Friday, May 20, 2011

Services for Clients FAQ

An overview of our service packages which can be bought through paypal on the right. We generally prefer to have at least three days of notification in advance of when you require a service (especially resume reviews) but quicker turnaround times can be arranged if you contact us:

Interview Prep - 1 Round: A 30-minute mock interview which can to be tailored to what you're interviewing for. After the interview I'll spend time giving you feedback on specific things to say to structure your answers and improve the image you convey. We also offer different types of interview style for you to pick from (stress, fit, technical, behavioral, etc.) based on your needs and current level of preparation.

Interview Prep - 2 Rounds: After the first interview round and feedback session, we will set a time gap of anywhere from 1 hour to a week for you to rethink your interview presentation over and give you the opportunity to implement any improvements and receive our feedback. Furthermore, this also gives you the chance to pick a different interview style (stress interview, technical interview, etc.) if you feel that it's necessary to round out your experience and adaptability.

Resume Review: Make sure your resume is formatted, clean, and impressive enough to catch the eye of someone looking to assign interviews! In addition to general formatting, we'll wordsmith your resume to ensure maximum effectiveness for the target schools or jobs you are applying for.

Combined Package: An all-in-one package that combines two rounds of interview prep along with a resume review.

If you have questions, contact us at

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The first question in an intervew - The Elevator Pitch

"Tell me about yourself"

This question is almost always the first question you will hear in any interview. Sometimes the variations are delivered a bit differently:

"Walk me through your resume"

"So why are you here today?"

This is the very first question which almost always comes up. It's your opportunity to give your elevator pitch and to set the engagement ground of conversation for the interview. It's also where most people permanently ruin their interview and first impression that they make upon the interview because of the following reasons:

1) Not enough structure

BE CHRONOLOGICAL. You may have invented a brilliant new categorization system for telling the story of your life and why you should receive an offer but this question right now is an elevator speech, and creativity is not rewarded. Be chronological, be articulate, and be 2-3 minutes long otherwise the interviewer will get bored.

For people applying to college, you really only have until your current end of high-school period to narrate so it's easier. Start out with 1) Where you were born, 2) Important activities that you've done during high school (with a touch of embellishment) and 3) How all of that relates to why you're interested in whatever it is you've stated your interest in to major in or study at college (and if you haven't actually decided, make it up).

For people applying to jobs the overall format remains the same except with two adjustments. First, you should skip through high school and give a brief overview of your college experiences and how that led you into your current career field/interest. Secondly, you want to focus (especially if you've jumped around career-wise a lot) on convincing the employer that you're not wishy-washy and that there is a logical and consistent transition between all of the work experience you've had.

2) Not selling yourself

Regardless of whether you're interviewing for an academic or corporate position there are three qualities that must always present in your "image":


The first two qualities are an issue of controlling what you say. When explaining why you did so-and-so activity or went to so-and-so college, make logical, well-thought out explanations of WHY you made your choice. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if your choices about activities, college, and jobs were actually made in drunken orgies and rampages. As far as the interview is concerned, you ALWAYS had two or three alternatives, made a logical, thoughtful decision for the following reasons, and then moved on to the next stage of your life.

Enthusiasm is an interview quality which is harder to game then confidence and maturity. Make sure in your introduction speech to answer the first question that you absolutely focus on one aspect of yourself that is relevant, and then project it across in your interview answers.

For example, if I were interviewing for admission to Engineering (say at Columbia). I'd make sure that any activities I mention in my elevator pitch focus on engineering/science-related topics. Talk about how you became really interested in the profession of engineering bc of some great Science Olympiad event you have, a pivotal moment in your childhood, etc. Don't lie, but don't let a fact or two stand in the way of a good story.

3) why, Why, WHY!?!?

Why are you interviewing for this job? Why do you want to go to this college? Here are the generic good and bad reaons.

Reasons that might be true which you should NOT be telling the interviewer:

-High burden of expectations from parents

Reasons that might not be the complete truth but which you SHOULD be telling the interviewer:

-The opportunity to learn from and interact with the smartest people in the world/industry/field, etc.
-[For academic interviews] The chance to have a world-class degree and skillset and have unlimited opportunities open to you
-[For jobs] The challenge of the job, the culture of the company, and opportunities to take on responsibility and contribute to the firm

That wraps up my post for today on the elevator pitch. Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions.


The Advisor

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Hello all,

This will be the first of hopefully many posts to follow about how to play the game of interviewing & applying for colleges and jobs. For now, this blog will serve as our site for interested readers and potential clients to look through before we get around to launching our first official site. Although the sensitive nature of our occupations prevents us from disclosing our names and who we work for, advice itself is something we're quite able to provide if you stick with us for the future. We've previously run an interview prep business focusing on highly-selective jobs in finance and consulting, but this will be our first foray into reaching a market beyond the college demographic.

First though, an introduction to who I, your primary advisor, am:

I'm an Ivy League graduate (holding a Bachelors of Science in Economics) who has previously worked in the investment banking division of a bulge-bracket investment bank and am now taking a sabbatical year to jumpstart this and several other ventures before I return to full-time employment next fall. I've previously worked in consulting and private equity (wonderful industries that they are), and if you read fine publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, etc., you've probably seen a transaction or two that I've worked on.

Most of the upcoming posts on this blog that you will see are from me and I will also be the primary contact through which our clients contact and receive services.

Second, the rest of our team:

Advisor G:

A fellow graduate of the same school holding a degree in economics who previously worked at one of the bulge-bracket investment banks as an investment analyst on the proprietary equity and debt trading desks. He's jumped ship in the past few months to move to one of the major equity long/short funds. As he's too busy crunching models because of his current job to post frequently, our readers will only be able to see an occasional post from him. Don't worry though; if you're interested in interview prep or resume review advice for a job in finance however, he's quite available for paying clients.

Advisor F:

Another Ivy League graduate from a different institution who holds dual degrees in mechanical engineering and computer science. He is currently working as a strategy consultant for one of the premier biotechnology consulting firms. He'll be our specialist if anyone requires specific advice for the consulting market or case interview prep.

Third, our goal for this site:

1) To provide specific and targeted advice from an applicant's perspective towards how to game the application and interview process at any institution in a public forum. We intend to tell you more than just "how to be yourself" or "thinking about your life" to help you prepare for applying anywhere. Everyone has a different answer and different need for how they need to portray themselves when they're applying. But regardless of what others in the corporate or academic world tell you, there IS ALWAYS A RIGHT ANSWER that each person can develop for themself for any question or essay.

2) To provide interview prep and resume review services for those applicants who want to go the extra mile in preparation. All three of us have undergone 50+ interviews over the courses of our academic and professional careers. We've seen it all: fit interviews, stress interviews, technical interviews, brainteasers, etc. And we know exactly how to come in and advise you on how to tailor your resume and interview cohesively to create a good "story" for any applciation you're making.

And finally, to our audience, I'd like to say that I look forward to working with all of you to make this the best possible source of appliation preparation available on the internet. If you have any questions just leave a comment or send us a message.

Warm Regards,

Your Advisor