November 16, 2018

Students on the Blog: Internship Perspectives from 6 Students

Every day, there are numerous Zicklin grad students interning in various companies throughout New York City. Each of them have different experiences, learn new skills and come away with new ideas and goals from the work they do.

These Zicklin students shared with the GCMC their thoughts on their fall 2018 internships:

  • Yenaxika Bolate (MS Statistics '18), Data Scientist Intern at a data and insights communications agency
  • Xinyue Chen (MS Accountancy '18), Financial Reporting Intern at a banking and financial services holding company
  • Lingfeng He (MS Quantitative Methods and Modeling '19), Financial/Quantitative Analyst Intern at a global RegTech platform
  • Meng Huang (MS Statistics '19), Supply Chain Finance Intern at a global CPG firm
  • Jing Yan (MS Accountancy '18), Accounting Intern at an investment management firm
  • Jing Zhu (MS Information System with Concentration in Data Analytics '19)

We asked each of them the same four questions, but their answers were hardly the same.


  • Yenaxika Bolate (MS Statistics '18)

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

One of the most important things I've learned at my current internship was effective communication. Prior to this internship, I assume as many STEM majored students do, that communication was an easy thing to do as long as you have solid technical skills. But then I realized communication is actually an art, and good communication skills will not only be beneficial to work but also to life. It requires strategy and lots of practice.

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

I would say during my internship, the way I approached networking is by being prepared and take opportunities to talk to people. For example, there will be some in-company social events, or just generally when people sit together during lunchtime, I would just talk to other colleagues and get to know them better.

What has been the biggest contribution you have made to your team at your internship? Why?

My biggest contribution would be applying a quantitative problem-solving strategy to building out the company product. Our product is to quantify cultural signals through news-article analysis, and I developed simple but informative metrics in collaboration with my supervisor, and approached the metrics through a mathematical structure.

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

I hope to continue working at my current employer after graduation. I like what I'm currently doing, and wish to gain more experience in the data science field. There are still some interesting ideas that I'm hoping to try out and apply.

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

I would say that the most important thing is, make sure to be good at what you have learned. Although networking and applying to jobs are also very important, a solid and proper understanding of your professional knowledge is one of the keys to a successful interview and to your work. Also, be planned and strategic in terms of networking and job application instead of being anxious.

  • Xinyue Chen (MS Accountancy '18)

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

From this internship, I learned a lot from my colleagues. My colleagues gave me an important tip that you should talk to as many people as possible. The quickest way to adapt yourself to an environment and get familiar with your daily tasks is to ask questions. You should feel free to ask questions of your coworkers, supervisor, etc. Talking to them will give you at the very least a broad view of your job and a sense of the contributions that you can make to your team. Also, talking to people outside of your team will give you an understanding of the industry you are working in and help you learn how several teams coordinate to achieve a goal.

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

I think the easiest way to approach networking is to attend some networking events. You get an opportunity to meet different professionals and peers at events, which give you a chance to learn from others. For me, in my current internship, I attended an event that gathered managers from different departments together, where they shared their management style and skills. During the event, I met our department manager and she shared more with me about her experience in leading our team. I got a much deeper understanding about our team and what my role was in it.

What has been the biggest contribution you have made to your team at your internship? Why?

The biggest contribution I have made has been helping the team build our fee database. Before I joined, we didn’t have our own fee database. When we need to analyze our fee structure, we had to ask the billing department for information or go to the file room to find contracts. It can be a cumbersome process since the fee we are charge what contracts state can sometime not always match. I spent several weeks talking to the billing and operation teams, and finally built our database. It’s much more user friendly and easier for us to do analysis for our fee structure, revenue, performance and so on.

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

In my current internship, one part of my job is to compare and report the difference with our actual revenue and what is planned. One day I asked my supervisor where we got our planned revenue number and how we calculate it. She told me they come from the financial department, but she had no idea how it was calculated. Then I talked to a director in the finance department and he introduced me to the procedures involved in planning, budgeting and forecasting. I have become more interested in corporate finance and would love to get into this area next.

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

I think the most important thing is to keep motivated. Getting a job is not always easy and sometimes your need a little bit of luck. For me, I had two rounds of interviews for this internship and waited for more than three months to get the offer. One of my school friends told me he used to apply for more than 200 positions per month and send more than 20 follow-up emails each day and finally he got a job at JPMorgan. Keep motivated and active in your job search, and never lose heart from rejections and failures.

  • Lingfeng He (MS Quantitative Methods and Modeling '19)

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

One of the most important things I've learned is that building a professional image is important; especially if I want to work in this company for the long term, or if I want a reference in the future. As someone who works in a finance department, building an image of being detail oriented and professional is important to me. Building an image of being good at communication and leadership will also be helpful for potential promotions.

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

I've approached networking at my internship mostly with my colleagues, including the ones working at the same department with me, as well as people from other departments and companies. One example is the President of our company, who used to work in investment banking and has many strong skills. He joined the company not long ago and is very open-minded to talking to employees. I got an opportunity to learn some Excel skills from him, as well as some advice for my future career development.

What has been the biggest contribution you have made to your team at your internship? Why?

The biggest contribution I think I've made is the idea of developing a new report for reporting purposes. In the past, we have all the information for the deals that our company participated in, but we've never combined everything into one source that can be updated on a daily basis. We have a development IT team, so I helped communicate with that team about the logic for building the report, as well as communicated with people from other companies who can provide us with the information we would need. We ended up building a report which can be used internally as well as presented externally that had the information we wanted.

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

After this experience, there is a lot that I want to learn. I want to gain more leadership skills by dealing more with people inside and outside of the company. I would also like to get into a more professional and well-developed team, so I would have more people to learn from. I would also love to find the opportunity to combine more of what I've learned in school to my daily work.

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

There's always a way to find an internship as long as you try. Even if you don't have enough of a network to get referred, don't give up on searching online. And don't forget to get help from the career center. Talk to people to get as much information as you need. The first step is always difficult, but it’s possible.

  • Meng Huang (MS Statistics '19)

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

One of the most important things I have learned has been to keep a diligent and communicative attitude. There was one time I made a mistake, which slowed down the efficiency of our work flow and my boss was really mad initially. After she told me about the mistake, I apologized sincerely and sat with her for four hours working on the issue. I also proposed a few ideas to keep the problem from happening in the future. In the end she was relived, as she saw that I was trying to make up for the mistake. We also made a clearer structure of the problem.

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

Although my internship position is officially off-cycle, I made a meaningful relationship with HR so that that they included me into the Lunch and Learn Series with other interns from the summer program. During the two months of the Lunch and Learn Series, I got to network and speak with senior managers and directors from different departments, such as corporate finance, financial accounting and North America. I even had an opportunity to have sit-down lunches with the company CFO and COO. I have learned a lot about other departments that I would never have known had I not initially connected and networked with HR, and showed my interested in learning more about the company.

What has been the biggest contribution you have made to your team at your internship? Why?

The biggest contribution I have made to the team is reconciling accounting information for a newly launched product. So far we have made sales since beginning of the year, and I have been in charge of reconciling Accounts Receivables, Accounts Payables, and Inventory. Specifically, I communicated with our partner companies and colleagues in different offices, identified duplicate invoices or checks, and corrected inventory management mistakes. Such activities allowed me to demonstrate my value the most, through thorough examination of accounting book entries and inventory management for an actual nuanced product sold worldwide.

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

After this experience, I would really love to learn the nuts and bolts of supply-chain finance. I had only obtained a degree in general finance but nothing related to supply chain. However, this internship allowed me to broaden my horizons in how networking capital is managed, including cash, inventory, accounts receivables and accounts payables. It also involved tracking and overseeing first-hand sales and shipping processes, which really interested me and could be an area I would love to get into.

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

I think the most important thing is to believe in yourself, and understand that you are passionate in what you are pursuing for a reason. Do not change yourself so that you can be suitable for a job considered “hot” or “useful” by other people, unless you know for sure that is what you are truly interested in. That being said, owning your hard work and owning your flaws are equally important. Being confident about your strengths, and being open about your weaknesses and working on them is always an appealing trait to employers, and they will stand out in whichever industry or position that you apply for.

  • Jing Yan (MS Accountancy '18)

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

The most important thing I have learned at my internship is to take initiative and get used to learning things by yourself. When I first started my internship, I never used Tableau, which is the data virtualization tool my firm uses to generate financial reports. The consultant who worked on generating the financial reports was leaving within two weeks. He didn't have much time to teach me how to use Tableau, but I needed to understand how he created his reports before he left. Within two weeks, I took an online course for Tableau after work. I looked into his reports, and wrote down all the formulas he created so I could better understand the logistic behind them. By doing so, I was able to replicate the dashboards he created so that I could run them without any disruption to the team after he left.

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

I just started my internship two months ago, so I haven't really started to networking with others. My manager first introduced me to all of my colleagues so that I would be comfortable when I needed to reach out to people. One example I can share is that our firm orders lunch for everyone, so sometimes I just help other people pick up their lunch and chat with people to build connections.

What has been the biggest contribution you have made to your team at your internship? Why?

I think my biggest contribution to my team has been helping my manager stay organized, especially when she has many things to do. One of my team's jobs is to manage our vendors and services, so it's important for us to organize our contract list and make sure none of them will be renewed automatically. I helped my manager create a spreadsheet for all the contracts with start date, renewal date, price, and cost allocation. I remind her whenever we need to reach out to people for new paperwork. By doing so, I have helped my team avoid the risk of spending unnecessary costs and ensure that we always stay organized.

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

I would like to learn more about data visualization and analytics tools such as Tableau. I found that those data visualization tools are widely used in financial reporting and analysis departments across different industries, so it would be helpful to learn more about them if I want to do financial reporting in the future. Being an international student, I also believe enhancing technical skills is very helpful when applying for jobs. Even after we start to work, being knowledgeable about those analytical tools can help working more efficiently and effectively.

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

I think starting with some volunteer work such as VITA so you can put experience on your resume. Then they can start to apply for some small accounting firms or corporations to get internship experience. In the meantime, it can be helpful to improve Excel skills since they are one of the most important skill sets for accountants. Once students have internship experience, they can start to networking with professionals from big firms or corporations with the hope of getting referred into a better internship or full-time job.

  • Jing Zhu (MS Information System with Concentration in Data Analytics '19)

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

Always think how to add value and how to be an asset to the company where you work. I took more responsibility than when I first started it. I learned that employees (and interns) feel good when they have an opportunity to take initiative and contribute to the team.

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

The research is the key to networking. When I apply for jobs or receive an interview, I like to research on LinkedIn first. The search on LinkedIn will let me know someone I’ve met or if someone is working in my target firm. I will try to ask for a referral from people I know if it’s appropriate. If I have no connection in that target firm, I will send cold messages on LinkedIn. I tend to reach out to people that have something in common with my background, such as having attended or is attending Baruch.

What has been the biggest contribution you have made to your team at your internship? Why?

I took the initiative to take on more work. For instance, I was not assigned on a particular project at first, but I was interested in learning the logistic behind that particular project. Also, I discovered that the colleague who was assigned the project had a full plate. I offered help on it, and am taking ownership of that project now.

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

My current experience is more of an accounting role. Next, I would like to learn the financial analysis piece where my data analysis skill can be applied.

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

Never give up applying for jobs. Most people have been through getting no response at all from many applications. Always prepare well for an interview no matter how big or small the company is.

October 29, 2018

Students on the Blog: Conductor Site Visit

By Violetta Varkueva (MS Information Systems `19)

Violetta Varkueva (MS Information Systems `19),
The technology startup Conductor, which helps marketers create and optimize content, hosted a group of Zicklin students for a site visit at their office in New York City. The visit was organized by the Zicklin Graduate Career Management Center (GCMC), and included presentations by Baruch alum and Conductor’s CFO Bennett Theimann (MBA '92), Sarah Kirell, Design, Marketing, Employer Branding, and Events, and Patty Kim, Senior Director, Talent Acquisition. The presentations were followed by a networking session between the students and Conductor.

The conversation started with Mr. Theimann, who spoke about the company, shared experiences from his career, and recounted obstacles he overcame throughout his history. What resonated with me was Mr. Theimann’s sharing that throughout his career, he has always valued attitude and ethics in candidates, namely people with a “can-do” attitude who produce results and can keep calm in a storm. Of course, it is also important that the candidate has an interest in the company and its culture. Mr. Theimann talked about the benefits of people with “scars,” that is people who aren’t afraid to fall off course by trying their best. It`s okay to fail as long as you learn from it.

(From Left to Right) Zicklin graduate students Brian Narcisse (MS Marketing '19), Sanket Saha (MBA '20), Violetta Varkueva (MS Information Systems `19), Faroz Mohebban (MS Information Systems '20) and Varshita Jain (MS  Information Systems '19)

After Mr. Theimann, Sarah Kirell shared her experience with the company. She showed a funny video about how companies can make themselves visible and promote their business. Ms. Kirell said that for companies out there, it’s important for them to analyze what people are searching for as well as finding their audience. She then talked about search optimization strategies and how Conductor excels in this field. For me, it was worth hearing from a professional about marketing strategies and techniques that can help companies grow their business.
CFO Bennett Theimann (MBA '92) speaking to students.

After a lunch break, Patty Kim told us about career opportunities at Conductor. She noted that Conductor was named a top 5 best technology company to work for in New York City. She spoke about the corporate culture, as well as gave insight on how to apply for a job at Conductor. Ms. Kim explained that they are not bound by recruiting cycles; if the right candidate applies, they will hire them, so available opportunities are definitely worth checking out!

It was a pleasure to be able to visit Conductor. I’d like to thank everyone from the company, Mr. Theimann, Ms. Kirell, and Ms. Kim for speaking with us and sharing their insight. I would also like to thank the GCMC for organizing the visit. It was a great experience!

September 20, 2018

GCMC Podcast: Episode 3 - Build Valuable, Life-long Relationships - Pat Hedley

Pat Hedley has three decades of global private equity experience at General Atlantic, and now works with entrepreneurs and mid-sized growth company CEOs to help them accelerate revenue growth, expand their strategic network and maximize their company value. She is also the author of Meet 100 People, A How to Guide to the Career and Life Edge Everyone's Missing, encouraging everyone to meet people and build valuable life-long relationships.

In this episode, we walk with Pat about what meeting people and building valuable life-long relationships entails, a part of what is involved in networking, including:

  • Understanding Yourself: Knowing who you are at the core of making connections
  • Real Relationship-building: What it really means to establish relationships that are meaningful
  • Focus on the Long-term: Not discounting connections you think won’t help you
  • Can’t Lose Attitude: Getting past feeling intimidated to connect with people

Click here to listen.

September 5, 2018

Students on the Blog: Q&A - Check-in with Deloitte Audit and Assurance Manager Diana Ge

Yiping Yang is an MS Accountancy candidate set to graduate in 2019. She first met alumna Diana Ge (MS Accountancy '12) at a social event, and then when she started her internship at Deloitte last spring, Diana was her training facilitator. Yiping was impressed by Diana's confidence in giving lectures in front of dozens of interns and by her kindness in sharing great advice when interns approached her.

From Yiping: "During my internship, I ran into Diana a few times in the office, she always seemed energetic, productive and efficient through her work. I was curious about her background, and when I asked her to do a phone interview, Diana was very happy to share her thoughts on what has led to her success." 

1. Can you briefly introduce yourself, including your background, your current job and career path?

I am from Beijing and I came to US for my Master of Accounting at Baruch. My current job is an audit and assurance manager at Deloitte’s New York office in the financial service industry, specializing in banking, securities and asset management industry.

My career path is straightforward. I started as a first year and got promoted to manager after four and half years. I started in January, so that’s why I started right through busy season.

Diana Ge (MS Accountancy '12)
2. You graduated from Baruch in 2012. What do you miss the most about Baruch?

I miss the Baruch community the most because everyone at Baruch is supportive and approachable, especially the advisers from GCMC. I received a lot of help from them. I remember when I first came, I was really shy but thanks to the help from GCMC, I developed my communication skills and became comfortable and prepared for the job application process. I also miss my professors and my classmates because I learned from them and they all helped me to adapt to American culture here.

3. How did you land your career at Deloitte? How did you prepare for it?

I applied online and I got an interview. I went to GCMC a lot and did mock interviews, I also asked people who had received offers from the Big Four for advice and to have them to share their experiences on what questions I could expect during the interview. I was lucky to have met my interviewer through a recruiting event at Baruch. At first, when I met him, I was too shy. He came to campus a few times and I finally talked to him, introduced myself and I felt that I knew him already before my interview. Preparation was important because I needed to know myself, my own story, and how to present that story to people. I made sure that others could understand my experience, what skills I could bring to the table, and why I wanted to pursue my career at Deloitte.

4. Can you share your working experience at Deloitte from the past five years?

During my experience, I learned most skills on my job from my seniors, managers, and partners. When I first started at Deloitte, I was very shy and I didn’t even get a chance to talk to clients as a junior and didn’t know how to interact with my client. My partner gave me many opportunities because every time he went to a meeting with assurance or CFO he would take me. Even though at that time I was just listening, I learned a lot through observation and through conversation with my manager, my partner, and the clients. As time went on, I started picking up tips and tricks on how to interact with clients, especially in building relationships with them. Every time I stopped by my client’s office, I made sure to talk to them, even if we didn’t have anything new with the audit, I would make conversation about their life and their families to keep the relationship. If you put in a lot of time to maintain the relationship, clients will see how hard you have worked. As long as you show your sincerity and authenticity, they will learn to trust you and eventually become friends with you. While the business culture and language were hard to understand at the beginning of my career, I came to learn the reasoning behind it, realizing that the pressure to meet deadlines can make people tough. You can learn different personalities and gain many experiences.

Yiping Yang (MS Accountancy '19)
5. What do you think is the most challenging part of your job at Deloitte?

I am from a different culture, the Asian culture, and sometimes people act differently towards certain things. For example, when I first started, I wasn’t brave enough to ask for time off even if I was sick. Because from Asian background, I was trained to be diligent and committed to work even I felt sick or uncomfortable. At one time, I was so sick and couldn’t stop coughing. My team member noticed, and my manager went straight to me and said if I didn't feel comfortable to go home to rest. I said no because I still had work to do. Later, I learned that if you feel sick or if you have personal matters to take care of, it doesn’t hurt to ask. If you don’t ask, people will never know the situation you are dealing with. It’s important to speak up sometimes and it’s one of my biggest challenges with my work here.

The other challenge is to speak up for opportunities. Especially in audit there was projects or industries I found very interesting and I wanted to get involved in but, due to my shy personality at the time I never spoke up. Then when these opportunities went to someone else, I regretted my silence. I realized that sometimes it’s important to speak up, even though it often takes a lot of courage.

6. You are currently the manager of the Deloitte Audit Financial Service team. What do you think is the most important skill/ability for the field, or what quality or skill has helped you succeed as a leader?

When I started at Deloitte we all worked based on projects. I worked with different people and observed many diverse styles of leaders and team interaction. Meanwhile, through conversations at work and from with my mentors, I learned the how to build my leadership skills. This is something that Deloitte promotes. Many corporations now are focusing on building leaders within the organization. That’s something helped me stand out. Meanwhile, Deloitte’s focus on personal development has encouraged me to spending time investing in other people’s career. It is important because I have become team-oriented through the working relationships with my coworkers. I care about everyone on my team, not only in their ability to handle work assignments, but also their work satisfaction and desire to learn new skills. I also want to support their interest in any extracurricular activities, such as initiatives in which they want to get involved. Furthermore, I try to remain conscientious to their wellbeing and work life balance. In this way, at busy season if a team member needs to go home early her work can be taken care of by the rest of the team. It is important to balance the struggles of daily life with the intense rigor of busy season. In my team, some members like to go to the gym once a week, while others choose to have dinner with their families. In this way, the team understands their work at Deloitte has been valued and been recognized by others, so in return, they will become committed to their work as well.

7. Do you have any suggestions/advice for Baruch students?

One thing that is very important is to always improve your communication skills. I still remember after I came to the US, I felt like I spoke broken English and soon I realized that language and communication skills are so important in the business world. Another suggestion is to always keep up to date with what is going on in the world. Know what’s in the happening market, the latest news, and how these will affect the business world or the economy. Students should improve their business sense and their knowledge in business. To know the industry throughout the networking process and personal study, building important work relationships and career will be easy.

Students should learn interpersonal skills. For example, I became involved in the mentoring program at ASCEND. Sometimes students approached me and asked for my business card in a strange way. Sometimes I felt uncomfortable to share it because I didn't know much about them. They didn’t share their background, start with small talk, or even try to build rapport, just wanted to send me their resumes. This is unprofessional and not a way to behave during the job search experience. However, with practice during networking, interpersonal skills can be refined and honed.

Lastly, everyone should find a career they enjoy and can become passionate about. At the end of the day, if you don’t like what you are doing and just want to have a job for personal gain, you will soon find that won’t work at Deloitte. That’s why networking with other people is important because you will find out what professionals are doing and if you are interested or not in that type of job.

In the end, I appreciate all the education I received at Baruch; I found it so helpful. After I migrated to business world, I met so many alumni from Baruch at Deloitte or client sites. Every time I met a Baruch Alum, I became instantly connected. The strong network with Baruch students and alumni is truly meaningful.

September 4, 2018

GCMC Podcast: Episode 2 - Communication is Key with Ottaviana De Ruvo (Withum)

The GCMC Podcast gets off-the-record thoughts and perspectives from individuals who have been hiring managers and in hiring positions in their careers. In this episode, we chat with Ottaviana De Ruvo, Campus Recruiter at Withum. To listen to this Episode of the podcast, click here or listen on the Apple Podcasts app.

Topics discussed with Ottaviana include:

  • Developing your interpersonal communication skills
  • Non-verbal communication at events and standing out at career fairs
  • Communicating on-the-job with your team and supervisors
  • Communicating with senior-level professionals and managers
  • Understanding different types of communication styles

Withum is a nationally ranked public accounting firm providing advisory, tax and audit services to businesses and individuals on a local-to-global scale. Meet Ottaviana and other Withum team members at the Accounting Career Fair and Midsize Accounting Roundtable. For information on jobs/internships and upcoming events, please login to your Zicklin CareerLink account:

To listen to this Episode of the podcast, click here or listen on the Apple Podcasts app.