Locking Down an Interview Before the Career Fair

With the Career Fair quickly approaching, Career Fair Pro, Luis, provides alternative tips to meeting with recruiters prior to the “big event.” 

Career Fairs can sometimes be scary; the long lines, recruiters and a professional suit that just doesn’t feel right on you. A room full of students looking for the exact same opportunities that you are. It is not a walk in the park. However, finding a job does not need to be as hard as this, especially if you are interested in working at a Fortune 100, Bank or Big 4. Would you believe me if I told you that you could have an interview locked down even before the career fair comes? Well it is possible.

The Background

While Ohio State is one of the biggest undergraduate business schools in the nation, it is constantly placing high in rankings. This combination is ideal for companies looking to recruit in the Ohio area, as these can find both high quality and vast amounts of quantity of good potential new hires. It is not a surprise then that a survey conducted by Bloomberg shows Fisher as the 7th most preferred school for recruiters in the nation. For these exact same reasons, recruiters cannot afford to limit their recruiting efforts to the career fair. They are aware that only one day a semester is not enough to find their new recruits. Because of this, companies compile a list of students that they will be sending interview invitations even before the career fair day comes. The career fair thus becomes just another opportunity for companies to interact with students, but it is not THE opportunity.

How it Works

These companies spend extensive resources into getting to know students outside career fairs; student organizations, case competitions, company workshops, and Fisher’s special programs, such as Industry Clusters, Emergent Consultants, and Fisher Futures, are just a few examples of events where companies try to reach out to students. In fact, as President of the Hispanic Business Student Association, I am constantly meeting with recruiters that are interested in attending our meetings so that they can interact with students. One of our members, for example, met JPMorgan Chase during one of our spring meetings and was later invited to a networking session in their Polaris Office.

Make it to the List

Making it to the list is not any easier than it would be at the career fair. You will still need a competitive GPA, some level of leadership experiences, and a professional attitude. However, you will not feel the same pressure as you would at the career fair, as far less students attend this networking/student organization events and you have plenty of time to share your story. If you attend more than one event where a given company is present, eventually they will start to recognize you, and by the time you see them at the career fair, you will be greeted personally.

Visit FisherU and read This Week in Schoenbaum to make sure you know when companies come around!

Internship Reflection & Advice

Next week I will finish my work here, after which I will be back to Ohio State to finish my curriculum and dedicate the rest of my time there to the Ambassador program, DSP, the Finance department as a tutor and my chapter of ALPFA HBSA. I will be coming back with an offer from PwC, to work in the banking and capital markets industry of the auditing service line. My networking efforts culminated today with an interview with the Private Equity Valuation group of the firm, which I was able to obtain because of referrals from a mentor of mine and my CFA exam successful results. I am leaving New York knowing that the growth opportunities within this city, within this PwC office itself, are very extensive. I am leaving knowing that I am a lucky person, since not only do I enjoy what I study, but I also was able to find a job in the emblematic city of NY with it.
Looking back at this internship, I can tell you that auditing is more about business processes, regulation, and corporate governance than it is about accounting. At least that is the way it is in Manhattan. It is necessary to know accounting, as the audit goal is to trace the source of every financial statement item line in a 10-k to its point of origin (at a very high level). But I can also tell you that there is not as much math or market awareness as I would like there to be in my career going forward. Regardless, because of the continuous growth in regulation from part of the SEC, FINRA, FED, and other agencies, the regulatory and financial background acquired in this position are highly searched for in the banking and corporate world. Getting into a big 4 in NYC is also easier than landing a front office role at a financial institution, and you learn more than you would at back office. I plan to accept my offer, keep learning throughout my academic career, and start studying for the CFA level 2 now.

Now I want to leave a piece of advice. If you want something, go and get it. There is no such thing as something being “hard”, every objective has a price, and is up to you to the math and see if you are willing to pay that price. It may mean long hours of study, trips to other cities to network with employees from companies you are interested, or simply maintaining a 4.0 GPA to just be considered for the same position that someone from a private school may be with a 3.5. Whatever it is, if you really want it, then just go for it. If it seems hard and you want to quit, then there is a good chance that that is not what you really want to do with your life, which would signal that you need to go back to the white board.

Buckeye Network

I wanted to use this blog to talk about how much being an Ohio State student has helped me during my internship. To begin with, I have encountered six different OSU graduates while in NYC. Within my daily work I see two OSU faces all the time. One of the two managers in my engagement team graduated from Fisher’s masters in accounting program in 2008, while the controller of the banking holding company that functions as US representative of the bank graduated from Fisher in 2002. This point in common has helped me start conversations with the client (to better understand his relationship with the Fed) and to find a supportive member in the audit group through my manager. While in NYC, I have also seen some familiar faces in the streets, two Fisher rising seniors and one just graduated alumni, who happened to be in the city for training. I have also gone out on weekends with many OSU friends, DSP brothers and other friends from school.

I had the opportunity to meet with experienced Buckeye coworkers here at PwC. I first met Jordan Payne, OSU graduate from 2009. Jordan works for the PwC Consumer Banking advisory group in Columbus, and came to NY to meet with a client. He is also a brother of mine from Delta Sigma Pi. Jordan and I spent an hour or so catching up. I also had the opportunity to meet Jim and Carl, 2014 and 2013 graduates from Ohio State’s Fisher Futures program. They now both work in the valuations arm of PwC, and helped me further understand where I can take my career here with PwC.

Finally, as an Ohio State student I am often thought of as a good intern by default. Everyone is familiar with the buckeyes and I often get jokingly corrected when I say that I am from Ohio State with someone in the group saying “THE Ohio State”. Being a Buckeye has been far more helpful than I originally expected. The network is real.


A taste of Busy Season

My first four weeks were fun and sweet. I was asked to assist associates through work support. Challenging work, but at the end of the day, input for the real deliverables. A month in, I am already expected to act like an associate. I am not anymore asked to support someone else’s work, but to go ahead and take over certain accounts. Transactions between RBC trading desks and consolidation of their special purpose vehicles are the latest items in my to-do list. I have also started reporting directly to our manager. A lot of what I do requires me to have a fairly deep understanding of the business of the client, which I can only acquire by looking at financials, legal documents, and business sites.

Hours have also extended, from 8 hours a day to 10-12 hrs. As an intern long hours are paid under overtime rate, which are quite generous. However, for my full time colleges the extra hours are just experience, no special paycheck comes with them (if they work after 10 pm dinner and Uber home are paid by the Firm however). Despite the extra hours, this is not what it is known as busy season. If this was busy season, we will be heading home at 11 pm – 1 am, with working days during the weekend. Summer long hours are not normal, multiple variables are playing a role here. To begin with this is a new client, which requires extra effort in all ambits. The fact that this is NY also plays a significant role.

As challenging as it is, our busy season only lasts for 3-4 months of the year (4 if you are sent to help another client during their busy season).

Despite the workload, I still think this is the great place to start. I am learning tons about brokers, valuation process, and pretty much the insides of Wall Street.

On an interesting note, today while walking to work bumped into Kyle Keeran. Some Fisher students may know him from events hosted by GS or Fisher Futures around campus. He is the 6th alumni from Ohio State that I encountered in NY.

Director of PatronArt, aka friend Shao (buckeye) and I at home Office.

A Day at Work

I wanted to use this blog to share my experience doing audit work. Please note that my audit experience may be different from others, since client industry (retail, banking, asset management, energy, manufacturing, etc.) and office location heavily influence the type of work you will do. For instance, while it is very common for most audit interns to count inventory, my client group has no inventory to be counted. Furthermore, while smaller offices allow associates to work in “general audit” groups, where professionals get to work with clients from multiple sectors, offices such as NY will require their workforce to specialize in an industry, in some cases, placing associates with the same client for years (financial industry clients can be complex entities). Having said that, the overall audit goal is mostly the same.

– My Day –

GS Tower, Client Site
GS Tower, Client Site

6:40am: Shower and get ready to be out by 7:30. I need to make my way to the client office, which is located in Jersey City, right across the financial district. To do that I make my way to the World Trade Center and arrive through the PATH to GS Tower, where one of RBC Capital Markets office is located.

8:40: I get to the office, the view is beautiful. I can see both Lady Liberty and Wall Street from the floor we are in. I get to the meeting room we are stationed in and set my computer, go through emails and make sure I am on top of things

9:20: Everyone is cooking; working in different parts of the audit. Right now we are working in the planning stage, which means understanding the client’s way of doing business, their processes and delivery methods. We record everything that we are given and test their validity by performing calculations. For me this consists of reading through walkthrough diagrams, write briefs on them, and trace documents that explain how these processes work. I have done this for repos, futures and securities trading. Everything is then uploaded to PwC’s audit application.

It may seem that the audit profession is very structured, but this is not fully true. Although people do have specific assigned tasks by the team leader, they may find that they need to obtain files from the client, make calls, and work with other members as they go through their duties. Often people juggle duties, one moment you may be auditing a valuation model, and the next you can be reconciling commission fees. People have to be flexible in this profession. It feels like a crash course into the business of your client.

12:30 Lunch, we all talk and get to know each other. Food is great btw. One of the benefits of joining PwC is that their clients are top notch, and thus we get to utilize their resources when we work from their office.

1:20 I continue working in reconciliations, particularly for trading operations. I also get to help out with regulatory requirements. While I do this I get to learn a lot of the details of how Investment Banks actually work and the regulation that they are required to go through. The client also has given us a couple of models that I got to test to assure their validity. That task is usually given to PwC’s Models team, but given my academic background was given a shoot. I figured it out.

3:00 pm: I either continue what I was doing, receive new work, or have a meeting to join. Half of our meetings are with Middle and Back Office, who give us files that we will use in our audit, they explain how these files were created and answer all the questions we have. Sometimes we call personnel from other offices, including offices abroad. Other times meetings are part of PwC continuous training, and thus receive further teaching in specific areas of the financial industry.

3:00 pm: I am usually given a new task that I have not seen before, I spend the next hour trying to figure it out. Sometimes I am given documents to interpret, other times calculation base work. The cool part is that any questions that I may have, I get to ask RBC’s employees for an answer.

6:20pm: I get to go home, I take my time as I like to walk around the City and listen to The Economist Magazine Audio.

7:10pm: I get home, run for about an hour in Central Park and get back home to shower.

At least once a week we do our work from PwC’s Office in midtown Manhattan. Usually we do this on Fridays. Weekends are all ours.