Tag Archives: mentoring

Mentor Spotlight: Lisa and Lara


Lara Rosenblum

Company: Inzenka

Position: Consultant

College/University you attended: NYU

Major: Economics

How did you find your job? NYU CareerNet

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? I was a pizza delivery girl when I was 17.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Don’t apply to jobs you are not 100% interested in.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?
What are the three areas of growth you see our company heading to over the next decade, and what notable market evidence supports your claims? I improvised and made something up on the spot.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Graduate school internship

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? Specialize.


Mentor Spotlight: Julian & Pauline

Julian Metcalf

Company: Moody’s Investor Service

Position: Associate Analyst – Public Finance Group, California Team

College/University you attended: MPA Wagner/NYU, BA SFSU

Major: Masters of Public Administration, BA of Geography

How did you find your job? Networking with alumni from Wagner. I identified a group of alumni working in the areas that interested me most. I asked them for informational interviews. During the calls I learned everything I could about their roles, their organizations and the challenges they face. One alumnus turned out to be the managing director of public finance at Moody’s. Her work seemed intellectually stimulating and very challenging. Working in public finances as an analyst seemed like a rare opportunity to learn about hundreds of government organizations and immerse myself in regional economics. After our phone call I did even more research, and followed up with thank you email and expressed my interest in working for Moody’s if an opening arose. I found even more alumni who worked at Moody’s at continued the routine of asking for informational interviews. Within weeks I had spoken with several people across the organization. Eventually it paid off, and two months later I was driving across the country to start at an opening in the San Francisco office.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? Starting a business at age 17.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Remain open to new challenges and opportunities without losing sight of your big picture goals. It’s easier said than done, but both flexibility and commitment are critical for advancement and fulfillment.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer
it? “Are you willing to do X.” The “X” being some unexpected and in my opinion negative component of the job. The problem was that besides this new twist I really wanted the job and in the middle of an interview when you’ve been unemployed for months it is easy to be very agreeable. However, I consider a job interview a two-way interview, where I am interviewing them as much as being interviewed. After a moment of honest reflection I said “no.” It was
difficult to essentially nullify my chances of the job mid-interview, but it was important for me to set limits for myself and communicate them. I wouldn’t recommend everyone react the same way, it is very situational. In many circumstances it is best to provide an affirmative answer, and spend time after the interview reflecting on your response.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Writing essays and presenting in class. In every job I’ve ever had communication has been critical in some. Even in the most technical roles it is critical to convey abstract ideas through writing or presenting to your manager or groups. All of the essays and class presentation on even the most
random topics prepared me to better articulate my ideas and get my point across.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? Relax, stop worrying about what you’ll be when you grow up because there are plenty of jobs in the world and it just takes time to find them.


Pauline Ma

Company: Johnson & Johnson

Position: IT Analyst

College/University you attended: Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Major: Media, Culture, and Communication

How did you find your job? I completed a 6-month internship with J&J before my senior year and heard about the rotational IT Leadership Development Program which I am currently in the process of completing. The support of my manager and the network I had built within J&J definitely didn’t hurt!

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? Selling Cutco knives. I’d say it’s pretty weird when someone asks you what your job is and you respond with “I sell knives…”

What’s the best career advice you ever received? These words from Denice Torres (President of McNeil Consumer Healthcare) really resonate with me: “With your career, you have to say what you want – but make sure you want what you’re saying.”

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it? “Tell me a time you made a mistake or came across a big challenge – and what you did to overcome it; how did you remediate the situation?” I think this is one of the hardest questions to answer because as human beings we just don’t like admitting when we’re wrong, and telling others about our mistakes is not an easy thing to do either! I addressed this question by
discussing the importance of humility and transparency in both professional and personal life, along with the consequence of owning the decisions I made and learning from them. I used my J&J internship and experience as President of an on-campus club as illustrative examples.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Each and every one of my (8!) internships prepared me in different ways. Fundamentally, 3 things:

1. I got to experience “office life” in a variety of environments – large corporations vs. boutique firms, managing my career development completely on my own vs. being a part of a formal
internship program, etc.

2. I’m thankful that I was never in a position where expectations were for me to simply get coffee, answer phones, and make photocopies. Instead, I was given the opportunity to learn by being hands-on: creating press materials and writing releases, interacting with editors and bloggers, and more – tasks that my managers themselves were doing. I was lucky throughout the various internships that my managers weren’t micro-managers; they gave me the space to discover what parts of the business I liked (or not) and gave me the room to come up with solutions on my own when possible.

3. I learned early on how to navigate the office through building relationships, networking effectively, and communicating clearly to a diverse group of professionals from various functions and industries.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? I would quote Oprah Winfrey… “You can have it all. Just not all at once.”


Mentor Spotlight Network: Derek

Derek Simon

Company: “The Americans” (coming to FX in January, 2013!)

Position: Assistant to the Executive Producer

College/University you attended: NYU Tisch

Major: Film and TV Production

How did you find your job? I was referred by a friend, who had been involved in the production of the series’ pilot.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? I spent two years at the Howard Stern Show in various positions. Some of the weird things I had to do are definitely not appropriate for wide publication (but I’m happy to share them in private).

What’s the best career advice you ever received? It sounds silly, but you hear over and over again that it’s always “who you know.” It couldn’t be more true. Every job I’ve ever had came from a connection — be it family, a good friend, an acquaintance, or a friend of a friend of a friend’s mom’s brother’s babysitter. I used to be very awkward and uncomfortable with asking people for an opportunity, but — at least in film and TV — it’s really the only way to get the job you want, and people understand that — and are almost always willing to help.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?
While this wasn’t exactly a “weird” question, I was once told prior to an interview by the woman interviewing me: “These questions are dumb, I don’t want to ask them to you and I don’t care about your answers, but it’s company policy, so…” It made answering them really difficult, because I wasn’t sure how seriously I should take them after that — too seriously, and I’d seem really awkward in front of this woman who told me they didn’t matter, but too lightly might seem that I didn’t care at all. I’m still not entirely sure if she was just trying to throw me off.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Internships, internships, internships, internships.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? You really aren’t as busy as you think you are.


Mentor Network Spotlight: Kendra and Holley

Mentor Network Spotlight: Kendra

The Broadway League/The Tony Awards

Marketing Coordinator

College/University you attended:
NYU Gallatin

Individualized Major with a concentration in Theatre and Marketing

How did you find your job?
I had heard of the Broadway League through an internship I secured at Disney Theatrical Group. I googled the company and applied through their website. Eight months after I finished my semester-long internship with them and had graduated college, my former superviser e-mailed me saying they had an opening.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had?
I was interested in all aspects of marketing so I took a face-to-face marketing position as a promotional model for a liquor company. I gave out free samples of vodka and Bourbon in liquor stores far out in Brooklyn and Harlem. Most of my “customers” were not really interested in my marketing spiel on the brands of alcohol I was there to promote, but it was great interpersonal

What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Stay in touch! Many industries are smaller than you think and connections are immensely valuable. My social media habits and networking skills really came in handy when my current position became available and my former coworkers immediately thought of me for it.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?
The hardest interview question for me has always been “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?”. I have never had an idealistic occupational future in mind, but was fortunate enough to experience the helpful organic process of developing a path to my future through Gallatin. Fulfilling aspects of one course, job, or experience lead me to seek out those aspects in other areas. I have always answered this question with a description of my work situation or ideal industry, rather than a specific position. I let my interviewer know I want to be promoting what I love (theatre) in the most efficient environment possible, working for people I respect and aspire to be like and learn from.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world?
The advisement I received throughout my undergraduate career was great practice for planning next steps for the rest of my life – practicing skills of communicating my individual issues and solutions was beneficial to most interactions I have in the workplace today. Additionally and of course, my internships in college taught me where real life applications for what I had learned in my courses would happen and how I could apply my personality and skill set to them.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to ask for more help! Independence is a great quality to have, but the resource of a large and talented faculty ready and willing to help you on anything is incredibly valuable.


Mentor Network Spotlight: Holley


Thomson Reuters

Marketing Associate

College/University you attended:
College of Arts and Sciences

Double major in Economics & Social and Cultural Analysis

How did you find your job?
Thomson Reuters’ career portal. A friend had just gotten a job there (in a different division) and recommended that I apply. I applied not really thinking it would go anywhere, but here I am!

What’s the weirdest job you ever had?
For two weekends during my freshman year, I worked at a custom print T shirt stand in the flea market on Broadway and West 4th. Working a hot press
did not really play well to my skill set so I babysat instead.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Create your own job. I used to think that this just meant to be an entrepreneur, but what I am beginning to realize is that you can create your own job while working for someone else. All you have to do is play to your strengths and
create your own niche within your firm. In my office, I have effectively taken over our marketing automation software; not because I was assigned it, but because I enjoy working with the software and spent time learning more about it and helping others in the office. Showing others what you are good at and helping those who need extra help will open up opportunities for you to expand and effectively create your own role in the organization.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?
The question that always gets me is “tell me about yourself.” I always have trouble with this; how can I explain myself in three minutes or less. I always try to tailor the answer for the job that I am looking for. If I’m interviewing for a marketing position, I’m going to talk about my communication skills, event production and promotion skills, a few of my professional triumphs, and my passion for social media. If I was applying for a project manager job, I could still talk about these things but give them a different spin; perhaps I discuss the events I have produced from a logistics point of view rather than the communications aspects I would emphasize in the marketing role. You have to look at yourself through the lens of the position – how do you fit the criteria the company is looking for?

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world?
NYU’s emphasis on internships and deep commitment to being part of the larger New York community were two things that helped me get ready for “real” life. NYU has amazing connections with firms that very few schools have and you should take advantage of them! Furthermore, New York is unique in that it is not dominated by one industry; arts, finance, publishing, journalism, film, tech, etc. are all able to call NYC home. This malleability gives students the opportunity
to pursue their interests through many industries to find what fits. Where else can you transition industries with such ease?

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be?
Enjoy the journey; your college experience lasts generally only four years (and it goes by so quickly). You have your entire life to work, so don’t forget to stop and enjoy where you are now. Study abroad, spend time with friends, learn, and figure out who you are and what you care about. You’ll always have time to think and readjust, but you will not have the opportunity to do it like you can in college.