The mile-high city

September 10th, 2012

Whenever I visit Colorado–particularly in the summer months–I often ask myself: why don’t I live in Colorado?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a New Orleanian through and through, but I’m here to tell you that “high” on my list of favorite places is the Rocky Mountain region. The summer climate is dry and cool. The winter climate is brutal but in exchange, you get unfettered access to some of the world’s best winter sports. The culture, laid back. Political climate, liberal. The state of Colorado is very aware, conscientious, considerate, environmentally responsible, forward thinking. Plenty of access to great public education, culture, physical fitness and–what we’re all here to talk about–exciting careers!

Denver is a small, walkable, easily navigable and lovely city. The region is a pivot point in the global energy sector. Some first- and second-tier players in the energy business, as well as a great deal of natural gas exploration, call the area home.

Not a great many Tulanians come from or go to the area, but the network of alumni that I tapped into for my visit were exceedingly hospitable and willing to open their doors for a conversation about career opportunities for fellow alumni in the area.

Denver is what I would call a “referral market,” meaning that — if you definitely want to live and work there — we can definitely help connect you with career opportunities by referring your resume to alumni and recruiters in targeted industries. Not just energy, but also regional accounting firms, financial advisory firms and Fortune 500 companies in the area have Freeman alumni willing to lend a hand. How will the career center know that you are interested in Denver? Great question. Only if you tell us! Speak to your career counselor, and they will speak to me OR go directly to my contacts in our database on your behalf. That’s just how easy it is. All the resources are here for you, people. You just have to tap in!

In my travels, I try somewhat futilely to get to know the essence of a city in just a couple days. Denver, in essence, is the exact opposite of New Orleans. In terms of climate and culture, the two couldn’t be more different. Perhaps that is one reason I’ve had such enjoyable vacations to Colorado–because it is so different from home, in a good way.


Dallas in July

August 13th, 2012

Forget everything you think you know about Dallas.

Well, maybe not everything. There are indeed cowboy hats. Trucks too. And boots. Tex Mex cuisine aplenty. And big business done in big buildings. And an oven-like summer climate. And old-generation oil men.

And yes, it is very oil & gas focused in terms of the business climate and career culture.

But, as I learned during my visit there last month, there are a lot of other exciting things going on in Dallas, a perhaps-overlooked career destination. This economic hub in the western south is most definitely a center point in the energy space, as well as the broader global finance scene.

Dallas has a solid network of Tulane/Freeman alumni in exciting careers in energy, finance, trading, hedge funds/money management, accounting and consulting. I can’t advise you strongly enough to use LinkedIn as a resource for identifying and networking with fellow Tulanians in your desired geographic markets and industries.

Southwest Airlines is headquartered there and has an exciting internship program that they have agreed to post on Freeman Link.

A number of large advertising agencies with mega, marquis clients–including the Richards Group and Moroch–have also opened their doors to me and to a handful of impressive young Tulanians for internships and careers. They will be posting on Freeman Link this year.

There are insurance companies (Waldman Brothers) and global consulting firms (Alix Partners) that appreciate Tulane candidates and have several leaders in their ranks who call Freeman their alma mater.

Those of you with your sights set on Houston should also give a look at her fair sister city to the north. The career market is every bit as chock full of opportunity for young people and the array of opportunities is broad and impressive.

 


Fall Recruiting Preview

August 13th, 2012

We in the career center are feeling much like the New Orleans Saints… the pre-season is upon us and The Season will be here before we know it! Fall recruiting season, that is.  Job postings are rolling in. Employers are getting their campus interview schedules together. Career fairs are shaping up. The summer is barely over (judging from the stifling heat and humidity outside on Tulane’s campus!) and already the career center is abuzz with excitement.

Hopefully, this post finds each member of the Freeman community geared up for action. Mock interview scheduled with your career couselor. Resume approved in Freeman Link. Logging in and updating your profile in Freeman Link. Gearing up to apply for all the great job opportunities. Planning for Freeman Days in your city(ies) of choice!

Is your head spinning yet?! I know mine is.

I thought it might be helpful as well as motivating to send along a preview of what we have coming your way this fall.

Job postings:

     We have commitments from an impressive array of companies in finance, marketing, energy, accounting, consulting and hospitality to send us their full-time and internship postings and schedule on-campus interviewing and/or information sessions this fall. Stay tuned to Freeman Link for specifics and stay on top of all the great opportunities coming your way!

 

Freeman Days New York – September 13-14, 2012:

     Roughly 28 prestigious companies have already committed to this gangbuster of a recruiting fair. Sign up in Freeman Link ASAP for priority placement in your companies of choice. Details will be available at the beginning of the semester.
 

Freeman Days Houston – September 20-21, 2012

   Just one week after Freeman Days New York, this Energy-focused event will bring together major energy companies and a number of financial institutions and service companies that support the oil & gas business. Freeman Link is your home for all things Freeman Days, so stay tuned and sign up!
 

Freeman Days Chicago – October 25-26, 2012:

    Aspiring traders, midwestern natives, or any Freeman candidates looking to get in on the action in one of the hottest U.S. job markets will want to be a part of this event. Marketing firms, investment banks, consulting firms, trading shops, major banks and financial institutions will be hosting site visits. Stay tuned to Freeman Link for details.

Fall career fair:

     The annual fall career fair at the Super Dome, hosted by a consortium of local universities, is a must-attend for job seekers. Mark your calendar for October 3 – 4. Details to come on … you guessed it… Freeman Link! Your source for all things career.


Covered in Ivy

August 13th, 2012

Boston, MA — August, 2012

On a recent visit to Boston, I met with a cadre of young alumni and recruiters at some of the nation’s top money-management firms, Fortune 500 companies and commercial banks, including Wells Fargo, UBS, Fidelity, Bain, and American Tower. It reads like a who’s who of desirable Freeman employers, right!? I know, I was very excited about it too.

The truth about Boston is this: every major employer there does the bulk of their recruiting from the Ivy League, and they aren’t afraid to tout this fact with palpable pride when the gal from Tulane walks in looking for jobs and itnernships for Freeman students and grads.

At first, I must admit, I was feeling a little discouraged. But the more young alumni I met with, the more optimistic I began to feel about the employment situation in the great, walkable, historically significant, New-England-charming city.

Does Tulane have a place in Boston? Absolutely! Just think about how many students here at Tulane trekked down to our sticky swamps of NOLA from Boston. The only catch is, you must be advised going into your search that you are up against Harvard, Wharton, Yale, Tucks, etc. etc. etc., and prepare accordingly. Since some of these Boston-area employers have no need to dedicate resources to Tulane’s campus for recruiting, you may have to get your hands dirty online and dig out the appropriate job postings on their Web sites, where most companies these days require that an application be filled out as part of protocol–as you will see when applying for jobs on Freeman Link. The Careers pages of your target employers will become your best friends!

Luckily for you, the lovely undergraduate campus recruiting director for Fidelity Investments (that’s right y’all, one of the world’s largest money managers and most desirable employers) is open to receiving resumes of interested and well-qualified candidates for opportunities in their very competitive rotational program. Make sure your profile in Freeman Link is up to date and complete–as is your brand new, hot off the presses, approved RESUME detailing any new career experience you acrued over the summer. That way, I can find you and submit your resume to this and so many other career opportunities based on your searchable qualifications!

If you are interested in a career in Boston, check into our professional mentor networking tab in Freeman Link as well. You can identify Freeman alums in a variety of careers and cities who have made themselves available for informational interviewing and networking.

The career center has a host of resources to help you in your search in Boston, or anywhere. Tap into it!

On a fun note about Boston, I can also add that the shore community boasts breathtaking vistas and a vivacious boating scene. At 9:00a.m. on a Thursday morning, the surrounding waterways are dotted with recreational vessels. And even the hotel room-service clam chowder is some of the finest this Southern girl has had anywhere.

Cheers!


Nurture your career in HOTlanta

May 14th, 2012

On a recent visit to Atlanta, I met with several recruiters and Freeman alumni at top-notch companies such as AT&T, Valic, 8Step Promotions, AIG and Pritchard Capital. The recurring theme in these meetings: development and cultivation of the individual employee. Although they represent varied industries, cultures and size of companies, most of the individuals I met with described the overall mentality of their employers as promoting education, training, development and retention of their employees.

This news excited me, and although it may not sound sexy coming from a company you’ve never heard of, the principal of investing in your employees seems to be one that successful companies are finally figuring out–and many of them have learned to do it well so that they can attract and retain the very best talent. It IS sexy to work for a company that wants to invest its resources in helping you be more successful, and to grow as an individual and as a professional.

I also got the broader sense that Atlanta as a market is less cut-throat and more collegial–especially for young people starting out their careers.

AT&T has one of the most prestigious training programs out there–the Business Sales Leadership Development Program. They don’t just hire eager young professionals, turn them loose on a territory and say, “sink or swim.” They nurture commeradery, teamwork, friendly competition and provide each trainee with all the necessary tools to be successful. This extensive program is available to Freeman students on Freeman Link during the fall and spring recruiting seasons and I hope we can present them with some great candidates so that they will continue to want to invest resources in hiring from here.

Valic is one of the country’s leading financial planning firms. Founded initially to provide financial advisory services to educators and government employees, the firm has grown to represent institutions and individuals across the board. Despite the economic downturn, Valic continues to thrive. New hires are provided a book of business–unlike some financial planning roles that require you to cold call and/or to hit up your circle of friends and family for business. They also invest a great deal of time and money cultivating each portfolio manager and making sure they have all the support they need to succeed.

And these are just a few of the highlights! So before you turn up your nose at a job posting in Atlanta, give some thought to the greater scope of your career path. Rather than a sink-or-swim kind of town, Atlanta is full of employers who want to cultivate and invest in great candidates. It is an exciting place to start out a career or take it to the next level. It has all the charm and character of the true South, with the added benefit of being a major metropolitan area. About midway between New York and New Orleans geographically, I would also map Atlanta in roughly the same spot culturally.

Stay tuned to Freeman Link for these and other exciting opportunities with great companies in Atlanta.


A tale of two Chi Cities

April 11th, 2012

A word to those who want to be traders…

In Chicago, there are two distinct categories of careers in trading. Black box, and open outcry. The two worlds are vastly different, and often at odds with each other. New school versus old school. But, they have a few important things in common from a career-planning perspective. Here is a breakdown on the trading profession in Chicago as I see it, having met last week  and over the past few years with a variety of banks, proprietary trading firms, hedge funds, commodities traders, and affiliated organizations.

Black box, or algorhytmic trading, is the career path for a highly technical individual who can write code. If you are what I would affectionately refer to as a “super nerd,” and you can write computer programs that execute profitable trades for you, then you can compete in the job market in Chicago. The personality profile is ideally a person who can handle trememdous pressure and is not affraid to take risks. But many are also quiet, introverted types. The most successful often hold hefty degrees from ultra-prestigious colleges and universities. Financial Engineering is a degree frequently held by these algo folks.

The open outcry community is comprised of generation after generation of traders. The floor of the CBOT (Chicago Board of Trade) and CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange) look similar, though less densely populated, to the scene from “Farris Beuller’s Day Off” where Farris and friends tour the floor of the CBOT. Wild hand gestures, shouting, small pieces of paper flying everywhere, unhealthy snack wrappers littering the floor. Pits of traders move the markets, buying and selling options, equities, futures and other derivatives, as well as agrigultural and other types of commodities. This is the old school, and many say that it is dying as black box slowly takes over. Instead of being up in an office in the Board of Trade builing sitting in front of a computer, they are down on the floor, in the pits, shouting. Their fathers and grandfathers before them were traders. Or, at the very least, someone they know very well has some influence in the trading world and helped them get the job, and they still had to clerk for a couple of years before they started actively trading. This is a grittier and more boisterous man or woman, generally speaking. Aggressive, quick witted, able to think on his or her feet. And I do mean his or her, because there is a suprising number of women in the pits.

There are some very successful individuals who have done or do both types of trading. Typically, they made a lot of money many years ago and have assembled a small team who are now using both methods to hopefully turn that money into more money.

Some qualities that are advantageous to have on one’s resume for either the algo or open outcry path include a love of gambling (e.g. poker or other odds games), sports (or competitive endeavors), and/or chess (or other brain teasers). A demonstrated passion for finance and the markets is key to both. An apparent, undying passion for trading and a burning desire to do nothing else but trade every day for the rest of your life is important. Statistical math, engineering, computer science, or other technical training is beneficial. Also paramount to both: NETWORKING! Like in so many fields in every city, it is all about who you know! Use the Freeman alumni network to open doors if you don’t have any personal connections in the market to speak of. A number of engaged, successful Freemn alums are working in related jobs in Chicago and would be more than happy to mentor and refer you if they deem you worthy of sticking their own neck out for. You can find them in the “Networking” tab on Freeman Link by doing a search for “Chicago.” We are also cultivating relationships with a number of proprietary firms (or “prop shops,” as they are called)that have trader taining programs, so stay tuned to Freeman Link for ‘trader trainee’ job postings in the fall.

In any case, many say that the trading profession–given today’s markets–is not the sexy, get-rich-quick career path you young whippersnappers might go into it expecting. I highly suggest finding some mentors in the business and doing some well-informed soul searching on whether it is the right profession for you. Be ready to work very hard to get an opportunity and then prove yourself in a highly cut-throat environment.

For the rest of you, aspiring traders or not…

Chicago loves the Freeman School! Our alumni network there is strong. Comprised of high-ranking professionals at prestigeous financial institutions, marketing firms, consulting firms, Fortune 500 companies and trading shops, the group is more than willing to assist Freeman students in finding jobs in the area in any way they can. Freeman Days Chicago, taking place October 25 – 26 this year, will be a great opportunity for you to network with these alumni and explore career opportunities at their organizations, as well as other exciting companies who are already signing on to participate.  Stay tuned to Freeman Link for more details!

In addition to being a superb job market, Chicago rivals New York in its metropolitan splendor. It is ultra clean, riddled with spectacular parks and green spaces, stunning architecture, interesting history, a magnificent lake and a beach right downtown! The winter climate is inhospitable, but the payoff comes in summer, when everyone wears a bright smile and takes advantage of the warm weather and fertile culture the city offers in abundance. Amazing food, including every type of ethnic cuisine you could want. Fun outdoor activities, live music, world-class museums, ethnic and religious diversity, midwestern charm. Chicago has it all in spades.

The professionals in Chicago are… well… professional! Effective and courteous and great at returning calls and emails. There is a low turnover rate in the companies I have relationships with, even among the recruiters, which is atypical for the recruiting profession. To me, it’s a good indication that the corporate culture is generally fulfilling and productive, much like every aspect of life in the city.


Houston, city of dreams

March 28th, 2012

I used to be a real snob about Houston. When you live in New Orleans, it’s easy to be a snob about other cities. We have a lot going for us in terms of quality of life and culture. But I don’t have to tell you Tulanians that! Anyway, I’ve visited Houston so many times over the last three years to call on employers, and this repeated exposure to the people, places and potential jobs in Houston has engendered a genuine affection and appreciation for the city that I never thought I could have. I’d like to share some of that love with you now.

The job market in Houston is hands-down competitive. You can make good money there, and when compared with the reasonable cost of living, it makes good sense financially. If you are involved in our Energy programs, there are few other places you’d rather be to start out or continue your career than the undisputable hub of the Energy business. Another great place for you is Chicago–but more on that after my trip there next week! There are a great many other young people starting out their careers in the Houston area, and as a result, there is a fun social atmosphere. The city is not short on leisure and cultural activities. The entertainment, nightlife, outdoor activities and sports offerings are prime. It also boasts widely varying character and appeal in its many residential areas throughout the metro area. Highrise downtown? Got ‘em. Funky hipster neighborhoods? Check. Historic, diverse, family-oriented, tree-lined streets… check, check, check and yep!

And then, there are the people. The folks I meet with in Houston are not like the folks I meet anywhere else in the professional world. When building out my Houston itineraries, I schedule at least one hour for each discussion. That’s because people in Houston are friendly, and they like to take the time to talk and get to know you. Perhaps it is our shared affiliation with New Orleans and Tulane in some cases, but in any case, folks in Houston don’t seem too crunched by the pressures of their executive-level jobs in major banks, financial institutions or oil companies to take the time for a courteous, enjoyable professional dialogue. Work/life balance seems to be the general mantra. If they never wanted to leave the desk for fun or family time, they would have chosen New York.

Houston is sprawling, and its major highways are congested throughout the day. Should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a daily commute, it’s going to be a long one. But many people simply avoid it by identifying a cozy residential area near their place of business.  

Here is a short list of companies with whom I met on recent visits and who have committed to posting great Houston-area jobs on Freeman Link https://freeman-tulane-csm.symplicity.com/students/index.php 

Noble Energy

DGD Suez

Tudor Pickering Holt

JP Morgan Chase Sales & Trading

Citi Sales & Trading

Citi Investment Banking, Corporate Banking and Risk Groups (Global Energy)

Shell

BVA Group (Valuation firm)

ION Energy (Commodities brokerage)

Hewlett Packard


The banking capital of the south

March 16th, 2012

Charlotte, North Carolina — February 2012

Known as “the Queen City,” Charlotte is the 17th largest city in the United States and the second largest banking capital in the United States, after New York. It is home to Bank of America, the second largest financial institution in the country based on assets, as well as Wells Fargo–which purchased the Charlotte-based banking jugernaut Wachovia in 2008 and made Charlotte its East Coast headquarters.

Needless to say, in addition to loads of Southern charm, Charlotte boasts a number of opportunities in banking. Wells Fargo Secruities — the investment banking arm of Wells Fargo — is housed in the sprawling, Wells Fargo Plaza, which occupies three major buildings in “Uptown,” as Charlotteans insist on calling their downtown area (very confusing!).

The home of the Nascar Hall of Fame, Charlotte also boasts both an NFL (Panthers) team and an NBA team (Bobcats).

All of the folks I met with who work for Bank of America seem to be perpetually afraid for their jobs, given all the turmoil in the European economy and the overall state of the financial business in America these last few years. The bank, nonetheless, is hiring–particularly for experienced-hire positions in the Charlotte office.

Wells Fargo Securities assured me they would post their summer and full-time investment banking analysts rolls with us in the fall — both for investment banking and sales & trading. So stay tuned for that. In the meantime, do a little research on Charlotte. It really is an energetic, lovely city with everything a young professional could ask for in a place to live and begin your career.

I even had an opportunity to stop by a local joint featured on my favorite Food Network program, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” It most certainly falls in the “Dive” category, although technically, it is a drive-in. B-B-Q King is its name, and sloppy delicious and not-so-nutricious Carolina bar-b-que is its game. I ordered the chicken I had seen Guy Fieri tear into with such delight on the show. An order of fried chicken–perfectly fried, tender, crispy and juicy, fried to perfection and THEN, dunked into a vat of spicy, vinegary Carolina bar-b-que sauce. Although I recommend it highly, I would specify trying it on your way OUT of town, rather than on your way to an interview! It is conveniently located very near the airport, so you can make it your last stop before taking off. Warning: You will be covered from finger tips to elbows in juicy, saucy goodness! As the very friendly car-hop informed me, there is a nice, clean restroom on site for hand washing after the carnage. But the tasty aroma lingers for hours no matter how hard you scrub.

We have several alumni in the mentor network on Freeman Link whom you can access for further assistance in investigating banking careers in Charlotte.


All things tech

February 24th, 2012

In meeting after meeting with recruiter after recruiter, a few themes start appearing and re-appearing. One of these recurring themes from the world’s hiring decision makers is the importance of technology-related skills in the workplace. I hear it a lot from traders and those in related fields, and I hear it from folks in the marketing and advertising world. Highly marketable skills to have in your education and/or professional background are mathematics, computer programming, and engineering.

Scratching your head and thinking, “Gee, I’d like to be a trader, or a marketing professional… but I’m not really honing any of those tech skills in the classroom.” Well, what you can do is demonstrate a passion for and proficiency in those skills in your own life. In this day and age, it’s safe to assume that many of you are more tech savvy than your future boss, just by virtue of the technologies you’ve adopted in your personal life. For example, do you enjoy digital entertainment, such as online gaming? Or are you active on social media sights? Tout it on your resume! Talk about it in your interviews! Just make absolutely sure that you represent yourself professionally on all social media outlets, folks, because trust me, your future employers are looking at them. Keep those photos from Friday night stored safely and soundly someplace else.

You can also — and should also — be fluent in Microsoft Excel. This qualification seems to be a box employers check, a baseline requirement that demonstrates something important you can and must bring to any job with an analytical or modeling component. And not just in trading or marketing analysis! Investment bankers and other types of finance professionals across the board stipulate the importance of Excel skills starting on day one on the job. Find a problem in your academic or even personal life that you can solve by creating an Excel model, and talk about it in your interviews.

In the bigger-picture sense, be prepared to document and discuss ways that you have become proficient in technology (e.g. hardware or software) and used it to solve problems. These skills mastered in real life translate to the ability to do so on the job.

If you have the necessary resources — namely, time, money, interest and accumen — take up a programming language, such as scripting languages or statistics packages. Some examples include Java, C++, Mathematica, MathLab or Python. A simple web search will point you in the right direction. You may or may not ever use them, but they shine like a gold star on your resume–particularly for employers in investment banking, sales and trading, and marketing/market research.  

And don’t forget about Bloomberg. That funny-looking computer terminal in the back of the Turchin Library. Jump on, dive in and get certified. Having Bloomberg certification on your resume stands out and further demonstrates the tech expertise that is in such high demand in the job market.


A demonstrated passion

February 24th, 2012

Entertainment… airlines… hotels… manufacturing sales… equity research…

What do all these industries have in common? Executives and recruiters from companies in each of these industry categories has shared with me a criteria they use for narrowing down wide pools of well qualified candidates to a few front-runners. “A demonstrated passion for our business is key,” they say.

Like you, I never imagined I would be using the words “passion” and “manufacturing sales” in the same sentence. But you know I’m always telling you to THINK LIKE AN EMPLOYER. And what employer doesn’t want employees that are passionate about what they do?

So how do you document something as intangible as “passion” on a resume? Good question! Some specific tips for demonstrating a passion for a seemingly cut-and-dry business can be found in another piece of advice I have given before… Let your career documents tell a story. Your resume may not contain experience that is specific to the airline industry, for instance. But, you may have held some service-industry jobs while getting your degree. Highlighting this experience on your resume does demonstrate a passion for customer service. And the airlines, like their esteemed colleagues in hospitality, retail, healthcare, etc., are customer-service businesses. Their bottom line is driven by customers… preferably satisfied customers. So if you can’t demonstrate that you have some experience and love of customer service, you’re barking up the wrong industry tree, and they know this.

Somesimes you may have to dig a little deeper to demonstrate that all-important passion for your intended company or career field. Maybe you haven’t quite figured out why you are interested in an industry or company… you just ARE. Well if you were interviewing someone for a job at your company and they explained that they wanted to work for you becaues they just DID, you probably wouldn’t be too compelled to hire them. Take your experience and your goals and spin them into something that would make you want to hire you.

Make sure to check in for some frequent self-exploration about what it is that motivates you, and be able to talk about it fluently in your networking and interviewing. In doing your research for your career search, you can probably find something in the story behind any seemignly boring old company, industry or person that ignites your passion. Or at least your interest! You can make such findings a part of your strategy and repetoire in cover letters, resumes, interviews and networking conversations. For instance, “I read that XYZ company was founded by Les Morris, who was formerly a clock maker with no prior business leadership experience. Through hard work and ambition, he attained phenomenal success. Stories such as Mr. Morris’s are exactly what motivated me to go to business school…”

They say you can’t teach passion. But you can be advised that lots of great employers are hot for signs of it in their new recruits, and plan accordingly.



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