pena is studying Marketing and Photography at Baruch College. She worked at the Starr Career Development Center as a Peer for Career.

For many college students, one of the most difficult parts about strengthening a resume is listing professional experience in their chosen major field.

At Baruch College, group projects form a major part of the courses we take throughout our student careers, especially when we begin to enter our major courses. Many group projects we complete in class are as valid as any professional experience in the workplace.

If you do not have professional work experience one way to show an employer you have knowledge in your field is by listing a project. Similar to having work experience on a resume, you may detail the experience with two or three bullet points explaining your responsibilities, skills used, accomplishments, and results of the project.

In my third year at Baruch College, I listed a class project in place of professional experience on my resume because prior to this I did not have any marketing experience- aside from my leadership and extracurricular activities.
The project I listed came from a course I took in the spring semester of 2012 entitled, “Advertising and Communications.” I presented, researched, and coordinated a group to create an integrated marketing communications campaign for an international apparel and accessories company.

I decided to use this experience on my resume to demonstrate my knowledge of the field and my leadership role as the group’s coordinator. Categorized this class project under RELEVANT PROJECTS and placed it below my education section. I used clear infinitive phrases to explain the purpose of the project briefly and my duties, while highlighting key marketing skills and key words from my industry.

Example:

Marketing Campaign, Advertising and Communications, Baruch College

Presenter and Researcher

  • Presented a fifteen minute report on how to effectively launch a campaign to promote apparel and accessories for “Sally Albright Merchandise”
  • Researched marketing logic and tools to target female consumers ages 16 to 20 years

As students we have many ways of exemplifying different skills and qualifications through our academic experiences which can be placed on a resume.

Students looking to strengthen their resume, but do not have any pre-professional or professional experiences in their field of interest can use this technique to enhance their resume. In addition to project experiences, you can also list two to six related courses completed in college and include extracurricular leadership roles. These strategies will help employer identify what knowledge and skills you can bring to the job.

Using these strategies, you can show employers that what you learn in the classroom can also be transferred to the workplace. In addition, you can feel better knowing that you do in fact have valuable experiences to help you succeed in landing the interview and the job. 

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Strategic Goals for a New Semester

Posted January 31, 2013 By Kamelia Kilawan

By: Paul Rosario

Paul is a Peer for Career at the Starr Career Development Center and also works as the Director of Communications at the Transfer Student Organization.

With a fall semester full of surprises—the unexpected wrath of a hurricane and an additional few Sundays added to the academic calendar—many have realized the importance of planning ahead.

But of course planning is only as good as how well you create specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timed goals.

Here are a few steps you can use to write smart and effective goals.

Reflect on the entire year. Think about your successes and shortcomings.  Take out a sheet of paper and list at least four possible goals you would like to achieve in this semester.

Be SPECIFIC and not general.  For example, instead of saying you want to pass your Finance course, write you want to receive an A in your finance course.  This way, you can better assess the amount of effort needed to achieve your goal.

  • Answer the 5 W’s: Who is involved? What exactly do you want to accomplish and what are your obstacles?  When do you want to achieve your goal? And why do you want to achieve this goal?

MEASURE your progress. This helps you to stay on track and identify where you need to work harder.  In addition, when you actually see that you are making progress, it will motivate you to follow-through with your goal.

  • In revisiting the Finance course example, you can use exam scores, assignments, and participation as criteria to measure the progress of your goal.

Set ATTAINABLE steps towards reaching your goal. You need to decide on the route you want to take to your goal—whether this means more time studying, visiting the SACC Tutoring Center or meeting your professor during office hours.

REALISTIC goals are important because you need to dedicate the time and work to achieve them. Part of being realistic is being brutally honest with yourself. How successful are you in accomplishing your goal? Is this goal too ambitious to achieve in the time period? Is this goal less rewarding than you thought it would be?

TIME your goals. This allows a specific timeframe to complete your goal while keeping in mind additional obligations that others expect you to complete. But timing your goals well is crucial to staying committed and motivated in your pursuit.

  • Evaluate your progress during the process of achieving your goal by identifying issues of concern. Take a step back and assess if the route you are taking to your goal needs to be changed.
  • If you are successful in your goal think of specific reasons why. Were you able to meet each step in the SMART goal? If you were not successful think about what step you may need to work on and come up with a new goal!

As the spring semester begins, we wish you the best of luck and advise that all students set one or two SMART goals. Whether they are personal, professional, or a mixture of both. Goals are keys to an enriching your college career.

 

References:

  1. Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. Management Review, Volume 70, Issue 11(AMA FORUM), pp. 35-36.
  2. Meyer, Paul J (2003). “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals”Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond. Meyer Resource Group, Incorporated, The. ISBN 978-0-89811-304-4.

 

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Upcoming Workshops: Week of October 8

Posted October 8, 2014 By soobin.choi

Please make sure to RSVP on STARR Search to guarantee a seat!

 

1) Mandatory On-Campus Recruiting Workshop

October 09, 2014, 1:30 pm – 3 pm

2-190 NVC

 

A program designed to help JUNIORS & SENIORS get a jumpstart on their careers.

Attend this event and get information on:
o The on-campus recruiting program
o Effective Job search strategies/presented by corporate representative

*** Attendance at this event qualifies you for on-campus recruiting ***
NOTE, THE EVENT STARTS PROMPTLY. LATECOMERS WILL NOT BE ADMITTED

 

 

2) Cover Letters and Other Business Correspondence

October 14, 2014, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

2-190 NVC

A cover letter serves as your formal introduction and first impression on a potential employer or professional contact. Attend this workshop and learn how to develop and design a professional, marketable cover letter that will get you an interview. Format and content will be covered.
 

 

3) Mandatory On-Campus Recruiting Workshop

October 14, 2014, 3:30 pm – 5 pm

2-190 NVC

 

A program designed to help JUNIORS & SENIORS get a jumpstart on their careers.

Attend this event and get information on:

o The on-campus recruiting program
o Effective Job search strategies/presented by corporate representative

*** Attendance at this event qualifies you for on-campus recruiting ***

NOTE, THE EVENT STARTS PROMPTLY. LATECOMERS WILL NOT BE ADMITTED 

 

4) Mastering the Job Interview-Advanced

October 15, 2014, 12:30 pm – 2:00pm

2-190 NVC
This workshop is designed primarily for juniors and seniors who have attended the basic interviewing workshops and desire more intensive training. It focuses on the second interview or the site interview, the group interview and strategies for success in behavioral type interviews. (Basic Interviewing is not a pre-requisite)
 

 

5) Internship Seminar (OCR Eligibility Workshop)

October 15, 2014, 2:30 pm– 4 pm

2-190 NVC

 

This seminar will educate students on everything they need to know about internships including benefits, steps involved and best sources to obtain internship opportunities. As a result of attending this seminar, students will become OCR Eligible and be able to apply to opportunities through the SCDC On-Campus Recruiting Program provided they meet the specific employer parameters for internships or full-time positions. Additional topics covered in this workshop include STARR Search’s online recruiting system, writing an internship-tailored resume/cover letter, interviewing skills, and making the most of an internship once obtained.

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Upcoming Workshops: Week of September 17

Posted September 17, 2014 By soobin.choi

Please make sure to RSVP on STARR Search to guarantee a seat!

 

1) Mandatory On-Campus Recruiting Workshop

September 17, 2014, 2:30 – 4 pm

2-190 NVC

 

A program designed to help JUNIORS & SENIORS get a jumpstart on their careers.

Attend this event and get information on:
o The on-campus recruiting program
o Effective Job search strategies/presented by corporate representative

*** Attendance at this event qualifies you for on-campus recruiting ***
NOTE, THE EVENT STARTS PROMPTLY. LATECOMERS WILL NOT BE ADMITTED

 

 

2) Career Fair Success Strategies: Peers Perspective

September 17, 2014, 5:00 – 6:30 pm

2-190 NVC

 

Are you planning to participate in our upcoming career fair on Sept. 19th ?

Attend one of our Career Fair Success Strategies workshops and get the competitive edge! Learn tips on how to stand out from the crowd at the Fair from seasoned student leaders.

Presented by: Peers for Careers

 

 

3) Creating Your Own Major: The Ad Hoc

September 18, 2014, 12:30 – 2 pm

2-190 NVC

 

This workshop is designed for students who are interested in combining courses from several departments, and/or across schools, into a unique and coherent major. This option is offered only through Weissman’s Arts and Sciences School at Baruch and allows for custom-designing a unique major that potentially can combine business and arts and sciences courses.

 

 

4) How to Impress a Recruiter!

September 18, 2014, 12:30 – 2:00pm

3-160 NVC

Guest speaker: Recruiter from Target

Learn tips on how to impress a recruiter, whether you’re attending a career fair, corporate presentation or going for an interview.

 

 

5) Mandatory On-Campus Recruiting Workshop

September 18, 2014, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

2-190 NVC

 

A program designed to help JUNIORS & SENIORS get a jumpstart on their careers.

Attend this event and get information on:

o The on-campus recruiting program

o Effective Job search strategies/presented by corporate representative

*** Attendance at this event qualifies you for on-campus recruiting ***

NOTE, THE EVENT STARTS PROMPTLY. LATECOMERS WILL NOT BE ADMITTED

 

 

6) Internship Seminar (OCR Eligibility Workshop)

September 22, 2014, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

2-190 NVC

 

This seminar will educate students on everything they need to know about internships including benefits, steps involved and best sources to obtain internship opportunities. As a result of attending this seminar, students will become OCR Eligible and be able to apply to opportunities through the SCDC On-Campus Recruiting Program provided they meet the specific employer parameters for internships or full-time positions. Additional topics covered in this workshop include STARR Search’s online recruiting system, writing an internship-tailored resume/cover letter, interviewing skills, and making the most of an internship once obtained.

 

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