October 21, 2020

Students Working with the GCMC: Self Assessment and Boosting Confidence

Luisa Diez, MBA ‘20

After graduation in June 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic, I realized that the job-hunting process was not going to be easy. I needed to do it strategically and decided to work hand-in-hand with my career coach at the GCMC.  I can highlight two things in this process:


First, understanding what I am good at and what roles I could be a good fit for is key. Not every position is for everyone, and I am not the best fit for every single open role. So what is a good starting point? Self-assessments.  The MBTI and StrengthsFinder tools provided by the GCMC helped me narrow my job search. It also boosted my confidence in answering behavioral questions, and now I speak with certainty about my strengths, work preferences, and capabilities.


Second, prepare, prepare, and prepare! I cannot count how many times I have told my elevator pitch to my career coach, yet it has helped me to be ready when the “tell me about yourself” question hits in an interview. The GCMC was critical in structuring and making my pitch stronger to stand out even in group interviews.  


As graduate students we usually take interviews for granted because we have gone through the process before and are confident enough about our previous professional experience. Yet, there is always room for improvement in doing introspective work to boost your self-confidence, that will result in more successful interviews. A good job-hunting process is not an easy task, it requires help and that help is called the GCMC, the best free partner you can find!

Connect with Luisa:

LinkedIn: Luisa Diez

Students Working with the GCMC: Communicating with Executives

Eka Gigauri, MS ‘20

The GCMC has been my go-to destination since day one as a graduate student of finance. I regularly check-in with my career advisors to update them on my job-search and interviewing progress, share my doubts, ask “stupid” questions, because, yes, it is a safe place to do so. For instance, multiple times, my career advisor gave me invaluable guidance not only on oral communication with recruiters and professionals but also on professional email correspondence. One time, I was unsure about the content of an email with an executive that would maximize my chances of a reply.  However, I followed the recommendations from my advisor about the format and tone of the email and I heard back from the executive in less than an hour.  

In addition to working one on one with the career advisors, the GCMC frequently hosts informational sessions with companies that enable students to not only learn about them but also to network with executives. Prior to these events, I attend workshops organized by the GCMC aimed at training students on how to network with professionals. It makes a huge difference when you go prepared to a networking event and feel confident.

Connect with Eka:

LinkedIn: Eka Gigauri

Students Working with the GCMC: From Networking to Skill Building

Daniel Ambalu, MBA ‘21

Daniel Ambalu, MBA ‘21

The GCMC has been an invaluable resource to me throughout my time at Baruch.  Before I even started, I met with Jack Pullara, a GCMC Career Coach, who informed me what skills are most in-demand for my target industry and which ones I needed to build. Fred Burke, GCMC Director, taught me how to quickly expand my network on LinkedIn, and the walk-in sessions with different coaches helped me prepare for last minute interviews during recruiting season through practice interviews and questions to expect.  

My personal career coach, Lindsey Plewa, deserves particular mention, as she guided me throughout my career journey.  Through the MBTI and Strengthsfinder Assessments, she allowed me to pinpoint my skills and leverage them to best add value to my teams, whether at my internship or through class projects.  She even went over a PowerPoint presentation I made as I vied for a promotion last semester.  The GCMC is here to help you – if I could give graduate students one piece of advice besides networking, it would be to utilize the GCMC (although if you struggle with networking, they can help you with that as well). 

Connect with Daniel:

LinkedIn: Daniel Ambalu
Instagram: @dannyambalu 
Twitter: @AmbaluDaniel

October 8, 2020

7 Ways to Feel Good About Your Career Choices

Your career is an important part of your life without a doubt. I’m guessing it’s the reason you’re investing time and money in a master’s degree. As an MBA student at Zicklin, I remember the pressure I felt to get my career right. I had quit my job to return to school so that I could change careers and felt a lot of anxiety navigating the process. In retrospect, I realize I was making a lot of choices out of fear and compromising my values, which had consequences down the line.

If I had the opportunity to go back to that student version of myself, I would approach my career very differently so that fear wasn’t the driving force behind my decisions. An approach that I’ve come to embrace and one you might appreciate is to take on the perspective of a tourist when it comes to the career process. For me, when I’m a tourist, there’s a childlike wonder that gets me energized and makes me feel I can take on the world. Here are seven ways that shows up and how it can apply to the your career as well:

  1. Having a natural curiosity. I want to learn as much about a new place I’m in and am curious about everything. I read travel guides and blogs, explore endlessly, and ask lots of questions. In my view, when someone is truly excited about their career path, they’re eager to immerse themselves in the process of learning as much as they can. Do you have a natural curiosity about the path you’re on? Are you excited to put yourself out there and learn all that you can? Where do you hold back? What causes you to hold back?
  2. Being Present. As a tourist, I don’t go through the motions. I’m highly attuned to my environment and making choices intentionally. I’m not rushing through my agenda to be done with vacation and check it off a list. When it comes to your career, are you being present and intentional about your choices or going through the motions to get it over with because it feels like a chore? The answer to this question is telling.
  3. Not pretending to know everything. When I’m traveling, I’m not the expert and I don’t need to have it all figured out. This is also what makes it fun. It’s okay to mess up if you’re navigating a country which speaks a different language. There’s no shame in that at all. It’s the same with your career, especially when you’re starting out or changing careers. Also, know that being a student works in your favor, as no one is expecting you to be an expert and people are more inclined to help you.
  4. Seeking help when needed. As a tourist, I’m never afraid to ask for guidance about places to visit, restaurants to try, and directions to a museum. If I don’t seek out help, I’m most likely going to miss out on great experiences and spend a lot of time figuring out things that could have been easily resolved had I consulted with a local. When it comes to your career, seek out guidance from trusted sources. There’s a high possibility that they can help you navigate the roadblocks you’re facing, so you don’t have to suffer in silence and lose ground.
  5. Being okay with making mistakes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken the wrong train in a new city or gotten off at the wrong stop. I even got fined once on the metro in Paris because I threw my ticket out, not realizing there are random checkpoints throughout the system. It’s natural for this kind of thing to happen and you incorporate it as part of the experience. In fact, I budget for this. When it comes to your career, if you’re not willing to make mistakes, chances are you’re going to settle, play it safe, and sell yourself short.
  6. Letting go of expectations. Being somewhere new surely puts us out of our comfort zone. While fear of the unknown might be present, if it’s somewhere you really want to be, you’re also going to be open to exploration and unexpected surprises as you let go of the need to control. From my experience, when someone is highly attached to a single outcome and is afraid to leave their comfort zone, they risk the possibility of losing valuable opportunities. This happens because they’re closing themselves off to the other available options they could potentially choose from, which they’re not seeing as a result of forcing things to be a certain way and wanting to control situations outside of their control.
  7. Having fun and enjoying the journey. Have you ever noticed when you let your guard down and relax, you feel more confident and trust yourself? Your career is a way for you to express your full self without suppressing who you are. It’s also a journey with many twists and turns. If it constantly feels stressful with very little excitement, you might want to check in with yourself if the path you’re on is the right one for you. The last thing you want to do is go on vacation somewhere that feels suffocating just because it’s where everyone else is going. The same applies to your career. Pick a path where the challenges feel as worthwhile as the rewards that you look forward to taking them on and growing without compromising yourself in the process.
How can you apply the approach of a tourist when it comes to your career? Where are you operating from fear and how is that holding you back? What would it look like if you trusted yourself more in your career and treated it as an adventure? 

Tanuja Ramchal, Career Coach

January 28, 2020

Students on the Blog: Interning as a Data Scientist

by Yujie Sun (MS Statistics ’19)

Finding an appropriate internship opportunity is hard for students. During my journey in finding an internship, many resources at the school were useful. Tools for Clear Speech helped me improve my English, and the GCMC Advisors helped me modify my resume and urged me to take steps that would help me get where I want to go. Attending the Graduate Internship Course Networking Sessions also helped me learn about internship opportunities from other students. Eventually, I got my internship opportunity by applying on Zicklin CareerLink.

The company where I interned, Tal Solutions, is a FinTech company that provides insights to financial-services clients. My job is as a Data Scientist, not as an Investment Analyst. Therefore, it’s possible to be a Data Scientist in the finance industry even though you do not have a background in finance.

My daily responsibilities are to train and tune machine learning models, analyze data provided by clients, and much more. There are also business needs, such as doing research papers and looking into algorithms that I need to build.

Whenever I complete analysis tasks, I always have to think where the analysis will go. My supervisor looks into the data and understands the financial aspect behind it. From that perspective, becoming a Data Scientist does not require some industry knowledge, however understanding the stories behind the data always requires more industry-related knowledge. This inspires me that maybe I can develop more industry-related knowledge when I enter a particular one.

Ultimately, being a Data Scientist at a Fintech company is challenging since you need to research questions you may face and try to resolve. From another perspective, this will also practice your research ability.

This internship was a terrific opportunity for me and I really recommend an experience like it for students.