What’s the NEXT step in your career path?

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NEXTlogo Are you curious about the Northwestern Externship Program (NEXT), but haven’t applied yet? Here are the top five reasons you should participate in NEXT:

1. You THINK a career in _____ sounds really cool, but you have no idea what it’s really like.

2. You want to try a career without having to make a commitment to an internship/job.

3. You want to increase your professional network of fellow Wildcats.

4. You’re interested in checking out a specific company.

5. You’ll have something good to say when your parents ask “What are you doing about your career?”

If you identify with any of the reasons in this list, hurry to submit your application and take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to job shadow a Northwestern alum for one day between March 24-April 24, 2014. This year, more than 500 alums have volunteered to provide externship opportunities in a variety of fields.

Find more information about the NEXT program here and register for NEXT through Monday, February 10.

Employer Spotlight: Q&A with Accenture Systems Integration Consulting Analyst Heather Herzog (McCormick ’13)

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Accenture is hiring interns! Login to CareerCat to apply for:
Student Empowerment Programs (CareerCat ID: 91262 & 92056) *Deadline: Jan. 19 & 24

Technology and Systems Integration Group Analyst Intern (CareerCat ID: 91260) *Deadline: Jan. 24
Management Consulting Development Program Analyst Intern (CareerCat ID: 91299) *Deadline: Jan. 19
Learn more at Accenture’s information session Friday, January 17 from 3-4:30 p.m. in Norris, Wildcat Room (check CareerCat the day of the presentation to confirm time & location)

'13 McCormick graduate Heather Herzog says the opportunities and network of people are two of the best things about working for Accenture.

’13 McCormick graduate Heather Herzog says the opportunities and network of people are two of the best things about working for Accenture.

Describe your role with Accenture. What drew you to the company and how long have you worked in your role?
I have worked at Accenture for four months now as a Systems Integration (SI) Consulting Analyst. As an SI analyst you get placed on projects where you use a combination of technology and business skills to deliver complex technology solutions to clients. The project I am currently working on is in financial services, where I am responsible for gathering and documenting business requirements. For this project I travel to Columbus, Ohio each week.

I was really interested in the dynamic work environment that consulting offers, but when I decided to try out the technology consulting route I knew that Accenture was a leading company in that industry. What made me love the company was all the great people I have met and worked with in my time here!

What is your work and education background?
I graduated from Northwestern in June of 2013 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. I also completed the Kellogg Certificate Program for Undergraduates in Managerial Analytics.

In the summer after my sophomore year I held a supply chain internship in the purchasing department for Navistar International Corporation, a global corporation that manufactures commercial trucks. The following summer I interned with Accenture, after which I received and accepted my full-time offer with the company.

What was the recruiting process like for you and what makes a candidate stand out to Accenture recruiters?
I accepted my full-time offer following my internship, so my experience stems from the internship recruitment process. The first interview was a short (approximately 30 min) interview discussing my resume and experiences. That night I was informed that I was moving onto a second round interview the following day. The second interview was about an hour long and was all behavioral based questions. At Accenture, Technology and Systems Integration Consulting positions do not require a case interview.

To stand out to Accenture recruiters, show your personality and be yourself. One of Accenture’s core values is “Best People” and I truly believe the company recruits some of the best people out there. While the company highly values intelligent, hardworking individuals, an Accenture recruiter is going to be looking beyond just your GPA and accomplishments listed on your resume. They look at the total package. Accenture recruiters look for personable people who can communicate, collaborate, and will reflect highly on the company when interacting with clients.

Describe a typical workday.
Given the nature of consulting I think it is more appropriate to describe a typical work week. On Monday mornings I fly from Chicago to my client in Columbus, Ohio. I usually get to the office on Monday around 10:30am. My daily activities can vary greatly. Some days I might spend the whole day working on an assignment in my cubicle and some days I might be in a working session with my team for the entire day. Most days are a mix of individual work and team meetings, either in person or on the phone. On Thursday nights I fly back to Chicago, and then Friday I work remotely from home.

What’s the best thing about working for Accenture?
I think one of the best things about Accenture is how many opportunities are available to you. The project staffing process works a little differently, whereby rather than being placed on all your projects you can apply to roles that interest you, so it is more of a mutual selection process. I think this gives me much more control over my career path because if there is a certain area or industry I want to explore I can look for opportunities to do that. Accenture’s clients are all over the world in almost every industry so there is a lot of variety in the opportunities available within the company.

The other thing I’d like to call out about the company is the network of people. Everyone I have worked with and met within the company, from managing director to analyst, has been so helpful, and people are more than willing to offer any support and guidance you need.

I also have found that I’m able to have a great work-life balance at Accenture. While long hours some days are definitely a possibility, Accenture makes a point to take care of their people.

What professional advice do you have for job-seeking graduating students? For students who are early in their college careers?
I think that students beginning their career search should do a lot of research. When I started learning about consulting, I quickly realized how many companies were out there and how different each of them was. Even though internship recruiting didn’t kick off until the winter, I started my search early. That fall I went to every information session I could, regardless of the fact that they were only interested in full-time recruits at that time. I was able to learn so much about the companies, do a little networking and start to build relationships with the companies without the added pressure of worrying about getting an interview or not. Come wintertime, I felt very prepared. I knew what each company could offer and I also knew a lot more about what I wanted in a company. I was able to narrow down my search and really focus on the companies that would be the best fit for me. Whether you are looking for an internship, or just interested in learning about what jobs are out there, never pass up an opportunity to attend an event as nothing compares to talking to real people and learning about their experiences.

Take every interview seriously and put in the extra effort to go into it confident and prepared. I worked on campus in the UCS Interview Center and nothing reflects more poorly on you than missing an interview, showing up late, or being unprepared. Put in the effort to arrive early, research the company, and practice! You will thank yourself that you did because you don’t want something as small as waking up late or not having paper in your printer to print your resumes to be the reason you didn’t get the job.

What does your work space look like?
This is my cubicle in the client office. When not working remotely, I am at my desk about 60% of the time and in conference rooms the remaining 40%.

Cube1

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What gadget, office tool or program can’t you live without?
My most used office program is definitely Microsoft Lync, our company instant messaging and virtual collaboration tool. It’s a great way to quickly contact teammates and peers when you have questions, and it links with your Outlook calendar so you can easily tell what time someone will be available if you need to contact them. With the mass number of emails everyone gets these days, this tool is a good way to get your questions answered quickly. Lync also allows for audio and video calling as well as screen or application sharing. As such, it allows you to easily connect and collaborate with co-workers no matter where you or they are located.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Never minimize an opportunity and keep an open mind about your career. Looking back a few years ago when I applied to Accenture I had no idea this is where I would be working full-time and how much I would enjoy technology consulting. Northwestern students are hard workers, and when they know what they want they go for it. But it is also okay to not know right now what you want to be doing when you are 50 years old. Even something that you think is the perfect job for you could end up being a wrong fit. You never know until you are experiencing it. It is important to set goals and have a plan, but you should be open to the idea that the plan can and probably will change. So keep an open mind because you can never know where an opportunity can lead!

About Employer Spotlight
Employer Spotlight offers participating on-campus recruiters the chance to share their career tips and experiences with Northwestern students. Employer partners interested in guest blogging are welcome to contact Kelli Conkey for more information.

10 Things You Don’t Know About Aldi

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Are you familiar with our Preferred Partner Aldi? If not, let us introduce you. Aldi isAldiLogo hiring for internships and full-time positions through Wednesday, January 15 via CareerCat (District Manager ID# 91035 and District Manager Intern ID# 91033).

  1. Trader Joe’s is Aldi’s sister company. In fact, a recent Slate article praises Aldi, calling it Trader Joe’s ‘better brother.’
  2. Aldi only promotes from within so if you want to be in the C-Suite, you have to start via CareerCat.
  3. Aldi is a European brand so like any European supermarket, you have to put a quarter into your grocery cart to release it; you get the quarter back though!
  4. Aldi’s starting salary is $75,000 for district managers.
  5. There are more than 1,200 Aldi stores in 32 states.
  6. The name Aldi is a conglomeration of the original owners’ last name (Albrecht) plus the German word for discount (Diskount).
  7. The cofounder of Aldi, Karl Albrecht, is the 18th richest person in the world according to Forbes magazine (17.8 billion euros).
  8. Almost 95% of Aldi items are sold under the exclusive Aldi brand name.
  9. Aldi interns are some of the highest paid interns.
  10. Aldi district managers see all aspects of the business from finance to hiring decisions to customer service to supply chain.

And did we mention that Aldi District Managers get a company car? Apply to join via CareerCat today and meet the Aldi team at the UCS Winter Internship & Job Fair this Thursday, January 9 from 12-4 p.m. in Norris, 2nd Floor.

Winter break to-do list: Prepare for the UCS Winter Internship & Job Fair

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With finals behind you and three weeks of break ahead of you, it’s likely you’ll have some downtime.

Our advice? Use your free time to prepare to land a summer opportunity at the UCS Winter Internship & Job Fair on January 9 in Norris — whether it be an internship, job or fellowship, volunteer service, research or travel. If that isn’t incentive enough, we’re offering our LinkedIn Photo Booth (free professional headshots) from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the fair (first come, first-served) and the first 500 students to arrive at the fair will receive a free business card holder, thanks to Coca-Cola.

Here are 10 things you can do in the next month to make sure you’re ready for the big day:

1. Prepare your resume: Review and update your resume to tailor it to the type of position you are pursuing. Print multiple copies of your polished resume on resume paper.

2. Research the employers who will be attending the fair and potential opportunities. CareerCat, Hoovers, and Glassdoor can help guide your research!

3. Prioritize the employers based on your interests. Find a full list of employers in CareerCat > Events > Career Fairs.

4. Prepare and practice your Elevator Speech, a 30 second-1 minute pitch about yourself and your interest in the employer and/or specific opportunity. A successful elevator speech is brief and will answer two basic questions: Who are you? And why are you interested in this opportunity?

5. Practice responses to sample interview questions.

6. Develop questions for each employer/recruiter. Have the questions ready in a notebook or folder. Your questions should be thoughtful; the internship & job fair is not an opportunity to ask about things you can find on the employer’s website.

7. Purchase and/or polish a suit.

8. Organize your materials for the fair (folder, notebook, portfolio, etc.)

9. Plan to visit your career advisor during all-day UCS Express Advising to have your resume reviewed or your questions answered before the fair. Express Advising is Wednesday, January 8 and Friday, January 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at UCS (620 Lincoln St.) and the UCS Express Advising Center in the Main Library, 2nd Floor, Core.

10. Mark your calendars for the “Preparing for the Career Fair” workshop, offered Wednesday, January 8 at 4 p.m. in 620 Lincoln.

Start your 2014 with UCS: Jobs, internships and more await you in the New Year!

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Hundreds of summer opportunities await you the moment you set foot on campus after winter beak.

The following recruiting events from University Career Services are designed to help you explore your options, prepare to meet employers and introduce you to a variety of opportunities in all industries.

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PREPARE
Career Fair Prep Workshop: Learn how to navigate a career fair just in time for the Winter Internship & Job Fair. Choose from two sessions: Tuesday, January 7 from 6-7 p.m. or Wednesday, January 8 from 4-5 p.m. at the UCS Office, 620 Lincoln St. Open to all Northwestern undergraduate and graduate students.

Express Advising Hours: Resume/cover letter review, general career/internship advice or last-minute career fair questions? No problem! UCS will hold all-day express advising hours at its office (620 Lincoln St.) and in its Express Advising Center (Main Library, 2nd Floor, Core) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. starting Monday, January 6 through Friday, January 10. Appointments resume Monday, January 13. *Please note that there will be no express advising hours the day of the internship & job fair on Thursday, January 9.

CONNECT
Employer Information Sessions: Begin Tuesday, January 7. Learn more via CareerCat (Events > Info Sessions).

Winter Internship & Job Fair: This one-stop shop for internships, full-time jobs and more (with 80 employers from top companies and on-campus offices offering service, travel and experiential learning) has something for all undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni. Thursday, January 9 from 12-4 p.m. in Norris, 2nd Floor, with our LinkedIn Photo Booth from 12:30-2:30 p.m. (offered on a first-come, first-served basis). Dress in business professional attire, bring plenty of resumes and be ready to present your Wildcard. Find more information about the winter fair here and career fair prep tips here.

INTERVIEW
Your Competitive Edge: On-Campus Recruitment: Give yourself the competitive edge for On-Campus Recruitment! Gain insider knowledge about CareerCat, on-campus recruitment, and interviews from the Executive Director and the Director of Employer Recruiting and Engagement at University Career Services.  Choose from two event times: Tuesday, January 14 at 1 p.m. or Thursday, January 16 at 4 p.m. at The Lincoln Interview Center at 630 Lincoln St. RSVP requested in CareerCat >  Events > Workshops.

Mock Interviews with Northwestern Alumni: Practice interviewing one-on-one with Northwestern alumni who work in a variety of industries. Open to juniors and seniors. Wednesday, January 15 from 6-9 p.m. at The Lincoln Interview Center at 630 Lincoln St. Registration via CareerCat available in early January (required).

Mastering the Internship Case Interview: Pursuing an internship in consulting?  Learn how to master the case interview process and walk through an actual case with NU alum and co-founder of College2Consulting (C2C), John Le. Open to all Northwestern undergraduate and graduate students. Tuesday, January 21 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the UCS Office, 620 Lincoln St. RSVP requested in CareerCat >  Events > Workshops.

Mock Case Interviewing Program for Internships: Practice case interviewing one-on-one with a current NU senior who has accepted a job from a consulting firm. Open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.  Thursday, January 23 from 6:30-9 p.m. at The Lincoln Interview Center at 630 Lincoln St. Registration via CareerCat available in early January (required).

On-Campus Recruiting: Begins Tuesday, January 21 at The Lincoln Interview Center at 630 Lincoln St. Learn more about on-campus recruiting here.

Employer Spotlight: Q&A with two ’13 NU Alums now working at Oracle

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Learn about opportunities at Oracle’s information session Thursday, January 16 (check CareerCat the day of the presentation for time & location).

What’s it like to work in sales at Oracle? Find out from two ‘13 Northwestern graduates: SRM Sales Representative Tarik Patterson (Menlo Park, CA office) and CX Sales Representative Sanjana Shankar (Burlington, MA office).

Describe your role with Oracle. How long have you worked with the company?
Tarik:
I’m an SRM (Social Relationship Management) specialist; I sell an application suite that helps customers manage the social media properties. I’ve been at it for about a month, but I’ve been working at Oracle for about four months.

Sanjana: Officially, I’m a Customer Experience Applications Sales Representative. I work in inside sales, managing and calling into national upper-market accounts. I sell various software for Customer Relationship Management and Sales and Marketing automation for large businesses.

I joined Oracle’s Sales Academy, Oracle’s 8 week sales training program, this summer in July, and graduated at the beginning of September where I moved to my permanent office placement in Boston/Burlington!

What is your work and education background?
Tarik:
I graduated from Northwestern in 2013 with a degree in History and a BIP minor.

Sanjana: I graduated NU with a Communications Major, BIP minor, and IMC certificate. During the summers, I’ve had some great internship experiences with companies like Yahoo! India, Ericsson, Inc, and Mullen Advertising.

What’s a typical workday like for you?
Tarik:
A typical work day involves a good deal of planning and time management. I’m responsible for a lot of accounts over a pretty large swath of the western United States, and that means I have to keep tabs on a lot of sales opportunities. I prefer to end my work day with the next day’s plans and picking up where I left off by the next day of work. A typical day of work involves making a lot of phone calls and communicating with team members so that you can make the best of every opportunity – there aren’t any easy breaks, and every moment counts when you’re on the spot.

Sanjana: I get to the office around 8:30 am and after checking my e-mails and calendar, I get started on making some sales. My schedule is of my making and is pretty flexible. I get an hour break for lunch which I usually spend in the snazzy cafeteria in our building or at restaurants close to my office.  After a good day’s work, I pack up to head home at 5:30pm.

What’s the best thing about working for Oracle?
Tarik: There are a lot of people who want to be a resource for you. If you’re bold about asking for help you’ll receive it. Working at this big of a company means that you’ve got a lot of people to lean on.

Sanjana: Oracle, as a global leader in software and hardware, is an established corporation with the benefits of its brand name and influence when talking to other businesses, and its years of experience. The on-boarding experience is smooth and efficient, essentially.

In addition, by graduating from the Oracle Sales Academy, I already have a group of colleagues from the summer, who come from similar backgrounds and are of similar age with whom to start my journey at Oracle.

What professional advice do you have for job-seeking graduating students? For students who are early in their college careers?
Tarik:
If you’re looking for a job, stay patient and stay positive. Your mindset has everything to do with your success so don’t get discouraged. Preparation will get you noticed, and your mindset will help you stand out.

If you’re in your early college career, I’ll give you the same advice that my older brother gave to me: spend your summers and your time doing things that you’re passionate about and will likely never have a chance to do again. Take advantage of these opportunities and don’t try to just check a box on your resume to-do list.

Sanjana: For those of you seeking jobs, take heart. It’s tough, but keep your chin up, you’ll make it! Take initiative, explore all your options, and most importantly be confident in yourself and don’t give up. For those still early in their college careers, internships and leadership experience in extra-curriculars will teach you so much about yourself and what you’re capable of.

What makes a candidate stand out to Oracle recruiters?
Tarik: Be a great storyteller, and be succinct. If you can articulate points with short, illustrative stories, you’ve mastered one of the more important skills you can learn – it’s great in interviews and it will continue to serve you in a sales role.

Sanjana: Three qualities I think Oracle recruiters appreciate are ambition, diligence, and charisma. This will not be a problem for Northwestern students.

What does your work space look like?
Tarik:Tarik

Sanjana: I have pretty spacious cube all to myself! Unfortunately I’m not so good with decorating.Sanjanacube

What gadget, office tool or program can’t you live without?
Tarik: Telephone
Sanjana: Microsoft Outlook. I’m constantly scheduling follow up calls, and various meetings with colleagues and one on one time with my manager. In addition, most of the tools we use integrate with the program, which helps me keep organized and on task. And, of course, my phone. Both desktop and personal.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Tarik: People are the greatest resource you can have in the workplace. Be a someone who is a pleasure to work with!

Sanjana: Be confident in yourself. Don’t shy away from new opportunities.

About Employer Spotlight
Employer Spotlight offers participating on-campus recruiters the chance to share their career tips and experiences with Northwestern students. Employer partners interested in guest blogging are welcome to contact Kelli Conkey for more information.

Employer Spotlight: Q&A with Andrea Santamarina, ’10 NU Alum & Merchant at Abercrombie & Fitch

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Abercrombie & Fitch is hiring NOW for its Merchandising Leadership Development Program! Apply by Tuesday, Oct. 15 in CareerCat. Follow @ANFCollege on Twitter for company updates!

Describe your role with Abercrombie & Fitch. How long have you worked with the company?
I started in the Merchandising Leadership Development Program in October 2010 and have been working in the female outerwear department for all three years. When I started as an assistant merchant, I was primarily responsible for managing styles within the Hollister assortment. I negotiated the costs for each of my styles and worked with my design and planning teams to deliver cute product at the right price. Now, as a merchant I am responsible for running a team of five assistant and associate merchants and overseeing the Abercrombie & Fitch and Abercrombie assortments within the female outerwear department.  My favorite part of my current role is mentoring the younger merchants on my team to ensure that they’re making the right decisions for each of their styles and growing within the company.

NU grad Andrea Santamarina started in the ANF Merchandising Leadership Development Program in October 2010.

NU grad Andrea Santamarina started in the ANF Merchandising Leadership Development Program in October 2010.

What is your work and education background?
I majored in Communications Studies with a minor in BIP.  Throughout college, I thought I wanted to go into advertising or marketing. I interned in both fields but found that neither offered the balance of using creative and analytical skills for which I was looking.  When I met Abercrombie at the career fair, the merchandising role seemed perfect because it was a good mix of both.

What’s a typical workday like for you?
It is very difficult to describe the typical day of a merchant. If I had to summarize it, a typical workday revolves around collaborating with cross functional teams, from design to financial planning, throughout the day to make sure we’re delivering the best assortment possible to our stores. For example, my team and I work closely with Design to decide what colors and silhouettes we want to deliver based on current and projected trend. On the flip side, we’re working with Planning to read our daily sales to confirm that what we have coming down the pipeline is bought accurately and reacting when it is not. I never find myself sitting at my desk counting down the hours until the workday is over because there’s always something to do!

What’s the best thing about working for Abercrombie & Fitch?
The people. One of the things I appreciated most about Northwestern was being constantly challenged by my peers. I feel so lucky to have had this translate into my work life. At Abercrombie, I’m surrounded by people who are passionate, intelligent and, above all, friendly.  As a manager of a team of five, I’m often impressed by the valuable insight the young merchants provide. We all come from different cities, educational backgrounds and have different thought processes. Having such diverse perspectives injected into everyday problem solving keeps the job from ever feeling stale.

What professional advice do you have for job-seeking graduating students?
My senior year, I found myself attending every consulting information session, but after starting the interview process I quickly realized it was not for me. The job you end up choosing is going to take up most of your time so your happiness is going to heavily rely on genuinely enjoying the role and most of the people you work with.  My advice would be to obsessively ask yourself questions about the jobs you’re applying for:

  • Are you applying to the job for the right reasons, or are you applying because everyone else seems to think that it’s the best job to have out of college?
  • Ask about the culture. Does it jive with what you’re looking for in a company and career? When you go to the company’s meet and greet, do you relate to the people to whom you’re talking? Do you enjoy the students around you who are passionate about getting the same job offer?
  • Think about your previous internships and leadership experiences. What did you like about them? What did you not like about them? Make sure that the job description you’re applying for fulfills what you found to be fulfilling in the past. Will the job challenge you? What are the opportunities for growth?

For students who are early in their college careers?
If you’re interested in a career, find a way to learn more about it. Join a club or find an internship. Most of all, if you know someone who is in the field you’re interested in, ask them to coffee or lunch to chat about it with you. Most people love passing on their knowledge to up-and-coming leaders, and this conversation can really help you learn about the industry from the inside.  Don’t be shy about this, and remember to be mindful about that person’s schedule as they are probably juggling their work and personal life.  The more you know the more ready you’ll be when it comes to applying, interviewing, and making the decision of where to start your career.

What makes a candidate stand out to Abercrombie & Fitch recruiters?
What makes a candidate stand out most to A&F is their excitement about the culture and the brands.  Working at ANF is not a 9-5 job. We need someone who can come in with a vision and execute while maintaining a positive attitude.

What does your work space look like?
The office is amazing! Take a look. Something that is very unique is that no one sits in cubicles. The environment encourages collaboration and keeps things interesting.

AndreaSANF

AndreaSAN2

What gadget, office tool or program can’t you live without?
I can’t live without email. We communicate with vendors overseas every day and if it weren’t for email we would not be able to deliver our product at the right time or price!

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
I recently found myself struggling with how to further improve my leadership skills.  When talking through my challenge with my manager she offered me some really great advice.  She told me to pick a couple of leaders at the company that I look up to and focus on what they do specifically that makes them admirable, learn from their behavior and try to make it a part of how I interact with my teams. I’ve found that when I’m struggling with how to improve as a mentor simply paying attention to the people around me helps me become a stronger leader at the company.

About Employer Spotlight
Employer Spotlight offers participating on-campus recruiters the chance to share their career tips and experiences with Northwestern students. Employer partners interested in guest blogging are welcome to contact Kelli Conkey for more information.

Where the Wildcats Are: Three recent NU alums land jobs at WMS Gaming

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Learn more about WMS Gaming, including the Leadership Development Program, co-ops, and internships, at WMS Gaming‘s information session Friday, Oct. 11 from 12 p.m.-1 p.m. in Norris, Armadillo Room (check CareerCat the day of the presentation to confirm time & location).

Rose Gruenhagen:

“Welcome To Da Neigh-ba-Hood.”

That’s what the sign above my cubical says. My coworkers made it for me for my birthday. And that’s how I know I belong here.

In June, I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Four years of nights and weekends sitting in tech with my notebook and my calculator had earned me this degree but I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had narrowed my interests but I wasn’t ready to choose just one. WMS allowed me to continue to explore my talents and my passions. Over the next year I will be working in manufacturing, procurement, and new product introduction. Currently I am working in the For Sale Value Stream department. I work with the assembly line to make sure our product is produced as quickly and as accurately as possible. I have gotten the opportunity to work with executives as well as assembly workers, and everyone has taught me something important about topics including business finance, part numbers, the value of a 401k, and even more notably, the location of the bathroom.

In the next year and beyond, I anticipate experiencing many more adventures and meeting many more welcoming and supportive people.

Rosa Zhang:

Recent NU alums Rosa, Rose and Mike each work in different functions at WMS Gaming.

Recent NU alums Rosa, Rose and Mike each work in different functions at WMS Gaming.

“Hey Rosa! Did you graduate yet?”

I hear these six words, a running gag, almost anytime I see an old friend in Evanston, or at any NU-related event. I spent five years in school, pursuing dual degrees in Bassoon Performance and Communication Studies, and I tacked on IMC just for good measure. By my last year, I was known as the eternal student, someone who had been at Northwestern just about forever, and it felt like that to me too. I had spent 82% of my life in school, and had no idea what I was going to be. After casting a wide net job-searching (mostly via CareerCat) and a few offers that I didn’t feel entirely solid about, I found a great fit for me at WMS Gaming, a company focusing on slot machines, video lottery and online gaming. I am currently on the marketing team and learn more about the casino industry every day, an exciting world I was completely unaware of before. I’ve even introduced myself to the sound department and informed them of my musical background – so if you’re walking around a casino in the near future and hear a bassoon soundtrack coming from a slot machine that might just be me.

I never pictured myself in the gambling industry, but I couldn’t be happier with my choice. I’m glad I waited for a company that had the right “feel” to it, and would offer the same advice to anyone job-searching.

Mike Mazur:

As your graduation day approaches, the pressure to find a full time job grows each day.  I felt the same pressure to find the proverbial “good job” as my graduation date approached, and I was able to find it a few months before I graduated with a company called WMS Gaming.  As an HR Associate at WMS, I work closely with Talent Acquisition to recruit highly skilled employees at every level of the organization—from entry level to senior management.  I have gained valuable lessons from working with the Talent Acquisition team that are applicable to anyone searching for a career.  First, be specific on the type of position that you are looking for.  It is not the employer’s responsibility to figure out what you would like to do with your degree; you have to figure that out first and then apply to the appropriate positions.  Second, identify four to five organizations that you would really like to work for and that you can see as a cultural fit for you.  Don’t forget, this is a place where you will spend 40 hours a week at (not including your commute) therefore it should be a place where you feel that your personality fits.  Be as specific as you can be with both the type of position and the organization that you are looking for and you will be much more successful in your career search.

Rose Gruenhagen is a 2013 graduate of Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.  Rosa Zhang is also a 2013 graduate of Northwestern University with dual Bachelor’s degrees in Bassoon Performance and Communication Studies.  Michael Mazur is a 2013 graduate of Northwestern University with a Master’s degree in Communication.  Rose, Rosa, and Michael all work for WMS Gaming.

About Where The Wildcats Are
University Career Services’ alumni blog series “Where The Wildcats Are” features the career experiences and advice from Northwestern University alumni of all ages and stages. Learn where your fellow Wildcats are post-graduation and how they reached their career goals. Are you a Northwestern alumni interested in sharing your career development process with current students? Email careerservices@northwestern.edu and include “Alum blogger” in the subject line.

Employer Spotlight: Q&A with Jaime Swartz, ’11 NU Alum & Derivatives Trader with Belvedere Trading

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Belvedere Trading is hiring! Check CareerCat to apply for the following positions: Trader Trainee (resume drop deadline: Oct. 8), Software Support Analyst, Jr. Software Engineer (SQL), Jr. Software Engineer, Business Analyst and Automation Engineer (resume drop deadlines: Oct. 14).

Describe your role with Belvedere. How long have you worked with Belvedere Trading?
I have worked at Belvedere for almost two and a half years.  Currently, I am a derivatives trader at the CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange), trading options and futures on the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq 100 indexes.  I am a mentor for our new hires, which involves one-on-one periodic meetings to track their progress and address their concerns.  I am also an instructor in our new hire theory education program, which is the backbone of their initial training.  Recently, I became a part of the recruiting team and will be conducting some information sessions and interviews this fall.

What is your work and education background?
I graduated from Northwestern in 2011, with a degree in Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics from McCormick.  I had a summer internship before my senior year at Simplex Investments, a small proprietary trading firm, where I was exposed to the trading industry.  In the fall of my senior year, I interviewed almost solely with proprietary trading firms and thankfully found Belvedere.

What’s a typical workday like for you?
I get to the Belvedere office around 7:45 AM and have a brief meeting with the other trader in my group and our clerk about what goals we have for the trading day.  Then I walk to the CBOE trading floor, where I am an open outcry market maker.  This means I make markets, or provide a bid and an offer, on options and option spreads out loud.  I trade mostly open outcry, but can also trade electronically from the trading floor.  After the market closes, I go back to the Belvedere office to have a brief end of day wrap-up meeting.  Then I attend mentor meetings, teach classes, or proctor quizzes/tests.  I usually leave the Belvedere office between 5:00 and 5:30 PM.

What does your workspace look like?

JaimeWorkspace

I have a full desktop computer, with 2 monitors, a keyboard, and a mouse.  The Russell 2000/Nasdaq 1000 pit has roughly 10-12 market makers, 8 brokers, and 8-10 clerks.  The picture shows another pit on the CBOE trading floor that looks and functions very similarly to mine.

What’s the best thing about working for Belvedere?
The rewards for success.  The expectations at Belvedere are very high, and it can be extremely stressful while you are training and learning new concepts.  But after you prove your proficiency in certain skills, the managing partners push you to higher job roles with more responsibilities and advanced learning opportunities.

What professional advice do you have for job-seeking graduating students, or for students who are early in their college careers?
Do your research about companies you think you’d like to work for.  Sometimes the job description and online information about a company do not accurately represent the work environment or employees.  Make sure you prioritize the culture of the company and your work environment ahead of salary.  You will spend too many hours at your office to sacrifice quality of work environment for higher pay.

What makes a candidate stand out to Belvedere recruiters?
The best candidates have passion for the trading industry, commitment to continuous learning, and strong communication skills.  We find many candidates who are very technically qualified, so we differentiate those candidates based on their “fit” to Belvedere.

What gadget, office tool or program can’t you live without?
Lyft, a ride-sharing program that is exploding in Chicago right now.  I use it all the time instead of cabs, because you can request a ride at any time, and a driver comes to your location.  It’s a great transportation choice for my morning work commute if I’m running late and can’t take the train or walk, and it’s cheaper than using cabs.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?
1. Be confident, but not arrogant.  If you “do your homework” and master job skills, you should confidently prove your hard work.
2. You should know the information you use for your job well enough that you could teach it to someone who knows nothing about it.

Jaime

My name is Jaime Swartz, I am 24 years old, and I am originally from Des Moines, IA.  I have always had a strong interest in math and developed an interest in finance at Northwestern. I have played volleyball since I was 12 years old, and I currently play and coach competitively. 

About Employer Spotlight
Employer Spotlight offers participating on-campus recruiters the chance to share their career tips and experiences with Northwestern students. Employer partners interested in guest blogging are welcome to contact Kelli Conkey for more information.

Views from the Cube: Human Rights Campaign Intern Brennan Suen

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Interning in the Youth and Campus Outreach department at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization in the country, was a once in a lifetime experience and opened doors to a future career in social justice.

What's the view from Brennan's cube? The Human Rights Campaign in Washington DC. (Bottom far right)

What’s the view from Brennan’s cube? The Human Rights Campaign in Washington DC. (Bottom far right)

I spent a significant amount of my time there recruiting interns for the fall and creating a comprehensive guide on intern recruiting. I contacted dozens of university “intern in DC” programs asking them to send our information to their students. I sent hundreds of Facebook messages and emails to campus LGBT groups and resource centers. I also mastered job posting on LinkedIn, Idealist and university career services websites and was able to orchestrate our social media advertising, including posts on the HRC Facebook page (liked by nearly 1.5 million people), Twitter and Instagram.

After all the applications were submitted, I helped in the intern hiring (which was very surreal as an intern myself). I had to organize and keep track of hundreds of applications through a system called Wufoo. It ended up being a really good way to interact and work with staff from all across the HRC. It was also helpful to see and read hundreds of resumes and cover letters so that I could continue to perfect those essential skills for myself.

In addition to helping with the intern recruiting process, I did extensive research (including policy research) relating to youth and campus issues. I did preliminary research for a guide on youth entering the workforce for the first time, looking at things such as coming out in the workplace, company nondiscrimination policies, domestic partner health insurance benefits and transgender-inclusive insurance coverage.

I also researched the LGBT campus climate in 10 states (looking at over 100 universities) to help determine what opportunities and roadblocks the HRC faces there. This involved researching nondiscrimination policies, employee domestic partner benefits, LGBT student organizations and resource centers, current news stories involving LGBT issues (such as firing teachers, votes on various policies, etc.) and any other relevant information.

Brennan with his fellow Youth and Campus Intern and supervisor, Candace Gingrich-Jones, at the "Networking with GenEQ"

Brennan with his fellow Youth and Campus Intern and supervisor, Candace Gingrich-Jones, at the “Networking with GenEQ”

I planned our quarterly “Networking with GenEQ” event that was held on July 31st. This included advertising the event to various progressive organizations across the DC area. After many phone calls, emails, social media plugs and conversations with friends, 60 people showed up for light refreshments, an open bar and a networking activity. It was one of the highlights of my summer to host such a fun, successful event with such a great turnout.

The HRC provided us with a lot of awesome educational opportunities, such as getting to spend an hour talking to Chad Griffin, the HRC’s president and the man who orchestrated bringing Prop 8 to the Supreme Court. We also had a Q&A with Natalie Sade, the head of the Aguda, Israel’s HRC equivalent, and I had the opportunity of attending a lunch speaker series at the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, where Mara Keisling, the founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), spoke. Each of these speakers gave insight into the equality movement, where we stand and where we have to go from here.

I also lobbied congress with NCTE for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and LGBT inclusion in Comprehensive Immigration Reform. This was definitely one of the toughest, most educational and worthwhile experiences I’ve had in DC. Alongside three other Arkansans, I spoke to staff members from Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor, as well as Congressman Tim Griffin himself.

Brennan and two friends at the rally outside the Supreme Court when DOMA and Prop 8 were repealed.

Brennan and two friends at the rally outside the Supreme Court when DOMA and Prop 8 were repealed.

Certainly the most exciting part of working for the HRC was the Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8 on June 26th. I got to stand at the front of the Supreme Court when the decisions were made, which was one of the most emotional and powerful moments of my life. I was watching history while working for the organization that made it. The eruptions of the crowd, tearful and joyous hugs from friends and the feeling in my heart that things are getting better for me and all LGBT people – it was a powerful moment in civil rights history. I can’t believe I was lucky enough to experience it firsthand.

I will be continuing to work with the HRC in the fall, campaigning for marriage in Illinois and Senate votes for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in Arkansas. In addition, I am volunteering with HRC’s Chicago Steering Committee, working on the media and communications team for their Chicago Gala, at which I will be volunteering. Finally, I will be volunteering at the HRC National Dinner on October 5, which President Obama, Lady Gaga, the cast of Glee, Mo’Nique, Sally Fields and more have all attended. I am excited that my internship was just a beginning and that I can take the valuable skills and connections I made this summer with me as I move towards my future career goals.

Brennan Suen is a rising senior (graduating in December 2013) majoring in Psychology, Theatre and IMC. He spent his summer interning at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. You can find his website and blog at brennansuen.com.

About Views from the Cube
Views from the Cube offers an inside look at what it means to be an intern from Northwestern students who are interning across the country and internationally for companies and organizations in all industries. Would you like to share your experience? Please contact careerservices@northwestern.edu.

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