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Low-Key Discussion Hypes Business Jobs

By Carlos A. Monje jr.

While big business firms usually visit campus hoping to attract graduating seniors, a panel of representatives from some of the investment banking and consulting giants focused their attention on some younger students last night.

The group spoke in the Lamont Forum Room to sophomores and juniors with an interest in consulting, investment banking, venture capital and the recruitment process.

The six-person panel, including representatives from Goldman, Sachs & Co., Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Bossemer Venture Partners and Wet Feet Press, discussed what to expect in the postgraduation job market.

"It's important to really understand your options, to understand yourself and find a firm that is a good match," said Stephen W. Pollock '85-'84.

Pollock is co-founder of Wet Feet Press, a San Francisco firm that advertises itself as "an information source for job seekers."

"There are a lot of good jobs out there," Pollock said. "Everybody coming out of Harvard is going to find one, so the choice is really the students.'"

Panelists recommended careers in business-related fields as starting points for students with broad interests.

"Consulting and investment banking are broad introductions to a career in business and are good for people who don't know for sure what they want to be," said Gautam Prakash, a venture capital specialist and author of The Managers Guide to Inside Accounting.

"Whatever job you do will not close any doors," he said.

Although jobs in the business arena are open-ended, the panel urged students to explore their choices now.

"Our purpose is to get [students] to start thinking about their options," said Marc Cosentino, assistant director and business counsel at the Office of Career Services, (OCS).

Panelists stressed immediate hands-on experience and technical work as benefits of careers in business.

"Fresh out of school you might find yourself doing research, analysis and communication," said Amy Glass, a recruiter at BCG.

James A. Himes '88, an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, said that although business jobs may entail some grunt work, they also come with enormous perks.

"You're constantly saying to yourself, `I can't believe I'm doing this,'" Himes said.

"You'll be doing menial work until 3 a.m. but then [the next] morning you'll be in a meeting with the CEO."

In addition to exposing the pros and cons of life in the business world, panelists gave students tips on how to get an edge in the recruitment process.

"We're looking for strong logic and analytical skills, good communication skills, and creativity," said Glass.

The panel agreed that grades, a creative cover letter, and dedicated summer work all contribute to a powerful applicant package.

"During an interview, have fun, be funny, smile a lot--anything that will cause you to stick in the mind of the interviewer," Himes suggested.

Most students responded positively to the panel's informal approach and pragmatic advice.

"I thought it was a great line up of consultants, investors, and venture capitalists," said Kris J. Thiessen '98, who is a Crimson editor.

"It was less formal than a usual information session, and I felt comfortable enough to ask tough questions."

Cosentino said that students should take their time in exploring possible career plans.

"I [recently] got a call from a student who was just accepted to [Harvard] college. He asked me what he would have to do [in] the next 10 years to get into Harvard Business School," Cosentino said. "I told him to relax."

The panel was sponsored by OCS, Wet Feet Press, the Investment Association and the Management Consulting Club

"Whatever job you do will not close any doors," he said.

Although jobs in the business arena are open-ended, the panel urged students to explore their choices now.

"Our purpose is to get [students] to start thinking about their options," said Marc Cosentino, assistant director and business counsel at the Office of Career Services, (OCS).

Panelists stressed immediate hands-on experience and technical work as benefits of careers in business.

"Fresh out of school you might find yourself doing research, analysis and communication," said Amy Glass, a recruiter at BCG.

James A. Himes '88, an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, said that although business jobs may entail some grunt work, they also come with enormous perks.

"You're constantly saying to yourself, `I can't believe I'm doing this,'" Himes said.

"You'll be doing menial work until 3 a.m. but then [the next] morning you'll be in a meeting with the CEO."

In addition to exposing the pros and cons of life in the business world, panelists gave students tips on how to get an edge in the recruitment process.

"We're looking for strong logic and analytical skills, good communication skills, and creativity," said Glass.

The panel agreed that grades, a creative cover letter, and dedicated summer work all contribute to a powerful applicant package.

"During an interview, have fun, be funny, smile a lot--anything that will cause you to stick in the mind of the interviewer," Himes suggested.

Most students responded positively to the panel's informal approach and pragmatic advice.

"I thought it was a great line up of consultants, investors, and venture capitalists," said Kris J. Thiessen '98, who is a Crimson editor.

"It was less formal than a usual information session, and I felt comfortable enough to ask tough questions."

Cosentino said that students should take their time in exploring possible career plans.

"I [recently] got a call from a student who was just accepted to [Harvard] college. He asked me what he would have to do [in] the next 10 years to get into Harvard Business School," Cosentino said. "I told him to relax."

The panel was sponsored by OCS, Wet Feet Press, the Investment Association and the Management Consulting Club

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