Alumni Mocktail Panel: A Reunion To Remember

By Khalid, Khalid, Peer for Career

On a beautiful Thursday evening of March 24th, the STARR Career Development Center welcomed back six of its former Alumni who were part of programs such as Peers for Careers, Rising Starr Sophomore Program (RSSP), and Passport to Partnership (P2P).  This event was possible thanks to the collaboration between awesome SCDC staff counselors and the Alumni Committee. The night was filled with spirited conversation, networking, and chatting with the six panelists who are now successful in their professional careers.

The overall Mocktail Panel was truly inspiring, from hearing the directors speak about the resources of each of the programs to being inspired by the valuable insightful success stories by each of the panelists. Attendees were able to gain and practice networking skills while savoring delicious appetizers and fancy mocktails. As a current Peer for Career, I was personally impressed that a former Alumna like Victoria Rodriguez is still utilizing the very skills she learned as a Peer. Rodriguez explained how Peers for Careers, especially Tier 2, helped her immensely in her professional career as an HR Associate at Johnson & Johnson. Surprisingly, it was not only Rodriguez who has successfully taken advantage of her experiences at STARR; most panelists agreed that participating in STARR’s programs prepared them well for their professional paths.IMG_2011

There are quite a few highlights and takeaways from the event. The one that stood out the most to me was that, no matter what leadership activities or clubs you are participating in, the skills you gain will come in handy sometime in the future. I think this is valuable advice for all students to take greater advantage of the student activities at Baruch and the great resources and programs that the STARR Career Development Center offers.

As the night went on, Alex Ryshina, the moderator, kept the conversation very engaging. Attendees received great insight into how former Alumni reached their professional goals, and what steps and initiatives they took to help them to get there. Afterwards, students had the chance to participate in a Q & A session, where one of the students received valuable tips on how to make the most of her summer internship experience at EY.IMG_2010

The night was indeed wonderful getting to know our successful Baruch Alumni. Before the event transitioned to one-on-one networking, Dr. Ellen Stein give the panelists some beautiful gifts to thank them for their time and their support for aspiring students who want to follow in their footsteps. The event was only two hours, yet full of memories for Alumni and great advice for students.                                                IMG_2009

On Behalf of the Alumni Committee, we would like to thank all the STARR Career Development Center counselors, directors of special programs, staff, and student aides for working tirelessly to put this event together. Also, we would like to extend our thanks to the Baruch Office of Alumni Relations for their support and lovely gifts for our Alumni.

Ending My Long and Stormy Relationship with Zicklin

By Aleksandra Ryshina, Peer for Career

The Zicklin School of Business and I have had a difficult relationship. I prepared to enter the school, knowing it wouldn’t be easy, but assured that I could handle it, that I was different. Sure the pre-requisites were hard, and I had zero interest in business, but wasn’t this what Baruch was all about? I had seen many students share an article online that had Zicklin as a top ten school of business, not far from Wharton. Top ten? Top ten! In an age all about numbers, this range was great to hear. I convinced myself that Zicklin had a good reputation, and that I would somehow find something in it for me. Along with this came the relief of having a “difficult major”, one that would attract law schools more than an “easy” humanities major. And so began the troublesome relationship.

I could almost hear Zicklin’s words inside my head, “You’ll never find anything better than me.” At first, the idea of being an Economics major was appealing-a kind of educational arm candy that I used to please my parents and confuse my book-club friends. Yet as the relationship continued, our disagreements grew much greater. I started to develop a wandering eye, one that was easily attracted to English theory and government classes, and I often wondered just how happy or how interested I was in my business classes. With Zicklin, I lacked the proper exploration I needed, since I was under constant pressure to complete its prerequisites.

Still, I went forward, taking almost all the necessary business prerequisites this fall semester. Taking required classes for Zicklin was like dating a vegan Pilates instructor; a thrilling challenge, but one that leaves you exhausted and longing for cheesecake. My disdain grew, and I resorted to making a pros and cons list, trying to get a grip of my future. This internal battle led to sleepless nights, studying for tests and quizzes, and a search history populated by questions like, “Can I still be rich without college,” and, “Is a coin toss a proper way to make a tough decision?” And then, without warning, I stopped doing well in my business classes. Until that point, I did not think I needed Zicklin, since I had many options for a major in the other schools. As midterms concluded, however, it was Zicklin that did not need me. There I was, stuck in a sea of students who knew they desired a business major, feeling like I was about to sink. I wish I could say someone tossed me a line, or that I relinquished the test scores, or anchors, that held me down, but my escape was and is a little different. I did not “swim to shore”, using Weissman as my safety net.

I realized that, in my college career, there would be no “easy” classes to take. For some, formulas and calculations are a second language; for others, research and writing come naturally. It was all to easy to go with the tide and pine for a career that wasn’t mine. I loved literature and writing intensive courses, and I knew that my interest would only better my grades. This realization came with some bridges to burn. Firstly, I had to switch my attention to Weissman courses, but that’s not to say that my experience with Zicklin had no use. Zicklin gave me some wonderful insights into the business field and a whole new perspective on how the economy operates. It is with these important learnings that I went forward and chose to be a Political Science major.
My love for humanities and my acceptance of a major not as frequently pursued in Baruch was not a rebound, nor a ploy to make Zicklin jealous. It was a chance to learn and grow in an environment where competition and hard work was indistinguishable among the majors.
I had never before felt so honest saying, “Zicklin, it’s really not you, it’s me.”

Developing Yourself Professionally: Using Available Resources to Your Advantage!

By Erika Apupalo, Peer for Career

During your early college years, you should take up the opportunity to develop yourself professionally. This means developing your skills. It begins with assessing which skills are important for your desired career field. Ultimately, it will allow you to become a more well-rounded and competitive candidate when you are getting ready to apply for an internship, job, or fellowships.

In order to develop myself professionally up to this current point, I have tried the following strategies and resources:

1. Find your own inspiration. My primary resource has been Carl Newport’s blog “Study Hacks Blog: Decoding Patterns of Success.” This has poignant and interesting ideas and practices about the meaning of success.
2. Attend resume reviews. Before I entered high school, I was made aware of the importance of crafting a strong first impression. This includes having a good first document to start with.
3. Meet with other professionals. At the earliest stage of my college career, my interests were all over the place. Therefore, I met with professionals from different arenas, such as the Math, English, and Science Departments. They all shared a similar devotion to their careers.
4. Learn about yourself. I am a reader; this is how I make sense of the world. But at times I had to stop reading and see what was in front of me. I had to understand what I wanted in order to move forward with those goals.
5. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Speaking of goals, I was taught a guideline for goal setting, and since I learned how to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely ones, I’ve used this guideline to set my personal and career goals.
6. Adapt. I have learned that personally I like to move at a slower pace. But when necessary, I have quickly adapted to the more fast-paced work environment of the business world since I want to pursue a career in this area.

That’s all for now. I hope that you will find some of the strategies that have helped me helpful for you. Best of Luck!

A Journey of Landing an Internship Abroad

By Khalid Khalid, Peer for Career

Interning abroad is indeed exciting. It has been one of my main goals to achieve during my studies in Berlin, Germany. As an International Business major, I knew having such a practical experience would pay off in different ways down the lines in the future, which motivated me to take every possible effort to make it a reality. Although there were quite a few obstacles that I had to overcome at first, there were definitely plenty of valuable things to note and learn from the German culture along the way.

First of all, due to my high involvement on and off Baruch’s campus, I felt confident enough that I had what it took to get an internship abroad easily. But this was not necessarily the case. To nearly everything there is a price, and I certainly had to pay mine in advance as well. Unfortunately, because I took for granted the first internship opportunity offered through my host university, I ended up not getting it for two main reasons. Firstly, the company did not clearly state the available position they had open, and I quite frankly did not do enough asking to find out. This obviously put me at a disadvantage to be well prepared for the interview and to know whether it was in my best interest to intern with them or not. Secondly, there was a very limited correlation between the position offered and my career field, which I only came to realize after the interview. Reflecting on this experience, I learned to utilize my time more efficiently, take actions to find out every possible detail about companies, and be more prepared before walking into an interview.

Fast forward: with very limited German-speaking abilities, I felt left out and overwhelmed, given that all my German classmates were corporate students who already had been working with companies for years. I started sending out my resume through my host school not only to known firms, but also more obscure firms I found interesting on the internet. However, most of the companies I applied to either required some German speaking skills or no less than three months long-term internships, which would be virtually impossible because our spring semester in Baruch starts by the end of January.

Realizing that networking might be of help, after one of the lectures I asked my International Economics Professor about any multinational companies she might be aware of. The lecture was about international trade, and it was a great way to approach the discussion. And as they say, “You don’t lose when you try.” Sure enough, she had a perfect suggestion that seemed to be just what I was looking for.

A few weeks later, I received an email from my professor’s colleague and was informed of an exciting internship opportunity with Hoffmann Dental Manufaktur, where I could intern along with the Global Supply Chain Marketing Manager. I promptly started doing my research on the company, its history, mission statement, my prospective supervisor and the two people who were going to interview me. Most importantly, I researched the role in the company and other factors I needed to know about Hoffmann. Impressed by all the information I gathered, I even became more eager to be a part of a company that supplies dental products worldwide.

Due to cultural differences, I had to pay careful attention to my resume and cover letter and make sure they were precisely what Germans look for. In Germany, applicants are encouraged to have their resumes on more than one page and chronologically ordered, with colorful font and a personal picture on the top of the first page. Now this is something completely different from what we are used to here in New York. For instance, employers in New York (and across the country) think it’s more appropriate for students to have their resumes in one single sided page. This is so mainly because there usually will be a stack of resumes during recruiting, and employers just want to see very briefly the highlights of our achievements and experiences. In addition, including personal information on the resume, such as a photo, nationality, age, and marital status, while common on European resumes, is highly discouraged when applying for jobs in the United States.

To present my own American culture while also meeting the German hiring culture, I decided to go with a one-page resume and write a cover letter that meets the standards and expectations of German employers. And to figure out what Germans look for in cover letters, I stopped by the International Office of my host university. Luckily enough, I was able to have it looked over by the International Internship Coordinator, who provided me with helpful tips about Hoffmann as well.

Looking back now after making it through that the whole application and interviewing process, I feel honored to have been accepted to intern with a dental multinational corporation that has been successful for over three decades. With all the challenges I have confronted and the learning experiences I have gained, I can only say that nothing feels better than reaping the fruits of one’s labor!

A Freshman Year Retrospective

By Michelle Sheu, Peer for Career

Freshman year was a tumultuous trip that seemed to last forever, like the daze of a summer break, but ending all too soon.

It’s the same trite story played ad infinitum, like the new kid in the big city, nothing particularly unique or new in the “growing up” phase that we all succumb to. But these individual experiences shape a student’s perspective of the world and their outlook of the future. Although we’re no longer children on the jungle gyms, stumbling and fumbling through life in our adventures and mishaps, we as city students are in the midst of our core, everlasting memories.

Looking back at my freshman year as a current sophomore, I begin to recount the incredible people I met, the late night study sessions, the struggles to find comfort food that hit the spot, sneaking said food into the library and staying there until 12 AM, and hundreds more memories throughout the course of late August into mid May. I already miss my freshman status as an underdog, perhaps because I’m on the edge of the responsibilities my sophomore status brings forth, as I begin beefing up my resume with activities.

In my first year, I pushed myself to limits that I didn’t know were possible, fled from my comfort zone, and crumbled a few times — but in the most perfect ways possible. In between the awkward phases of meeting new people and throwing myself in unfamiliar situations, I learned an incredible amount about myself. By no means was this easy, but it was insanely gratifying to see who I really am, and finding myself through this difficult process.

At one point, I found myself overwhelmed, consumed with ambition, scraping by on bits of time, not getting enough sleep or meals in, weight dropping due to stress. I was that freshman who so desperately wanted to get involved, as if this was my first and last opportunity to do so. I was deeply immersed into the fast pace of the city life, that I had little to no time for myself to reflect. In a dramatic whirlwind of events, I found myself even hating Baruch, and as an arts and design major, I felt estranged from its business rooted nature.

And for a while, it stuck and stung. The school I was destined to spend the next three years of my life, only to feel pigeonholed and cast aside. I let myself stay stagnant during that period, but gradually crawled my way out. It was when I decided to take charge and assume control of my life that I empowered myself to disassociate from some stressors, and reach out for help and support from the amazing friends that I met at Baruch. I picked myself up, began interning at the Lawrence N. Field Center at Baruch College for 3D printing and technology research, started working at STARR Career Development Center as a Peer, and developed my own ad-hoc major in Transmedia Storytelling — I found belonging, contention and fulfillment at Baruch, reinstating my love and pride for my school.

The growing up story is cheesier than 90s Disney movies, but so important to one’s development of character, ambitions, and understanding of self through these low peaks. I might be a sophomore now, but I know that this year alone will bring forth more and more changes that I can’t even begin to anticipate. Days piling up into weeks, weeks into months, and so much more time in between to have my senses knocked out of me and develop thousands of new perspectives. New York City is mine to explore, and Baruch College is there as my support.

Studying Abroad: Further Your Education and Become a Global Learner

Khalid K Photo for Study Abroad Article

By Khalid Khalid, Peer for Career

Along with being active on and off campus, another great way to truly step out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons is to study abroad. From the moment of your arrival to your host country, almost every interaction becomes a learning opportunity.

Regardless of where in the world you decide to study abroad, there are many amazing new things to discover, learn and explore. Take, for example, a great, advanced nation like Germany. As a historical landmark, you will have first-hand insight and expand your knowledge of the country by physically being there, seeing it and walking around its beautiful streets and astonishing museums. Immersing yourself in the German culture, speaking to locals, and interacting with them on a daily basis will not only sharpen your ability to see the world from a different perspective but also help you understand yourself and the importance of keeping your own traditions. Too often, just reading about another culture in textbooks or hearing about it from others is not enough to fully understand it.

Additionally, attending a study abroad program at a host university could be another great way to explore other countries’ educational systems. For instance, studying at a German institution of higher education is somewhat different from what we are accustomed to in the United States. All levels of education are nearly free-of-cost and many universities also offer “Corporate Programs.” A Corporate Program involves sponsorship by real world firms such as IBM, Bayer or Biomet who fund students while also offering them opportunities for practical work during school breaks and summer vacations. As an international student, you will have the chance to learn from excellent German instructors who teach real world applications as well as from classmates who have been working with companies for years.

Once you have lived in a host country for a few months, you start building networks and making connections with students from all over the world. As the saying goes, “You never know who the person sitting next to you is going to be.” Whether it’s a classmate, instructor or your dorm-mate, the relationships you form while studying abroad might well be some of the most valuable relationships you will ever make. Even though this might be true anywhere, studying abroad especially brings long-lasting relationships that can pay in the future in different ways.

Believe it or not, by immersing yourself in unfamiliar culture, experimenting with new ways of thinking, or trying a different way of living, you will experience some sort of personal growth and mostly likely come back home with a renewed interest in the world and newfound knowledge. Although living in a foreign country can be overwhelming at times, it can definitely put into motion significant personal development. So here is some advice: take a risk, further the great education you receive here at Baruch and be better prepared to face challenges in the future!

Photo credit: Khalid Khalid, September 2015

Alumni Interview: Tasvir Hasan

Tasvir Hasan picture

By Jubi Gauchan, Peer for Career

On a beautiful Saturday morning, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tasvir Hasan, an alumnus of
Baruch who is heavily involved in recruiting at his alma mater. Father to two sweet daughters,
husband to a beautiful wife that he has known more than half his life, and a friendly, kind and
awesome personality, he is currently a Vice President at J.P. Morgan. Read on to find out more!

1. What year did you graduate? What was your major and minor?

I graduated Baruch in 2004 with an Accounting degree. At that time, an Accounting major
was not required to have a minor.

2. Where do you work and what is your current role?

I have worked at J.P. Morgan for 15 years, including four years during college, as a Smart
Start Scholarship/Internship participant. I worked full-time in the summer and part-time
during the school year.

Currently, I am the functional head of the North American Multinational Credit Risk team.
We handle inbound requests for the North-American subsidiaries of companies with
overseas headquarters. Clients come to us when they need loans, or other products / services
that have credit exposure.

3. Could you tell us a little bit about your experience in Baruch? Did you participate in
any clubs or organizations?

While attending Baruch, I worked at J.P. Morgan, which did not leave me with a lot of free
time; however, I was in the Honors Program, and I was a Student Academic Consulting Center
(SACC) Tutor for math, accounting, finance and other subjects. I was also a student

4. Please name some steps that helped you to launch your first internship/job.

I graduated high school with an Engineering degree and was very involved in extracurricular
activities. I wanted to keep busy and have a good profile for college applications. In addition
to being the Salutatorian of the school and engineering program, I was the Editor of the
Yearbook and Captain of the handball team. Our handball team won the city championship
and my partner and I won the city doubles tournament as well. I even had my story
published in Newsday and another newspaper.

Towards the end of my junior year, I asked my professor and mentor where I could transition
to outside of engineering, and was advised that I should look into business. That is why I
came to Baruch, and then joined the J.P. Morgan Smart Start scholarship/internship program.

With my engineering background, the internship program managers thought doing something
technology-related would be a good first rotation. I was placed in a role responsible for
testing software and web applications for employees. Thereafter, I wanted to enhance my soft
skills, so I went through a leadership and management curriculum training rotation. In this
program, we assessed the internal and external training courses that were made available to
J.P. Morgan employees.

I knew I wanted to be an Accounting major, so I joined the Corporate Tax department for my
third rotation. It was a very good role, but I realized that accounting is too objective for my
personal preference. Since I wanted something a bit more subjective in nature, I looked into
Finance. Fortunately, I was asked to be a summer analyst for Credit Risk, and I submitted
my resume. I was two out of 40 Smart Start interns that joined a group of six Credit Risk
interns in the Commercial Bank. I really enjoyed it. Early on, I presented my views on why
we should lend money to large corporations, using quantitative and qualitative factors
through SWOT analysis, etc.

I then joined as a full-time analyst in Credit Risk. Although I have not worked outside of
Credit Risk in my full-time career, I have rotated through several industry groups in the
Commercial Bank and Corporate & Investment Bank.

5. What are the qualities that are the most valuable for your current position and your

You have to be diligent, inquisitive, a good team player, and commercial. It is easy as a
Credit Officer to say “no.” However, I think the purpose is to find a way that works well for
everyone. It is about the right risk and return. Credit is a foot in the door for the
relationship, providing you with an opportunity to deliver other products and services.

Currently, I also manage people so have to be thoughtful about what is in their best interests,
and think about the team in general. It is good to be humble – knowing that there are a lot of
people who are smarter than you in certain aspects through experiences or simply smarter by
nature. That being said, it is important to keep in mind the importance of EQ, in addition to

It is important to keep an open mind, and understand that we are not always right. We have to
be flexible when thrown a curveball. It is important to not to get rattled when surprises
happen; I see a lot of senior colleagues that stay calm, cool, and collected. As a leader, they
are the face of the team. I think they recognize that if we see them calm and focused, we will
feel more comfortable as well.

6. Could you tell us about the challenges you faced when you first started your

The internship started in my freshman year of college. I went from being a laid back high
school student to coming into a professional work environment. For the first couple of days, I
thought it was okay to go with my shirt un-tucked. My manager pulled me aside and said that
was not okay.

Everybody has specific roles and responsibilities, some of which are less interesting, but
you need to remind yourself of the bigger picture. You need to remind yourself that this is
part of delivering solutions to your colleagues and clients, and then it becomes more

Getting adjusted to the business world, breaking out of my shell, and understanding the
bigger picture were important things I learned early on.

7. What are some tips that you would give to students for a successful recruiting

Come prepared. It will help if you know who you are meeting with, know what they are
doing, and what the hot topics are in that industry/profession. Have your 60-second pitch; and
do not talk too much about yourself unless you are being asked for more information. It is
important to sell yourself in a smart way, but don’t overdo it. Ask the professionals about
themselves too.

Don’t take it personally when people don’t connect with you right away. It sometimes
depends on the kind of day that they’re having, or other things that are going on in their lives.
Always keep a smile on your face.

Don’t be shy in a networking environment. People are there to help you. If things don’t go as
you want them to, don’t take it personally.

I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason, so be yourself, do the best that you
can, be honest, and you will find yourself in a place where you are meant to be.

8. If you were to give one advice to Baruch students, what would it be?

Be yourself and challenge yourself to be the best person you can be. Competition is definitely
big in any job, let alone finance. I think we should just compete with ourselves. Just try to be
better than who you were yesterday and that’s something you should never regret or feel bad
about. I think a fitting way to end this would be to paraphrase a quote from Bernard M.
Baruch himself: You don’t have to blow out the other person’s light to let your own shine.

Staying Active During the Summer

By Ajay Rattu, Peer for Career

It’s getting warmer out which means that summer is right around the corner. Summer is the time for students to not worry about tests and just soak in some sun and relax. While enjoying the weather and relaxing is great, there is also plenty of time to to spruce up your resume as a student and gain experience in your field of interest. Three main activities that you can add to your summer are: landing an internship, securing a summer job, and volunteering your time to help the community.

Landing a summer internship, whether paid or unpaid, may be one of the best things a student can do to prepare for to finding a job after graduation. An internship not only provides more content for your resume, but more importantly, it also provides you with experience. Experience is always welcome, whether the opportunity was ultimately a good match for you or not, because something can always be learned through experience. The experience you obtain from an internship helps you, as a student, decide if your field of interest is a great fit for you. Through an internship, a student will learn and understand some of the daily responsibilities of their position of interest. Some of the questions students may have, such as, “What kind of things will I be doing on a daily basis?” and “Who do I interact with?” will be answered. Through that experience and a better understanding of the position and industry, the student is able to effectively gauge if they are the right fit for that particular line of work.

Another way a student can gain experience in the summer is through a summer job. Obtaining a summer job is a great way to increase your overall skills and also to create some type of income for yourself. The summer income can assist in a student’s semester expenses. Expenses like tuition, transportation, and food can be taken care of either partially or wholly with the summer income. Along with the summer job and income there is something students should learn to master, which is budgeting! By budgeting their expenses for the semester, students can focus more on their academics rather than stressing if they will need to find work mid-semester.

Although internships summer jobs are important, taking part in some type of volunteer work is also beneficial to a student. Volunteer work and community service is a great way to stay active during the summer while gaining interactive experience. Regardless of the type of assistance a student provides, the student will gain more knowledge either in the work itself or on how to interact with others.
Other suggestions for the summer that may be useful for students are to learn a new skill and to continue reading through the summer. By learning a new skill a student can increase their knowledge and also incorporate it to their resume. Hopefully as a student you are able to do at least one of these things to pave the way to a dream job after graduation. Enjoy your summer!

Alumni Interview: Kamran Malik

Kamran Malik Photo for Interview

By Jiaxin Karen Lu, Peer for Career

Kamran Malik is a Baruch alumnus who graduated in the year of 2005, with a major in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Graphic Communications. He currently works at EY as a Senior Consultant. Please see the following advice he has for students.

1. Could you tell us a little bit about your experience in Baruch? Did you participate in any clubs or organizations?

I was involved in the student leadership team called T.E.A.M. Baruch. I taught Freshman Seminar classes and helped new freshmen get acclimated to Baruch. Within T.E.A.M. Baruch were branches of all kinds, including Peers for Careers. After an intense training on how to make the best possible resume and stand out in front of employers, I assisted Baruch students with their resumes and helped them prepare for interviews by holding mock interviews.

2. Please name some steps that helped you obtain your first full time job.
I was fortunate enough to work at the Starr Career Development Center while at Baruch, so I was very on top of my job search from the beginning of my college career. I started interning at Citigroup after my first year in college. My summer internship turned into a part-time internship. While working at Starr, I saw that Citigroup was interviewing for an Analyst program, which I immediately applied to, and I was offered a position. What helped me most was the motivation from watching other students try hard and take time out of their lives to better their interviewing skills and improve their resumes.

3. What are the qualities that are the most valuable for your current position and your company?
I am currently in consulting, where networking and selling yourself is key. You should be able to speak to different levels of management and establish relationships with those individuals. Also, try to be part of the “best of the best” – this means get certified, or take higher education courses whenever you have availability to do so.

4. Could you tell us the challenges you faced when you first started your full-time job?
My biggest challenge was my lack of industry knowledge compared to my peers, because I was fresh out of school, and working among many senior level people, I felt a little intimidated. I was expected to know a lot because I was an intern there, but I really lacked in that area compared to the rest of the team. Fortunately, I was blessed with a wonderful team that helped me in every way possible and guided me to the right courses to excel.

5. If you were to give one piece of advice to Baruch students, what would it be?
Network. Network with everyone! You never know when you may need them, or they need you. Invite everyone you meet to your LinkedIn list. I like to try to find a common ground with someone and have them remember me that way. Have an “elevator pitch” ready to be able to sell yourself to them. If you are an intern, and are taking the elevator up with the CEO, you want to be able to say something to them, to have them remember you.

Informational Interviews: Utilizing Your Network

By Jessica Kweon, Peer for Career

A great way to build your network while gaining a better understanding of an industry you want to pursue is to arrange informational interviews. The purpose of informational interviews is to discover more about a certain field you may be considering; although informational interviews can help you develop productive working relationships that may lead to new opportunities, they should be conducted without any expectation of a job offer. One important thing to keep in mind is that informational interviews are not your standard job application interviews. During informational interviews, you are the interviewer and you get to ask questions about a professional’s experiences, challenges, and interests. Although informational interviews tend to be less stressful, you should always prepare for an informational interview as if it is a real interview and maintain the same level of professionalism.

For a successful informational interview, know exactly what you want to get out of the experience and make sure to do research. Think about industries you are planning on pursuing, the companies you would like to work for, and certain people who you can meet with to help you gain that knowledge. Make sure to take advantage of your current networks such as professors at Baruch, previous employers, friends, or even family. If you are currently working or interning, make sure to benefit from that network as well. Not only do you want to research what you want to learn more about, but also you should consider how that professional can help you. View their LinkedIn profile, browsing their background and their current position. Additionally, be aware of any recent events that have occurred relevant to the industry that might be worth taking note.

Once the professional has accepted your invitation for an informational interview, make sure to be ready. Remember to treat this as a real interview, so be prepared and professional. Have a list of questions available to ask the professional relating to his position and industry. Take notes during the meeting and let the conversation flow naturally. Towards the end, make sure to thank the professional for his or her time. Ask for any referrals for additional potential informational interviews and ask for their business card. Plus do not forget about that Thank You note! The professional has taken time out of his busy schedule to meet with you, so it is appropriate to follow up. Be sure to also keep records of who you have met and what you have learned for future reference.

Although informational interviews can seem intimidating, they are a great way to get informed about the career path you want to follow and clarify your own goals in the process.

Grades, Sleep and Social Life: Give Me All Three

By Christopher Woo, Peer for Career

Most college students have heard that they must pick two out of three: grades, sleep or a social life. With everything that goes on in college between jobs, homework and extracurricular activities, getting two of those seems like a stretch. Three seems impossible. But there are many things a student can do to make the most of their time and reach for the impossible trinity. It all comes down to one of the most important things in college and the working world: time management.

The themes to time management are pretty simple: prioritize, meet deadlines and create an environment where you can be productive. But achieving those themes on a micro level can be difficult, especially with all the distractions around you. Start with prioritizing and getting a planner. For some, writing things down is one helpful way to remember; for others, it’s the major catalyst to accomplishing something that needs to be done. Whether physically on paper, or on a phone, having a to-do list will help you get organized. From there, you can prioritize tasks by deadline and get the urgent ones done first. Planning out your day and sticking to this plan will reduce the chances that you get caught off guard and help you get everything done.

Creating a productive environment is another key to time efficiency. This means leaving social media and phones aside so that you can focus on the work you have to do, which will give you time for sleeping or going out later. Putting your phone on “do not disturb” may silence the need to instantly respond to every notification. For those who are easily distracted, temporarily blocking sites like Facebook, Twitter or Netflix (even if you have “The Walking Dead” to catch up on) may help you focus better on meeting your deadlines.

But one of the biggest keys in managing your time is that you have to know yourself. You are the only one who knows how many responsibilities you can handle. This means saying no when you need to. When people ask for things that may exceed your current capacity, whether social or professional, saying no could be the key to giving yourself enough time to balance everything out. Always saying yes puts a lot more on your plate and makes you the go to person when someone needs something extra done. This could take away from your time to study for good grades, sleep or hang out with friends. Knowing your limits, respecting them, and communicating them considerately to others is the key to balancing and managing your time. Learning to manage your time now will not only allow you to achieve high grades, get enough sleep and enjoy a social life in college, but it will also help you reduce your stress in the professional working world and in life.

How to Get Ahead: The Journey of Obtaining an Internship

By Samantha Bendernagel, Peer for Career

It was my sophomore year at Baruch, and I was starting to feel a bit left out. All my friends had internships, and there I was, second year into college with no experience pertaining to my field. I decided that it was finally time to take my future into my own hands. I was determined to get that perfect summer internship!

First, I revised my resume by going onto the STARR Career Development Center’s website and referencing their resume packet. Next on the list was my LinkedIn account. I updated all of my information and did my best not to regurgitate everything on my resume. However, I made sure not to spare any of my accomplishments. “No longer restricted to one page,” I thought.

Finally it came time for the hard part, which was actually finding an internship. I logged onto my STARR Search account and checked for the following: Was it paid, and if so, how much? Was it part-time or full-time? What was the start and end date? Where was it located/how long would my commute be? Did I fit their criteria? Did they fit mine?

Eventually, I found a company that I deemed a good fit. It was exactly what I wanted—a hands-on learning environment where I’d be given my own projects and responsibilities. Not to mention, it was paid! I then went onto the company’s website and conducted further research. Based on their job description and the additional information I found, I wrote them a personalized cover letter where I expressed my interest for the position and explained how I could contribute to their program.

I emailed my files to the hiring manager and hoped for the best. Although the experience was intimidating, I learned a lot about the application process. Regardless of whether I was to hear back not, I was proud of myself for what I had accomplished.

One week later, I received an email back! They were impressed with my credentials as well as my knowledge of the company. My interview is next week…wish me luck!

Alumni Interview: Cheng (Kevin) Chen

Kevin Chen (2)

By Jubi Gauchan, Peer for Career

On a chilly December evening, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Chen, an alum of Baruch who graduated in June 2013. He majored in Finance and minored in Natural Sciences. As many stars of Baruch are, all through college life, he was heavily involved in various leadership activities and has interned in many different companies. He was also a former Peer for Careers and is currently working at New York Life Investments. Read on to find out more!

1. What year did you graduate? What was your major and minor?

I graduated in June 2013. My major was Finance and I minored in Natural Sciences.

2. Where do you work and what is your current role?

I work in New York Life Investments, which is the investment arm of New York Life Insurance Company. I am currently an Associate in the Strategic Technology Investments Group, which is essentially the corporate venture capital team at NY Life. My team invests in technology start-up companies as well as venture capital funds. We have a mandate of bringing innovative technology companies into NY Life and we introduce their technology to the firm.

3. Could you tell us a little bit about your experience in Baruch? Did you participate in any clubs or organizations?

I had a great time at Baruch. It is a great bang for the buck!

In freshman year I was still debating on whether to focus on pre-med or go into Finance. Then in my sophomore year, I joined TEAM Baruch and then Peers for Careers. At the same time, I started to explore different clubs. I joined Beta Alpha Psi and became an Assistant Treasurer. I was also in the Bio-Med Society. I also started a non-profit on campus called Baruch Operation Smile. We were a student club arm of the non-profit called Operation Smile, where they provide free procedures for children in developing countries born with cleft lips. I was the President and Co-founder. For my sophomore year, I was recruiting members and building out the operations and then mainly focused on developing it further during my junior and senior year. We originally started with 4 members and then by the time I passed on the baton, we had 40 members. Besides that, I was also the Chief Operating Officer for Financiers without Borders.

4. Please name some steps that helped you to launch your first full time job?

The Peers for Careers program got me started with career development and prepped me with all the skills necessary to get my first internship at JP Morgan in the Baruch Extended Finance Internship Program. I was working there through most of my sophomore year. Then, I moved to Bank of America to explore a wealth management internship. After that, I went back to JP Morgan after finding out about an opportunity from fellow Peers: the Inter-year Operations Program, where I worked as a part-time Analyst for the rest of my college life. In between that, for summer during my junior year, I interned at Société Générale in Emerging Markets Trading. After that, I joined the investment management program at New York Life Investments full-time.
In sum, the Peers program combined with the experiences of club life and starting my own club on-campus built a strong foundation for me that helped me obtain all the internships. Then, all the internships built up the right skills that helped me to market myself as a suitable and competent applicant.

5. What are the qualities that are the most valuable for your current position and your company?

The qualities would be the ability to take initiative, being able to work without being given directions, taking ownership of projects, multi-tasking and developing professional skills such as how to interact with people. All these are important especially at work where I meet with entrepreneurs and have to work with different types of people.

6. Could you tell us about the challenges you faced when you first started your full time job?

It was a new team so there was no procedure to follow. In a lot of big companies, there is always a predecessor before you, who would give you the documentation of what to do and describe your day-to-day job duties. However here, we had to help build the process for it from scratch, which was extremely exciting.

Transitioning into full-time was also different. The transition from Intern to Analyst or Associate where you get more responsibilities and you have to think about where you want your career to go were some things I had to deal with.

Initially, I had wanted to be a trader so all the steps I took in college was to prepare for that role. Thus, getting into the venture capital field was not my original intention. However, when I stumbled upon the job, I found it to be very interesting and enjoyable.

7. If you were to give one advice to Baruch students, what would it be?

Be open to opportunities. Never look down upon an opportunity because it is a job that you do not like. You never know what doors might be opened next from there and where it might lead you to. Thus, jump on any opportunities that you find and do not be afraid to do it.

A Remarkable Learning Experience Through Informational Interviewing

By Jamie Douglass-Espaillat, SCDC Higher Education Intern

An informational interview differs greatly from a formal interview. The purpose behind informational interviewing is to gain knowledge of a certain field while networking and creating industry contacts. I decided to conduct an informational interview in an effort to uncover a direction towards an area of full-time work upon my graduation this May. After reaching my contact and arranging a time and place to meet via email, I created a list of questions for the interview. I did not want to be confined to this list; it was created merely to provide some direction during the interview, in case I found it was needed.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Maziely (Mazi) Crisostomo, Director of the College Now program here at Baruch. I was excited; assisting high school students with navigating their way through higher education choices was my motivation behind pursuing a Master’s degree in the first place. College Now is a program that mentors high school students who attend public institutions within our city. The program provides the opportunity to high school juniors and seniors attending schools in traditionally underserved neighborhoods to partake in college level courses through dual enrollment. College Now also extends its services to home-schooled students and students with disabilities.

Mazi has an extensive history of working in college access. She began as an outreach worker at Queens Community House, assisting students with a history of truancy to navigate accelerated paths to their high schools diplomas. She then moved on to Phipps Community Development Corporation in the Bronx where she helped students apply to college, and later to Good Shepherd Services at West Brooklyn Community High School where she resumed working with truant students. Mazi thoroughly enjoyed her work but wanted more. She eventually transitioned to College Now and is juggling a variety of responsibilities in her new role as Director.

When speaking of her new position and how it fulfills her, Mazi said she finds the most enjoyment in seeing her students succeed and watching them promote the program to their peers. Receiving gratitude from the students she mentors is also fulfilling. When discussing challenges within her role, Mazi’s concern is the ability to sufficiently promote the program and be available to students while handling the administrative duties that come with her position in a short-staffed office. She was also concerned with keeping her students motivated.

The interview concluded with a discussion about the plethora of resources available to students, especially those who are interested in pursuing vocational paths. Mazi’s passion for assisting students in navigating the sometimes blurry high school-to-college pathway is evident through her extensive knowledge and desire to mentor. Speaking with her was not only personally informative, but also reinforced my decision to pursue a career in higher education.

Prior to meeting with Mazi, I was aware that conducting an informational interview would be beneficial; after all, what opportunity to learn isn’t? What I was not aware of was the reassurance I would gain from the experience. Meeting with Mazi not only provided encouragement of my professional choices but was also inspirational. It gave me the motivation I needed to enter my last semester of graduate school here at Baruch with excitement and vigor.

Time to Move on

By Yahya Khan, Peer for Career

As 2014 comes to a close, so does my undergraduate career. I came to Baruch four years ago as a freshman, ready to embark on an exciting and transformative journey. Now, that journey is at an end; I will graduate at the end of this semester, and with it ends an era of my life. I have been lucky enough to land a full time offer with a large financial services firm and I will start my employment shortly after graduating. While I am glad to have obtained meaningful employment and excited to commence a new chapter in my journey, I am also saddened by the end of a significant phase of my life and by the radical change that it heralds. I have had the opportunity to discuss these particular feelings with many of my peers as well as mentors that have already traversed through this particular canyon, and now I want to share a few insights that might be useful.

1. Time is precious. Transitioning from college to a full time work life normally leads to a reduction in disposable time. The ability to have free time and how we choose to spend it becomes increasingly valuable. With work weeks approaching 50-60 hours and sometimes even more, a major change that many entry level professionals go through is prioritizing their relationships, friendships, and who they choose to spend their time with. This can have both positive and negative outcomes: it allows us to curate our lives and allocate time to what we perceive to be the most important or enjoyable endeavors, but it deprives us of those chance encounters and “out of the box” activities that can lead to personal growth.

2. Motivation at work. Once the initial excitement of starting a new job wears off, it is important to deploy mechanisms that keep the initial spark alive. One of the key ways of doing so is to have self- assigned goals and challenges that motivate the desire to work and to improve. For many of us starting careers in large, global organizations, it is sometimes hard to envisage the impact our work creates or its importance to others. Therefore, in order to remain motivated and passionate, it is important to have definite, measurable goals and to understand the larger picture of why our work is important.

3. Charting a life course. Life in college follows a structured path. Students are generally familiar with what they need to do in order to achieve good grades and to be successful in academic life. The transition to a work life disrupts that orderly existence. While responsibilities and activities at work might be structured and assigned by someone else, a person’s own career trajectory is completely defined by their own accomplishments and desires. Therefore, it is important to take a step back from the day to day humdrum of life and think about what our own definition of “success” is, what we want to achieve in life, and how our current employment aids that effort.

The end of my time at Baruch is both nostalgic and exciting. I am delighted by the friendships and relationships I have had in my time here and by the plethora of life experiences that I will take away from this institution. However, I am also saddened by the thought of leaving so many friends and fond memories behind. In conclusion, regardless of how I feel about this change, it will happen, and the best I can do is to equip myself with the right tools and go out in the world ready to take on the next challenge.

Step Up and Speak

By Christopher Woo, Peer for Career

Along with spiders, flying, and the dark, public speaking is one of the things that people fear most. Spiders and airplanes can be avoided, but unfortunately, a student can never avoid the anxiety and stress that is public speaking. Whether it comes to presentations, speeches, or networking, a student will eventually be required to get up and talk in front of a group of strangers. Although initially unnerving, there are many things that you can do (besides picture the crowd in their underwear) to prepare and make the whole ordeal of speaking to a room of glaring eyes a lot less daunting.

Prior to getting up to deliver your presentation or speech, there are a couple steps that you need to take. For one, know your material and practice, practice, practice. Some may think that they can wing a presentation, but that is never recommended. Knowing your material inside and out gives you confidence, and when talking to strangers, confidence is key. You will be able to answer any follow up questions and you can speak knowledgeably about your topic. Another thing you can do to build confidence is dress appropriately on the day of your presentation. Looking good will make you feel good, resulting in a higher level of confidence. Pay attention to your hair, makeup, dress, tie dimples, and whatever else it takes to make you feel good about yourself going into the presentation.

Time to present. Now during the presentation, there are some things that you want to take note of. Know your audience. Notice where the professionals are, where the professors are, where that kid in the corner dozing off is. Know who you are talking to and target your presentation to them in terms of language and details. You would use different vocabulary and details for a group of students than you would for a group of professionals in the industry.

While speaking, be aware of your tone of voice and the rate at which you speak. Some people tend to have a higher-pitched voice when nervous, and that is fine. Just make sure you speak at a tone and rate where people can understand you. Usually that means talking at a normal, maybe even slightly slower than normal, pace and enunciating your words. You can have the best ideas ever, but if no one can understand you, it won’t matter. Keeping eye contact with your audience will also help you appear more confident and gain the audience’s trust. Try not to stare at the floor or your notes all the time or the audience will think you have not prepared well and stare even more blankly at you.

Most of all, the key to public speaking is to relax. You prepared, dressed well, and you are the expert on the topic you are presenting. Even if you skipped a line on your notes or missed a sentence on a slide, don’t worry about it. Your audience does not know your presentation and won’t even realize the mistake unless you make a big deal out of it. As hard as it sounds, try to enjoy yourself and have fun. It is your time to command the room.


Lessons Learned: An International Student’s Story

By Jubi Gauchan, Peer for Career


My journey as an international student in the USA has not been easy. It has been a road fraught with difficulties and heartbreaks. In a world where many people come into New York knowing what they want to become, I was the exact opposite! I had just given up on my dream that I had since I was six, of becoming a doctor due to the enormous costs of medical school. Thus my first steps into NY: no idea what I wanted to major in, experiencing the brutal cold and not knowing anybody here. It was a start afresh after living for 18 years in Asia.

I was initially attending another college before transferring to Baruch during my sophomore year. Thus, I was one of the newest newbies you could find at Baruch: an international student and a transfer student!

Coming to Baruch was an eye-opener. To quote our President, we have our “own mini-UN” here, filled with people from all over the world speaking so many different languages! The potpourri was intimidating, but awe-striking. As a sophomore still, I had no idea what I truly wanted to major in. I was torn between accounting and finance. That first semester, I became a commuter student, going for classes and then heading back home. Time was just ticking by and I still had no clue as to what I wanted to major in. Also, I barely knew anyone. I knew that this soon had to change.

By chance, I happened to come across a brochure for the Rising Starr Sophomore Program (RSSP). I decided to challenge myself and break out of my comfort zone and applied. I had no confidence that I would even get in as they were targeting the best sophomores at Baruch. As luck would have it, I got into the program where I met so many bright people who were in similar situations as me (not knowing their exact major yet) but very much involved at Baruch. Looking at them as an inspiration, I took up the offer of joining Baruch’s oldest Honors society, Sigma Alpha Delta, in order to become more active on campus and get to know more people.

Long story short, one step led to another and I ended up joining T.E.A.M. Baruch. Through there, I met the most wonderful people on campus- people who are my closest friends at Baruch- and learned even more about leadership. After the general leadership training, I underwent another semester of rigorous training to be in the Peers for Careers program. Meanwhile, my year long journey with RSSP and the Starr Career Development Center helped me to decide upon my major.

It was a daunting task to finally decide that Finance was going to be my major. I was afraid. As an international student, it would be even more difficult to land a job in Finance, and all my international friends were pushing me to do accounting because of the perception that accounting is recession-proof. Regardless, I went with my gut and declared Finance as a major. Now came the tough part: finding an internship. With no prior finance-related work experience and little knowledge of the finance world, I took my major classes and went to events, workshops and career fairs. As I challenged myself more, I faced setbacks and triumphs and grew more as a person. Soon, after countless hours of preparations, I finally landed my first internship which then created even more opportunities for me.

Now in my senior year, as I look back, I see that all these years have been extremely challenging but equally as rewarding. In my journey as an international student, I have found these lessons helpful and I hope you find use of them too:

1) Never follow the path most traveled. Listen to your heart, find your own path and create your own opportunities. Believe that you can make it happen. Believe in yourself!

2) There will be days when you feel like nothing is going right in the world for you and everything seems to be unattainable. At that point, take a deep breath and just go do something else for that moment, such as watching your favorite TV shows, going for a long run, or talking with your close friends (which always helps!) Soon enough, you will find that the tasks you have to complete are not as daunting anymore.

3) Always be humble. There are so many people from different backgrounds that one can learn from, be they your professors, your peers, or the many people who keep our school running. Everybody has their own life stories that we can learn something from.

4) Do not burn bridges. Nobody will remain where they are at this particular point of time. Life is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. There may come a day when they are in a more favorable position than you. At that point, it is not the words that you spoke that they will remember, but the way you made them feel.

5) Always be grateful for the opportunities you have. Take advantage of being in one of the greatest cities in the world and at Baruch! Also, never consider something as beneath you, for every experience- good or bad- helps you to grow as a person and leads you to the next step in your journey to success.
In conclusion, regardless of our backgrounds, in our challenging world today it is all too easy to get caught up in our fast-paced lives and forget that we do not live forever. Hence, live each moment to the fullest. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Steve Prefontaine:

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”


A Step Toward Leadership

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!

Diary of an Intern, Episode 7: Finding Two Mentors

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?


Finance Recruiting Step 5: Networking

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.


Career Fairs and Other Upcoming Events: September 2014

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.


Diary of an Intern, Episode 6: Internal Conflicts

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?

Finance Recruiting Step 4: Technical Skills

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.

Balancing Graduate School, Career, and Family

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.

Career Corner: Changing Your Major

By Akash Shah

(As orginally published in the Ticker:

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.

Finance Recruiting Step 3: Developing Soft Skills – The Personal Pitch

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.

Career Corner: Establishing a Mentoring Relationship

By: Nadezda Semenova, Peers for Careers Correspondent

(As orginally published in the Ticker:

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.


Finance Recruiting Step 2: Developing Soft Skills – Asking A+ Questions

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:, 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.

Finance Recruiting Step 1: Understand the Industry

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,  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 (, 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.


How to Succeed at a Job Interview in IT

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.

Junior Ramroop: A Hardworking Alum’s Journey to Success

JARamroop_photo for Starrlights(1)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Continue reading “Junior Ramroop: A Hardworking Alum’s Journey to Success”

The Four Year Plan for Career Success

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!


Career Corner: Interviews

By Jiaxin Yu, Peers for Careers Correspondent

(As orginally published in the Ticker:

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.

Career Corner: Leading

By Jason Ioffe / Peers for Careers Correspondent

(As orginally published in the Ticker:

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.

Career Corner: LinkedIn

By Manal Janati,  Peers for Careers Correspondent

(As originally published in the Ticker:

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.

Starrlights Wins First-Place Award for Best Practices in Career Development


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.

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.

Using Academic Experience to Strengthen Your Resume

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.


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. 

Strategic Goals for a New Semester

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.



  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.


I am a Flower…And Still a Flower: From Freshman to Junior Year

By Lisa Puran, Peer for Career

When I arrived at the Newman Vertical Campus on the first day, I breathed a sigh of relief. “Finally! a school where my mom will not be a part of the PTA,” I thought as I trudged up the steps. Although lightly humored, it instantly dawned on me that entering college would mean independence and personal growth. I would be my own boss in one of the biggest business schools in NYC, no pun intended.

I entered the building ready to tackle the day.  My schedule was looking great with the breaks between classes. I began to enjoy college for the supposed ease, by simply showing up to my classes and hanging out with friends during breaks. College life was awesome, until I received a low mark on my first exam. It then hit me that free time in college was not a luxury, but a necessity. I spent the second half of my first semester doing outlines and self-studying. Slowly, but surely I saw my grades increase despite exhausting nights studying. If college taught me one thing, it was self-discipline.

Freshman year was a breath of fresh air because it taught me the importance of management. I had to master time management by learning how to juggle my classes, study sessions, and part-time job. My planner became my best friend in mapping out my days, weeks, even months. I even learned the hard way to become financially stable when I blew one of my paychecks on food and other random items I most likely did not need. This level of personal management has allowed me to blossom from a kid reliant on mommy and daddy to an adult who can take charge of her life. However, overcoming the independence hurdle is only half the equation. I soon found myself facing a new personal challenge.

There was something about Baruch that was… different. It was the culture – more specifically the business culture. I was initially amazed at the austere grandeur of the business school upperclassmen dressed in slick black suits. Some would be sitting reading the Wall Street Journal while others flocked to corporate events or even STARR for interviews. I looked down at my flower dress and wondered how an intended Finance major like myself could fit in when I was so obviously disadvantaged. I decided to get more involved on campus by joining T.E.A.M. Baruch and applying to the Rising STARR Sophomore Program (RSSP). I wanted to build upon my leadership and professional skills so I could make myself a target candidate for internships in the future. Through these programs, I was able to witness a change in myself – I was much more outspoken and confident. I was so incredibly thankful for the opportunities here at Baruch that I became a proponent of mentoring.

Since freshman year, I have become more involved on campus, despite the stereotype against commuter schools. I held a Freshman Seminar role where I helped lead a class of 20 incoming freshman, assisting with their college transition. I also joined the Peers for Careers program, where I am able to aid my fellow Baruch students in their individual career development by revising professional documents as well as leading workshops. I was selected to participate in RSSP and also in the Financial Women’s Association chapter of Baruch College. I applied and received mentors from Baruch’s Executives on Campus. These experiences allowed me to develop as a young professional while being able to give back to the Baruch community. As an added bonus, I was able to do extensive networking and met a lot of great people, some of whom are actually now my best friends. And it is these experiences that have made me ready for perhaps my most difficult feat yet – Junior Year Recruiting.

I am happy to say that with all of the support and experiences I have had at Baruch, I was able to land a Summer Analyst position at BlackRock. As I write today, it is crazy to think I have already completed 2.5 years of college. But I am grateful for the memories and am holding on tight for the rest of the ride.