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You Didn’t Get That Summer Internship. Now What?

By Danni Ondraskova

May 30, 2017

It’s been a long semester. The flowers are finally beginning to come out, and the year is winding down to an end. But everything isn’t necessarily perfect—you haven’t received that internship offer yet. Maybe you’re waiting on a handful of places. Or maybe things just didn’t work out this year and you haven’t been accepted anywhere. Maybe you didn’t have time to apply because you’ve been so swamped by schoolwork, friends, jobs, and of course sleep.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, there is always something you can do to make the best of it. Read on for some advice for making the best of your summer, curated by whatever year you are in in college.

Current freshman

You’ve just gotten the ropes of college last semester and are steering your ship to the first phase of your career. You may be stressed out about not having an internship offer yet because some of your friends are working for small businesses, boutique firms, or other companies. Never fear!

In many years, freshmen are not expected to have internships, although some study abroad experience, internship, job, or other immersive summer will give you a leg up over people who don’t do anything in that time.

Feel free to look for seasonal jobs in your city or town and make some money (in many full-time jobs paid at minimum wage, you can make several thousand dollars over the summer). Many places have a quick hiring process, and it can’t help that the economy is recovering in many sectors.

You’ll have something to do over the summer, plus any money you make will be very useful if you work in high-cost areas in your later college years, have medical expenses, or want to pay some debts.

Current sophomore

Sophomore year is an odd time that can be described as twilight—many a fierce debate have been held on whether sophomores have to do an internship or job. In business or research related fields, many college students get their first professional experience as sophomores so they can get a leg up in the often more competitive internships for college juniors.

If you haven’t received an internship yet, email your professors and other social connections and ask if there are any openings.

Although there may be fewer business opportunities around this time, consider working for the government in a business related area (Capitol Hill has Legislative Aides that specialize in business in every Senator and Congressperson’s office who can mentor you and provide research opportunities) or a small business or local bank.

Current junior or senior

I put these categories together because in many cases in elite schools, graduating seniors pursue national fellowships or a full-time job rather than an internship. Both groups of college students have plenty of considerations of their post-graduate future to ponder.

If you haven’t gotten an internship yet, follow the advice for sophomores and note that your upperclassmen status will often give you priority for program or one-on-one college summer research. There are also many research opportunities at neighboring universities you can consider, especially if you are in an urban area.

Finally, if you’re applying to graduate school, you may want to take the summer off and study for your standardized tests full time in addition to starting your graduate school applications.

Danni Ondraskova will graduate in 2018 from Wellesley College. Danni plans on earning a dual degree in law and business and dreams of working for JP Morgan’s Global Investment Management division.

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Not All Internships Are Created Equal: How to Find the Right One for You

By Jordan Perras

April 13, 2017

While the stereotypical intern isn’t grabbing coffee and filing papers anymore, you still want to be aware of what you’re signing up for when you accept an internship. Here are some tips to make sure you choose the right internship for you.

  •   Read the fine print. Read through the job description carefully. Does it sound like you will be doing real work? Expect that you will have some menial tasks, but if that’s all you would be doing, don’t be afraid to pass. Don’t apply to jobs just because you like the title, make sure you like the work too. Is it paid or unpaid?
  •   Ask the right questions. In the interview, be sure to ask about the team’s culture – What is the dress code? What do interns do if they get free time? Will you be trained? Are there any activities outside of work? How many hours will you be working?
  •   Think about your long-term career. Where do you want to be in five years? Will this job help you get there? Sometimes you will have to choose between a name brand firm with a less important job and a lesser known firm with a more important job. If you are in a situation to decide between more than one opportunity, sit down with your advisor and talk through how this job could help you down the road.

Use your school’s career services page, LinkedIn, company career sites, and good ol’ Google to find potential jobs. Use career fairs to network and don’t be afraid to reach out to your parent’s friends or your neighbors! Good luck!

Jordan Perras will graduate in 2018 from Northeastern University and she is majoring in Math and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics.  She has a wide variety of interests that include history, art and literature and plans to pursue an MBA after college. She is especially interested in the role of social entrepreneurship in sustainable business.

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How to Use LinkedIn for your Internship Search

By Jordan Perras

April 10, 2017

One of the best resources for your summer internship search is LinkedIn. Even though most college students associate it with full-time jobs, it can be a great way to explore internship opportunities throughout your college experience. Read on for some tips on how to maximize its functionalities to snag your dream job.

Search for internships under the job postings tab. Okay, yes, that seems obvious, but it really is step one for exploring internship opportunities. Save jobs that look interesting, so that you can refer back to them later.

  • Have a resume ready to go – some job postings let you apply on LinkedIn and you generally only need your resume!
  • You can set your preferences to tailor the postings to only show you internships or jobs in banking or jobs in Los Angeles.

Explore alumni profiles. Search for your school and location to explore where alumni are working (and whether they hire interns for the summer). Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask to connect or do an informational interview!

Update your profile. Make sure you add any new jobs, experiences or skills you have. In you summary, include “I am searching for summer internship opportunities in _____.”

If you want to work for a specific company, read its info page and see if any employees have connected their profiles. This should help you identify important skills or experiences that you have in common that may help you in the hiring process. This is also a great way to find alumni that work at the company!

  • Use the information here to write your cover letter. What are the company’s values? Why do you want to work there?

Jordan Perras will graduate in 2018 from Northeastern University and she is majoring in Math and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics.  She has a wide variety of interests that include history, art and literature and plans to pursue an MBA after college. She is especially interested in the role of social entrepreneurship in sustainable business.

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How to Find the Best Job For You

By Siyu Wu

April 6, 2017

Narrowing down industry and job function can be one of the most overwhelming parts of finding an internship or job. It is very easy to get caught up in the commonly discussed post-college options, such as investment banking or management consulting. In actuality, there are many different positions available (even just within an investment bank!), and it can incredibly difficult to determine which role is the best fit for you. Figuring out your dream job will involve a lot of trial and error, but here are some tips to guide you in that process.

1. Self-reflection: Identifying your personal strengths, interests, goals, and priorities

Before even considering specific jobs, first look inward to consider your own strengths and weaknesses, and personal preferences. For example, do you like multitasking on many projects or focusing all attention on one assignment? Do you prefer interacting with a lot of people, or doing most work alone? Knowing the answers to these questions can give you a lot of direction in terms of narrowing down types of jobs that would be a great fit. Consider taking a personality test (i.e. Myers-Briggs or KOLBE) – regardless of whether you agree with the outcome, use the questions to form a clear sense of self-awareness.

2. Online research: determining the skills, experiences, and responsibilities different jobs require

After noting your own skills and interests, take time to do in-depth research on a variety of industries and roles to better understand what each position encompasses. Some personality tests will match you to jobs that may be a good fit. Use the wealth of resources available online – including job descriptions, industry publications, and career websites such as Forté – to learn about different career paths. For finance specifically, Vault guides, Mergers & Inquisitions, and Investopedia are great resources. Also check out Goldman Sach’s career quiz, which uses situational questions to help narrow down specific divisions that may be of interest.

3. Informational interviews and job shadowing: dipping your feet in

Perhaps some of the best ways to learn about a job first-hand are through informational interviews and job shadowing. Informational interviews are conversations – phone or in-person – during which you can ask someone in that profession questions that really allow you to understand the intricacies of the position. Job shadows often offer a unique opportunity to watch someone at work and learn about what they do on a daily basis. These may seem daunting to set up, but take advantage of campus career resources, alumni networks, and connections made at conferences or events! Many people in the industry had the informational opportunities when they were in your shoes, and they are typically more than willing to pay it forward and meet with you (even if only for 15 minutes).

4. Internships: figuring out your likes and dislikes while on the job

It may appear that internships are the be-all-end-all when it comes to shaping your career path, but I beg to differ. In fact, internships are an ideal opportunity to really figure out the best fit. Treat internships as a trial-and-error period – even if your role is not exactly what you envisioned, the experience is still invaluable in that you’ll know what to look for and what to avoid in your next internship or job experience. Also, remember that there are many divisions with different roles at every firm. If your division isn’t the perfect fit, seek opportunities to arrange informational interviews – or even to ask for additional projects – from other divisions.

It is scary to be a college student and make decisions that may affect the rest of your career. But, you won’t know for sure what you like until you try it. For that reason, be open to opportunities to learn more about a position, even if you don’t think it’s the right fit. Doing research, having conversations, and thinking about your own preferences are essential steps to finding your best career fit!

Siyu Wu is from Colorado and attends Princeton University, pursuing a degree in Economics and certificates in Finance and East Asian Studies. Siyu will graduate in 2018. She hopes to synthesize her interest in China and East Asia with her passion for finance to eventually work in a career related to international finance and Asian capital markets.

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Professional Email-Writing

By Siyu Wu

April 3, 2017

Many argue that a major gap in communication style between job-seeking millennials and typically more conservative recruiters has formed. In this age where email is typically the main form of communication, especially between firms and potential hires, email etiquette has become increasingly important. To bridge this gap, it is necessary for students to be aware of common pitfalls when it comes to writing emails to professionals at firms. To help overcome such pitfalls, here are six tips for writing the perfect email: 

Do your research

Yes, even for an email, you need to do your research! If it’ s a cold email to someone you’ve never emailed, make sure to check out the person’ s LinkedIn – knowing a bit about their background can help you craft a more personal email. If it’ s a follow up email to someone you’ve spoken with before, take time to refer back to your previous conversations – this can help connect the dots and strengthen the individual’s impression of you. 

Construct a strong subject line

The subject line is essentially a “first impression” in email-writing, making it one of the most important components of your email! It needs to be specific: a subject line that’s too long or too vague will be easily overlooked. The subject line also should be actionable: if possible, give the person some idea of what you’re requesting in the email. At the most fundamental level, ensure the subject line is correctly capitalized and spelled. A poorly written subject line is an easy reason for the recipient to delete the email without even opening it!

Be concise and to the point

Recruiters and other people at firms are very busy and often receive hundreds of emails a day. The chances that someone will read an essay-length email, then, is very unlikely. Follow-up emails typically should be 3-4 sentences while introduction emails can be a few sentences longer. Use these few sentences wisely – briefly introduce yourself (school, major, year), clearly state your connection to the person (if applicable), and explain what you are looking for. 

Soften your tone

Remember that you’ re asking someone else to take time out of their busy day to respond to your email, and be gracious with how you word your requests. Rather than using direct language or imperative statements, use phrases such as “I would greatly appreciate…”.

Double check and check again

You should proofread your email at least twice to ensure there are no grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, or poorly worded sentences. Even the smallest typo appears unprofessional – it suggests that you lack attention to detail, which is a characteristic many recruiters value when finding the ideal job candidate. 

Have a consistent email signature

Having an email signature may not seem like a big deal, but it is in fact an important source of contact information for the person receiving your email. Be sure to include: your full name, major, university, class year, email address, and phone number. Formatting should be simple and straightforward – bells and whistles not only seem unprofessional but also distract from the main message! 

For example:
Siyu Wu
Department of Economics Princeton University ‘18
Email Address
Phone Number

Though many of the above tips may seem obvious or overly simple, it is these small differences that set some job candidates apart from the crowd. Conveying a professional feel through both personal and email interactions leaves a lasting positive impression that can take you far as you begin your career.

Siyu Wu is from Colorado and attends Princeton University, pursuing a degree in Economics and certificates in Finance and East Asian Studies. Siyu will graduate in 2018. She hopes to synthesize her interest in China and East Asia with her passion for finance to eventually work in a career related to international finance and Asian capital markets.

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How to Make Your Best Choice at a Career Crossroads

By Danni Ondraskova

March 30, 2017

This post is primarily addressed to graduating college seniors and graduate students facing concrete career choices. The advice I give here can, however, be equally well applied to others who are interested in internships in differing fields. As always, be sure to consult professional sources and those who know you best in your decision-making process in addition to reading the general advice here.

General Peter Pace, a former Chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to business students at the University of Chicago Booth School Management Conference in 2007 (If you want to listen to snippets of the talk, click on the link here). When advising these bright fellows on finding the best organization to work for, he told them to first identify places whose mission and people with which the students identified. According to General Pace, once listeners chose to place their “roots” in the organization of their choice, they should “grow where they are planted.

I have created a more general breakdown of my own decision-making process that is also informed by General Pace’s approach. This step-by-step system is the process of trial and error, reading the biographies of those I admire, and advice from mentors and family.

1. Know yourself.
A daunting task, to be sure. As life can be viewed as a journey of self-discovery, it can in a sense be said that we can never truly know who we are. Keeping that in mind, ask yourself these questions: What makes you wake up in the morning with a grin, and what makes you shuffle back under the covers as your alarm goes off? What kinds of people and activities give you energy, and what kinds sap it from you? Do you have strong preferences for a certain atmosphere, city or region, or culture? Finally, what are you passionate about, or, what are you willing to suffer for? Note here that you will not always be happy doing even what you love most—the Latin word from which passion is derived means “to suffer.”

2. Identify and distinguish your internal and external motivators.
Our behavior is regulated by internal and external motivators. While it is always good to be in an environment that encourages you to develop your talents and have supportive family and friends, there is a time in many people’s lives when they decide to go against external pressures to do what they believe is right for them. That sense can be from “the gut” or have a spiritual undertone. Unless you have a sense of who you are, you may not be prepared to say “no” to others on key career decisions.

Internal motivators are a powerful part of human nature and often are the most fundamental driver of what you do. Are you working to merely put food on the table out of a desire for survival, or are you motivated by love, selflessness, ambition, or a desire for gratification? All these impulses tend to check each other and can steer you in the right direction. However, when one desire tends to predominate, it’s a good idea to slow down in your job search, visit those external motivators, and reflect on from which experiences these urges stem.

3. Harmonize your goals with the world’s constraints
A key buzzword in economics is constraints, which can be interpreted as the gap between the possible and the desirable. Our desires often exceed what is possible, whether in the temporal, financial, or other sense. Here it is good to give a level-headed assessment of the world you are in, the direction it appears to be heading in, and your own plans. Thanks to the emergence of big data and unprecedented transparency thanks to websites like GlassDoor, you can easily retrieve information about salaries, number of people in the field, reviews of employees’ experiences in specific companies, and even expected industry growth rates. If you’re not sure about where to start or go from here, a visit to a trusted career services professional is in hand.

Danni Ondraskova will graduate in 2018 from Wellesley College. Danni plans on earning a dual degree in law and business and dreams of working for JP Morgan’s Global Investment Management division.

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How To Request a Letter of Recommendation

By Danni Ondraskova

March 23, 2017

Whether you are applying for a job, temporary internship, or graduate school, chances are you will have to submit a letter of recommendation with your application. If you have never went through the process of securing a letter of recommendation, you likely have many questions. Read on for a step-by-step process so you can put your best foot forward.

1.  Figure out where you are applying and keep the information you need handy.

Coming up with a comprehensive list of places to apply to is always a good start. Some people like creating a spreadsheet on Excel or Google Sheets. Others create a table in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. You may end up with something like this (feel free to customize according to your own needs):

                                   
Name of place you are applying to (deadline)When you’ll be doing the job/internshipPaid or unpaid?Other
A (March 1)5/15/17-8/15/17Paid. $500/week3 Letters of Recommendation
B (March 15)6/01/17-8/1/17Unpaid.2 Letters of Recommendation, Cover Letter

In most cases, you should indicate the application due date, application materials needed, whether the job or internship is paid, job or internship date range, and other pertinent information. Follow a similar process for graduate schools, fellowships, and other programs.


2.  Think of a list of possible recommenders and rank them.

Look at the set of requirements for each internship or job. Does the position requires an academic or supervisor recommendation? Make a list of all these specialized requirements. Then create a separate lists of professors, employers, and other individuals you have worked with in some professional capacity and rank the names. Higher-ranked names will include individuals who are not on vacation or leave, who have known you recently, who have known you for a long time, and who have worked with you. Align the two lists.

3.  Craft an email for your recommenders.

When crafting an email for your recommenders, keep in mind that they are not obligated to write you a recommendation and may not be able to because of schedule constraints. Start the email hoping that they are doing well. Reference some project or other important event occurring in their lives and give them your best wishes. Then add a brief update of anything interesting you have been working on. Finally, ask if they can write a letter of recommendation on your behalf and attach a resume, writing sample, transcript, and any other relevant documentation. Be sure to provide the recommender with details of how and when to write the letter. Close the email by thanking them for supporting you and taking the time to read your email. 4.  Wait and update them if anything happens. If you accept another offer before the recommender is finished writing his or her letter, please let the recommender know. If you need advice regarding an interview or some other question, your recommender will likely have some good tips depending on how well he or she knows you.

Danni Ondraskova will graduate in 2018 from Wellesley College. Danni plans on earning a dual degree in law and business and dreams of working for JP Morgan’s Global Investment Management division.

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Changing Course, Following Your Passion

By Katie Wooliver

March 16, 2017

At four years old, the choice was settled: I would become a professional basketball player.  A few months later, however, and I had come to my senses and rationalized a more attainable career goal - the front desk girl for the pool.  After a brief conviction to one day be Sporty Spice of the Spice girls, I decided I wanted to be a doctor (much to the relief of my parents).  This time, the vision stuck. Fueled by a love of math and science and the desire to help others, I worked toward my goal. When I entered college at Northwestern, I elected to study Biomedical Engineering, which fulfilled my math and science requirements, and hopefully would give me an edge over other medical school applicants.  Although school was often challenging, I pushed myself to stick with it and grind it out –with each passing year, I was getting closer and closer to my childhood goal. 

The beginning of my senior year, however, taught me the value of thinking outside and allowing myself to chart another course.  A last minute pivot can be difficult, but keeping your passions at the forefront of your decision making will allow you to be confident in the choices you make. 

I had organized my class schedule to complete the remaining pre-med courses and take the MCAT in the spring.  I was set.  Yet, something didn’t feel right.  I began to have serious reservations about the path I had laid out for myself.  When I spoke to my friends that were on the same course as me, they were all gung ho about applying to medical school and committing the next four years to school, a few more years to residency, and topping it off with a couple years for a specialty.  At one point in life, being a doctor was all I saw myself doing, but for the first time since grade school I was questioning my dream. 

For a few weeks I wrestled with this in my mind.  Why was I feeling this way now?  What would my parents and peers think if I changed my mind in the eleventh hour?  What would I do with my life if I did not become a doctor?  I know now that these questions are common for seniors preparing to leave college and enter the real world.  But at the time, these questions really daunted me.  For so many years I had a one-track mind about what I would do with my future.  I hadn’t explored anything else.  I think at the core, it was the fact that I didn’t really know what else was out there for me that made me nervous about throwing myself full force into medical school.  I needed to start exploring. 

It was a difficult decision to steer away from the goal to become a doctor, but ultimately the right path for me became clear when I found DaVita.  My work on integrated care with DaVita allows me to fulfill my childhood passion of providing care to others while providing me the opportunity to explore healthcare from another angle and exercise my talents in a way I hadn’t thought of before.  I learned that when I pushed myself to look beyond, my passion still lied with healthcare, but my end goal took a different shape. 

It is okay to change course, but keep your passion as your North Star. 

As you think about making the transition from college to the real world, keep your mind open to the possibilities that are out there, but stay true to what drives you.  At the end of the day, if you enter a field you are passionate about, your work will be stronger, your days will be more fulfilling, and ‘adulting’ will be better than you ever imagined. 

Katie WooliverKatie is an Analyst on the Pioneer Team at DaVita, an operations and innovation team that operates similar to an internal consultancy. Katie earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, Class of 2015.

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