GW MBA New York City Career Trek

GW MBAs on Fox News!!! by nytrek
October 25, 2008, 12:07 pm
Filed under: 1

Click on the following link to view the video: GW MBA Students on Fox News

Catherine Lee and Karan Rajput made us proud yesterday when they appeared on National TV to ask some intelligent questions.  Check it out!


Last Day in NYC by nytrek
October 26, 2008, 6:37 pm
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What an exciting day Friday was. But since I’m finding myself back in DC with pages to read and papers to write before our new module starts tomorrow, and since Sherri did such a great job writing about all the company visits, I’m going to give myself a break and just post our group picture outside the new New York Times building


Marketing & Other group

Marketing & Other group


Special thanks to Brad Hoffman, Manager of Professional Development for Consumer Marketing at Time Inc., Murray Gaylord, VP of Marketing and Consumer Insights at The New York Times, and John Chou with Human Resources at Sirius XM Radio for putting together some incredibly informational and enjoyable sessions for us. They were all so welcoming and open to our questions. We were all really excited about the career and internship opportunities they spoke about. 

Overall…what a great trip. I’m so glad I went and was able to share my experiences on this blog. I definitely plan to go on the San Francisco trek in the spring, and I encourage all my classmates to make the trek as well, and go to NY next year. Thanks to Eran and his team for making it all happen. 

That’s all. Signing off. 


October 26, 2008, 9:46 am
Filed under: 1

I know. I’m a geek. I embrace it.

This post is a combination of three sub-posts. What can I say? A lot happened my last day of the 2008 NY Career Trek: breakfast with Carol Engel (BBA 1985, MBA 1988), three company visits and dinner with my parents. Okay, maybe you don’t want to read about dinner with mom and dad, but the rest of the day was INCREDIBLE. See below.

THERE’S A 7:45 AM?!
(Don’t you wish you were a morning person, too?)

Carol Engel (BBA 1985, MBA 1988) is A-mazing (say it just like that)! Everyone should have an opportunity at least once in his/her life to spend a meal with someone like Carol. (That’s right. If you’re ever asked if you could have dinner with any three people in the world, scratch off one of those people who just popped into your head and add Carol to the list. Trust me.)

Carol is a fabulous professional woman who has made it all happen. She is the founder of C.S. Engel & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in strategic marketing and licensing. For 14 years, Carol has been responsible for the daily management of marketing and licensing programs for world-renowned companies, brands and licensed properties. She has a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the global marketplace, and the industry leaders in manufacturing and retail around the world. Since 1998, Carol has been retained by ARS AG to manage and oversee the 2-d licensing of Hummel, M.I. Hummel in the North American market.

It took a ton of tough decisions to get where she is today, but it seems like Carol is able to do it all, and do it well. She can juggle tasks like she’s in Cirque du Soleil. She is a phenomenal worker, wife, mother…you name it. She is simply awesome, fabulously personable, straight shooting, and she loves GW.

So, I guess you could say breakfast was pretty good.

Carol’s willingness to tell the story of her career path was most meaningful for me. She doesn’t sugarcoat things; she tells it like it is. I can’t express how much I appreciate that. She gave my group great insight, letting us know what life in NYC is really like (and where to go to escape), how important good support is and how important it is to make sure you know yourself well enough to make the tough career choices. Carol talked about making the transition from working for others to working for herself. She was completely open to any questions we had…..and she had plenty of her own about our classes and professors, some of whom she had, too.

Carol also gave us some great advice. She let us know we shouldn’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call a bigwig to talk about his/her company’s work. Hey, if we read something interesting in the newspaper or a trade magazine, and we want to know more, why not? What’s the worst that can happen? Our call won’t be taken? Big deal. Pick up the phone.

Another great tip: negotiation. Yes, especially in this economy salary may not be so negotiable, but other things are. And, I hate to say it, but women are traditionally afraid to negotiate. After our breakfast, I felt empowered to get off my duff and ask for a moving allowance if, in 2010, I end up taking a job outside the DC area. Yes, I might be turned down, but at least now I’ll ask.


I cannot tell a lie. (And that’s not because it’s an ethic of the Society of Professional Journalists.) Yesterday, I felt like a groupie. It’s like I was a 12-year-old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.

Given my background of (among other things) entertainment writing/editing, studying print journalism and working at two magazines, visiting with Time Inc., The New York Times Company and Sirius Satellite Radio was like going to Lollapalooza. (Am I dating myself here? Should I have said Live 8?)

All three visits were off the charts. Each company is outstanding in its own right. Getting to talk one-on-one with so many of the Time Inc. folks before and after the group presentation provided such great insight into the company. I also learned a great deal during The New York Times Company information session, and the office tour was out of this world. Getting to see the company’s walls of Pulitzer-winning articles, the newsroom and the wonderfully sustainable building was truly an experience I’ll never forget. Learning about Sirius and then going into the Sirius Radio NFL studio (and seeing the New England Patriots’ championship chair signed by some of the New York Giants—hahaha) was amazing.

Each of these companies has a very different marketing strategy, which is adjusting to deal with the current economy, the shift from print to web and, in the case of Sirius, a current merger. It was fascinating to learn what the marketing differences are and how each company is adapting….which brings me to:


I was fascinated to learn on this trek how different companies view the role of marketing in their business plans. Is it a necessary evil? Is it just part of doing business? Does the company view it as a direct contributor to the bottom line?

I also learned to look for what impacts those views have. Does morale seem low? Is the personnel count of sync with the rest of the company? Or is the marketing team growing and expanding? Is it constantly innovating? What is the overall marketing strategy?

Different businesses certainly seem to have different approaches. And different industries definitely have different views.

But other factors come into play: the economy, changing industries, changing businesses, etc… It’s a lot to consider when figuring out where to work. And the intimate NY Career Trek is a great platform for fact finding. Asking a ton of in-depth questions is key! Our questions made the already incredible information sessions even more interesting, informative and personal.

I’m thankful I could be part of this experience.

Also, as a first year, while my class has had some time to bond within our study groups, this trip provided us with a way to develop relationships with other members of our class, as well as with part-time students, second years and alumni. It was wonderful just getting to know my classmates much better…and getting to see them outside of class.

Whether we were just grabbing lunch, taking the subway, shopping at Sephora, visiting the Statue of Liberty or walking to the next company visit, we were connecting.

And I can’t thank everyone enough for helping to take care of me while sick. You all are the best!

Take-aways from New York Trip by nytrek
October 25, 2008, 12:04 pm
Filed under: 1

Eran here.  I am back in DC with some final insights and lessons from our great New York trek.  Of course, not all take-aways are rosy.   I think the overarching lesson from the trip and from Brianna’s post below is that in this market, we need to make a big effort to stand out and find something meaningful.

The finance team successfully differentiated itself during its last visit at a global private and investment bank. The speakers said, “We’ve talked with Vanderbilt and UNC MBAs and you guys were by far the most dynamic and interactive group we’ve had.” What a great compliment to receive from such a prestigious bank.

All the rest of the advice branches out from this overarching theme of standing out.  On behalf of the finance crowd, I will try to sum up the impressions and lessons learned from each company visit.  

                                                                New York Stock Exchange 

Justin Cuddy and Saad Hamid

Justin Cuddy and Saad Hamid.

This was an impressive opening to the corporate visits. Shachar Golan gave us a dynamic overview of the Exchange.  Shachar works with the investment banking services to get companies to list on the NYSE as opposed to the NASDAQ.  One of the incentives is that the NYSE is the most closely watched exchange there is. Shachar also quizzed us on which 30 companies compose the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (DJIA). With group effort, we got them all. By the way, while we were there, during the first five minutes of the day, the Dow jumped 71 points. Though, once we left…



 Nonprofit Finance Fund

Justin Cuddy, Renee Jacob (NFF), Bianca White

Justin Cuddy, Renee Jacob (NFF), Bianca White

Thanks to Nikyia Rogers, a close friend of mine and a second-year MBA, we got to see another side of finance – a socially responsible side.  The four women who presented to us, Renee, Christy, Stephanie, and Jessica, were inspirational. At least two of them came from the for-profit world and felt their work wasn’t as meaningful as it could have been.  Now, they are helping nonprofit organizations understand their finances and financial decisions to help them become more sustainable.  Their bottom line is the people and communities who stand to benefit from these nonprofit organizations, like the South Bronx Charter School. Major take-away – do what you love and it will be easier to get up to go to work everyday. 


Jefferies & Co., Inc.

Tom DiGaloma and two associates (MBAs)

Tom DiGaloma and two investment banking associates, Anwei and Atishay (MBAs)

This was the longest visit, so naturally, we have a lot of lessons from this trip.  Tom managed to bring in 7 great speakers, all of whom seem to like what they do and are very proud to be working at Jefferies.

We received two pictures of the economy – a bleak picture and a not-so-bleak picture with a hint of cautious optimism. Mike Effron, Managing Director in the fixed income department gave us the bleak picture, but he did give us important advice.  In one word – accounting. In finance, if you understand the ins and outs of a 10-K and of the financial statements, you can master the foundation of the business world and really stand out.  So, while accounting may be boring (or challenging – there may be some accounting professors reading this blog), knowing accounting will differentiate you from other candidates. The not-so-bleak picture was delivered by Tom’s colleague, John Huwiler, Managing Director and Group Head in the Mergers & Acquisitions department.  According to John, the world has changed and if you “pick your spots right,” there are a lot of opportunities.  He said, “Goldman employees will probably not get their bonuses this year, but will be happy to just be able to come back to work on January 2nd, 2009.”  Therefore, do not try to time the job market, just do what you like or love. You’ll be more passionate about it and better than everyone else. If you don’t do what you like, you just won’t last.  

As a GW MBA, Tom can relate to the problem of competing with other top-tier schools such as Harvard and Wharton, but his success on Wall Street is a testament to how persistence, diligence, and hard work can pay off. 

Bank of New York Mellon

For most of us, it was hard to get up so early in the morning, but it was well worth it.  We were honored to have Patrick Tadie as our host.  Patrick put together a very informative presentation about the economy and BNY Mellon. He is a GW MBA (1993) and a CPA by trade. He went to school while working full time at Prudential Home Mortgage Corporation.  

While BNY Mellon is expanding internationally in places like India and China, hiring is slowing domestically.  Employees who have been terminated are not necessarily replaced.  That being said, the bank is a strong bank due in part to its relatively conservative approach and long, solid history (it was founded by Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Treasury Secretary). In terms of finding a job in this economic environment, Patrick said students need to work hard to stand out.  For example, Patrick is impressed with written thank you notes after an interview rather than just emailing. Not many candidates do that, so it is immediately recognized as unique.  Patrick also said students need to be persistent, even when you don’t get an immediate “yes.” He even said some companies test you on your persistence.  In short, it pays off.  

Large Global Private and Investment Bank

(we were asked not to use this bank’s name for various reasons)

This is the same bank that told us that we were the best group they had hosted (“best” is not an explicit quote, but was rather implicit from what the speakers had said).  The speakers were both from the private bank or private wealth management arm of the bank.  Gerry (one of the speakers) began his career as a public school teacher.  The presentation skills from teaching were very useful in his current role as a relationship manager, and the increase in salary was a huge incentive to make the transition. Gerry loves the ability to be entrepreneurial and determine his own schedule.  His salary is tied to commissions only.  Over the years, he’s managed to grow his business successfully and said that the position can be very rewarding, but it is hard work.

The bank has been in the process of hiring former Lehman and Bear Stearns private bankers, but are still looking for summer interns.  So, the competition is fierce, but GW MBAs have proved that they can compete at the same level. 


It was a great trip. Personally, I managed to schedule two informational sessions with two wealth managers who gave me some great feedback on my resume and good tips on how to secure a job upon graduation. My impression is that there are jobs out there, but they are getting harder to obtain.  That doesn’t mean that it is impossible, it just means that it’s going to take a little more effort.  The three things I find essential to keep in mind when searching for jobs or internships in the next few months are: network, persist, and stay focused.  Finally, stand out from the rest by understanding the market and the players in the market and by thoroughly researching your prospective employers.  

Signing off for now.  

– Eran. 

GW MBA Meets Governor Paterson of New York During Trek by nytrek
October 25, 2008, 9:32 am
Filed under: Blogging from NY

Brian Wachtel with a friend and Gov. Paterson of NY

Stories to Inspire by nytrek
October 24, 2008, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Blogging from NY

Brianna here, and I’m on the bus headed back to DC after an amazing but exhausting two days in NYC. This post is about last night’s activities, and tomorrow (hopefully) I’ll be able to write about today’s awesome company visits.

After the alumni mixer last night, fellow first-years Emily Hedgpeth, Kelsey Artes and I ate dinner with Jennifer Lasko. Jennifer just received her MBA from GW in May 2008 but now works as an Assistant Product Director for the Clean & Clear brand at Johnson & Johnson. Emily, Kelsey and I were hanging on to every word she said, absorbing all that she told us, despite her concerns that she was telling too many stories or boring us. She was not. Through her stories, Jennifer gave us a number of valuable insights, which I will describe below. Having just graduated in May, she had very recently been through what the first-years are going through now, and we could not get enough of what she had to say.

#1. Have a story. This was first and foremost. Jennifer started out as a chemical engineer, realized this was not the right field for her, and found herself in business school seeking out marketing positions for facial products. How did she get there? The story could take 15 minutes, it could take an hour, but she was able to perfect it into a 2 minute “teaser” to share with companies. If they wanted to hear more, they were just going to have to interview her. 

#2. Be persistent. Jennifer mentioned the story of the traveling salesman. Doors are going to be closed on you and you are going to get rejection emails when you are searching for an internship, but you need to keep going. This is something I’m dealing with now, and I know I need to keep my head up, but it’s always nice to be reminded that other people went through and are going through the same thing. Those internships may not have been the right one for me, but I will find the one that is. 

#3. Make your own experience. When interviewing with a recruiter, Jennifer pointed out, there is no need to talk about the classes you are taking and what you are learning in them. That’s a given. They know you are taking those classes, and so are the other 110,000 MBA students in the country. Join clubs. Get involved. Talk about what you are doing in those clubs and the results, not just the fact that you are in those clubs. You need to set yourself apart from everyone. Jennifer planned both the NY and San Francisco career treks, and got her summer internship through the San Francisco trek. 

#4. Don’t give up. Sure this may sound similar to #2, but it’s that important. 

#5. Give people a reason to want to help you. If you contact an alum to network or for an informational interview, don’t expect that person to hand you a job or other contacts simply because you went to the same school. Always prove yourself with steps 1-4. Jennifer met an alum during the San Francisco career trek who was so impressed with her passion and drive that he actually created the internship for her. This internship helped to get her job with Johnson & Johnson.

She also developed a very close relationship with Toni Della-Ratta, a career counselor with GW’s MBA career center. How does a once chemical engineer transition to facial care marketing? Toni saw Jennifer’s drive and commitment, and was willing to pull out all the stops for her. When two people work equally hard to support one another, great things can be accomplished. 

#6. To quote a favorite computer animated fish, “Just keep swimming.” Actually, this is my contribution, but Jennifer couldn’t say “Don’t give up, be persistent, keep your head up, hang in there” enough. Emily, Kelsey and I found it refreshing for her to acknowledge how tough the first year of the MBA program actually is. Jennifer’s accounts of never sleeping rang true. But you know what? It’s one year. And it’s going to set you up for the rest of your MBA career (if not the rest of your life?). 


Kelsey, Jennifer, Emily, Brianna

Kelsey, Jennifer, Emily, Brianna

After the dinner, the four of us felt extremely close and we vowed to keep in touch.  Jennifer was such an inspiration to us and her stories were fascinating and entertaining. Emily, Kelsey and I agreed that it was beneficial to speak with someone who had so recently graduated, because she was able to truly understand what we were going through and give us advice that was current. I am so grateful for this opportunity to have met with such a passionate, caring young woman who wanted to give back to three students she had never even met. 

Okay….I think I’m going to pass out on this bus now. Bye for now.


Mixer Pictures by nytrek
October 24, 2008, 1:51 am
Filed under: Blogging from NY