October 2, 2014
It was a great experience of co-sponsoring executive speaker event where Mr. Kenneth Topping, Managing Director, Asset Management division of Goldman Sachs came as a guest speaker and talked about Leadership Development at Goldman Sachs. Students had a great time speaking about career opportunities at Goldman Sachs and Mr. Topping also enjoyed coming back to Hofstra. He is a BS Computer Science, 1988 graduate from Hofstra University.
Dean Patrick Socci, Dean of Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University opened the event by introducing Mr. Topping to the audience.
Dr. K.G. Viswanathan (Chairperson, Finance Department), Dr. Steven Krull (Faculty, Finance Department), Mr. Mehmet Eren (Past Secretary, HIBA 2013-14) and Mr. Keith Eisenberg (Treasurer, HIBA) along with others were present at the event.
(Right) Mr. Kenneth Topping (MD, Asset Management, Goldman Sachs) and Mr. Gaurav Gupta (President, Hofstra Investment Banking Association) presenting gift of honor
September 26, 2014
The Zarb Graduate Business School Career Center and Hofstra Investment Banking Association(HIBA) organized a visit to the NY Fed. Ms. Barbara Church Kattan (Director, Career Center), Mr. JIngxuan Chen(VP, HIBA) and Mr. Apurv Vispute (Event Manager, HIBA) managed and led the group of 25 students to the Fed. Here are some pictures from the trip.
September 22, 2014
Hofstra Investment Banking Association organized an executive panel event on September 17, 2014 for the students where the executives such as Mr. Robert Pauley (Morgan Stanley), Ms. Marilyn Antoine (Merrill Lynch) and Mr. Hernan Celis (JPMorgan Chase) were present. They interacted and shared their experiences with the students. The students had a great learning experience. There were more than 65 students present at the event. Vice Dean George Papaioannou, Dr. KG Viswanathan and Dr. Dominique Gehy (Faculty Advisor) were present at the event. The officers of HIBA did a great job in working as a team and making this event a successful event.
From left: Mr. Gaurav Gupta(President,HIBA), Dr. Dominique Gehy(Faculty Advisor,HIBA), Mr. Hernan Celis, Ms. Marilyn Antoine , Mr. Robert Pauley, Mr. Jingxuan Chen(VP, HIBA), Mr. Apurv Vispute(Event Manager, HIBA) and Mr. Keith Eisenberg(Treasurer, HIBA)
September 4, 2014
A movie which shows all the struggle that a person can do in his/her life and then can eventually become a millionaire. Perseverance, Honesty, Hard-Work and Determination are a few of the characteristics that have been portrayed in the movie as being the ingredients on the way to success. As our dean sums up,"Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey".
This movie was chosen by Hofstra Investment Banking Associaton to be shown to the new students so as to inspire and motivate them to work hard and achieve success in their lives. I feel honored to be the leader of the Associaton at the time this movie was shown and also being the initiator of this event. I hope our Associaton is able to keep working towards student development and help them achieve success in their careers.
September 1, 2014
It was a usual meeting with my Multivariate and Simulation methods professor. He is very admirable and helps his students in any possible way and goes out of his way to do that. We were discussing the agenda for the fall semester and how the classes are going to be during this semester. Then we started discussing career opportunities after graduating for me as an MBA with double majors in Finance and Business Analytics. He told me about numerous job opportunities that a student can have with finance skills along with good technical skills. While we were discussing these, he asked me if I would be willing to do a part-time job/internship over the fall semester. I told him that I would like to know my responsibilities as an intern. So he put me in contact with the person incharge from a tech startup company called ProSeeder Technologies and it deals in SaaS for the finance firms such as Venture Capitals, Angel Investors and Broker-Dealers. I sent an email to her to fix the interview or information call for the following morning.
The interviewer called me the following morning and gave me a brief description of the job responsibilities that I would have at the company. Some of the responsibilities that I would have include data review and modification using Excel, quality assurance of data, import into client customized ProSeeder sites, content development for the client demo sites, market research, and other projects as needed. It sounded exciting over the phone and I was already ready to go for this internship. The interviewer asked me if I had ever used excel before. That was when I felt very confident while answering that question because I had already built many financial models such as Option pricing model (both binomial and Black-Scholes model), Bond pricing model, firm valuation model and Merger model to name a few. I told her that I had built some models in excel. Right after she heard that I knew how to use excel, she said, "Ok, then see you on next Thursday at the office". She asked if I knew anyone else who could work at that office. I knew of a friend who was looking for an internship over the fall semester, so I recommended him to her and they both setup an interview for the following week.
This moment was the moment that I had been working hard for for last one year. The next thing on my agenda is to do my best at this internship and climb up the ladder.
August 28, 2014
A year ago, I was on the other side of the table listening to the panelists sharing their experiences with the new students such as me at that time. I wondered how amazing it would be for them to share their experiences with us. I never thought I would be there on the panelists' side of the table the following year. This year I was invited by the Multicultural and International Students Programs Office to be a panelist at the International Student Panel. It was a wonderful experience sharing my experiences with the new students.
August 19, 2014
After sending hundreds of resumes to different investment banks, I finally got an interview with a boutique investment bank (in spite of me not being from a "target" B-school). I was interviewed by three different people including the president of the firm. The questions asked were typical investment banking interview questions such as "Do you know Financial Modeling?", "Do you have an experience of valuing a company?" and "Mention details about a recent IPO".
Every question was answered fine. My undergraduate degree in biotechnology engineering was the biggest plus point as the firm was interested in someone who could understand and value a biotechnology firm. Also, my two year work experience at a manufacturing firm and my current MBA in Finance and Business Analytics program added to the chances of me getting hired as an intern. The president and the other interviewers liked my experience and were willing to take me as an intern provided I did not demand any compensation. However, at that time my financial situation was not very sound and I could not afford to travel everyday from Long Island to New York City which would cost me extra $600 per month.
The president asked me if I would be willing to take that position. I thought twice before speaking and told him that I would need some compensation in order to accept that offer. He mentioned that he would hire me as intern right away if I did not demand compensation. However, now he would have to reconsider and talk to the budgeting department of the firm to check if they could compensate me for that position. I followed up after a few weeks but I did not get a reply. I assumed that they had found another candidate who did not demand any compensation. I asked again after a few months if I could join the firm for fall internship but the answer was a "no".
After this incident, I learned two valuable lessons:
1. You don't have to necessarily be a student/graduate from an Ivy League School to get offer/interview from an investment bank.
2. You need to be prepared for this kind of opportunity as it might not strike again.
March 18, 2014
The sun was back in business after an especially cold and extended winter and I was lying on the grass outside the library. I felt tired but productive because I had just executed a sizable chunk of assignments. I was thinking about all the stark changes my life and I went through in the past one year.
Working at a restaurant funded my application process to targeted business schools. Whilst working at the restaurant, I would occasionally feel like giving in to the temptation of returning to my hometown. I would then gather myself and think about how temporary the situation was and how I would cherish those moments of hard work and learning in the not so distant future.
I used to try and live as efficiently and thriftily as I could, which meant that I couldn't eat out and had to stay at least a mile away from the very inviting restaurants. Any transaction involving denominations more than $10 required me to reconsider my priorities and decide. One such decision was whether to attend a meeting at Rotary Club of Wall Street (RCWS) because the fees for the guests was worth $25. I have been associated with Rotary international since 2007 and was eager in attending the meeting of RCWS and meeting with the fellow Rotarians. I have always appreciated the community service that the Rotarians engage in and looked forward to meet the then president Mr. Thomas Rudy. It was decided that the $25 be forsaken.
I researched about and visited renowned business schools such as Stern, Columbia, Pace and Baruch in my after hours. I wanted to understand the schools and their admission criteria better. My sister encouraged me to take TOEFL while I was still in the planning phase. I had already taken the GRE before and the scores were still valid, fortunately. I took the TOEFL and proceeded with the process. I got a chance to visit an event called QS World MBA Tour.
At the QS World MBA Tour, I met Hofstra University's Full Time Day MBA Program Director, Dr. Andrew Forman. I expressed my interest of attending a graduate business program and studying finance. He took a look at my resume and told me that it was good enough for the school to accept, looking at past trends. He also told me that the application fees were waived for applicants who attended the seminar; the meeting couldn’t have gotten any better. I thanked my judgment for deciding to attend the Wall Street event because I had just saved more money than I spent on such necessary expenses.
Another month spent at serving tables, I got an email that congratulated me for being accepted at Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of business with a decent scholarship amount. The news filled my sister and myself with joy. All those months of hard work and sacrifices had ultimately resulted in fruition. It was an important day for my family.
My classes started in September and I tried to engage myself in as many extra curricular activities on campus as I could. I already had an on campus job offer as Graduate Assistant to Finance Department. I joined Hofstra Investment Banking Association (HIBA) and Hofstra Indian Students' Association (HISA) one month in the semester. I gelled and made friends with my classmates and teachers. I also got in touch with teachers who didn’t teach me because you always learn a thing or twenty from almost everybody.
I was invited to be graduate student representative for the Zarb Executive Committee. I was completely clueless about the purpose of this committee and I asked my sister about it, who is a graduate from NYU’s school of dentistry herself. She briefed that the executive committee is responsible for major decisions at the school. I liked the thought of being the students’ representative once again and gladly accepted the opportunity. I representated students in my undergraduate university too, as the south campus chairman of Students' Organisation of Panjab University(SOPU).
The semester was just over a couple months old when my education loan got rejected and another major obstacle confronted me. I was stressed and spoke it out with two of my close friends, Snehal and Apurv. Continuing with my education at Hofstra seemed impossible without a divine intervention. I also spoke with my marketing professor and the Dean. Our relationships were forged in classrooms and in executive committee meetings. They said that they would talk with my sponsor, the CV Starr foundation and initiate it to reconsider my scholarship. And it did. My scholarship was raised and my pursuit did not halt. My belief of "giving your best and leaving the rest" was reinforced.
I had a chance to meet Ms. Annabelle Libeau, a student of French Origin at Columbia University. She was an RCWS sponsored student pursuing Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and the intention of the meeting was to share and benefit from each others experiences as international students. She had passed 2 levels of CFA certification exam and encouraged me to take level 1; I was unsure about the certification then. She persuaded me and told me how level 1 was a basic exam. A person without finance background, like me, could study on his/her own and could pass the exam. I was somewhat convinced and slept over it. I talked about the certification with my friend Shobhit, who also was studying at Columbia University. He made me take a look at the study materials and then asked me to decide. The vast pastures of financial information got me hooked and I decided to do it. I studied the books over the winter break while my friends were away on vacation. I learned so many things over the period that I feel the books should be read even if one doesn’t want to go for the certification.
Semester one ended on a happy note with an attractive and a well deserved GPA. I now am in the second semester and still preparing for the 1st level of CFA. I feel much better prepared for it now. I am loving, and enjoying my experience at this wonderful institution and in this great country.
Next target: finding an internship for the summer break.
March 15, 2014
It was a usual day and I was studying Quantitative Methods for my CFA certification. I got a call from Mr. Ron Sidhu at 6:20 pm and he asked me to meet with him in NYC at around 7 pm. He wanted to introduce me to a person from Citi group. My estimation reflected that I’d need at least two hours to make the commute. Mr. Sidhu and his friend would be meeting for an hour or so, which meant that they would be together till only around 8:15.
Mr. Sidhu advised me to try and make it ASAP. It was a moment where I had to make a decision and act on my feet and I said to myself, "It’s now or never". I hung up and got ready in 10 minutes. It was 6:35 pm then. The next major hurdle was getting to the train station, which is about 4 miles away from my residence and the rather windy evening added to my list of troubles. The nearest place from where I could take a ride to the train station was my grad school (Frank G. Zarb school of business, Hofstra University), which has hourly shuttles to the train station. Hofstra is a mile away from my house and running was the only option left. My attire didn’t fit the occasion and neither did the weather. Running for a mile after many years was a task and I’m not athletically built, physically. The walk usually takes 25 minutes but I beat my own time by 10 whole minutes because the situation so required. My watch said it was 6:50 pm and the guests were to disperse in an hour and fifteen minutes.
The receptionist directed me towards the next shuttle, which was supposed to leave campus at 7:07 pm. I calculated, and concluded that I would reach the train station by 7:35 pm and the next train was supposed to leave at 7:45, which meant I would reach the diners by 9. I needed transportation much before the scheduled 7:07 pm shuttle.
I requested the receptionist to arrange a ride for me to the station as I had an urgent interview to attend at 8 pm in the city. The gentleman was empathetic enough to call the campus Public Safety office and ask them to drive me to the station. The Public Safety SUV arrived 10 minutes after; the watch read 6:57 pm. I expressed my concern to the driver that I had to make it to the city in time, else the world would be over for me. He made every possible legal attempt to make it to the train station ASAP. We managed to reach the train station at 7:12 pm. I thanked him and flew towards the ticket dispenser.
The next train was to arrive at 7:14 pm. I felt euphoric, as if I had attained the biggest goal of my life. The train reached Penn station at 8 pm (I had 15 minutes and one mile between me and my destination, which was 27th, Park Ave.) I sprinted again from Penn and made it to the destination in time. Mr. Sidhu and his friend were kind and considerate in waiting for me; I silently congratulated myself for making possible the impossible. Mr. Sidhu also appreciated my endeavor and my drive for being not too late.
After his friend had left, Mr. Sidhu and I discussed about Mortgage Backed Securities(MBS), Collateralized Debt Obligations(CDOs), Credit Default Swaps(CDSs), Monte Carlo Simulation and many more financial instruments and tools. I believe I learned a lot from that long conversation.
Traveling hassles and the Polar vortex seem trivial compared to my desire of learning.