What the Heck is an Informational Interview?

why are people willing to talk you despite their busy schedule? 1. They're paying it forward. 2. Most people enjoy talking about themselves (and helping of course) Source: usatodayeducate.com

Why are people willing to talk you despite their busy schedule? They’re paying it forward and most people enjoy talking about themselves (and helping of course).
Source: usatodayeducate.com

You’re a Northeastern student, full of vim and vigor and enthusiasm for the future. You’ve got classes and co-ops under your belt, and you feel prepared for the working world. But if you’re like most students, you haven’t discovered one of the most potent secrets of career success. What is this magical secret, you wonder? It’s a little something called “informational interviewing.”

What is Informational Interviewing?

It’s only the most useful career-building tool you’ll encounter. The basic gist is that you will reach out to professionals in the industry and set up interviews with them. Instead of the interviews you’re used to, YOU will be the one asking the questions! It’s the best way to network and gain insider industry knowledge at the same time! And your mom thought you were useless at multitasking! Oh how wrong she was.

The Power of Asking

There are two secrets why informational interviews work.

  • People love to talk about themselves.
  • People love to help college students.

At first, I was skeptical. Who would take time out from their busy schedule to shoot the

source: resumebaking.com

source: resumebaking.com

breeze with a bumbling college student who barely knows what to do with her life after graduation? I reached out to professionals at ten different companies, expecting to bug them a week later in an attempt to set up two or three meetings if I was lucky. Au contraire! To my surprise, almost everyone replied immediately! And they wanted to help me!

You’ve probably heard this statistic before: 80% of job openings are unlisted, and are filled through word of mouth. With those kinds of odds, how can you afford not to network? Informational interviewing is a great way to start. Stay tuned for more blog entries on how I went through the process myself, and I’ll teach you how to do it too!

Amy Annette Henion is a senior communications major with minors in theatre and East Asian studies. She basically lives in the theatre department office on the first floor of Ryder. Follow/tweet her at @amyannette37 and read her blog here.

Pro Perspectives: Financial Consulting at Deloitte

Deloitte logo_1Student Interviewer: Arun Punjabi

Professional Interviewee: Patrick Kumf, Senior Associate in Financial Advisory Services

Company: Deloitte

As a 3rd year student in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, double majoring in Business Administration and Economics, I seized the opportunity to interview Patrick Kumf, a Senior Associate within Deloitte Financial Advisory Services to not only gain exposure to the career path that he chose, but to seek advice from a successful professional who has been through the same collegiate recruiting process that I am going through. I am currently co-oping at Deloitte Consulting LLP as a Business Analyst, specializing in the Mergers & Acquisitions service line, with an industry focus on Consumer Products and Retail. After the interview, there was no question that the conversations we had were invaluable, both from a learning and professional stand-point.

Arun Punjabi (AP): Can you tell me a little about your current career path and how you came to be at your job?

Patrick Kumf (PK): I’m currently a Senior Associate within Business Valuation at Deloitte FAS.  I graduated with a degree in Economics from Trinity College. I originally joined Deloitte’s Auditing department, but quickly realized that really wasn’t for me.

Patrick continued to explain how after realizing that auditing was not one of his interests or core competencies, he found his niche within the Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, a selective and relatively small business unit of Deloitte that focuses heavily on business valuation and numerical analysis. Due to the cross-functional nature of Deloitte LLP (parent company), Patrick was able to make several connections and work on many projects with professionals in Deloitte Consulting as well as Audit. As for Patrick’s next steps in his career, he intends to leverage his niche skills in business valuation to enter the corporate finance world with a focus on private equity and debt valuation.

AP: What do you do day-to-day as an Senior Associate?

PK: I’m part of multiple projects and teams that range from mid to high performance.  I spend most days managing peers, priorities, and projects.” During busy season, Patrick can work upwards of 75 hours a week.

AP: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting out in this field?

Patrick placed emphasis on networking and communication. Below are his top four pieces of advice

  1. Network
  2. Get referrals
  3. Good recommendations
  4. “Communicate openly and with confidence—don’t be afraid to communicate your issues and interests with your managers.”

AP: What do you find most challenging and most satisfying about your position?

PK: Definitely, figuring out how to prioritize high and low risk projects can sometimes be challenging as well as saying “no” to people to ensure you have a fair work-life balance and focusing on quality over quantity.

He also mentioned time management and how it relates to work-life balance, managing expectations of work and free time as well as people management– “managing people from all walks of life and styles of working can be a challenge”.  In regards to most satisfying, he said there are lots of opportunities for cross-industry work as well as networking opportunities.  He explained that as a Senior Associate you gain economical and mathematical insight into large deals.

AP: If you had to give one piece of advice to a student who wants to be in your position in the future, what would you tell them?

PK: Definitely focus on grades to go to top feeder MBA Schools—Deloitte focuses heavily on recruiting from top academic schools.  And, network effectively and look for opportunities to meet Deloitte professionals, those connections will help you in the long run.

AP: If you had a Husky as a pet, what would you name it?

He went with the name, “Husky” (…haha).