December 4, 2023

Winners of Fall 2023 Case Competition at Pitney Bowes Discuss Strategies They Used to Give a Successful Presentation

Connor Dooling is pursuing a master’s in Statistics with a concentration in Data Science.
Fun Fact: Connor enjoys spending time outside.

Fengchu Lai is pursuing a master's in Business Analytics with a concentration in Data Analytics.
Fun Fact: Fengchu moved to the United States at the age of 15.

Hrithik Shukla is pursuing a master’s in Business Analytics with a concentration in Data Analytics.
Fun Fact: Hrithik likes to follow various sports, such as boxing.

Giving presentations is not exactly everyone’s forte. Speaking to an audience, trying to keep them engaged, and trying not to look and sound like a fool all at the same time can be stressful. Giving team presentations, especially in a competitive environment, is not any less anxiety-inducing. In addition to the three stressors, team members must coordinate with one another so that they perform as one cohesive unit. In a recent Case Competition at Pitney Bowes, winning team members Connor Dooling, Fengchu Lai, and Hrithik Shukla did just that. Together, they overcame nervousness and successfully delivered a project, winning two awards for Baruch College (represent!).

Just before Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to sit with the winners of the case competition and learn some of the strategies they used to work and present well as a team. I hope you will find their insights and advice as useful as I did, whether you are preparing for a competition or simply preparing an academic or professional presentation:

Connor, Fengchu, and Hrithik had one particular challenge in the Case Competition: develop a model that would accurately forecast revenue over a six-month horizon for Pitney Bowe’s 52 clients. So, within four weeks, they put together their best model and sent a video presentation of their findings to the judges. To their pleasant surprise, the team learned that their model was the most accurate of all models submitted. In fact, their model surpassed the accuracy standards that Pitney Bowes had in place. And so, the team made it to round two and soon thereafter, the team put their heads together again to perfect their work before giving a final presentation at Pitney Bowe’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

When I asked how the team prepared for their presentation, the members stated that they met regularly to discuss, delegate, and work on various parts of the project. They had a mix of scheduled and impromptu calls in which they gave one another feedback and made sure that all members were on the same page. They also had numerous rehearsal sessions, reviewing the contents of their project, preparing for possible questions from the judges, and practicing their public speaking skills.

“How did you handle any presentation nerves prior to the presentation?” I asked.

“I [was] the most nervous person [in the group] because this was the first time I [had to give] a presentation to a company,” Fengchu replied. To overcome these presentation nerves, she suggested taking deep breaths and practicing before presenting.

Hrithik added, “Know your personal style. I don’t memorize the entire content before [presenting]… I know exactly the order of things that I [must] present...” In essence, understand your project well.

Connor agreed to this: “Be confident in knowing your slides and the material. If you’re not confident in what you’re presenting, then you won’t come off as confident when you’re presenting... Take the time to be familiar with what you’re going to say.” He then admitted to being a nervous presenter, even when he knows what he wants to say. But he also kept in mind that audiences do not often pick up on a presenter’s nervousness. “When you’re up presenting, just know that you don’t sound as nervous as you think...”

“We were the most confident and well organized [group],” Hrithik claimed. Being organized throughout the entire competition and practicing really helped them in the end.

“What exactly made you nervous?” I then asked.

For Fengchu, it was the fact that they had to present before judges and that the overall environment was competitive.

“For me,” Connor answered, “It’s just being the center of attention––I don’t like people looking at me.” He also added that, “It’s nerve-wracking...You think [the judges] are going to pick apart your presentation and results. There’s always an allocated time for questions at the end and you think they are going to make you go into the nitty-gritty and explain yourself, but it’s not an interrogation. [They are] just follow-up questions.”

Hrithik was nervous about presenting the business insights of their project: “I wanted to be sure about what I was [saying].”

Yet despite their nervousness, the team’s presentation was perfectly aligned with Pitney Bowe’s expectations.

When asked how they prepared for questions at the end of their presentation, the team said they added an appendix to their presentation slides. Connor also pointed out, “We only had ten minutes to present. We did three weeks' worth of work, so I think expanding upon something you couldn’t get to in the ten minutes is important to add to the questions.”

Later in the interview, Connor added that his biggest struggle during construction of the presentation was trying to find the ‘so what’. “We had the model, we had our predictions, we had our insights. However, I found it a struggle to connect it altogether so that we can confidently give it to the data science team [and some] non-technical data science people we were presenting to...” The team had to connect all their analytical findings to business applications and most importantly, find the overarching ‘why’ to keep their audiences engaged.

I then asked what advice the team could give to students who find themselves nervous before and while presenting. Fengchu advised students to do their work consistently, to persevere and keep going: “Don’t just give up in the middle.”

In the context of a competition, Hrithik stated, “You really don’t know what to expect until you [arrive to a competition]." He also said to “keep an open mind” as well as to be “relentless because there are a lot of solutions that you will come up with that may not actually work.” Further, Hrithik pointed out that “sometimes you [must] put the group first...As a group, you can achieve the results you want to achieve.”

“It’s a competition and you did sign up for it,” Connor said with a slight smile. “So have fun. Move fast. You’re going to do things that you don’t use in the end, things are going to break, it might get frustrating. [But] if you just look at it as a learning experience, to grow and to have fun, you don’t know what can come of it. We wound up winning! I didn’t expect it.”

Connor, Fengchu, and Hrithik have shown that it takes much organization, coordination, and practice to develop and deliver a successful presentation, especially before judges in a competitive environment. But after interviewing the winners of the case competition at Pitney Bowes, I observed that it also takes determination, resilience, and open-mindedness. And by putting into practice some of the strategies that the team shared with us, I have no doubt that we will also end up being winners––competing or not.

Elizabeth Moy is a graduate student in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College, pursuing an MA in Corporate Communications. She is also a College Assistant with the Zicklin Graduate Career Management Center.

November 27, 2023

How to Land Your Dream Job


Dimitrios Alevizos, MS Business Analytics

A note from Jennifer Seidman, a Career Advisor at the Graduate Career Management Center:

Dimitrios exemplifies the epitome of a success story in collaboration with the GCMC. From the outset of his program, he arrived with a clear objective: to carve a path in data analytics and secure a position at L'Oreal. Despite lacking relevant work experience, Dimitrios diligently researched the skills required to position himself as a competitive candidate. In addition to completing his master's degree coursework at Zicklin, he proactively enrolled in a data boot camp.

With a solid academic foundation, Dimitrios dedicated his time to meticulous job search preparation. Over the course of more than 25 meetings with the GCMC, he actively engaged in strategic discussions, honed his pitch, meticulously crafted his resume and cover letters, and sharpened his interview skills. Armed with confidence, he networked tirelessly and cultivated relationships within his target company.

By consistently collaborating with our office, Dimitrios not only established a rapport with our team but also forged a valuable partnership. Through our coaching and his unwavering commitment, Dimitrios not only secured an internship at his dream company but also adeptly converted it into a full-time position. His success is a testament to his hard work, perseverance, and adept relationship-building skills.

Here is Dimitrios’ story:

How it All Began

Around the age of 18, Dimitrios left his home in Greece to study abroad in Paris, a city known for its iconic landmarks, passion for arts, and leadership in fashion. But if there was anything that Dimitrios noticed most while being in Paris, it was that almost everyone talked about one company: L’Oreal. His professors looked up to L’Oreal; most beauty products were from L’Oreal; almost everywhere Dimitrios went, he was exposed to L’Oreal.

That admiration for the cosmetics company, however, was not confined to Europe. When Dimitrios later moved to New York City to study at Parsons School of Design, he was again surrounded by discussions revolving L’Oreal. So, the signs were clear. Dimitrios, who already has a passion for beauty products, decided that he wanted to work there. It became the goal; it became the dream.

The Climb

Just before graduating from Parsons, Dimitrios applied for a position at the cosmetics firm and successfully passed two interviews. Unfortunately, he did not hold a green card at the time, and it cost him the third interview and the job. Though disappointed, Dimitrios did not give up: “I’ll be back,” he told himself. “And I’ll be back stronger.” Two years later when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dimitrios applied to L’Oreal again, yet again he had no luck. After another two years, Dimitrios decided to enroll in the MS Business Analytics program at the Zicklin School of Business, where he also diligently visited the

Graduate Career Management Center. He worked closely with career advisor Jennifer Seidman, networked, and attended numerous career workshops even if they were not for Baruch students.

After much hard work, Dimitrios finally landed another interview at L’Oreal and secured a position in a 12-month program for recent graduates. And soon enough, his hard work paid off. His resilience and determination led to the one thing he wanted most: a full-time job at L’Oreal!

Living the Dream

Currently, Dimitrios is a Data Quality Analyst and is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of data collected using Amazon tech tools and coding. He also creates training tools for teams and makes sure operations run smoothly and are up-to-date. But perhaps best of all, Dimitrios gets to work in his office located at Hudson Yards, where he can “look at the clouds all day long”. And to make things even better, L’Oreal supports and cares for its employees, says Dimitrios, and having such support is important.

His Advice to You

For someone who is pursuing a dream job, or is trying to establish the right career path, Dimitrios reminds them that “it is a process and journey.” He suggests that it is also important to have clarity on what you want to do right now, not necessarily long-term. And if you know the big dream, determine what little steps you will need to take to get there. Dimitrios then suggests that you make a list of the top five companies where you want to be an employee and for each, have clear reasons why. Once those are established, reach out to people, study those companies: “Start small and go deep. [Don’t just go] for whatever comes your way.” Dimitrios’s final advice: “Know why you want [that company], [not] why they want you.”

Elizabeth Moy is a graduate student in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College, pursuing an MA in Corporate Communications. She is also a College Assistant with the Zicklin Graduate Career Management Center.

November 1, 2023

Student Perspectives: Being a Power Business Intelligence Engineer

MS Information Systems, Cybersecurity and Information Assurance '23 student Palak Wadel shared with the GCMC about her work as a Power BI Engineer at Wolfspeed, a semiconductor manufacturing company.

What has been one of the most important things you've learned at your internship?

One of the key lessons from my Wolfspeed internship is the vital importance of seamless data

integration, particularly between SAP and Snowflake, and staying at the forefront of cybersecurity. My role in developing reports emphasized the practicality of integrating data sources for real-time decision- making. Additionally, engagement with the daily threat intelligence team exposed me to state-of-the-art cybersecurity tools like Sentinel and Defender, underscoring the significance of merging theoretical knowledge with practical cybersecurity applications. This experience has reinforced the need for a

holistic approach to business intelligence and data security in today's digital landscape.

How have you approached networking at your internship? Share any one specific example that has been impactful for you.

Networking has played a pivotal role in my internship journey, and a prime example is my work on developing reports for different teams. In this project, I've had the privilege of collaborating closely with both end-users and data engineers to ensure that the reports meet all technical specifications and user requirements. This collaboration has been invaluable, providing me with insights from experts on both sides of the spectrum. It has underscored the importance of building strong, cross-functional relationships, fostering teamwork, and ensuring the successful execution of projects. Networking, in this context, is not just about connecting but about understanding diverse perspectives to deliver effective solutions.

What has been your biggest contribution to your team at your internship? Why?

My most significant contribution to the team has been the development of Power BI reports that are currently in the UAT phase. Currently, I am working on developing reports, aimed at streamlining my manager's manual efforts and transitioning reporting from SAP to Power BI using Snowflake at the backend. This transition has proven to be a game-changer in terms of data accessibility and decision-making capabilities. It has shown me that efficient data reporting is not just about data ingestion but also about creating user-friendly interfaces that meet specific end-user needs. This experience has underscored the importance of flexibility and adaptability in the ever-evolving landscape of business intelligence

After this experience, what would you like to learn next?

Building on the experience gained during this internship, I'm eager to further expand my knowledge in data analytics and reporting. I aim to delve deeper into advanced data visualization techniques, including data storytelling and interactive dashboards, to create even more user-friendly and insightful reporting solutions. Additionally, I'm interested in exploring data governance and quality management, particularly with a focus on data security and integrity. In an age where data is a valuable asset, understanding how to protect and maintain data's confidentiality, availability, and integrity is crucial. This comprehensive approach to data management will ensure not only the accessibility of data but also its reliability and security. This journey is all about continuous growth and learning, with an eye toward the evolving importance of data security and integrity in the field of business intelligence.


For students having a difficult time finding an internship, what is one piece of advice you would give them?

To students facing challenges in securing internships, I would advise maintaining persistence and adaptability. Don't restrict your search to just well-known organizations; smaller companies can offer unique growth opportunities. Tailor your application materials to emphasize your skills and enthusiasm for the field. Leverage your network, reach out to professors, and make use of online platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your area of interest. Remember, rejection is a natural part of the process. Each application and interview is a learning opportunity. With determination and a positive attitude, you can turn setbacks into steppingstones for your career. My journey as a Wolfspeed Business Intelligence Engineer has been a testament to the rewards of perseverance and adaptability.

October 27, 2023

Don’t Miss Out on Networking Events: Chen Liu and Her Experience at the International Student and Alum Networking Event

Chen Liu is expected to graduate from the MS Information Systems program by Spring 2024. A couple of fun facts about her are that she likes spicy food and traveling. 

Chen Liu was in her Tools for Clear Speech workshop when a group of peers began to chat about the job seeking process. When she joined the conversation, one of the students mentioned to her that there would be an International Student and Alum Networking event later that day. They were all going and invited her to come along as well. She eagerly accepted the invitation and, within a few hours, went to the event to meet other students and alumni to learn about their professional experiences thus far.

When I sat with Chen Liu for an interview on her experience at the networking event, I asked what motivated her to go, even with such short notice. She stated that finding a job in the data industry, especially since the pandemic, has been difficult. She therefore wanted to take any and every opportunity she could to improve her chances of reaching her professional goals.

“Did you feel nervous about networking and if so, how were you able to overcome that nervousness?” I asked. Chen Liu confidently responded, “I am never nervous to have a conversation with anyone, even if you are the president.” She went on to explain that mindset is key. A person should view networking as an opportunity to have conversations with other people about their experiences. It is not an opportunity to beg for anything, even a job! Put differently, networking becomes easier when people are more focused on learning from others, instead of on their own performance or ability to impress people. For Chen Liu, it was also all about attaining the information she wanted in regard to the field of data and information systems. Additionally, she said that for international students, networking events can be an opportunity to practice English-speaking skills.

There are certainly benefits to attending a networking event, especially as an international student. From her experience, Chen Liu claimed that such an opportunity allowed her to meet people who had surprising, eye-opening perspectives. By way of illustration, while at the International Student and Alum Networking event, she met an individual who was in operations––a role that Chen Liu was not necessarily looking for. Despite this, she asked the individual some questions to which the ‘operations manager’ responded with some answers that Chen Liu never heard before. They were different than the same old generic answers she often received. Realizing that networking can lead to learning new ways of seeing the world, Chen Liu immediately saw the benefit of attending the event.

That is not to say that there were not any challenges. For Chen Liu, going to the event the day she heard about it gave her only very little time to prepare. She indeed had so many questions she wanted to ask but was unable to remember all of them. Her advice to other students: go to a networking event prepared with all your questions. You only have so much time, so don’t waste it by not asking the questions you wanted to ask.

Speaking of advice, I then asked Chen Liu what other tips she may have for international students when it comes to networking. She suggested practicing. Students may have a great deal of professional experience and may fit some available job positions very well, but the only way other people can know this is if students express their goals, questions, and capabilities clearly. Chen Liu also said that students should not wait to be talked to. Instead, they should be proactive and start asking questions when the chances arise. After all, time is limited.

In terms of the general job search, Chen Liu had some more interesting advice. She said that in graduate school, students need to have a specific, professional goal. Knowing that “target”, students can then look up occupational roles that they aspire to. She then suggested looking at the requirements for those roles and then registering for classes that would help students learn the skills needed to meet those job requirements. That way, each class would serve a particular purpose toward the job search.

This, and all that Chen Liu shared in our interview, really amazed me. International and domestic students alike can learn so much from her perspectives on networking. Indeed, networking can be a little nerve-racking, but it does not necessarily have to be that way if we are able to see it as a learning opportunity more than a chance to impress. And by going to these events, we may very well meet people who share entirely new, thought-provoking ideas. But as Chen Liu repeatedly emphasized, networking sessions provide only so much time. It is therefore not to be wasted. If there is a networking event, even in just a few hours, go! Chen Liu did just that and got so much value out of her experience. So can you.

Elizabeth Moy is a graduate student in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College, pursuing an MA in Corporate Communications. She is also a College Assistant with the Zicklin Graduate Career Management Center.

September 27, 2023

An MD on the Road to an MBA: Dr. Donelle Cummings Joins the Princeton Fintech and Quant Conference Planning Committee

This past April, students and professionals gathered at Princeton, New Jersey for the Princeton Fintech and Quant Conference. Among these attendees was Donelle Cummings, an evening MBA student at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. Though he is also a full-time practicing physician as a Gastroenterologist and Advanced Endoscopist for New York City Health and Hospitals, he has always been interested in the business side of healthcare. The conference, therefore, was a perfect opportunity for him to explore finance and market-focused subjects. 

Given this, Donelle’s experience at the conference was a good one. In fact, the conference had such a positive impact on him that he applied to be a member of the conference’s planning committee. Having been accepted, Donelle spent the past few months working with the committee to plan the next gathering, which will take place in Chicago this Fall. 

In early September, I had the privilege of speaking with Donelle about his experience at the Spring conference and working with the planning team over the summer: 

Elizabeth: For people who may not know what the Princeton Fintech and Quant Conference is, how would you explain it to them?

Donelle: I found out about the conference from the GCMC and decided to attend. It’s a conference geared toward graduate students and undergraduate students, and its goal is to expose these groups to leaders in academia, government, and the fintech and quant fields. These are not always the easiest people to get facetime with, or to be able to be in a room with, so we want to facilitate those interactions.

When I was at the conference this past spring, there were many undergrads and many grad students just happy to be there to network with one another through shared professional interest and be able to have one-on-one interactions with leaders in the field.

Elizabeth: It sounds like you’ve had a good experience. Why did it have such a positive impact on you?

Donelle: It’s the first conference I’ve been to in the financial field. We’re learning very complicated material, but the conference leaders were very open to answering questions, open to sharing contact information, and us sending emails to them asking follow-up questions.

Elizabeth: What are some of the things you learned?

Donelle: I went to a number of sessions. There was a lot of emphasis on high frequency trading, how those firms are established, some of the challenges in using high frequency trading platforms, and some of the benefits to the broader market. We discussed automated trading to bring down the cost of trading and that, in a way, democratizes the ability for people to trade, and it just has shaped the retail market. We talked a little more about the role of quants and machine learning. Those are the ones that really spoke out to me but again, I am still getting comfortable with this field.

Elizabeth: I certainly commend you for going to this conference! It must have been really fascinating and complex.

Donelle: It really is. Again, it’s a niche area because it’s sort of the nexus of computer science, computer engineering, and business. And obviously mathematics or other applied sciences. It has impacts in everything we do in terms of availability for ‘quant-ing’ things in the market and the way the market moves, and it’s changing so rapidly. So, when you have conferences like this where you can get these folks together, and students together, it’s a great opportunity for everybody.

Elizabeth: Let’s talk about you joining the Planning Committee. Why exactly did you decide that you wanted to apply for [it]?

Donelle: After reviewing and reflecting on my experience and the people I met, I was pretty impressed. Again, some of these attendees are grad students, some of these are undergrad students, who are obviously very busy... And I thought I would be able to help. I’m a new grad student, but I’ve had professional experience and when they asked for applicants, I figured I had a great experience – maybe I can contribute to someone else’s great experience.

So, I applied. It had essay questions, and it had a video component that I filmed to explain my passion. My motivation is that this is very business and engineering and com-sci focused, but it affects the economy in all areas. I think when you have people who may not have a typical background, [they] can offer a unique perspective, and so that’s why I thought I’d give it a shot. I submitted my materials, I was interviewed, and I was fortunately selected.

Elizabeth: Congratulations! What tasks are you responsible for right now?

Donelle: Thank you! My particular role is on the logistics side at this point. That’s making sure we have the website up and running and helping facilitate other needs by communicating to people for the conference.

Elizabeth: Is it a lot of digital communications, or do you get to communicate in-person with registrants?

Donelle: Right now, registration is all through Eventbrite, so we have a team that’s working on the registration. In terms of the other areas of focus, we have the speaker team working on just recruiting speakers.

The conference happens twice a year. The fall conference tends to be in Chicago, and the spring conference tends to be on a campus in Princeton, New Jersey. And just an aside, I do want to mention this: this is not affiliated with Princeton University. Historically, they have supported it, and the founders were from Princeton, but they don’t necessarily provide funding. But they do allow the use of their name.

But going back to the goal. The goal is to gain more experience with logistics and eventually, I will work more on the recruitment side as well. For now, since this is my first conference, I am learning the basic rules of how to organize [one].

Elizabeth: How do you like being part of the committee so far?

Donelle: I would say the pros are meeting people from other universities [and meeting] other MBA students. I like to be able to network with people from different institutions, from different parts of the country with different perspectives... I would say the drawback, unfortunately, is I just wish I had more time for it! Having just started the MBA program, I’m very busy... and then I'm working full-time in a busy clinical job. I just wish I could devote a little more time to [planning the conference] but I am doing the best I can!

Elizabeth: I am sure that you are doing great balancing all of that! I’m so glad that you are still able to reach your goals even being so busy with your full-time job. Let me ask one more question – from your overall experience, what are some things you learned about finding career opportunities, or what tips can you share with other students?

Donelle: I would say there are so many resources. Obviously, we had the internet when I was in college. We had online registration, and everything was online in the library but there is just so much more of it! I would say just being able to communicate is so much better. The whole social media aspect with WhatsApp and teleconferencing – we didn’t really have that. We are [now] able to speak with people rapidly. For example, the Graduate Career Management Center can Zoom with you; they are always sending emails out; even this Handshake app – I was super skeptical at first but that’s how I heard about this whole fintech and quant conference. I think there are just so many apps, so many places to get information and [to] get people to hear about great opportunities.

Donelle’s story inspires many who are looking to expand their knowledge, branch out to different industries, and accomplish a much-desired goal. In pursuit of his MBA degree, Donelle took the opportunity to attend the Princeton Fintech and Quant Conference and to apply for a role with the conference’s planning committee, which will no doubt present to him more occasions to learn about the world of business and how it can intertwine with his profession as a doctor. So here he is, taking opportunities as they come: an MD on the road to an MBA.

Elizabeth Moy is a graduate student in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College, pursuing an MA in Corporate Communications. She is also a College Assistant with the Zicklin Graduate Career Management Center.