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.

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 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!

The Benefits of Becoming a Peer for Career

By David Tsui, Peer for Career, Starr Career Development Center

Winter break is upon us and it is a great opportunity for students to use that time wisely to plan for the upcoming school semester. For a Baruch College student, we are lucky to have such a strong student life with many extracurricular activities to offer to students. As a junior who has had a pretty good understanding of Baruch’s student life through personal experience and word of mouth from my peers, I feel that joining the Peers for Careers program was one of the best decisions I have made during my college career. From this program, students can learn so much to complement their professional growth, like writing and reviewing résumés and cover letters, understanding all the resources the Starr Career Development Center has to offer, and developing leadership and communication skills by joining a committee.

Initially I was like many college students — uncomfortable with public speaking and job interviews. However, the Peers for Careers Program has helped me overcome that obstacle by learning how to conduct résumé and cover letter reviews professionally during the spring semester Tier I Training. In addition, I was able to shadow the senior Peers and conduct résumé reviews over the summer break. In my first semester as a Peer, I gradually learned helpful techniques that are applicable in professional settings such as reading people’s body language, thinking on the spot more effectively, properly handling an uncooperative client, and communicating well. My confidence in interviews has also increased. The experience being a Peer teaches you to think more naturally, be more relaxed, and handle unexpected questions more effectively during interviewing sessions.

Another great thing about being a Peer is learning about the resources that the Starr Career Development Center has to offer outside of just jobs and internships. As a Peer, you can definitely take advantage of this great benefit which can help enhance your professional growth. When I joined the Peers for Careers program, I was exposed to many wonderful professional programs such as Passport to Partnership, Rising Starr Sophomore Program, Financial Leadership Program, Max Berger Pre-Law Program, and many more! Since Peers work in the Starr Career Development Center, we have the ability to interact with the full-time staff, which is a great way to expand your network or seek out career advice.

Like many other traditional student clubs, the Peers for Careers program offers leadership positions for its Peers when they join a committee. Committees give students the opportunity to take on more responsibility, develop team skills, and learn more skills such as technology, marketing, and writing. Committees also allow Peers to multitask more effectively as well as work collaboratively with other members.

Overall, the Peers for Careers program has benefited me greatly. Not only have I developed professionally and personally, but I have also been surrounded by other career-oriented and like-minded students in this program. The environment has made me want to succeed even more, and enabled me to be up-to-date on professional events like Career Day, On Campus Recruiting events, and career-oriented workshops. The Peers for Careers program is definitely something you would not want to miss out on during your college career.  And if it is too late or not possible to join Peers for Careers, then be sure to take advantage of their Résumé/Cover Letter Reviews, Mock Interviews, Starrlights Blog, Career Corner Ticker Column, and Suit up for Success Event.