Author: Weston Career Center

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About Weston Career Center

Weston Career Center ensures that Olin students are among the best-prepared candidates in the marketplace. It means having the abilities that give you a competitive edge – and helping you achieve results is a cornerstone of our mission. Get advice and practice your skills with our career advisors. As you direct your job search, the Weston Career Center staff is always available to coach and support you.

Career coaches and advisors in WashU Olin’s Weston Career Center understand it’s a tough time to emerge into the workforce, thanks to a global pandemic that’s wreaked havoc on the economy and cast uncertainty into the outlook for many companies.

Their advice: Don’t despair. Check out these resources for ideas, direction and inspiration.

HIRING REALLY HASN’T STOPPED. Just because the overall economy has slowed let’s not assume hiring opportunities have disappeared.  In fact, check out this article from The Muse regarding companies that are still hiring. The Muse

GET YOUR NETWORKING GOING. Although your approach may be different, now is definitely the right time to build or enhance your network during COVID-19.  Just ask…KornFerry.

EVEN IN THE ERA OF SOCIAL DISTANCING. Fortune Magazine also offers suggestions on networking in the era of social distancing: Fortune Magazine.

PREP FOR A VIRTUAL INTERVIEW. For the next few months, look for all recruiting activities to be virtual.  How ready are you to meet the challenge of a virtual interview? Indeed.com has some ideas for you to consider: Indeed.com.

BUT BRUSH UP FIRST. This is an extremely competitive time in the job market.  You have an opportunity now to brush up on your interview skills, so please make this a priority. Here is an article from The Muse that may help: The Muse Interview Guide.




Albert Ip, board of trustee member and executive fellow in Asia; Greg Hutchings of the Weston Career Center; Roger Shi, Mack Yang, Wendy Cai, Ethan Xu, Sarah Liu.

Written by Carl Chen, MSFQ 2018, on behalf of Weston Career Center.

For finance students, asset management firms in Hong Kong typically won’t hire new graduates. Instead, they prefer experienced professionals on their teams. Meanwhile, in the United States, asset management firms provide plenty of job opportunity for newly graduated students.

These are a few of the insights Olin master of finance students received recently during a visit to the Weston Career Center by Albert Y.K. Ip, BS ’73, WashU board of trustees member and dedicated alumnus.

Students also learned during Albert’s visit that in Hong Kong, sell-side firms have a more prominent presence compared to their counterparts in the United States. For students who wish to start a finance career in Hong Kong, sell-side firms might be a better choice.

Albert’s visit was welcome after I had met him for the first time on January 8 during the Hong Kong Wealth and Asset Management Career Trek.

Students with Albert Ip at a happy hour event during their January career trek visit to Hong Kong.

Students with Albert Ip at a happy hour event during
their January career trek visit to Hong Kong.

He showed great passion for helping young students and investing in us, and he gladly accepted our invitation to meet with us again on campus two months after we first met.

Albert is an experienced veteran in financial services. He has worked for banks both in the United States and Hong Kong in a variety of functions, including investment banking, corporate banking, real estate financing, and asset management. After retiring from Citibank, he took up even more responsibilities, both in the corporate world and in higher education.

He is CEO of a Hong Kong’s Langham Hospitality Investments Limited and serves on the boards of six other companies while contributing a large amount of his time at several universities in Hong Kong.

‘Mentor and Good Friend’

As a member of WashU’s Board of Trustees and the executive fellow in Asia of Washington University, he has always hoped to dedicate more of his time and efforts to help students at Washington University with his knowledge and global network. His generosity and dedication are recognized by the school by naming a classroom, the Ip Classroom, in Simon Hall after him.

I feel connected with him because he understands our positions and the challenges we are facing as students. “He is a great mentor and a good friend. It’s truly been a pleasure talking to him,” one student said after the meeting. “He is very sincere and humble, and really puts himself in our shoes.”

Albert is also enthusiastic about building more connections between alumni in Asia/Greater China and students on campus. As one of the fastest growing markets in the world, Greater China region is attractive to many students at Olin, and we need alumni who are very successful in that region to help lead the way.

Being a council member and adjunct professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which has one of the best business school in Asia, Albert knows what it takes to make a great business school. He believes having an excellent career office holds great significance for Olin. He also wishes to help the school have a global presence by helping students seek a career in Hong Kong.

Giving back is really a big part of Albert’s life.

“I can help six or seven students at a time, and spend about 10 hours a week,” he said, laughing. “I just need to spend my Fridays or maybe weekends with students instead of my family.”

I feel very grateful people like Albert are making Olin such a tightly-knit community and for his willingness to share his success with the schools and students.

Pictured above: Albert Ip, WashU trustee member and executive fellow in Asia; Greg Hutchings, Weston Career Center; Roger Shi, Mack Yang, Wendy Cai, Ethan Xu, Sarah Liu.




The Weston Career Center sponsors several career treks across the globe that provide opportunities for students to meet with alumni and hiring managers in various industries. Yiling Han, MACC ’18, contributed this reflection on her experience from the Accounting Trek in Hong Kong in January. 

My greatest takeaways from the Hong Kong trek were the connections I made with local firms and the insight I gained from insiders’ perspectives. This trek provided me with intensive interactions with accounting professionals from diverse backgrounds, such as HR managers, senior auditors, tax managers, and consultants.

In two days, I received guidance on how to apply for accounting positions in the Hong Kong market, and I learned how to become more efficient in researching options for my career. I also gained a comprehensive understanding about different corporate cultures and key qualifications for positions in different fields of accounting. Overall, the experience provided insight into how best to proceed with job applications at Hong Kong accounting firms.

Details of the career trek

The trek exposed me to leading accounting firms in Hong Kong, including Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, BDO, and Mazars. During each company visit, the company staff introduced the firm, the service lines, resources for employees, and opened the floor to further discussion with students. The staff also provided company tours of the offices to assist in our understanding of their workplace environment.

Our tour began at Edinburgh Tower in Central Hong Kong, where we visited the HR manager of PwC. Our primary interest was to learn more about the company’s culture and job opportunities in the Hong Kong office.

From discussions with company recruiters and accounting professionals, I learned about the firm’s recruiting process, the first-year work experience at PwC, and both the professional and interpersonal qualities of a competitive applicant. To no one’s surprise, most of the firms expected full-time employees and interns to communicate using both Mandarin and English at work.

The Hong Kong trek was not just a series of company visits; it was also a great networking opportunity where we built relationships with people from the Hong Kong accounting firms.

For example, by the end of meeting with Mazars, the firm treated us with snacks, and we chatted for an hour with the auditing director partner, learning from his career experience and outlook on graduate employment.

I believe this is a valuable opportunity to build personal connections, which goes a long way toward making a lasting impression with these firms. It also gave the company officials a better sense of who we are and introduced them to the quality of WashU students and the Specialized Masters Program. I really appreciate the practical experience this trek offered in preparing the Hong Kong trekkers for employment opportunities in Hong Kong.

Pictured above: Members of the Hong Kong trek at KPMG. Greg Hutchings of the Weston Career Center; Yiling Han, Hee Cho, and Rachel Han, all MACC ’18.




Job and internship offers come in a variety of forms. You may receive an offer over the phone, in writing, or sometimes even in person. If you are completely sure you are going to take the job, you can accept immediately. More often, when you receive an offer, you must carefully weigh whether to accept it. The Weston Career Center offers these tips for successfully navigating job offers:

Look before you leap

There are many factors to consider, such as location, salary, and benefits. Avoid making a hasty decision. Research and evaluate these factors to determine whether the job truly is a good match for your career goals. Respond to your offer professionally and with enthusiasm, and arrange the next steps with the person making the offer.

Most companies will give you a deadline and lead time to allow you to consider the offers. Some employers expect you to negotiate and do not make their best offer initially. Other employers have rigid pay systems with little flexibility. Determine beforehand the type of organization with which you are dealing. Once a company makes an offer, the ball is in your court. Ask for the offer in writing in order to have solid information on which to base your decisions.

Determine important factors

Before you can know how closely an offer matches your goals, interests, and values, you must know what they are. When considering a job at a particular company, prioritize these factors.

  • Work/life balance
  • Personal values
  • Salary/signing bonus
  • Level of responsibility, challenge, and intensity
  • Team versus independent work environment
  • Opportunities to use your skills, expertise, and interests
  • Learning, helping, and decision-making opportunities
  • Whether you like and fit into the culture
  • Geographic location
  • Physical environment and working conditions in the workplace

Consider all factors

Give yourself time to consider all factors. Make arrangements to call the person back to ask additional questions. Next, evaluate how well the position matches your career goals. Finally, prepare questions about other position details that have not been addressed.

Consider the following factors:

  • Does the company clearly define your responsibilities in the job description?
  • Do you understand the reporting relationship and organizational structure?
  • With whom will you be working?
  • Have you met your team members?
  • What else do you need to know to evaluate whether the culture is a good fit for you?
  • Given the company’s financial performance, are you taking any short-term or long-term risks in accepting the position?
  • What formal, informal, on-the-job, or external training does the company provide?
  • When and how does the company evaluate and reward performance?
  • When are the typical raises and bonuses for employees at your level?
  • When is the starting date?
  • When and how does the company provide relocation assistance?
  • Do you understand the benefits package? Benefits can add another 30–40 percent to your compensation.

Before you negotiate, gather information

Collect information

Doing your research can help you establish a salary range for the job and other benchmarks for each element of your offer package.

  • Visit salary websites.
  • Network with current and past employees in the company and in the career field. Olin alumni are excellent sources. Also, ask about benefits, bonuses, commissions, perks, moving expenses, and compensation structure.
  • Check salary statistics provided on the WCC website. Data is available by job function and geographic location.

Compile information about cost of living

  • Review websites that offer cost-of-living comparisons.
  • Speak to contacts who live in the area.

Determine how much income you need

  • Establish the minimum income to “get by” and the maximum you could be making under ideal circumstances.
  • Estimate monthly expenses.

Assess the demand for your skills and experience in the marketplace

  • Talk to alumni and the WCC career advisor to learn how strong your negotiating position is in the current market.

Could you use the support of the Weston Career Center or Management Communication Center? Schedule an appointment today. 




Sally Pinckard of the Weston Career Center

Sometimes the most difficult interview questions are very unexpected, designed to test the candidate’s ability to think on his or her feet and innovate. Don’t be surprised if you get a seemingly off-the-wall brainteaser, like “How many ping pong balls can fit inside the Olin atrium?”

Demonstrate your confidence and ease with ambiguity by being prepared. Most interviewers are really trying to gain information to assess: (1) can the candidate do the job; and, (2) does the candidate fit your culture and organization. These are not trick questions.

Also, being well-read on current events (i.e., read The Wall Street Journal daily) will provide context for small talk, or even help to articulate a business point of view based on current events.

Let’s explore specific questions that often surprise a candidate, or could make one uneasy but requires fortitude and confidence:

A few tips for replying to tough interview questions:

“Tell me about yourself.”

A common opener, this broad question can “throw” many interviewees. It is, in fact, a “sell-me” invitation. Develop a brief summation of your background leading into your interest and desire to work for the organization, as well as your qualifications for the position.

“Why should we hire you?”

From your research, you should know the qualifications for the job. From your own self-analysis, you will have gained insight into your strengths and accomplishments. Mention key functions of the job and discuss your skills in relation to these functions. Use experiences from previous jobs, internships, and activities as examples to support your answer.

“What are your long-range goals?”

In your company research, determine what position you could reasonably reach in five years. Speak to others who have successfully advanced themselves in the organization or profession. Express your desire and capability to grow within the organization. While you may be unsure of your future plans, demonstrate your knowledge of potential career paths.

“What is your greatest weakness?”

Everyone has weaknesses, but remember not to answer in a negative way. Turn your weakness into a positive. For example: “Because I tend to procrastinate, I have learned to work well under pressure and to always get work done on time.”

“Tell me about your schooling.”

The key to this question is to keep your reply positive. Speak well of Washington University and any other schools you’ve attended. You are a product of your schools’ educational programs. Be prepared to address questions about low grades, changes of major, favorite classes, etc.

Guest blogger: Karen Heise, Interim Director, Weston Career Center

Could you use the support of the Weston Career Center or Management Communication Center? Schedule an appointment today.