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Informational Inverview

2017 May 6
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by howyoung

I interviewed a Michigan alumni, Ming Dai, who graduated this semester from the Ross School of Business and is going to work full-time at Morgan Stanley Hong Kong investment banking division after this summer. I interviewed him because I am also interested in a career in finance in Asia. Before conducted this interview, I emailed some Michigan alumni and contacted my friends for recommendations on candidates. One of my friends recommended Ming because he had rich experiences in mentoring students for free on pursuing an investment banking career track. Investment banking is an extremely competitive job, and it is even harder for international students like Ming and me to get this job. Therefore, I knew that Ming must be an outstanding person who is good at finance and is an expert in recruiting.

My first impression for Ming is that he is a very humble person who would love to help others. Although Morgan Stanley is one of the top investment banks in the US and worldwide, Ming never mentioned the name of the bank. Instead, he straightforwardly asked if I have started networking with bankers and preparing for interviews. He told me that a crucial part in applying for an investment banking internship is networking tremendously with bankers. Then, he started to teach me step-by-step on networking at career events, with Michigan alumni, and via Linkedin. He also said that he would love to help me on preparing for interviews before and during the upcoming recruiting season.

My first prepared question for Ming was what is investment banking and why he interests in it. He told me that investment banking is basically helping firms to go to public and to merge with or acquire other firms. He thinks that this job is very fun and has a great deal of accomplishment, too. Through working at an investment bank, he got to know the operations of firms from various industries. Some of the firms he conducted research on are very big names. This is one of the reasons that he interests in this career. For the other reason, he told me about his past two internships: one at a boutique investment bank in Detroit and the other at Morgan Stanley last summer. Both of the two internships was high-intensive and substantial. Ming believes that this career is the most efficient way for him to practice financial skills that he learned from business school. In the long-term, he plans to work in investment banks only for a couple of years and then jump to the “buy-side” like Private Equity and Venture Capital.

In addition, I asked him if he plans to apply for MBA because this is one option that I am also considering. The answer was positive, but he explained a new understanding of MBA education to me. Although I was mainly expecting to learn financial skills by taking MBA, he suggested that it would be not worth to spend money on taking MBA if I only focus on learning skills, because they will be not that different from what I learned from BBA, and I can even self-study most of the skills. However, he would love to meet with people when he takes MBA at one of the top business schools, and he said that he will make good uses on the school’s resources. He emphasized again on the importance of networking and encouraged me by saying that, “it is important and beneficial for you to keep meeting with outstanding people, have good conversations with them, and learn from them on multiple levels.” (We talked in Chinese so I translated his words.)

After the interview, I think Ming is a smart student on studying, a hardworking employee who is good at financial skills, and a wise person who has a long-term perspective when planning for his life. He selflessly taught me a lot of lessons that he learned from his recruiting process and college life. I have so many things to learn from Ming, and I would love to do my best to contribute back to the community, just like what Ming always does.

Career Event

2017 May 1
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by howyoung

One of the Ross clubs that I participated in has regular collaboration with multiple financial institutions, such as banks and consulting firms. In one of the club’s weekly email, there was a coffee chat & info session event with representatives from Credit Suisse’s (CS) investment banking division. The topic of this event was helping current sophomore and junior students to connect with the bank’s representatives, know more about CS’s culture, and join an interactive discussion that will help students evaluate a career in finance and assist their preparation for the upcoming recruiting season.

I am very interested in working in investment banking division, and I know that CS is one of the top investment banks in the world. So, I signed up for one of the spots on April 26th chatting with one of the CS’s representatives, Weiji Ma, who seems to have similar cultural background with me. Later I found that it was a good choice to chat with this person because we have so many common topics to talk about. In addition to both interested in finance, we are both from Beijing, China and we both had experience of study abroad. We had a great conversation talking about the memories of our hometown and studying as international students. I also learned a lot about recruiting from his stories. For example, I learned that people who succeed in one path often plan early. Weiji told me that he graduated from one of the top colleges in the UK and he started to do internships in investment banking division in the summer of his first year in college. While in the school, he actively reached out to professors, alumni, and career center services. Consequently, when he applying full-time job opportunity at CS’s investment banking division, he had more working experiences than most of other students graduating with him.

After this coffee chat, I also learned that when attending a career event and chatting with someone, do not have too many expectations on what you will talk about with the other person. The most important thing is listening to his or her story, asking questions that you are most interested in, and developing a real friendship instead of a utilitarian relationship with the person. If you chat with the person like chatting with a friend, both of you two will feel comfortable and you are really learning something from the conversation.

Camille Hollins- Informational Interview

2017 April 21
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by Camille

In my recent interview, I happened to meet a UM alumni, Dr. Harold Waters. Dr. Waters is the director of the Comprehensive Studies Program at U of M. He provides connections for students through various programs and studies that CSP offers. He contributes to student success through the Comprehensive Studies Program, giving students access to tutoring, smaller class lectures, and providing closer relationships among the students and professors. I was interested in interviewing Dr. Waters because I was interested in the process of obtaining roles such as that of Director of the Comprehensive Studies Program.

The daily work as a director in such fields as the CSP program here at the University of Michigan requires face-to-face connections with many students. Dr. Waters, graduating from the university with a degree in Psychology and English and previous experience in teaching, is glad to be in a career where he can share connections and experiences with students here at the university. He not only makes programs for students to feel more connected to the university, some like poetry nights, career information sessions, major information sessions, and group/personal tutoring, but he also helps students connect to the world outside of the university. He connects students with previous alumni, study abroad programs, mentors, and advisors to guide students along their college careers. Most of the skills required for this career is communication, constant interactions with people, and knowledge of resources provided by the university.

Asking Dr. Waters of the things that needed improvement in the Comprehensive Studies Program and the university, he replied that there needs to be more diversity and more representation on campus. The biggest and most important part of Dr. Waters’ job is to provide students with motivation and connect with them to help them in their studies. The lack of diversity and representation on campus interferes with some students because they may lack the resources and motivation that accompanies representation and diversity on campus. Dr. Waters is in the process of creating a larger network of alumni and mentors to connect with the underrepresented students on campus and in the CSP program. He also wants to expand the scope of the CSP program to provide resources and a larger number of smaller classes to upperclassmen. He wants to offer test prep courses for the CSP students and work with students all the way to their graduation. Dr. Waters’ goals for later in his career is to become Dean of the university to be at a higher level of decision making. He would like to be able to teach more and have more opportunities to share knowledge with others. His end goal is to improve the CSP program to suit the needs of all their students.

The advice from Dr. Waters inspired me deeply to connect more with my community and contribute back to my community whenever I can. Dr. Waters’ advice was to always aspire for bigger dreams, he said to aim high and always take advantage of the resources and services provided to help me to achieve my goals. He advised me to set examples for those who may see me as a role model. I saw this as an opportunity to develop goals for my future that would prove my success and happiness. I would use this to motivate others who see me as a role model and I will be able to use my time to connect with my previous communities to donate my time to help prospective students throughout their university career. I may not get into a career on the level of university staff, but I will use the resources and advice to prepare for my life after college.

Informational Interview- Madison Levin

2017 April 17
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by madlevin

I chose to interview Jodi Solarana, a Michigan alumnus. I asked her what she majored in and why she chose that specific major; she told me she graduated with a degree in Psychology since she loved the introductory class and never regretted her choice to do so. However, she disclosed to me that she was a little hesitant at first to declare this as her major because she didn’t necessarily want to be a psychologist, but she thoroughly enjoyed the classes she was taking and decided to pursue this degree and figure out other means of jobs that can come from getting a degree in this field. After obtaining her BA in Psychology she continued to achieve a Master’s degree in Social Work, which she says “fine-tuned” her interview skills. Her education has been a fundamental tool in all of her recruiting positions she has held. For the past twenty years, she has been a corporate recruiter and now works at Amazon. All of her jobs have been focused on assessing other’s strengths, weaknesses, and behavioral traits; so, it’s clear how a degree in Psychology can be extremely useful in a field such as hers. She believes that using the knowledge and information she learned her during her time at Michigan really helped her understand why people behave in certain ways, which can help predict future behavior. Again, this is extremely helpful when she is interviewing an individual to see if he or she is fit for the job. A typical day at her job includes servicing her clients, typically colleagues, who have open positions to fill. She strategizes in order to find the best fit candidate for the job needed to be filled, and then conducts interviews. She said that her favorite part about her job is the win-win situation of finding a perfect match for a position. Finally, I asked her if she had any advice for those who are struggling to figure out their major and if she had any advice for those who are about to graduate and are scared about finding a job. She suggested to choose a major that is exciting and one that a student finds exciting is the best possible way to choose a major; she also said it is normal to feel anxious about finding a job and her advice is to start networking as soon as possible. She said to start building your professional relationships early on by creating a profile on Linkedin in order to connect to people you meet: you never know who is going to be able to help you down the road. Her final piece of advice, which I found to be extremely interesting, is to read the newspaper every day. She said by doing so, it helps you carry yourself through a conversation about current events and staying up to date about these events is priceless. She didn’t go into much detail after that, but it left me thinking why would reading the newspaper be such an asset to someone when they are looking for a job. My conclusion is that a great candidate for a position is a well-rounded and knowledgeable person who knows about other things besides the field he or she is trying to pursue and it is also provides great conversational pieces in an interview. Overall, I feel like this interview soothed my nerves about choosing a major, since I am considering double majoring in Psychology and English. Her advice really made me feel even more comfortable with my decision and I can use my degree to the best of my ability. There are many different ways to use a degree and I think that from this interview I learned that your degree can be stretched into ways that fit you best, and by choosing something you’re interested in, the jobs you have later on will be ones that interest you as well.

Career Event

2017 April 17
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by thcappel

Earlier this month, I attended the LinkedIn event at Mason through the Michigan Career Center, entitled “Are You LinkedIn?” I haven’t really used LinkedIn that much, so I figured going to this event I’d learn a bit more about it, as well as learn a bit more about how to promote myself through the internet. I’ve barely used LinkedIn in the past, so I was curious to see how people use it professionally.

Originally, I thought LinkedIn was supposed to be your online resume, but after this event I’ve realized that it’s not important to list every detail about your work history, and your LinkedIn should just highlight the most important aspects of your work and ability, like education, work experience, photos, job summaries and skills. Apparently you can also show your Facebook interests, and like other social media you can add people and network through it.

I didn’t realize that they would have a booth for people to get head shots taken. I didn’t feel like I was ready to have a headshot taken and If I knew prior I probably would have shown up looking gorgeous. They discussed the importance of having a clean, serious, and simple headshot for your LinkedIn, and how you want to avoid having something too casual.

While the career event was beneficial, and I learned a bit more about LinkedIn, I am unsure in the field of freelance/music/arts how beneficial LinkedIn is. However, I have started making one to the best of my ability and have taken in the suggestions that the presentation offered. I guess I’ve been using my Facebook as a LinkedIn, keeping it really professional and only business related. I wonder if LinkedIn should be somewhat like Facebook where you only add people you’ve worked with, or if you should accept everyone who comes your way. For me, I’ll usually accept anyone who has 10+ mutual friends, especially if they are a fellow artist/musician/sound person.

Overall, the LinkedIn event was interested and I learned a bit from it. I’ll def use this info to create a page that may benefit me in the future.

Interview – Stephen Rush: The Man, The Legend

2017 April 17
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by thcappel

I decided to interview a close professor/colleague of mine, who works in the Performing Arts Technology department. His name is Stephen Rush and he’s experienced a career in music that any musician would be proud of. I’ve been working with/studying under Rush for the last 2 years and he is one of the most spiritually awake people I’ve ever met. He is so in touch with his art and with what it means to be human that he has influenced me to look past the outside barriers of music and music curriculum and look inwards to find what art is truly about. Last summer I had the privilege to go to Mysore, India for 5 weeks with Rush and south Indian Classical music, and have Rush as my music/life mentor. Rush recently recorded with Roscoe Mitchell (famous free jazz musician) for the 5th time? And has several records out of his own material. He’s worked with musicians like Ornette Coleman, Ravi Shankar, and Anthony Braxton. He recently released an in depth book of Ornette Coleman’s philosophy of music, an analysis of Harmolodics, and analysis of his compositions discussing how “free jazz does not just mean black musicians getting high and playing whatever the fuck they want,” if I use Rush’s words.

The first question I asked him was what do you like most about what you do- and what would you change. He’s a very animated character and will not censor himself, which I truly admire. “Dear god…” he states, “well… ultimately I think I enjoy the autonomy I have – the art that I make – I don’t have to worry about whether I’m artistically entertaining people and whether or not they’ll pay me for it… I just recorded with Roscoe Mitchell and if I depended on that to feed my family it’d be very very rough.” Ultimately, having a position at a University that pays well, where he can help teach young artists, he also has the opportunity to do whatever he wants artistically without worry of criticism or lack of financial gain. “Classes like [Digital Music Ensemble] – yeah, I can call the shots and do waht I want, but if the students aren’t interesting to be around then it’s just gonna suck. Ultimately it’s a good fortune to teach at a place where you just know people are just gonna bring it all the time, and you get to constantly grow alongside the students.”

The next question I asked him, was how did he obtain a position in the PAT department, considering his degrees are in Composition & Jazz. “as you know I went to eastman. It was pretty much a pulitzer camp. People trying to be freelance composers and writing orchestras. I played four nights a week for most of the time in rochester, rarely with anyone my own age. I did a lot with dancers. My doctoral recital at Eastman, along with orchestral pieces with heavy theory analysis to get my doctorate – my main recital was this thing where I played this really complicated contemporary piece by a Brazilian composer – a cello and piano piece I wrote based on Native American Ghost dances, dances they would do before going into battle knowing they would die, and an experimental piece using the sound of baby’s crying. I would go up on stage and actually the move the dancers physically… Nobody was happy about it.. afterwards the committee said “we’ll pass him but.. never again..”

“In Mississippi, they always had Eastman graduates teaching theory down there, so I worked down there for a year. Then there was a job at Oklahoma state, so I moved out there for two years. There was an opening Here at UMich in the Dance department. Now remember that I had dance on my Doctorates recital, the head of the Dance department was at my recital, and when the job opened up she remembered me and contacted me.”

Would you say it’s necessary to have a doctorates or graduates to teach at a University (in the music world)?

“I think it depends where and what you want to teach. It’s probably good to have a graduates or doctorates. But it’s really hit or miss. The highest paid faculty in the Jazz school doesn’t even have a high school diploma so..”

 

Rush has taught me an insane amount about being a young adult and being a young musician. I recently played a show with him in Detroit for his book release, and we were discussing making a living in the music world. I know he thinks highly of my musicianship, and he also knows that I get really in my head. When asking him “what am I doing wrong??” he always comes back to an answer like “You work too hard,” “You worry too much,” “You’re not acting cool enough.” Rush is such a deep guy, and can boil down his insights to just a few words. This brief report on the interview doesn’t do Rush’s spiritual and musical intellect justice.

Career Event

2017 April 17
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by pennellb

I “attended” a career event on Wednesday, April 12th. I use quotations around attended because it was actually an online career fair. It was called the Big Ten Virtual Career Fair and I found it through the university’s career center website. It was a super interesting experience, especially given our recent discussions in class on technology and jobs. At least a day prior to the fair you had to register online to secure a spot. During the registration I had to fill out a profile which included my school, graduation date, major, etc and I was also able to attach my resume to my profile so that potential employers could see it when they visited my profile. The virtual fair started at 9 a.m. and there were probably anywhere from 60-75 companies online throughout the day. I scrolled though the companies and decided to first chat with The Peace Corps. I entered the chatroom to see conversations going between the three people with the Peace Corps, and about 10 or so students. I then received a private message from a guy named Danny. He asked me if I knew what much about the Peace Corps or if it was just a name-recognition kind of thing. I told him it was the latter, and he gave me a rundown of what the Peace Corps really do, how to apply, and what the interview process was like. I gained some really valuable information from him and I moved on to talk with other companies. The majority of the companies there were either teaching jobs with companies that place teachers in underprivileged areas around the U.S. or sales companies. While I’m not necessarily interested in those fields it was helpful to get to talk with people from each of those companies. The fair was also super helpful because it gave me an opportunity to see different jobs that I would actually be able to do, even though I’m an English major. On the majority of the companies profiles that I visited they had listed “Liberal Arts” as qualifications they were looking for in their potential employers, and I found only a few companies that were specific to business or other areas of study that I’m not qualified in. Overall I think the Big Ten Virtual Career Fair was super helpful in a number of ways and I would highly suggest checking it out next time it happens.

Career Event

2017 April 17
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by robincam

Before applying for summer jobs, I wanted my resume to be perfect. Last week I went to the Career Center to improve my resume. The Career Center is a great service for University of Michigan students as they start their journey from student to employee. The Career Center assists students to write resumes, practice interviews, and work through the process of finding a job. They are a great resource in all situations from finding summer employment, to internships, and even a future career.
When I met with an advisor, she began by asking about me. She asked questions that I expected, such as my job experience and goals, but also about my hobbies, talents, and family. I realized that writing a good resume encompasses the whole person. Our discussion helped me understand how to describe my experiences and write about them in a professional way. Using my answers, she taught me how to compose a resume that will lead to opportunities.
The Career Center is well run and helpful to students. They have great resources and offer beneficial counseling. However, the one area that could be improved upon is their website. The main goal of the Career Center is to help students succeed, so finding an easier interface to work with to make the process easier for students would be helpful. The process is long to get an appointment and many of the questions are specific to certain situations. Many questions were not relevant for freshmen looking for summer work. It might be better if they had different surveys for different circumstances. However, that was only a small inconvenience for access to a great opportunity.
The Career Center is a useful resource for all students and my experience was invaluable. Not only was I able to write the perfect resume for my job applications next week, but I learned resume writing skills which will help me in the future. This event is a great opportunity for anyone on campus. All college students are moving toward employment and the Career Center can give direction for the next step. My advisor showed me how to compose a resume that stands out to employers. This aids students in a competitive market. I also learned about other available services for the future. I would encourage all students to visit the Career Center throughout their university experience and take advantage of its services.

Career Event

2017 April 16
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by alanamg

I attended the University of Michigan’s Career Center “Are You LinkedIn?” workshop earlier this month. I actually really enjoyed this career event, since LinkedIn is something that I knew very little about prior to attending the event. I knew what LinkedIn was and had an account, but I only made it because my internship last summer required I have one, and I never used it. In fact, I honestly did not know how to use it.

This workshop was helpful, since it explained the basics of how to set up a LinkedIn account. The speakers discussed how to choose the right profile picture and what details should be included on your page in order to build a strong and competitive profile. As a beginner and someone new to the world of LinkedIn, I found this workshop very beneficial. It seemed to be aimed at beginner users, like me, and helped me understand what people use LinkedIn for. I originally thought it was just a digital version of a resume, but found that this initial belief was wrong. In fact, a LinkedIn has so much more space for specifics than a resume does.

LinkedIn prompts users to include education and work experience, like resumes, however, it also asks users to upload a photo, job summaries, and skills. You can also “like” pages like on Facebook to add Interests, so whoever is looking at your LinkedIn has a better, more well-rounded sense of who you are as a person. You are asked for more information on a LinkedIn profile than you are on a resume, and the wording and details should be varied. After this event, I came to understand LinkedIn as a more in-depth and specific version of a resume. A resume is more of a list of things you have done, while a LinkedIn is a full academic and skill-set profile.

However, the fact that more information is included on LinkedIn means you have to be more careful and meticulous when crafting your profile. Something that really surprised me was that you are supposed to have a professional headshot for LinkedIn. I really wish I knew this earlier, since my current photo is the same as my Facebook picture: a cheesy yet high-quality photograph of me smiling on my 18th birthday. Though there is nothing wrong with this photograph, there is also nothing serious about it—it’s just a normal photo, not a professional headshot. Moreover, I suppose I look slightly different now, at age 19, and should get a more recent photo to take.

There were photographers in attendance to help with students’ headshots. I wish I knew this in advance. Sadly I did not, so I showed up in rather casual attire with no makeup. I was not dressed for a professional headshot, so I did not take one. However, I do wish I had known beforehand.

I definitely have a better understanding of LinkedIn and what it is used for after attending this event. Despite this, I still do not understand why my internship required me to make an account. Why do careers require you to have a LinkedIn profile? I understand that it could only help, but I am confident with my resume and the way it represents me. I still don’t see why I need a LinkedIn as well. I also don’t fully understand LinkedIn “Connections.” The event did discuss that it’s a great idea to connect with people you know in similar fields and people you have worked for or with. However, I wish that the event discussed this aspect more, or that I had thought to ask someone about it while I was there. Currently, as I sit looking at LinkedIn’s website, I see 12 connection requests from individuals I do not know. I wonder if people finding and adding you on LinkedIn is as creepy as people you do not know finding and adding you on Facebook. Another question I have is how much your “Interests” matter. Is it better to have more interests, or to have a few focused around the kind of jobs you are applying for? I think I will definitely try to work on my LinkedIn profile this summer, and meet with someone in the Career Center next year to look it over and answer these questions for me.

Informational Interview – Brooke Pennell

2017 April 14
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by pennellb

For my informational interview I interviewed the author Linda Bradley. I really wanted to interview an author because that is ultimately my dream job. I first asked Linda how she got into writing and she said she started writing books in grade school. I found this answer amiable because I too wrote my first book (a term I use loosely) when I was in second grade. It was titled Maine and was basically a short story about falling in love (or what I thought at the time falling in love was).
She says that there are many skills that being a writer requires including patience, correct grammar, clear communication skills, people watching skills, being prepared for criticism and rejection, and being social media savvy; are all skills that she has found helpful in her years as a writer. She says that having patience is important, especially with yourself. As for clear communication skills she says that she often will let an email sit for a day before she sends them so she can reread through them and make sure there are no grammar or spelling mistakes. She has learned that people watching has helped her develop characters and voice in her novels. She says it’s important to be prepared for criticism, that it doesn’t necessarily mean that what your writing is bad, but to learn to take the constructive criticism because it can only make your writing stronger. She also says that being prepared for rejection is a good skill to have, she knows many writers that have worked for nine or ten years before obtaining an agent or signing a contract. Lastly, in this day and age it’s super important to use social media platforms.
I asked Linda what the thing she least likes, or would like to change about what she does and she said it’s being on social media. She said if she could, she would hire a PR person to do all of that. When asked what she likes the most about her job is connecting with readers. She said she recently received a review saying that she changed this girl’s life, and that it was very powerful and very touching.
Linda is also a full-time second grade teacher. A typical work day for her includes being in the classroom until school is over. After that she says she comes home or does errands, and usually catch a second wind around 8pm. This is when she begins writing or tasks related to writing which includes social media. I asked Linda what jobs in the past have helped her the most being a writer and she said all of them. From a fast-food worker to a elementary teacher to a parent; each one of them has taught her something about human nature and thus has helped her in creating characters in her novels. She says “Characters are people and you have to understand people to connect with your characters.”
I also asked Linda how she sees the industry changing over the next ten years. She told me that she can’t really say, however she says when she first started attending writing conferences it was almost a joke to say that you self published. But now a lot of writers are doing it. Still, Linda publishes through a small company in New York called Soul Mate Publishing but would like to self-publish in the future just to see how that process works. I thought that Linda’s definition of literary success was very humbling. She says “Writing a book that readers can connect with.” From there, it’s about connecting with readers and creating a fan base. It’s Linda’s goal to be a hit on the best-sellers list someday and she says that creating a fan base that continuously draws in new readers through suggestions from friends and colleagues will help her achieve this goal. When asked what helps her become a better writer she says “Writing my next book, reading what I like to write, and networking with other authors.” And lastly, I learned from Linda to not give up. That’s her advice to anyone trying to break into the field, is to not give up, to be forgiving of yourself when you make mistakes. She says everything you do is a learning process and it’s important that you don’t forget that.