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The Case for Multiple Internships

Last month, WSJ had a really great article titled, “Internships Are Increasingly the Route to Winning a Job” and it is happening not only in investment banking or consulting. I am doing two internships this summer and I loved one and hated the other. You will never get the chance again in your life to do two different jobs in such a short span of time. I should note that it is very unconventional and a pain in the ass to execute. But if you try to pick two very different internships, you can confirm some thoughts you’ve had about a particular industry or function.

As I move onto the second year of my MBA, I hope I will have more time to update this blog.

 

2013 Credit Suisse MBA Military Boot Camp – Deadline May 17

Hey everyone, I went to this event last summer. It was absolutely instrumental in helping me understand the differences between investment banking, sales & trading, and private banking. This is a great program and Credit Suisse is one of the companies most supportive of veterans. Please do apply.

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Have you considered life on Wall Street after life in the Military? Do you have questions about the transition to corporate life? The Credit Suisse MBA Military Boot Camp offers advice, support, and networking opportunities for veterans.

Program Details:

  • ·         The program is for military veterans who are MBA candidates entering a full-time, 2 year MBA program in fall 2013.
  • ·         Participants spend a full day at Credit Suisse in New York, July 25, 2013, with expenses covered up to $150.
  • ·         Program provides an inside view of financial services. Participants will also meet members of the Credit Suisse Veterans’ Network and hear from veterans who have successfully transitioned to Wall Street.

Apply online by May 17, 2013. To apply, click here

For additional information, please contact campus.diversity@credit-suisse.com

2013 Beat The GMAT Scholarship: Deadline May 13, 2013!

The 8th Annual Beat The GMAT scholarship is now accepting applications.

Since 2006, Beat The GMAT has distributed more than $200,000 in scholarships and prizes to MBA applicants from all over the globe, including the U.S. and Canada, South America, Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

For the 2013 competition, there will be eight GMAT and MBA consulting packages awarded.  Each winner will receive a $250 voucher for GMAT registration fees, a full GMAT test prep course, and MBA admissions consulting services. The following companies made generous donations to make these prizes possible: AcceptU, Admit Advantage, Admissionado, Clear Admit, GMAT Prep Now, GMAT Tutor by The Economist, Kaplan, Knewton, Manhattan GMAT, MBA Admit, mbaMission, The Princeton Review, Stratus Prep, and Veritas Prep.

Beat The GMAT is now accepting applications until May 13, 2013. Winners will be announced on May 20, 2013. To learn more or to apply for the 2013 Beat The GMAT scholarship, please visit:http://www.beatthegmat.com/mba/scholarship.

Applicants can receive exclusive updates and winner announcements for the 2013 scholarship competition by visiting Beat The GMAT on Facebook.

Bank of America Veteran Associate Program (10 weeks, summer)

Guys, this is a great program, check it out! It models Goldman Sach’s Veteran Program that came out last year. I would definitely try to do this as a pre-MBA internship.

“Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Banking and Markets division has created a Veterans hiring program to provide returning veterans on the job training and experience in the sales, trading, research and banking businesses.  This 10 week program will allow participants to explore new career opportunities in the financial industry. Final placements will be available in the Global Markets, Global Research, Global Treasury Solutions and Global Commercial Banking divisions.”

Qualifications

Education

  • BS/BA degree

Experience

  • At least 1 year of Active duty or in the Military reserves
  • A strong interest in financial services

Qualifications

  • Passion for and the desire to learn more about the markets and finance
  • Quantitative and analytical skills
  • Demonstrated problem solving skills and willingness to ask tough questions
  • Proven leadership, team, communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated ability to multi-task and prioritize in a demanding environment
  • Proficiency in Excel and PowerPoint a plus
  • An understanding of accounting, financial modeling, and corporate finance skills is a huge plus

Personal Traits

  • Highly motivated with an exceptional drive for success
  • Adapts easily to constantly changing environment
  • A track record of superior performance in extracurricular and professional activities
  • Assertiveness, initiative, leadership, strong work ethic, team focus
  • Ability to learn quickly and take on new responsibilities
  • Demonstrates self direction and autonomy in a rapidly changing environment

The Best Career Advice I’ve Ever Received

It is better to be average in a great industry than to be a star in a declining industry.

You are not special. A few years ago, veterans clubs existed only at a handful of MBA programs. Today, every top MBA school and most top MBA recruiting companies have veteran recruiting programs. We have become the holy grail of diversity recruiting. Step aside women, minorities, and LGBT. Veterans are the hottest game in town. And guess what? Veterans were already everywhere, they just weren’t organized around an affinity group. So to repeat, you are not special.

So what do you do, you average SOB? Find an industry that is growing and be the best at one thing. What are some growing industries? E-commerce, luxury and retail, mobile apps, mobile anything. Do NOT work for newspapers, venture capital (this will require a larger discussion and separate post), advertising agencies, traditional retailers, etc.

Isn’t specialization the one thing we weren’t supposed to do? In the military, we were general managers. All MBA programs are positioned as “General Management.” And all the top positions go to people with general management backgrounds right? I don’t think this is an either or type of situation. The trend these days is to become very specialized and that will make you rise to the top 15% of the company. Then you can bring out your “General Management” skills, and probably more likely, your political skills.

In conclusion, we all think we are above average, and we probably are when measured against the total population. But we should measure ourselves against the top 10% because those are the people competing for the same jobs, promotions, etc. And when compared against the top 10%, maybe you aren’t that stellar. And that is okay. It’s okay to be average among the highest performers. Just find an industry that is growing, do a great job, and the rest will take care of itself. 

Google Veterans Summit, Spring Break, Second Semester Wrap-Up

1. For all of you interested in tech, I have to advise you to apply to the Google Student Veterans Summit because that is probably the best shot you have at getting into Google. Google is famous for minimum GPA requirement and I think this is one way around it.

2. I loved Spring break and I highly advise that you go on whatever Spring break trips that your school has planned out. It is one of the best ways to learn other people at your MBA program. In fact, try to get on a trip with people that you don’t really know because by your second semester, you get so sick of networking and trying to meet new people, but you have to keep going.

3. Taking a step back from the fray, it is easy to see why people advocate going for consulting and banking recruiting in the fall so you can chill in the Spring while your other peers are busy recruiting. I have recommended doing consulting and/or banking recruiting even if you don’t want to do consulting and/or banking because of the networking skills you gain. You become a pro and if you recruit for other disciplines, you will definitely stand out.

 

Update on GI Bill for CFA

Just received my reimbursement from the VA today. Apparently, you can’t get reimbursed for tests that you took more than one year ago (I took multiple tests). I delayed submitting my form because I wasn’t sure if it was worth it or not in terms of saving my GI Bill for future graduate programs but in an earlier post. I was wrong.

After just thinking about what a two-year graduate degree means (especially MBA), it is highly unlikely that you will delay your earnings any further into the future. Therefore, any way you can maximize your GI benefits now, the better. So go ahead and pay for your exams (GMAT, CFA, anything else). You can check out the GI bill section to get more information.

I went from 27 month and 3 days of benefits remaining to 25 months and 3 days benefits remaining for a reimbursement for $1,302.18. I’m not sure if it was worth 2 months of benefits, it seems like they rounded up. But then again, this $1,302.18 is worth much more to me now then potentially getting a second degree in the future an getting future BAH of probably $2500+ and paying for tuition. Just my thoughts.

Don’t be Afraid to Underinvest

In an MBA program, you always hear a lot about over/under investing from the perspective of an asset manager. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how this can be applied to life as well.

Are there friends, family members, and things you do that don’t lead to your ultimate objective? Maybe someone, something needs to get cut out from your life, or at least spend less time on it. Sounds kind of harsh but once you get into an MBA program, you will see how much time you have left between your military friends, pre-MBA civilian friends, MBA block/group classmates, extended family, and if you have a wife and kid – good luck. Did I also mention time for yourself?

So it all really boils down to what you want to do and where you want to go. That’s hard to really know and I know I spent the bulk of my first semester trying to do everything. The benefit was that I learned a little about every industry, the negative was that I wasn’t deep enough to convince anyone that mattered.

Same thing with relationships. I recommend spending time cultivating a few, solid relationships rather than be a social butterfly and “kind of know” everyone. Because “kind of know” isn’t good enough when I need a business partner. I need to do my due diligence long enough.

Bottom line, this fall, as you decide which industries to target. I would say start with 3-4 in September, but by October, focus on a maximum of 2. Attend networking and social events but with a purpose. Do you want to meet someone specific? Do you want to learn about a specific topic? Have a game plan, don’t just go for the free booze.

Something to think about for you guys entering the class of 2015

The yields this year for banking, consulting, and other traditional industries have been extremely low and very competitive across all top 16 schools. I don’t have any raw figures to show and as you can imagine, no schools publish raw statistics.

Ironically, the career field that did surprisingly well was Sales and Trading. I’m not sure if that is going to translate into anything for fall recruiting this year but part of the reason for S&T’s success was the low level of people even trying to recruit.

And being a veteran helps so much in S&T because a lot of top traders ARE ex-veterans, a lot of special ops-type guys. Just wanted to throw that out there.

You should all start thinking about a pre-MBA summer internship as I think it is very helpful. “Switching careers” isn’t as easy as it normally is during a great economy so you really need to have as much meat on your resume to be successful to switch into any career.

More thoughts on GI Bill for Graduate School

One semester down and I’ve been already received $47,387.35 in benefits. The GI Bill rocks. So for all of you academy grads out there who are deciding whether or not to stay in for an extra few months to get 35%, DO it.

When you see the 36 months advertised by the GI Bill it is actually more like 4 years because you are not in school during the whole calendar year. This means that for those of you who are interested in doing a 3-4 year joint-degree, you can max out the GI Bill. Although I don’t advise going down that route (basically the JD-MBA).

Generally speaking, most of you are looking at the traditional 2-year full-time MBA program and I’m a huge advocate of the traditional 2-year full-time MBA program. You will exhaust roughly half of your GI Bill on this and I think you should put the remaining 18 months to good use.

Since you have so much time to use the GI Bill, I personally would consider going for a one-year mid-career policy degree (MPA/MPP) after a few years of working experience, if my career permits a one-year break. That would still leave a good 10 months of GI Bill left, assuming 8 months in an academic year.

What to do with the remaining 8 months? Don’t forget about the certification, licensing, and national exams! The Chartered Financial Analyst program is the most expensive to attempt (and possibly the hardest to pass) so I think it is great that the GI Bill gives you some cushion to try.

I read all over the place about the supposed “$1,460 = 1 month” equation in terms of how much benefit the tests will reduce, i.e. if your test costs exactly $1,460, it will remove 1 month of benefits from your 36 total. However, I haven’t actually found anything official from the VA that states that yet, so I’m going to submit a reimbursement in the next few weeks for the CFA and the GMAT and see how much benefits it reduces.