Archive for October, 2006

One Step…

October 17th, 2006 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

I did not have the priviledge of speaking with this recruiter in any of the interview rooms at the conference. Our conversation took place in the cafeteria upstairs and this normally would serve very well save for the fact that directly across the room there were rather large bay windows and the unfortunate part about this in my particular situation was that I had this interview in the mid-afternoon and the sun was right in my face. However I squinted my way through what I feel are the two first questions in virtually any interview, by no means specific to the MBA experience.

1. Walk me through your resume… (This is just a specific version of the caterpillar’s question I discussed earlier, “Who are you?”)

2. Why do you want this job? (This occurs in various ways, what do you know about us? and such…)

After these questions, as is usually the case, he took the chance to inform me about the group that he was hiring for. He then proceeded to the fun part, which instantly brought value to the time I spent reading the vault guide to finance interviews, (a book I strongly recommend for those interested in jobs in finance)

1. How do you value a company? (comparable firm multiples and discounted cash flow is the simple answer and probably the one they want, the complicated answer is the subject of much discussion…)

2. When working from financial statements, how do you get to free cash flow? ((EBIT-EBIT*Tc)+Dep.-CAPEX-Change in WC))

This is quite representative of other interviews I have had since and proceeded well, but that’s not much of an indication of actual success as any number of other factors that have little to do with the interview and everything to do with the firm I interview with. My follow up process follows in the next post…

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Matchmaker, match…

October 10th, 2006 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

So I met what I think is my best match the first thing on the first day of the conference. I walked up and made my second attempt of the day at the ladder pitch. It went something like this. “Hellomyname is Mark … nice to meet you … iamasecondyearMBA.” You get the picture, I had too much coffee. I think that the person I spoke to may have heard about four of the words I said before informing me that the person I was looking for was getting coffee and that I should come back later. Got it.

 I heard the “come back later to talk to soandso” response easily 30 times the weekend of the conference. This is completely understandable. If I was soandso, and to some people I am, I would not want to stand there for too long either. My favorite come back later story involved a person I looked after five times before she was pointed out to me from across the room speaking to another MBA hopeful. I then returned and upon seeing her several feet away was informed that she again was not there. Now you may take from this that I was an intolerable pest and that they were trying to dismiss me with means slightly less forceful than a firehouse, however, what I believe was actually the case was a sad byproduct of globalization. The recruiters these firms sent were from all over the world and many could not pick out another from a photo array much less a crowded conference after six hours of speaking to soandso.

So I approached these firms and got some sleep after day one. I returned for day two, … tired. That actually turned out to be for the best, I approached my main match again with a much more conversational version of the same statement. After walking a recruiter through my resume at less than breakneck pace I heard two things:

1. “You should reflect more of your finance experience on your resume.”

2. “Do you have time for an interview?” Music to my ears… Why of course I do. More on the interview later…

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The Conference Dance

October 3rd, 2006 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

A friend of mine went to a fancy school full of very smart people who often had a great deal of schoolwork to do. As a result, understandably, the students there had little time for fraternization or social activity. The administration or some student-related body, I don’t really know which, came up with a solution to this problem: The Last Chance Dance.

The premise is thus. You are a second-semester senior and you have had a crush on Joe or Jane for quite some time. Joe or Jane may or may not know that you exist, but the Last Chance Dance provides a medium for you to declare your interest in Joe or Jane in a very civil way that minimizes the potential for humiliation. You submit your three Joes or Janes online and other students interested in the dance do they same and if there’s a match the system tells both of you. If not, it doesn’t. This way you don’t have to mope around campus your last couple of weeks knowing that Jane knows you put her on your list and she turned you down.

This system may seem a bit odd or irrelevant, but it is very similar to the one employers use to select MBA candidates at large conferences. All candidates sumbit resumes online to particular positions, Janes and Johns of your own. Employers then use some system, more on this later, to match you to a position and contact you for an interview slot, or in my case… don’t. It would seem the resumes I sent went off to the resume book in the sky or wherever…

Such is life, I went undaunted and stag to the conference ready to at least value the experience. I had one main match in mind and my experience with this firm will follow in my next post…

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