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.


Introducing Recruiting Round Up

The STARR Career Development Center (SCDC) offers a variety of services to students.  One of the most buzzed-about services that we offer is our On-Campus Recruiting Program.  On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) refers to employers, from various companies, coming to campus to recruit young professionals for either internship or full-time positions.  In addition to holding first round interviews at the SCDC’s offices, employers typically come to campus for presentations, recruiter-in-residence events, and other guest speaking events.

While On-Campus Recruiting is a wonderful component of the SCDC’s services, learning how to navigate the recruiting process can take some education.  As a result, we decided to create a new category of articles on Starrlights that would address the challenges and opportunities that often arise around OCR and job searching in general.

If you have specific topics that you would like to see addressed in this section, please don’t hesitate to add your thoughts to the comments.

Missed this year’s CPA Fair? No worries, we have all the details for you right here.

By Arisleydi Garcia. Special contributions from Camille Hall, Adia Tucker, and Ruixiang Wu.

Last Fall, 400 students attended the CPA Fair hosted in the Gym. This year the Fair was hosted in the 14th Floor Conference room since the gym was unavailable. The number of student participants increased to 564 students, with 337 representing the undergraduate population here at Baruch. Only 65% of undergraduate students who attended the Fair were majoring in Accounting. In addition, the number of male and female undergraduate students who attended the Fair was relatively close, with 155 females and 173 males.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what exactly took place at the Fair. The simplest answer: networking, networking, networking. A variety of top firms and midsize firms attended the Fair totaling to a representation of 29 companies.

Many firms brought several representatives to the Fair, allowing students the chance to interact with more than one recruiter per company. Students also had a chance to be photographed for their LinkedIn profile picture. When asked to give feedback on the Fair, a few students stated the following:

  •  “I get to know people in the company I’m interested in. I get to connect with them in a personal level.” – Fahmidha Islam
  •  “It’s very helpful. You get very important information from recruiters. They tell you all about their internships, training programs, what year they want you to start – mostly juniors for the internships. But if you’re young and want more networking experience, you should come to this fair.” – Lishan Li

Recruiters provided anonymous tips on how to network. Here is what they had to say:

  •  “Depending on the company there may be certain guidelines on how to follow up. However, a good way to connect would be to reach out via LinkedIn. Following up makes a huge difference after a career fair.”
  •  “Be yourself! Try not to get to nervous. Bring up different things outside of the norm in small talk discussions. For example, share a little bit about a past experience or how you got to Baruch College.”
  • “Have experience and I don’t mean just work experience. Experience includes a varied educational background.”

Lastly, we also spoke to Dr. Patricia Imbimbo, the Director of The Starr Career Development Center, about her perspective on the Fair. Dr. Imbimbo said:

  • “I would like to commend all the Baruch students in attendance at the CPA Fair on Friday September 27th for their good conduct and manners. They behaved in a mature and professional manner when asked to leave at 2pm to make room for other students.The students waiting in line, sometimes for an hour or more, also remained polite and understanding until they were admitted. It was a testament to the civility of Baruch students and we were all impressed with their behavior.”

All in all, the Fall 2013 CPA Fair was a hugely successful event for Baruch students and recruiters alike. Baruch undergraduates will have another opportunity to network with professionals, gain valuable information, and polish their personal pitches at this week’s Career Day, which will be held on Friday, October 4th from noon to 4:00 in the gymnasium. The recruiters at Career Day will represent a variety of career fields and they will be looking for budding professionals from ALL majors, so get your résumés and your formal business attire ready! The Starr Career Development Center looks forward to hosting another successful job fair on Friday and getting your feedback on the event.

Good luck!

Make the Most of Attending the Career Fairs (CPA – 9/27, Fall Career Day – 10/4)

By: Alina Nesterenko


The fall career fairs are around the corner! The CPA fair will take on place September 27th on the fourteenth floor. Career Day will take place October 4th at the VC gymnasium. What’s the best way to stay calm in what can appear to be an overwhelming environment? Be prepared and be confident! Knowing what to do before, during, and after these events will help you succeed.


Employers at the CPA Fair are seeking out accounting majors, while the Fall Career Day is geared towards all professions and majors. Visit StarrSearch and look under the Events tab to find out which employers will be coming to these fairs. With the information at your disposal ahead of time, you can plan which employers with whom you would like to speak. Not only that, but you can demonstrate your enthusiasm, passion, or curiosity about the company to the recruiter if you have done proper research. Some companies have released information about the positions they are looking to fill. Applying online before the fair is a good idea. You can ask thoughtful questions about the position to show your interest. Remember to bring with you a list of the employers and their summaries because you will not be given a packet when you arrive.


Aside from being knowledgeable, you must look presentable. Your appearance is one of the most important steps in preparing for the fairs because it will be the first impression you will give a recruiter. You should not aim to stand out for your unique choice of attire. The dress code is business professional. In short, wear a dark suit. For some, the term “professional” may include removing eye-catching piercings, cutting long nails, and straying away from flashy jewelry. You should bring at least 20 copies of your most up-to-date resume in a nice business portfolio or a neat folder. Plan according what you will bring with you, so you do not leave your stuff unattended.


Now that your company research and appearance are taken care of, think about your behavior. The first thing you will have to do when it is your turn to speak to the recruiter is shake his or her hand. This means you must practice giving a firm handshake. After, you will likely give your personal pitch. A personal pitch is a short (1-2 minute) summary of yourself, which may include your current major, year, school involvement, and your reasons why you are interested in the company. A good pitch is more thoughtful than just a list of facts the recruiters can read on your resume. It is should be a good segue to mention what you are looking for in a company or a job function. More times than not, this personal pitch will spark a brief conversation between you and the recruiter. The recruiter will give you a better feel for the company’s culture and will answer questions you may have.


Be mindful of the recruiter’s time. If the line behind you is long or you are running out of things to say, you can always reiterate your interest in the company, thank the recruiter, and see whether the recruiter is collecting resumes. For more tips, visit SCDC’s website to view media videos such as How To Tie a Tie, Career Fair Tips, and Don’t Fabricate Your Resume.


It is crucial that you thank the recruiter not only at the conclusion of the dialogue, but also in an email after the event is over. Therefore, do not forget to politely ask for a business card or e-mail and follow up. It will be easier to write the e-mail if you have taken notes throughout the fair on the people with whom you’ve spoke and the things you have discussed. A personalized email, where you refer to something mentioned in a conversation, is always better than a generic thank you.


Whether this is your first or fifth go at the career fair, walk in with an open mind. Visit employers that have shorter lines than some of the bigger names. Not only can you make a new connection and be exposed to a new role, but you can also practice saying personal pitch and thinking on your feet. This can be your warm-up before you speak to your top choices.


The career fairs give students access to new opportunities within many successful firms. It is a chance for them to show recruiters why they are ideal candidates for positions looking to be filled and have meaningful conversations that discuss their future career paths, display interest in the company, and demonstrate their strengths. Be prepared as best as you can be and have fun with it! Be genuine. If you have any questions, the Starr Career Development is here to help. Be sure to check out our workshops such as Job Fair Prep, Resume Rush, and Building Your Brand: The Personal Pitch.