The Job Search

Of course we all want to go to grad school to learn cool new stuff and further develop our skills, however I think the main goal for many of us this year is to get a job. That was my main goal at least.. (sorry professors if you’re reading this).

The recruiting process starts up in full swing right when school starts, and maybe even the week of orientation. There are events hosted on and off campus all the time by the Big 4 as well as many other public accounting firms. It can definitely seem overwhelming, but I’m going to offer a few tips I picked up along the way.

  1. Be yourself! Talk to as many people as you can and really try to find out where the best fit is for you. I know it can be intimidating at times going up to people you’ve never met and asking them all kinds of questions, but that’s what they’re there for! I can honestly say that everybody I met during the recruiting process was so nice and helpful.
  2. Practice Interviewing! The office of career management is there to help and they have some amazing resources. I was able to schedule a mock-interview with Steve Singer, the MAcc director of career management, and it helped a ton. Most of the interviews are behavioral based, and I had never done one before, so meeting with Steve really helped me to figure out what I needed to work on and to be more comfortable with the whole process.
  3. Have Confidence in Yourself! I think that this is a big one for many people. I would say 99% of the students in my MAcc program are very humble and don’t like to brag about themselves. The reality is, we are at one of the top MAcc programs in the country at one of the most well known business schools. We have already accomplished so much, and it’s okay to talk about your accomplishments! Employers are looking for you to talk about times and situations you have worked hard and succeeded so don’t be afraid to have confidence in yourself and what you’ve accomplished. Good luck!

The hunt for a Job/Internship

The biggest part of coming back to get my MBA was to pursue a different career than the one I was in. I knew the MBA program would help me make the switch but I was unsure what the process would look like. When would I start interviewing for Internships, what kinds of internships would be available, where would they be located and how much would I make?

The easy answer for all of these questions is: it depends. Marketing, logistics and most finance internships/jobs begin interviewing pretty early in the fall. Investment banks begin interviewing in December and consulting firms start the hunt for candidates in the spring. The experience for each and every one of my classmates has been very different. Most of my classmates have interviewed for multiple internships/jobs. Some have 4-5 offers from various companies, some received offers for their “dream” position and accepted right away and others are still on the hunt.

As for where are the internships and jobs located. I would ask you, where do you want to live? Odds are you will be able to find an internship/job in that location. A perk of coming to one of the largest universities in the United States is a HUGE alumni network.

Career switchers, it is possible. 90% of my experience prior to my MBA was in sales and I currently have multiple offers related to finance in multiple locations – exactly what I wanted.

As for how much you will make. I’ll leave that one to the office of Career Management.

The hunt for an internship/job is time consuming, fun, stressful and ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!!!

 

AICPA Legacy Scholarship

I think it would be helpful for students considering the MAcc program at Ohio State to know that there are not only fellowships, graduate assistantships, and scholarships from Ohio State, but there are also opportunities to receive scholarship money from external organizations.

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After applying to Ohio State, I was made aware of the scholarships available through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The AICPA offers a number of different scholarships for aspiring CPAs who are attending undergraduate or graduate school to one day pursue a career in accounting. These scholarships are all part of a program called “The AICPA Legacy Scholars Program“. This program not only provides financial assistance, but also teaches leadership skills and allows students to network with other aspiring accountants and accounting professionals.

The four scholarships offered are:

  1. AICPA/Accountemps Scholarship Award: This is a $10,000 scholarship awarded to 4 students
  2. AICPA Scholarship Award for Minority Accounting Students: This is a $1,000-$5,000 scholarship awarded to 80 students
  3. AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship Award: This is a $5,000 scholarship awarded to 5 students
  4. AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer Scholarship Award: This is a $3,000 scholarship awarded to 15 students

Recipients of any of these scholarships must perform at least 8 hours of community service per semester to advocate for the CPA/Accounting profession. I recently completed a service event to meet this 8 hour requirement where I went back to my undergraduate institution and presented to the accounting club. I prepared a PowerPoint presentation that included information about the accounting profession, what the AICPA is, information about the CPA exam, and some general career and graduate school advice. I chose to complete my event at my undergraduate school because I thought it would benefit students at a small liberal arts school to learn more about the accounting profession, and having just graduated last year, I felt like any additional advice relating to my future career/graduate school I could have received would have been helpful.

If you are a current undergraduate student who is either going to still be an undergraduate student or a graduate student next year, you should definitely check out the AICPA’s website to see if you meet the qualifications for any of these scholarships!

Future Bankers

Garrett & Taylor

The other day I had the opportunity to interview Garrett Trebilcock and Taylor Richard, two outstanding SMF students who both got offers from Brown Gibbons Lang & Company, about their experience of the interview process. This is what they had to say.

  1. What made you choose to go with Brown vs. other companies that you interviewed with?
    1. Taylor: The ability to have access to senior leadership. A generalist program which exposes candidates to various industries such as healthcare, industrials, consumer products, energy and environment, and business services.
    2. Garrett: The biggest asset for me was understanding the wide range I would have in assisting with a deal. Since BGL is a middle market bank, I would have access to a variety of roles throughout my time as an analyst.
  2. How was the interview process especially in relation to companies you really wanted to work for versus other companies?
    1. Taylor: At OSU we have Fisher Connect Career services where companies come to interview on campus. Coming here, I knew that I wanted to do investment banking but it was also good to get experience interviewing with non-investment banking firms to get interview experience.
    2. Garrett: Coming to OSU, I was intrigued with investment banking. With investment banking being a hard field to get into, I found it great that there were some firms that would specifically come to campus to conduct interviews. I found that I was more vested with those specific companies that took the time to learn more about me.
  3. Did your trip to New York help cement your future search for careers in New York?
    1. Taylor: I have a background working for a regional firm and want to get back to the middle regional level. There was more flexibility to talk with senior partners that is not found in big bulge bracket in NYC.
    2. Garrett: The trip solidified my intentions for focusing a career in investment banking, rather than thinking about NYC as a location specifically.
  4. How helpful was the career management office with your search for careers?
    1. Taylor: It was especially helpful for a career in investment banking with the resources made available by the office of career management with the addition of professors who have a background in investment banking which had an added value of networking.
    2. Garrett: They definitely did a great job of coaching and providing resources to help us along the way. Also Fisher Connect was a huge asset in scanning for potential employers.
  5. What did you do outside of school to enhance your career search?
    1. Taylor: Took a trip to New York which offered networking opportunities where it helps to breakdown the geographical challenge. Went to career events given by specific firms I was interested in.
    2. Garrett: I already had an idea of what I needed to do, which was mainly to establish business connections. I tried to do my best in working those connections because you never know who would recommend you within an interview process.
  6. What advice would you give to International students trying to get into Investment banking:
    1. Taylor: Start networking early before coming to Ohio State. This is after they’ve already made the decision to come here. Aim for larger bulge brackets because they do sponsor.
    2. Garrett: Connecting with previous OSU Alumni who are in the same fields the students want to be in and asking how they got there. The toughest part is getting your foot in the door, and asking previous alumni for the steps they took to get there makes for a defined path.

Duff & Phelps Interview

I recently was selected for a second round interview with Duff & Phelps in their valuation services department. The entire process has been a whirlwind but incredible nonetheless. It started earlier this year when I walked into our first career fair and saw a big red table with some people in “Duff & Phelps” polos. I was nervous but walked right up and they started talking about the company, what kind of work I would do and what the different offices are like. After dropping my resume, I moved on the next table not thinking that I might have just met a future co-worker.

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A few days after the career fair I received an email asking me to formally apply for a position within the firm and maybe I would be selected for a first round interview on campus. As it turned out, I was selected and the interview was going to be a few days later. I was very excited but nervous at the same time. I knew I had some preparation to do!

The first round interview went well but it wasn’t what I expected. I spent a few hours preparing for behavioral and technical questions about valuation and then during the interview, all we talked about was my past, my interests, OSU football and the Atlanta office (ok, there was one technical question about valuing the Coke brand).

ATL

About two weeks after the first round interview, I received word that I was invited to a second round in Atlanta! I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement. Over the next two weeks or so, I spent a few hours here and there doing prep questions, learning about different methods of valuation and researching different people within the Atlanta office. I have heard from people at Duff & Phelps and from different web sites like glassdoor.com that second rounds are very technical and may have a case analysis as well. Let’s hope that all this preparation pays off! Atlanta, here I come!

Class presentation, you are blessed not doomed

Being in a foreign country, getting used to the new style of learning, hunting for the internship, getting invited to all kinds of events, these can be fun and too much. Even though I barely stop, I still missed something and I didn’t even stop to learn from the things I have already experienced.

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There’s an info session every noon with lunch, why not go there. One day, I wanted to get my bag out of the classroom where an info session just ended, but it seemed another one had begun. I still needed my bag, so I went in and didn’t want to leave when I heard a speech given by professor Ankerman. I saw that event on the hub, and it’s for MBA, so I didn’t sign up for it. But it doesn’t seem to matter if it says for MBA. After that, I engaged in all the following lectures about communication skill. They are amazing. And I used the strategy in my class presentation.

Speaking of presentation, I am really surprised that the American students are willing to let me present out the group project, given that my oral English doesn’t always works well, and the presentation matters. I’m grateful for these opportunities and with the tricks I learned from the lectures, the presentation actually went well. What surprises me even more is the kindness of the classmates. Before the class, they will encourage you. Even after the class, they will remember to tell you how nice your presentation is. My nervousness totally turns into excitement. And although the American classmates are native speakers, they can also be nervous about it, just like we do when we give speech in our language in front of a lot of people. It reminds me another important thing I learned from the orientation. We are not the only ones who will have trouble integrating into the new environment.

presentation

After the career fair and a series of classes and events, I recalled an appointment I have with my career consultant. When I made the appointment at the front desk, it can only be scheduled after 2 weeks. We don’t usually make an appointment with faculties in Chinese university, but it seems the career consultant here is really a hotspot. I assumed our talk will be finished in half an hour at most, since I don’t have much to say. But when we began the conversation, I actually can’t even stop. Jill is amazing, she can just look at you and come up with all the names or resources you can reach out to. I describe my problem and she can always figure out the core problem and help with it.

Pushing Forward

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Back in August we were told that things were going to move really fast forward and I was a skeptic. I realize now how fast they have moved. We’ve finished one of our biggest projects and we have been here for 8 weeks learning and absorbing material. I remember Professor Pinteris stating that we would be professionals by the time the program would be over, that it would take time to see the change, but that the change would happen. I have started to see that change, not just in my knowledge of finance but in the way I act. I communicate a lot more than I used to, and I make sure that I try to cover all bases. If I cannot cover all the bases, I cover what I can and move on. It definitely has been an interesting change.

I have had the opportunity to talk to some professionals in the Investment Industry, and having had the training from Career Management as well as advice from professionals, I was able to have good value adding conversations with those professionals. It definitely feels good moving forward knowing that what the program is offering adds so much value not only in the classroom but also outside of the classroom. Faculty and staff does their best so that we as students are allowed to take full advantage of the value added bonus.

As I start the second half of the program, I see promise on the horizon. I know that I have yet to see everything that the program offers but am excited to see what it is going to offer. Having seen just how much the first 8 weeks transformed me, I am excited to step forward and take the challenges coming with the following time remaining. I am sure it will be hard at times but I’ve come to understand that it is a matter of putting everything into perspective, trying your best, and learning from everyone around you.

Live Career Fair is Here

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I would like to take more time to savor the past, but things are changing so fast here. I just want to quickly go over the wonderful first quarter of this semester. Before I arrived here, some people told me I was going to be in a village with a lot of Chinese people. When I walked into Columbus, I did see Chinese people frequently, but when school really got started, it completely changed my impression.

The international student orientation was taken up by Chinese students and I was expecting the same situation in the MHRM program. However,  that orientation really surprised me! There are 57 students in our program, and except for Americans, there are some students from India, Pakistan, Germany, and Dubai. The welcome video with the professor and director was more funny than serious, although we didn’t get the American jokes well. We switched tables every few minutes so that we could get to know more classmates. One of the professors mentioned that we were going to have a lot of info sessions which provides food, and we should go. Why not. But then another professor said to eat before you go there, because you are there to network. This word appears frequently here. People used to think that Chinese count on “guanxi” to do business, but it seems it’s even more common here. And in the following weeks, we really get involved with all kind of info sessions and food…Rolls Royce, Procter & Gamble, Shell, and KPMG. At first I was not quite familiar with some of the names, but when I knew the Chinese translation, I am really shocked. As customers, we see some of them as luxury and when thinking about working for them, it feels incredible.

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Dressed in business professional, standing in the queue of the dream company, I felt like lingering between really being in HR and wandering into fantasy. A formal career fair which happens so soon really makes me anxious. But one thing I learned in the roundtable discussion for international students with our career consultant helped a lot. The recruiters in the ballroom could be as nervous as us. They really want to know us and we just need to help them know us. The practice of an elevator pitch with classmates is also helpful. The moment you start to do something, you may know its not that bad.

As an international student, all the recruiters seem nice. Some companies “Generally can’t offer sponsorship, but who knows what will happen.” Actually, we understand why the employer don’t want to bear the trouble and we study abroad to learn the American style, and then help them run better in our country and contribute to our own country in the future. Although I failed to get any interviews from these career fairs, I still benefited from it and see some hope. There are good resources for us to learn what to expect in the real work and form further relationships with them. One interesting thing is that most of the professors or recruiters will tell us to make ourselves uncomfortable, so that we can make some breakthrough, but Gallup actually told me that people were hard to change and they would give the best performance when they were doing the things they were good at. Actually, these 2 theories don’t always contradict to each other. Sometimes, only when we try out something can we know if we are really good or bad at it. I’m grateful for all these possibilities around this place. Like the professor said, “soak in as much as you can”.

“Free” Education

Information sessions are presented by various companies on campus to talk about human resources in their respective industries.  These sessions are typically presented by previous students from the MHRM program and how they have excelled in their careers.

I have attended quite a few sessions and believe that there are many benefits to attend.  Gaining knowledge about the company, learning more about the respective industry, interacting with MHRM professionals, understanding more about the perspective of HR through different lenses, and developing your ability to talk with recruiters. A lot of the info sessions also provide a free dinner!

One time, I was sitting in the grad lounge studying when a couple of my classmates invited me to go up to an information session that wasn’t advertised.  I did and got some experience analyzing a case.

Most recently, I attended an information session with Pepsi and managed to squeeze into the last interview spot that they had.  The following day, I went in for my interview, and they called me that same afternoon to offer me an internship!  I was shocked, but extremely excited for the opportunity.  Over the next week or two, my wife and I talked about it constantly and accepted the internship.  We knew that it was going to be different, but a crucial step in my professional development.

Information sessions are a great way of gaining a more comprehensive understanding of the business culture and learning the language to become a better professional.

Bring Your ‘A’ Game to the Internship/Job Search

Recruiting season is back, which means it’s time to bring your ‘A’ game.

Most of Fisher’s MAcc and SMF students are going through the full-time job search process (1 year programs), while the MBA and MHRM students are either going through the internship search process or full-time job search process (2 year programs). Regardless of program though, this is an exciting time of year, and students are dressed to impress!

My tips for those going through the internship or full-time job search process are quite similar, and they are as follows:

Reflect on what is important to you, both professionally and personally. Take into consideration what intrinsically motivates you (what are you passionate for), as well as what extrinsically motivates you (what tangible rewards bring you satisfaction and pleasure)? In addition, take into consideration your ‘must-have’ and ‘deal-breaker’ items. Examples of these would be location, amount of required travel, development programs, and more.

Also, consider what industries interest you. It’s okay if you are still unsure of which industries peak your interest, but narrow it down by eliminating those that you know do not interest you at all. This is where you can ask yourself questions about what products you feel some kind of connection with, or what products resonate with you or excite you.

Furthermore, consider what type of environment you are looking for. What type of culture will inspire you and bring out the most in you? Additionally, what values do you have that you would like aligned with the company you choose to work for?

Most of the tips above are focused on being introspective and thoughtful about the search process. This is because it is important to take time to soul search and identify who you are, and then how you can best align yourself with the right company and right position. Once you have taken the time to do this, I think it becomes much easier to bring your ‘A’ game, ‘A’ referring to ‘AUTHENTIC’ game (or self) in this particular instance.

Authentic Self