Author Archives: Samantha Haimes

Senior Spotlight: Fiona Mohamed

During her summer in an investment banking role, Fiona Mohamed pursued and accepted a full-time consulting position at Oliver Wyman in Boston. To touch on what motivated this transition, Fiona noted, “My banking role required a deep and specialized knowledge base. I soon discovered I wanted more variety in the day-to-day work – the opportunity to collaborate with others and come up with comprehensive solutions to problems across industries (as in consulting). I’m not entirely sure what I want to do five years down the line, and this variety, as well as the hard and soft skills that consulting builds, can lead to a better understanding of my interests.”

With respect to finance versus consulting more generally, Fiona also shared her thoughts: “in my experience, if you’re looking for more creativity, more stake in the final outcome, and more influence as a junior level person, I think that comes more with consulting. You’re at least getting much more exposure to high-level meetings and high-level solutions, in which you’re participating. But as an entry-level analyst at an investment banking firm for instance, you’re creating a model that ultimately doesn’t really have your name on it, that some senior person is presenting for you. In consulting, from my understanding, you’re very much in on the conversation, and you’re really crafting those solutions.”

Fiona prepared for strategy consulting interviews while working long days in her banking role. To do so, especially while constrained to very limited free time, she said that the “key is working with other people – not just doing practice case interview questions on my own – getting friends who acted on the other side of the interview, simulating a real environment. It was also important to practice every week, not just all in one fell swoop, and to vary the type of case interview questions.”

As suggestions for other Middlebury students interested in consulting, Fiona offered, “Networking is really important, especially to prepare and ask very specific questions for when you’re talking to people. Have them connect you with others if possible. I think the most valuable thing was talking to someone who had a negative experience with a particular consulting company. The reasons they didn’t like the firm, I was actually very okay with – they weren’t deal breakers for me. This allows you to see what’s important to you and what’s not. Ask very targeted questions about their day-to-day life in consulting –you’ll get the most out of your conversation with someone, and they will remember you by your questions.”

To detail the expected day-to-day life as a consultant at Oliver Wyman, Fiona explained her upcoming role through the lens of her connections at Oliver Wyman as well as the description that Oliver Wyman provides of the entry-level role. “You wake up, get to the airport, arrive at the client site, check in with the manager, and develop a plan of attack. You probably get lunch with your clients that day. You create your excel model, maybe update it with some feedback you’ve learned from the client, then you meet with your team from the consulting firm to discuss points of collaboration and progress before creating the deck for a client presentation.”

In addition to networking insights and a glimpse of two industries, Fiona’s internship experience shows that neither field is a concrete, one-way path. Instead of viewing a junior year internship as a post-graduation channel into a particular field, students can see it as a means of learning more about their interests and pursuing them accordingly wherever they lead.

Nate Gee ’18 is a Peer Career Advisor at the CCI and is an Economics major. In his role, he helps students develop resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews, and access helpful job and internship search resources such as Handshake.

9 Holiday Cards You Need to Send Your Network and What to Write in Each One

“I love sending cards. Not just because they’re satisfying to write, but because they have career-changing effects . No really, it’s led to mentorships, freelancing opportunities—even job offers!

Luckily for me, peak card-sending time—a.k.a., the holidays—is here. If you want to get in on the game, check out the list of nine people in your professional life who’d love to get a card, templates included.”

Check out the full article for the list people and helpful templates

Author: Aja Frost @ The Muse
Aja Frost is a freelance writer specializing in business, tech, career advice, and productivity. Check out her website or say hi on Twitter.

Quick Tips to Overcome the Job Search Stress… from a current senior!

For seniors, post-graduation plans have become a daily topic of discussion. Surrounded by this constant and collective stress, it can be hard to remember that we will take different paths after graduation, which means we are all in unique phases of the search process. I have had too many conversations in which peers compare themselves to each other, even though they are pursuing completely different careers.

Something I have learned from working as a Peer Career Advisor at the CCI is that every industry has their own hiring schedule. For example, finance and consulting firms typically recruit for vacancies a year or more in advance of a start date. Their applications open as early as June or July. This means that right now students interested in these fields are overwhelmed with internship and job search tasks.

However, it is important to remember that not every industry works this way. For those of us interested in politics, non-profit work, media, and more, we will likely be submitting the bulk of our applications in the spring. The opportunities are out there, even if they may not be front and center on job listings. For example, even over the course of the semester, I’ve noticed a gradual increase in job and internship postings from these sectors on Handshake.

Another way to respond to the stress is to take proactive steps when you have a little free time. Take five minutes between classes or on the weekend to make sure you are ready for deadlines that will come up in the winter or spring. Here are several ideas to get you started!

  1. Get a sense of the jobs/industries that are exciting to you. Browse postings in Handshake. Research organizations. Identify places that would be a good fit and keep track of them. Stay organized so that when you want to apply, you already have this information collected.
  2. Consider a broad range of options. Don’t narrow your focus just yet. Keep all options on the table by researching a variety of industries and functions.
  3. Stay in touch with your network (or create a network!). Alumni, employers, teachers, and advisors. Just like you would with any friend, check in with the folks who have been helpful in your academic and professional journeys. Ask how they are doing and give them an update on your life.
  4. Edit your resume. You never know when you’ll meet someone in the field that interests you. Take a few minutes to make sure your most recent jobs, internships, and activities are included. Stop by Quick Questions (M-F, 12:30pm-4pm) at the CCI to meet with someone (like me!) and review your resume. No appointment needed! If you’re busy throughout the day, we also have evening hours – visit go/cci for times and locations.

This is a stressful year for many of us (as if I haven’t already stated the obvious enough). When I feel nervous, doing one of these tasks helps me feel balanced again. I hope it helps you too.

Hazel Millard ’18 is a Peer Career Advisor at the CCI and is a History major. In her role, she helps students develop resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews, and access helpful job and internship search resources such as Handshake.

Winter Term Internship Spotlight: Oratory Now (Apps due 11/15)

Oratory Now is a student-centered initiative to reinvent the way oral expression is taught, practiced, and recognized at Middlebury College. Taking place both inside and outside the classroom, the multifaceted program consists of experienced peer tutors who help students develop their public-speaking skills—ultimately helping to shape a college-wide oratory program.  

The internship does not require any prior public speaking ability, though there will be opportunities to develop public speaking skills if the intern so chooses.

This internship will give a Middlebury student the opportunity to explore a range of professional skill building that could include event production, promotion and management, advertising/PR/marketing, video and assessment analytics, coach-training curriculum development and more. The Oratory Now Winter Term Intern will work on-campus and assignments may include a combination of the following:

  • Planning and managing the Commons Championship speaking competitions with 5-10 nominated contestants in each of the 5 Commons: Atwater, Brainerd, Wonnacott, Cook and Ross
  • Coordination with residence hall staff to confirm space, equipment, food and beverage, etc
  • Raise awareness of events through social media, postering and other creative strategies
  • Contribute to the continued development of the Oratory Now coach training curriculum through analysis of videos, self-assessment results and other metrics
  • Raise general awareness of Oratory Now programs and services among Students, Faculty and the greater campus community through ad hoc projects that leverage and develop the intern’s personal interests and professional skills

For a full list of qualifications, as well as additional details on the internship description, click here. Application deadline: Wednesday, November 15th (apply in Handshake).

5 Tips on Preparing for Technical Interviews as a Middlebury Student

Looking for jobs as a software engineer can be tough, especially because of technical interviews. Technical interviews for software engineering jobs are interviews where you’re asked coding questions, questions about your past projects, or Computer Science theory. These interviews might include a range of questions including examples like “Tell me a little bit about this project you did” to “Implement a LRU cache” and it can be really hard to come up with an answer on the spot. Throughout my time at Middlebury, I’ve pursued numerous technical internships and have been on my fair share of interviews – some that went well and some that didn’t. Here are five tips that I’ve found to be helpful when it comes to preparing for these interviews:

  • Practice with a friend: I can’t stress this enough. You might be a great programmer, but explaining your code to others can be tough. Practicing with a friend helps put your thought process into words and get better at explaining your code so that when you explain it during an interview, you’ve already had some practice.
  • Try different resources: Personally, I’ve found “Cracking the Coding Interview” to be really overwhelming. If a book of that size makes you anxious, try resources like Leetcode or Hackerrank. A good thing about these websites is that they check the correctness of the code and let you know if you’ve passed all the edge-cases. These websites are also a good way of getting some coding practice when you have a few minutes to kill before your Proctor date or that Coltrane party.
  • Don’t over-practice: Studying for coding interviews is great, but don’t let them stress you out. These interview questions can actually be really fun (like solving puzzles), but you’ll start to get negative associations with them if you stress too much. Rather, do these questions on your free time and treat them like solving a crossword puzzle.
  • Don’t memorize: Sometimes you might know what questions you’re going to be asked in an interview, if you’ve gone thorough research on sites such as Glassdoor. Although it might be tempting to memorize the answer to these technical questions, it is best to just think about how you would solve them rather than memorizing every line of code. Interviewers are trying to look at your thought process during these interviews, and memorizing the answers to these questions and spewing the them out during an interview doesn’t show your thought process. Moreover, if you memorize the answers and not understand them, you’ll get confused if the interviewer presents you a slightly modified question.
  • Learn how to use different data structures: At Middlebury, CS201 teaches you all you need to know about the most important data structures out there, but you might not have coded using those data structures at all. Learn how to use/implement these data structures in your preferred language so that you’re well versed with them before your technical interviews.

If you need help on technical interviews, resumes or cover letters, my Peer Career Advisor hours are Mondays 7pm – 9pm on the 3rd floor Mezzanine of Bi Hall and Tuesdays 12:30pm – 2:30pm in the CCI.

Aayam Poudel ’18 is a Peer Career Advisor at the CCI and is a Computer Science major and Math minor. In his role, he helps students develop resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews, and access helpful job and internship search resources such as Handshake.

Apply Now for MiddCORE Summer 2018. Show the world—and yourself—what your education and passions can do!

Transformative. Life Altering. That’s how your peers describe Middlebury’s MiddCORE: a mentor-driven, experiential learning program that offers students many opportunities:

  • Develop foundational skills in leadership, innovation, and collaboration—essential to today’s ever-changing work environments
  • Cultivate solutions to real-world problems
  • Learn from mentors—leaders in business, government, and nonprofits
  • Establish a lifelong network of mentors and peers

MiddCORE summer is a residential program held at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, June 30–July 28, 2018

Apply Now and Save $500.
Early Decision I: November 15, 2017

Accepted students save $500. Space is limited to 50 students.


Winter Term Internship Highlight: Sustainability Solutions Lab Internship (Deadline 11/8)

The Sustainability Solutions Lab (SSL), a new program developed by the Office of Sustainability Integration (OSI), will support students in designing and applying solutions to campus sustainability challenges. Its purpose is to create change that has positive impacts socially, environmentally, and economically. The OSI is offering up to 16 internship positions for Winter Term in which teams of students will work to develop a detailed plan for how the college can transform its energy system to be 100% renewable, highly efficient and to produce as much of its own energy as possible. This plan will form the basis for the College’s next big steps going beyond carbon neutrality.

To prepare students to take on this task, the SSL winter term internships will include training and workshops about: Problem definition, Design thinking, Systems mapping, Project management, Communication, How Middlebury works: Decision-making, Process, Stakeholders, Access to resources, and more.

Interns will become familiar with the current energy system in Vermont and on the Middlebury campus; establish a baseline of current efficiency and energy status; map out campus energy systems and subsystems;manipulate historical campus data for energy usage and carbon emissions; examine the Vermont Energy Plan and relevance to future campus energy planning; assess attitudes and behaviors toward energy usage on campus; explore existing and emerging energy technologies for their relevance to a net zero energy campus;refine the framework for moving toward a net zero energy campus developed by the Environmental Council and create a portfolio of projects that would move Middlebury closer to becoming a net zero energy campus including an assessment of the social, environmental, and economic costs and benefits of possible projects.

Deadline to apply for this internship: November 8
All students applying for the Sustainability Solutions Lab must register for an alternate Winter Term class during Winter Term registration in case you are not selected.

Intern Supervisor: Jack Byrne, Director of Office of Sustainability Integration
Academic Advisor: Steve Trombulak, Prof of Environmental & Biosphere Studies; Director of Sciences

For the full internship description and to apply, login to Handshake!