On Saturday February 2nd, the New York Immersion trip went up to Columbia University Business School to meet with alumnae Carlee Leraris and Katie Finnegan. The underclassmen and seniors were split into separate rooms to discuss relevant topics.
As underclassmen we met with Carlee, who works for Goldman Sachs, first to discuss topics in networking. She explained that before an interview, it is imperative to do a significant amount of research about the company. She suggested specifically to speak to other alumni who work for that company and find out the ins-and-outs that you can then mention during an interview. Carlee also reminded us that as important as it is to sell yourself, it is also critical that you communicate that you do not know everything about the company and there is still more that you want to know about the company and ask questions! She also explained the importance of a good “elevator pitch” in which you can package and sell yourself in the amount of time you would be riding in an elevator with someone. In your elevator pitch, you should include your: name, school, interests, and most importantly, why you are interviewing for this specific company. A critical component for interviewing comes after the physical interview; it is the follow up. It is very important to follow up and ask how to prepare for the next step.
Katie Finnegan, co-founder of Hukkster, an awesome start-up website which will track your favorite clothes and notify you when they go on sale (check it out at Hukkster.com!), then spoke to the underclassmen about the value of a liberal arts education. Katie, who was a History major and Religion minor, explained that your major should in no way limit your job choices. The most important skills you gain from a liberal arts education are critical thinking and interpersonal skills. She also suggested that in an internship or job that seems overwhelming at first, it is critical to set up structure for yourself, and write down all your questions and tasks to help keep yourself organized. Katie also advised that when interviewing for an internship, to ask about the projects you will be expected to work on and if there are any formal checkpoints, to ensure that you will not simply be assigned busy-work for the entirety of the summer.
Both Carlee and Katie were a wealth of information, and so enthusiastic to answer questions and share advice. It was an amazing experience!