Saturday, October 29, 2005

Nice Work Collin

Here is a response from Collin who asked for resume guidnace previously -
"Hope all is well with you. I wanted to let you know that I accepted an offer from XVZ Investment Bank. I'll be in their operations analyst program starting Nov. 7th. Thanks for the advice you gave me, it really helped.  I will be working at the midtown office on 7th avenue. It was a year long process and I never gave up on the search. With me it's never a matter of if.....only when! Again, thanks for your input."

Nice Work Collin!

October 29, 2005 in Careers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sure I'll Do an Informational Interview

I got another email from an MBA student who is really harvesting the benefits of the net. He used Linked in to search relevant contacts to set up informational interviews. He wants to ask questions to professionals working in fields of interest to him to gain valuable insight . This is great. This is how the web should be used. It shows 1) he is proactive 2) he is effectively leveraging off of his own network Here is what he had to say.

Kendrick's Inquiry

"I found your profile on Linked and found your blog very interesting and relevant.  "XVY" Firm being at the top of my target firms list, I would like to interview you at a length convenient to you about such.  I am a first year MBA student at "MBA University".  My resume is attached for your convenience. 

Would Thursday or next Tuesday be better to contact you by phone?  I am free after market close those days, until midnight each night.  Alternative means may be by email, although less personal but less intrusive.

As a side note, I was just in NYC at ABC Firm, and at a meeting with "ABC Firm Founder", he mentioned something you may find interesting.  He spoke about big banks and the fines imposed on them relating to community development.  While I am not completely aware of the impact it may have to municipal bonds, he related to me some very interesting information.

I look forward to speaking with you at length.  I thank you very much for your time."

Sure Kendrick, I would not mind spending a few minutes over coffee. Next Thursday is best. Email me a definite time and we can set something up!

On the side

If you want to collaborate on an investment type blog let me know!

October 19, 2005 in Careers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tips on Getting The Job

This blog post is in response to an email I received from Colin asking for some career advice.
He writes:

I hope all is well with you; I am not sure if you remember me but we met at a Johnnie Walker wine tasting event at Lotus. We actually met right after an informational at (Leading Investment Bank) that I attended. Unfortunately, I was not invited to interview for the analyst position last year and I am going to make a second attempt at this opportunity. I would like to know if you would provide me with some input or advice in regards to applying for the Operations or Information Technology analyst programs. I have attached my resume for your review. Thank you Veronica, any input you can provide would be greatly appreciated".

First, I have to say it is great that young people are stepping up and asking for guidance. Its usually the people that don't need advice that are wise enough to ask for it. So it shows that Colin is doing his homework.

On Resume Feedback

Colin is interested in applying to a training program at a leading investment bank in operations.
His resume is good, but in order to apply to these competitive positions your resume has to be stellar. Here are some tips on how to achieve a stellar resume (grant it, having a great resume is only the first step to getting the job you want):

  1. Move away from the conventional impression of a Resume - Right off the bat, you have to change your idea of what a resume is. Its not just a summary of you work history, accomplishments, and education. Its an AD. A Quick presentation to people who don't know you, who have little time to care about why you want the job, and hidden agendas of their own which can range from getting themselves promoted, to making more money, to spearheading the firm's next strategic initiative. Your resume has to present you in a way that leaves all readers drooling to bring you back into the office for an interview. Ads tell you in the first 30 seconds whether you want the product or not, and they don't get a second chance. People don't look back and revisit ads, they see them, get an impression, decide if they want to take action, and then move on with their lives. Don't let your resume flounder at the bottom of the pile somewhere in HR. At the top half you must convey at the least that you are an intelligent potential leader with a  passion for the industry and the skill set for the job. If you don't do that, no one will even bother reading the second half of your CV.If you are a great coach, but that out in front. Be specific, what did you do that made you a great leader. Did you bring the team to the playoffs consistently. Get your story out effectively and early.
  2. Don't Forget Why People are Hiring You- People have a job they need to get done. They have a specific skill set and set of qualities they are seeking out in a candidate which they believe will allow the candidate to be successful in the open position. You have to convey to the person hiring you and reading your resume that at the very least you have the capacity to be successful in the role offered. At best you can convey that you have the ability to make the group more efficient, productive, and strategic. Sometimes a candidate will demonstrate strong skill sets that may even overlap other positions. In these cases candidates will get offers to interview for positions they don't even apply to which will be perfect matches for their experience and capability. But you will still have to convey that you have many qualities to bring to the table.
  3. Recognize the Pool of Competition - Don't fall prey to not understanding or underestimating your competition. Yahoo did this with GOOGLE.  If you have your own story but forget to say why you are a stronger candidate than your competition, you will never be invited for an interview. Analyst training programs tend to hire recent college graduates. They are looking for ambitious, passionate people for entry level positions to mold them into leaders and slowly bring them up through the ranks of the organization. They do not expect candidates to have an extensive work history. Their focus will be above all on how the candidate has performed in the academic world. Granted how you perform in academia is no indication of how quickly you will pick things up in your role at the office, but its a level playing field to start assessing candidates. What makes you stand out, emphasize your education before your work history. Be specific, show problem solving initiatives and  how you directly deployed and executed those   solutions. Did you work on a team, did you discover and resolve the issue independently, how long did it take you, and what were the results. Did you save time, did you save money. Now you
  4. Be Specific - What makes you stand out? Be specific, show problem solving initiatives and  how you directly deployed and executed those  solutions. Did you work on a team, did you discover and resolve the issue independently, how long did it take you, and what were the results. Did you save the group time, did you save the firm money, or did you satisfy the needs of a valuable client.
  5. Promote Your Passion - If you want to be a trader, but are now working in marketing, what have you proactively become involved in to display your passions as a trader. Are you involved in a professional society for traders etc. Don't just say you want to make a career move, show how you are taking steps to actively make the move. Don't give potential employers the impression that applying for this job is the first step your making in moving toward your new career. If you cared that much about it, you would be doing something about it sooner.
  6. Demonstrate Your Do's: If you say you  are a leader, show how. Don't just state you are a "team player" describe a successful group project you were a part of.

Specific Advice for Colin

Put your education above your work history.
Put your Athletic Interests below your leadership activities.
I would format your cv in the following manner

  • Education
  • Work History
  • Tech Skills
  • Leadership Activity
  • other interests

If you have progressed in a firm from one position to the next, you should include when you transitioned between positions, not simply how long you have been with the firm. This will show if you are a rising star quickly moving up the ranks.

If you "implemented measures to maintain integrity of data" tell me what you did specifically to do that, and maybe offer a time frame as to how long it took you to complete that project. Adding more specific color will make your resume stand out from the cliched piles of "team players" and "leaders" that don't ever demonstrate how they execute or problem solve or lead anything.

Last Tid Bit
You need to have those accomplishments that emphasize your leadership abilities that make you stand out.  If you are a coach for a team, explain the team a little bit. Did you take them to the playoffs or develop them over time? Coaching is a great skill and if you can demonstrate your ability as a successful coach that can really add to your cv. However if this is at the bottom of your resume no one i going to see it. Remember this, people will be reading your resume who have never met you, They are busy and have about 5 seconds to look at it. If they can't decide by the first half that they can bring you in for an interview than they will but your cv at the bottom of the pile.

Try applying to the Finance Analyst Training Program or other training programs that relate to the scope of the operations training program or better fit with your skill set. It seems you would be better suited for a position in the Technology training program or a position in corporate Security.

Also be confident on the interview. Listen and have some prepared questions, about the firm for the interview. 

Tips From Other Resources

Forbes Picks Best Career Blogs  - from

Jason S. Gorham (CEO, Career Meta Search and founder of Job Search - from Job Seekers Keep Blogs

Resume and Interview Tips

October 10, 2005 in Careers | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Funny Business Comments on The Dilbert Effect

Funny Business, a blog about Business Culture, makes an interesting point about office space coined "The Dilbert Effect". The writer states that just by walking around the office and looking for Dilbert Cartoon postinsg one can judge how unhappy employees there are.

            "If you are a manager of employees with a lot of Dilberts in your office -- beware! Those       cartoons may be giving you a not-so-subtle message -- at least that's Rick Brenner's theory..To avoid the Hawthorne Effect, Brenner believes managers can better assess their effectiveness by looking at other factors, such as: number of posted Dilbert comics, percentage of posted Dilbert comics that involve Catbert the evil HR manager, percentage of posted Dilbert comics that involve the pointy-haired manager and percentage of desks with Dilbert calendars."

If your co-workers have a ton of Dilbert "stuff", they might be trying to tell you something.

June 2, 2005 in Careers, Comedy & Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, May 27, 2005

Microcredit Conference @ The UN

arrow   International Year of Microcredit 2005
Date: June 10th, 2005
Time: 7:45 - 10:00 am
Location:   United Nations Headquarters
  New York, NY

To Register Click Here. To View the Invite and See Whos Speaking Click Here


"The United Nations Capital Development Fund in collaboration with Financial Women’s Association,
Women Advancing Microfinance Women’s Association of Venture and Equity, 85 Broads, and Women’s Bond Club of New York is pleased to invite you to a breakfast panel in celebration of the International Year of Microcredit 2005"


Some of you may never have heard of the concept of micro finance. I think its a great concept. Get some investors together, raise capital, create "micro" loans to provide funding for start ups and small ventures that other wise would not get funding. It works so well because target borrowers have high pay back rates and usually do not default.

What is Micro Finance
Small loans that help poor people who wish to start or expand their small businesses but, are not able to get banks to lend to them.

Harvard is teaching a class on this. Bhakti Mirchandani is a strong proponent of micro finance and has started three initaitives to promote this concept.

Global Microentrepreneurship Awards - which gives away 50Gs a year
2) The Graduate Student MADVC (Microfinance and Development Venture Capital Network
3) The Harvard College Social Enterprise Club

May 27, 2005 in Around Town - Giving back, Careers, Events | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 19, 2005

New Aussie Artists - Karen Jaconson

I heard Karen sing for the first time at a bar in Long Island. A few friends were there for a happy hour and she just happened to be singing. She is a very passionate singer and skilled piano player. I really enjoyed her rendition of London Town which you can sample at her site. You can also get a list of upcoming gigs there.  She was very willing to chat about her hometown and career. I love supporting independent artists especially those that are passionately working towards their goals. Its great that you can stumble upon good music anywhere bars, subways, even parks.  I still can't figure out how a girl from Australia goes from Sydney to Fenway Park to a bar in Long Island.

May 19, 2005 in Careers, Music, New Artists, Upcoming Artists | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Getting Things Done - A Productivity Wiki

Steve Rubel found a very interesting piece of software called GTDTiddlyWiki via It was created from what I understand by a guy called Nathan Bower. GTD stands for a productivity concept known simply as "Getting Things Done". The GTD wiki is a quick to do list that can be uploaded to any computer via a USB port

What's a Wiki?
What is a wiki? Its a piece of software that allows you to update a web page using html through a
web browser. Anyone that has the url can update the page. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly. Translation no coding knowledge necessary to update the page. Just type stuff in an follow menu options and GUIS similar to those in any MS app. i.e copy, edit, delete buttons

Why Save the Wiki?

If you save the url link to your c-drive or a personal drive then only you have access to updating the content. If you save the wiki to a network drive than multiple users can edit and access the wiki. Basically the GTD Wiki can be used as a fancy to do list. I already started mine. Its good for silly chores, long term goals etc or to dos you think about on the fly.  Still, it doesn't have any type of alert mechanism, so it does not replace outlook. In my mind it is like a bunch of on screen organized "post its" with categories. At least you don't have to worry about losing the post it. Look it already proves to be a stress reliver.


How to save the GTD Wiki to your C-Drive:

If you right click here and click on "save link as" or "Save Target As" to your desktop or anywhere on your c-drive, you can then open up that saved link in a web browser and edit the content with your web browser. If you save this link/wiki to your c-drive, than only you will have access to editing the content. Now it is no longer a web site, but sits on your computer as a file. Here is an example of how the GTD productivity tool can be exploited to its fullest potential. Its a great tool for people who have stuff to do and need to get things done.

Its a good thing

If you save your GTD wiki to a portable USB drive you will always have your GTD wiki accessible by any computer.

Click Here to Learn More about Tidly WIkis

May 18, 2005 in Careers, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, May 06, 2005

Lehman Takes Fordham to the NYSE


Lehman and Fordham's Career Planning and Placement joined resources to organize a trip to the New York Stock Exchange. Jim and Rob from Lehman Brothers led two small groups through the halls of the NYSE on Broad Street. The group met with many traders, specialists, and a floor monitor, walking through the entire exchange from the Garage, to the Main Room, through the Blue Room (where ETFS like SPDRs, Diamonds, and the QQQ are traded) all the way back to the 30 Broad Street building. The pace was fast furious, but the students asked great questions and learned a lot.



For Fun Facts about the NYSE and to view more pictures visit the "Lehman Takes Fordham to the NYSE" album. Click here to visit the NYSE page and hear the closing bell when you click on the picture. Click Here to visit the Fordham site.

May 6, 2005 in Around Town - Giving back, Careers, Fordham | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Muni Derivative Seminar at The BMA

I had a great experience at the MuniDerivs Seminar (Click for a complete event outline) sponsored by the Bond Market Association at the Global Financial Markets Center in NYC.  The tag line for the conference was "An Investor's Guide to Issuer Derivative Transactions" and was mainly geared towards buy side institutional investors. Though I am not on the buy side, I do work in Municipal Bonds Finance and I am familiar with many interest rate products. I found the event quite apropos to what I am currently being exposed to.

What Topics did they Cover?

Some of the presentations covered common derivative structures for

  • synthetic fixed rate bonds
  • floating rate bonds, basis swaps
  • swaptions 

This was the morning session. In the afternoon, there were some discussions that covered various risk measures including basis. credit, and interest rate risk and comparisons between mark to market risk that brokers are concerned with versus cash flow risk which is generally an issuer's main concern.  Presentations covered structuring appropriate credit terms (Insurance, credit support agreements, etc.) tax implications, legal issues and accounting policy. Its was very informative and the first real seminar that I have attended that was directly applicable to my current position. Though there are few seminars that I have encountered devoted to the topic of municipal bonds, simply because it is just not an interesting or sexy new topic.  Most of the other functions I have attended have been geared towards professional organizations, alumni events, career development, or MBA Info Sessions.

Worth the Trip or A Complete Waste of Time?

The Seminar was definitely worth it. The sessions were just technical enough to get a grasp of structures, fundamental curves, and accounting policy issues without being so overly technical that it put you to sleep. Also a nice perk was the Bloomberg access, Internet access, free Bond Buyer copies, and access to a courtesy phone (Not that everyone there wasn't armed with a blackberry, cell phone, and laptop) Still its nice to know that the planning was thorough enough to include those little details. Breakfast and Lunch were provided, and they also offered a nice cocktail networking reception and dinner post conference, which I unfortunately had to miss. I would definitely attend another Seminar sponsored by the BMA. If I knew it was going to be that good, I would have spread the word a little bit more about it.

How did I find out about it?

I just happened to be doing some research on the Bond Market Association's site when I came across a link to the event. This just goes to show that opportunity comes when you least expect it, and if you are not observant you might glance over a great prospect that is right under your nose.

March 16, 2005 in Careers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack