Financial Engineering Students Give and Get Career Advice at Annual Meet and Greet Event
Consistent with Stephen Covey's adage to "start with the end in mind," first semester Master of Engineering students in the Financial Engineering Concentration spent a day at Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan (CFEM) getting advice on internships and careers in the financial services industry.
|MSCI's Kim Jensen, M.Eng. '08, and 2nd year M.Eng. student Alisher Khussainov speak with Chief Talent Officer Beth Ann Day.|
The students joined their counterparts from the preceding year, who are in the final leg of the three semester program at ORIE's offices in the Wall Street district of New York City. They heard "The Inside Scoop on Wall Street Jobs," a moderated panel discussion with Wall Street professionals. Alumni and corporate recruiters were invited to attend the panel discussion, which was followed by a "Meet and Greet" reception. The first semester students then boarded a bus bound for Ithaca and the resumption of classes following fall break.
|1st year students Weimeng Yang, Binlu Cheng, and Justin Martina get career advice from Daniel Arbeeny, Managing Partner at CMF Partners LLC.|
During the visit, several third semester students who had completed summer internships shared their experiences. The importance of networking was consistent theme in their comments about getting an internship.
Christopher Verdon, who interned at HSBC, noted that a high GPA might help to get some interviews but without networking there will not be many. He noted that students should always be ready for an interview, citing one employer who called at 5PM to schedule an interview the next day, and others who wanted immediate in-person on-campus interviews.
Karthik Iyer, who interned at Nomura, urged students to "have a view and opinion about the market" when being interviewed and to read the book "Heard on the Street" as part of their preparation. Kevin Liang (right) emphasized the importance of having a clear, concise and accurate resume and cover letter, and pointed out that interviewees should "be able to concisely summarize the main points of each section" of the resume. Haoshun Liu, who interned at Barclay's, recalled an aspect of the interview process that dealt with how he prioritized tasks -- "on your desk are 25 items for your attention. Select the five you will deal with first."
|2nd year students Ruke Ufomata and Brent Sullivan, with A. J. Lindeman of Benchmark Solutions.|
Shubham Chopra noted that during his internship at UBS he "spoke with people. A lot of people. Seriously, a lot." He says that he "found out who were the decision makers and made sure they knew me." In his talk he provided tips on converting an internship to a full-time offer, including "do your homework. Go through any material you can get before approaching someone with a question."
Like Liu, Poojitha Rao (right) also interned at Barclay's. She reported on the nature of her work, noting that she collaborated with a team in Singapore, which meant working in New York but on Singapore time for a few days. All in all, she said it was the "best summer of my life."
The career panel discussion on Wall Street jobs was moderated by Alan Rosenthal '59, who is a member of the CFEM Advisory Board. He is retired from the financial services industry, having served as Vice President at Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. Panelists included:
- Beth Ann Day, who is Chief Talent Officer and Associate Director of Research at Sanford C. Bernstein;
- Steven Pae '92, who heads product development for Morgan Stanley's Electronic Trading;
- Daniel Roitman '91 M. Eng. '92, Chief Operating Officer of Greenlight Capital and a former Goldman Sachs executive;
- Todd Rethemeier '93, M. Eng. '94, MBA '95, Managing Director of Hudson Square Research; and
- Sarah Jacoby '96 M.Eng. '97, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at SAC Capital Advisors.
|Moderator Alan Rosenthal looks towards the panel consisting of Sarah Jacoby, Steven Pae, Daniel Roitman, Beth Ann Day and Todd Rethemeier|
In the panel discussion, Day noted that increased regulatory requirements means more jobs, saying that there are "plenty of good old days ahead." She identified algorithmic trading, electronic trading and globalization as trends that are generating "hot jobs." Pae recalled that before a trip to Beijing he studied Mandarin for 8 weeks, only to find that his clients wanted to speak English. Nonetheless it was important to understand cultures and markets. "Overseas assignments early in a career really help," he said.
|ORIE Director Adrian Lewis and panelist Sarah Jacoby.|
The panel also discussed the role of computational skills. Roitman said that he had been in the IT function and later on involved with electronic trading, where "having that background was very important." Todd said that for equity research one "needs to know Excel inside and out." Day recommended getting as much "hard science" as can be acquired, as well as a knowledge of accounting (critical for valuation and equity research) and analytical products such as SAS.
Asked by Rosenthal what skills are key, the panelists had a variety of responses. Day listed "raw cognitive ability," tenacity and the ability to work independently. Rethemeier recommended working on a Cornell team on a real project, and emphasized verbal and written communication. Pae discussed both "thought" and "organizational" leadership, while Jacoby mentioned "intellectual curiosity and the ability to reflect and think things through."
Reflecting on the changes in the financial markets over the past two years, Rosenthal said that "Wall Street will never be the same," while Roitman said that "Wall Street will reinvent itself," and asked rhetorically "will rewards be regulated away? I do not think so," he said.