Category Archives: Undergrad
By: Carly Whitmer
In my year as a Fowler Coordinator, I have met an astounding number of students in search of interning abroad, even if it is just for a month or two. Luckily, I have some experience in that area.
Like many, I was not entirely sure what I wanted to do for my sophomore year summer. I knew I wanted a different experience, and having long-term aspirations of working abroad, decided to try to intern abroad in Italy. While GWSB has a ton of opportunities for internships and full time jobs in the US, I did not find anything fitting my criteria of working abroad. Chances are if you are in the same boat, you may not either.
That’s when you have to take things into your own hands. As is true with a lot of other aspects of life, sometimes you have just got to put yourself out there, take a leap outside of your comfort zone and hope for the best.
In my opinion, there are two different paths to interning abroad. First, you can go abroad with an American company. If you want to do that, I would start reaching out immediately to every contact you have in that company and asking them where to start. Many companies have built-in internship programs with the option to go abroad, and if not, at least you asked. I would also recommend scouring the company’s website to see if you can find any opportunities. If you are not sure which company you would like to go abroad with, cast a wide net and search broadly on Google for internships abroad. I know from personal experience that there are a ton of opportunities online. Talk to any professors at GWSB who you know have international experience. They are great resources that we as students don’t use nearly enough. Also, do not be afraid of paying for an experience. I paid for a short-term study abroad program and the same company had the option of paying an intern to work abroad for a summer. Look into those programs and see if any are a match for you.
For me, I was more concerned with having an immersive experience in Italy where I would be speaking Italian every day. I knew I did not want to work for an American company abroad. If you decide you want an immersive experience, I suggest reaching out to companies directly. Personally, I reached out to over 10 hotels in Italy where I was interested in working. I heard back from 1, and another once it was too late. I wound up working at the one I heard back from and had a unique, incredible experience. However, if I had not taken the steps to “cold email” the hotels, I would have never had the experience. While it was scary to take that step, the worst they could have said was “no”, which is the worst that anyone can tell you as well. If you speak the language of the country where you’re interested in going, even better. From what I learned from my time in Italy, smaller foreign companies are always in need of free or low-cost work (read: intern), and even better if the intern can speak English and the country’s native language. If you are taking language classes at GW, take some time to talk to your professors to see if they have any suggestions.
The bottom line is that a lot of this is in your hands. If you want a unique experience, you will need to go through some extra steps to get there. But let me tell you – it’s well worth the extra work!
By: Ryan Lasker
Cover letters might be one of the most labor-intensive aspects of applying to a job. You might think, “Do I really need to submit a cover letter with this application?” But if the application says you may submit a cover letter, the answer should be yes, here’s why.
First, it’s a way for potential employers to get a taste of your writing skills. In virtually any position to which you are applying, writing will be essential, whether in the form of internal memos or reports, or even through social media posts that touch thousands of people. While a resume tells your story, outside a writing sample that an employer might ask for, the cover letter is the only place where a hiring manager can assess how well you can tell your story.
Next, the way you write your cover letter says something about your ability to express yourself. While a cover letter is not the same as a persuasive piece, there’s an element of it that requires you to be able to advocate for yourself – an important aspect of being on a team. Through your cover letter, you can show how you can develop a full thought in a concise and effective way.
A cover letter also shows a genuine interest in a certain position in a way your resume cannot. Cover letters require a high level of customization, similar to how a resume should be edited to include specific keywords, and that additional time spent applying will make your application stronger. The cover letter is the place to show off how you can contribute to the company’s mission in addition to how much you already know about the company and the industry.
Finally, be confident in submitting a cover letter even if you’re unsure it will be read. Some students have a preconceived notion that no hiring manager will take the time to read through a cover letter before making a decision on whether to invite someone in for an interview. But, that’s not always true. Hiring managers will often supplement a candidate’s profile with a cover letter, and that’s because it says so much about the candidate.
Happy writing, and don’t hesitate to meet up with a Fowler Coordinator and/or Career Coach to get your resume reviewed!
By: Alexander Bealin
Back in October 2016, when I was deep in the weeds of the summer finance internship application process, I ran into an issue while getting ready for interviews. I had already made my interview preparation goals very clear: (1) I will conduct extensive research in order to demonstrate proper knowledge of the company and internship position, (2) I will develop strategic, thoughtful questions about current events to show a deep interest in the financial field, and (3) I will exhibit overall confidence and professionalism during the interview in order to represent a determined and strong candidate for the position.
I intended to use this rubric to guide my performance while studying companies and my industry for my upcoming interviews, and it all was going smoothly at first. The night before a five-hour long super day for a top-preference internship program, complete with multiple final round interviews, I looked at my study guide and was pleased. All of my questions, research, notes, and reminders were written down in front of me, culminated and organized together beautifully on the paper. I decided to check them with my priorities that I listed at the beginning of the year. Will I be able to exemplify my knowledge and skills in the interview? Absolutely! After hours of making and looking through my notes, I knew that I could answer any question about the company or its competitors. Will I be able to ask smart questions about goings-on in the financial world or the program? You bet! I had the questions written down in my portfolio, each containing topics that I knew something about to further continue the conversation after their response. And finally, will I be able to display professionalism and confidence during my interview?
Looking down at my notes, I realized that I was missing this key element to my interview prep. After gathering all the surface-level facts and other information from articles, courses, and fellow students, I practically did not think about the deeper impression that I must make to help me stand out from the several other candidates. My day would consist of three or four different types of interviews, such as job-fit, behavioral, and case, and my task was to “wow” each interviewer. General knowledge about the industry, company, and field are a good start, but I did not believe they would allow me to stand out as much as I wanted.
I discovered that an underrated aspect of an interaction such as a job interview, presentation, networking event, or anything else that inherently includes subjective evaluation is body language. While going through the internship application process, college students should treat interviews as if they are meeting a new person or developing a new professional relationship, even if you know you are not going to talk to the person again. The online sources covering this topic are extremely helpful, and I feel that I can sum up my takeaways in a few points.
First and foremost, you should remain undeniably positive while talking to your interviewer. It is just plain contagious! The interviewer will most likely feed off of your energy and enjoy speaking with you. Combining that with your knowledgeable answers puts you in good standing. Second, what I would recommend about body positioning is to maintain steady and courteous eye contact throughout your dialogue with the interviewer, as well as leaning forward in your chair to express genuine engagement in what they are saying. Lastly, you should find the right tone and pace in your voice to communicate importance and clearly express what you are talking about, which means avoiding both a slow, monotone voice as well as a panicking, rushed voice clicking through presentation slides.
When preparing for an interview, you cannot study for everything. In order to achieve my priority of exhibiting overall confidence and professionalism, I turned to body language to make a deeper impression on my interviewers. After looking through my resume and asking me different types of job-fit, behavioral, and case interview questions, my interviewers should take with them the idea that I would be a good person to work with in the office. Because of my strategy that included both research and body language, I will be working for that top-preference internship program over the summer, and I am certain that confident and professional body language will continue to be vital to standing out from the crowd in all interviews and networking settings.
By Hannah Sassi
Some of the other Fowler Coordinators and I have had students ask what they should do the summer after their freshman year. If you’re a freshman asking about this, I don’t blame you. With so much emphasis put on opportunities for upperclassmen, you are probably wondering if maybe you are already falling behind the curve. I am here to assure you that it’s great you are already exploring opportunities, but you also have nothing to worry about.
The summer after my freshman year I worked as a “Retail Banking Intern” at a smaller regional bank near my hometown. I soon discovered that I was essentially a bank teller with a few additional responsibilities. It wasn’t the most impressive experience I’ve had, but it turned out to be more influential than I ever would have guessed. That is because I got to understand how banks operate on a small scale and how each customer interaction and transaction matters. I saw the impact that this small bank had on the lives of people in its community and this sparked my interest in a career in finance, because I saw how banks helped people achieve their dreams. Now, almost 3 years later, I will be starting my career at a bank, so I guess I’ve come full circle.
My advice to freshmen is to look into potential opportunities, but don’t stress about getting a great summer job or internship. One thing to keep in mind is that several of the most well-known companies offer leadership programs for freshman (and sophomore) students. These programs, or “externships”, usually involve a day or several days of seminars, career development, and networking. They vary from company to company, but many are focused on diversity students or look for students with certain educational backgrounds, such as STEM. Some of the companies that offer these programs include Google, Facebook, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, EY, PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, and Microsoft. If you are interested in working for a specific company, do a quick search to see if they offer an externship or internship. Take some time to apply to a few programs because they are always great chances to learn more about a certain company or industry.
At the end of the day, any job experience you have during the summer will help you gain key skills that you can use over the course of your career. This can range from customer service to handling transactions to general organization or office etiquette. And you’ll be surprised how an experience that you thought was insignificant will help you in an application or interview later on. Whether it is an externship or a summer job back home, my advice is to make the most of your experience this summer and have fun!
By: Christina Giordano
With the GWSB Career Expo soon approaching, it is important to have some best practices in mind to make the most of your time. Let’s be honest, career fairs can be incredibly overwhelming for you and for employers. There are dozens of employers present and hundreds of students jumping at the opportunity to talk with their dream company. So how do you make sure you’re making the most of your time? The first tip to cracking the career fair code is to have your thirty second pitch ready. If there’s a company you’re really interested in, make sure to visit their website beforehand to see if there are any internship or full time job opportunities already posted. Mention your interest in those specific positions and why you’d be a great fit for the company. Do the research and have at least two well thought out questions in your back pocket. Also, research the company and some of their recent projects or initiatives in order to demonstrate your knowledge of that.
Second, practice your thirty second pitch. It’s great to practice in the mirror or with friends, but you can also practice at the career fair. Before going to your number one company, go to another firm’s table and practice speaking to them. This allows you to shake off some nerves and prepare you for the career fair mindset. When I went to my first career fair freshman year, I went straight to the company I wanted an internship with and was so awkward because I was too nervous to effectively market myself. After visiting your dream company’s booth, go ahead and visit other booths that you hadn’t considered beforehand. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Third, make sure you’re conscientious of the career fair etiquette. This means, don’t monopolize an employer or recruiter’s time for 15-20 minutes while there is a line of 20 other students waiting behind you. But, don’t introduce yourself, drop your resume and run in under a minute. Gauge your time and don’t linger longer than you have to. With that said, try to gauge the length of your visit by how well the conversation is going.
Fourth, ask for a business card or the best way to follow up with the person you speak with. A thank you email can go a long way. Also when you’re at the career fair jot down some notes about what you talked about so you can include some specifics in your email because they are also speaking with hundreds of students. As always, you want to dress to impress so make sure you’re sporting your best business professional outfit. If you have any questions about attire, feel free to visit FDFCC for further guidance. Also, bring at least a dozen copies of your resume (Bring some extra just in case you spill coffee on one or give out more copies than you intended.)
Career fairs are a great way to learn more about an opportunity you’re interested in and for the employer to attach a name to a face, especially if you already applied to a position there. To maximize your success, prepare, be confident and follow up after your career fair experience!
By: Addy Holmes
At some point in your life, you will have to go through an interview. This could be for anything: a job, a student org, a leadership position, etc. While employers typically ask questions that are relevant to a certain position, there are certain interview questions that are always asked, regardless of the company or industry.
Tell Me About Yourself
This question is probably the most common way to start an interview. It’s open ended but gives the interviewer great insight into who you are as a person. Your answer shows what your passionate about and which things you find important.
“I am a junior in the Business School, studying Finance Business Analytics and minoring in Statistics. On campus, I am the Executive Vice President of GW Data and an active member in the Finance and Investment Club. I have had several finance and banking internships in the past. Most recently, I interned for Barclays in financial services. I’m very interested in of data analysis and finance and am excited about the idea of a career which combines the two.”
This answer demonstrates that the student is looking for an internship (see: I’m a Junior), is interested in Finance and Data Analytics, is actively engaged on campus and has held leadership positions, and has a clear idea of what kind of job the student wants in the future.
Why do you want to work here?
This is a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge about the company. You can mention the specific role, the company culture, the company’s values and mission statement, and any other relevant information you found when you were researching the company. Your answer reaffirms your interest in the company and shows your interviewer that you are very excited to be there.
Why should we hire you?
This is where you can show your value! Up until now, you’ve probably been focused on how you can benefit from working for the company. Now it’s time to show how the company can benefit from hiring you. What unique skills do you bring to the table? If you’ve got a ton of leadership experience or have worked a lot in teams, this is a great time to bring that up. If you are really passionate about the work that the company is doing or you are highly self-motivated (back this up with examples obviously), you should mention that here.
What are your 3 greatest strengths?
For most people, it’s easy to talk about strengths. Most people know what they do well and like bragging about themselves. If you’re not sure what to talk about, take a few online career assessment quizzes such as StrengthsQuest or CareerFinder. The quizzes will identify a few of your strengths and give you an idea of a place to start. Once you’ve identified three strengths, think about examples of times you showcased these strengths. If you a strong leader, talk about a time you had to manage people or lead a group. If you are very motivated/focused, talk about how many activities/jobs/classes you have taken on.
What are your 3 greatest weaknesses?
This may be the hardest question. You are trying to show the employer your best self and you don’t want to scare them off. Many people will tell you to pick a weakness that is actually a strength (ie. I’m a perfectionist, I take on too much and spread myself too thin). Answers like that are cliché and seem a bit dishonest. A better way to handle this question is to identify your true weaknesses and think about how you are working to remedy them. For instance:
I find that a weakness of mine is public speaking or presenting to a group. Because I am very aware of this, this semester I took on a position that requires me to present to a large group on a regular basis. I believe that this will make me more comfortable with speaking in public.
These are just a few examples of questions you will likely be asked in an interview, but of course be prepared for industry-specific questions as well. With any question that is asked, be prepared to not only give an answer but also backup your answer with an example. It is helpful to have in mind 3 to 5 scenarios that showcase a variety of skills and can be used for whatever question is asked.
By Zach Bachmann
Internships, internships, internships. Here at GWSB, they’re commonplace. We are fortunate to attend a university whose location affords us such amazing opportunities as Colonials to gain professional work experience while enrolled in classes over the course of a semester. While internships and other jobs can introduce you to different industries and allow you to hone in on what you want to focus your career on, these opportunities (in many cases) lack the ability for you to grow critical skills that are so desirable in today’s job market, including leadership, teamwork, communication, and many others.
Luckily, there are many opportunities for you to substantially build these important skillsets to complement your internship and other work experiences. These opportunities exist right here at GW. Your campus involvement (be it the sports team you’re on, the position you hold in your fraternity or sorority, the service organization you volunteer with) is something that can give you a serious leg up in the job application process and in the career management cycle overall.
I think back on my own journey through the internship and job search process and it’s really amazing how my campus involvement ultimately shaped the career path I took. For example, as a freshman and sophomore, I was heavily involved in my fraternity’s executive board, serving as philanthropy chairman and housing manager. These roles required a large amount of collaborating with different stakeholders, both within my fraternity and also externally with the University and other community members. The skills I learned in these roles helped prepare me for my internship with PwC as collaborating within a team and communicating effectively are two of the cornerstones of working in consulting.
Coupled with solid internship experiences, your extracurricular involvement at GW can turn your resume from good to great. This is your opportunity to show potential employers what makes you uniquely qualified. By leveraging your on-campus involvement in your resume and interviews, you can demonstrate an ability to lead, communicate effectively, and work well with others, all of which are things that will give you a greater chance of landing the job or internship of your dreams!
4 ways that our Industry Experts can help you!
- No idea of what it is you want to do or how to figure out a career path?
- Have an interview and you aren’t sure if you are ready or what type of questions you should ask?
- Struggling with your resume?
- Not sure how to structure your cover letter?
- Received an offer but don’t know if it is fair or meets industry standards?
If this sounds like you, don’t worry we are here to help!
Did you know that as an undergraduate student in the School of Business you have access to one-on-one career coaching by industry experts? The F. David Fowler Career Center (FDFCC) Senior Career Coaches specialize in the fields of Finance, Accounting, Consulting, Business Economics & Public Policy, Information Systems, Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Sports, Events and Hospitality Management.
Coaches can assist you in the following 5 ways:
- Strategy Sessions: Career Exploration │ Career Leader Assessment │ Networking Strategy
- Professional Imprint: Resume │ Cover Letter │ Social Media (LinkedIn, etc.)
- Preparation: Mock Interview │ Pitch │ Research │ Offer Negotiation
- Leveraging Experience: Internships │Campus Organizations │ Course Projects │ Community
How do I meet with a Coach?
It’s easy! Students have three options:
- 15-minute Express Coaching (Ideal for quick assistance or to ask a quick question)
- Appointments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis on Monday – Wednesday from 11am – 1pm & 5pm – 6pm and on Thursday from 11am – 1pm. Sign up in the FDFCC located in Duques Hall – Suite 560.
- 30 or 60-minute Coaching Appointment*
- Schedule a coaching appointment online through GWorkSB or stop by the FDFCC
- Telephone/Skype Coaching Appointment* (ideal for students studying abroad or away from campus)
- Schedule a coaching appointment online through GWorkSB
* Service is open to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
There seems to be a new trend in recruiting: the recorded video interview. Companies have started using platforms such as HireVue, Spark Hire, and VidCruiter to do preliminary, off-site interviewing at the convenience of the interviewee immediately after making it through a preliminary application screening. Usually, these interviews consist of about 3-5 questions and take only about 10-20 minutes to complete. Recently, I applied to an internship online, knowing that once the company received my application they would send me a link for the video interview and that within 2 days of receiving the link I needed to complete the interview.
How to Prepare for the Video Interview:
I prepared for the interview the way I would for any. I suggest looking over the job description, keeping in mind the keywords you can use in your responses. Also, you should always think of a response for “why you are interested in taking a position with the company you are interviewing with”, and practice and customize your elevator pitch because they will probably ask questions along the lines of “tell me about yourself” and “why are you a good fit/interested in this position.” I was asked both of these questions in my video interview, and luckily I was prepared and felt confident in my answers!
What to Wear:
What you would wear to an in person interview! Always make sure what you are wearing is appropriate business professional. Even though the video may only show your head and shoulders, it is always better to wear a full suit. This not only makes you look professional to the interviewer, but it will help put you in a professional mindset.
Where to Go:
My advice is to complete the interview in a quiet, clean, and naturally lit space. I wouldn’t suggest a crowded coffee shop or your room if it tends to be dark and messy. Booking a study room or other private space is also a great option. Just make sure that where you are you will not experience interruptions or distractions.
How to Conduct the Interview: Make sure your computer’s camera and microphone are working, and allot yourself enough time to conduct the interview without rushing through it. Have notes nearby, such as the job description and your master résumé that will help you prepare to answer the questions.
- Many systems have an option for doing a practice question. I recommend doing this because it can be a little weird answering a question while looking at the recording of yourself, so this practice will help you get used to it. When answering the question, do your best to look at the camera and at the computer screen. It’s hard to keep your eyes from wandering, but do your best to pretend you are making eye contact with someone. Practice speaking slowly and clearly. Also by practicing, you can make sure that your camera and mic are working properly.
- Once you start your interview, you may have a limited time (e.g. 3 minutes) or an unlimited time to prepare to answer the question. You will also have a limited amount of time to respond; usually 1-4 minutes so make sure to hit your main points efficiently and quickly, but again, remember not to talk to fast. If you have an unlimited prep time, make sure to use it by thinking through your response fully before recording it. Definitely use your prep time to jot down a few points to make sure you cover them in your response.
- When you’re ready to answer, hit the start recording button and give it your all! If you are finished answering the question, and you still have a little bit of time left, don’t force yourself to fill the time, just finish the recording. This way your answers will be clear, concise, and memorable, not long and jumbled.
- Also, at the end of the last question, remember to thank the interviewer for taking their time to view the video!
by Ryan Lasker
Interviewing for internships and full-time positions is not just about making sure you stand out and that you give all the right answers to interviewers’ questions. It’s also about determining whether the company is a good fit for you and whether you’d actually like working there.
But, it’s hard to get a sense for what a company’s culture is like when you’re not interviewing in their office or when you’re only meeting a couple professionals at the firm — not to mention all the nerves and other parts of the interview process that are occupying your mind. Take the time to meet with as many employees as possible and understand the company’s mission as well as possible.
Many companies will tell candidates that their competitive advantage over similar firms is their people, or “company culture,” which can include their employee benefits, outside-work events and general workplace style. Current employees are the ones who understand what the culture is like, and they also are the ones who perpetuate it.
Find a way to get in touch with as many professionals as possible. Getting on the phone or grabbing coffee with them will help you decide whether you would want to work with them for 40 hours (or more) every week. It is appropriate to ask them about what their workweek is like and how they balance their work with their personal life, but avoid questions about salary or highly personal subjects.
A huge part of company culture relies on the type of work you do and also how the company wants that work done. Some companies are driven more by deadlines while others prefer to focus on high-quality results. Try to align yourself with a company that has similar values to you. You can find such information on companies’ mission statement, which are generally on their websites.
Many businesses are also adopting corporate social responsibility initiatives that include paying their employees while doing community service work or matching donations to nonprofit organizations up to a certain amount. Take a look at what your potential employers do to better society.
It is impossible to understand a company culture completely without working there, but by getting to know current employees and the initiatives that management has set forth, you can get a pretty good idea of what it’s like to work for a certain company.