The impressions of the second week differ significantly from the first week’s not only in terms of educational program but also in terms of ability for working and living in this environment. In the first few days I hardly could think of any way to catch up with the speed of everything in New York, but the adaptation was seamless and relatively quick. This is probably one of the MBA skills that makes the difference – being able to learn and be efficient in situations, far from the comfort zone.
The essence of the second week cannot be more distant from a start-up way of thinking, but to be honest I appreciate both. We met business people (entrepreneur and finance) with very different background; if those people would have the chance to talk to each other about the experiences, I am sure that at some point both parties would happily exchange some skills. The entrepreneurs (e.g. Andres B.) might miss some of the corporate professionalism that makes for example EY so competitive and the persistent “officer” at the latter company (e.g. Amanda D.) might think at some point that the flexible creativity would be beneficial. And in reality (even is small scale) this is happening, since some of firms started to promote the idea of intrepreneurship.
Back to finance: one of the lessons I definitely learned, that starting career in this field is best at one of the major firms. All of the successful individual we heard and saw last week built up a solid background this way. It was also interesting to observe the diversity of the opportunities within this industry. One can be a consultant and execute smaller scale projects across borders such as Béla P. Sándor does. His business profile was rather close to my idea of doing your own business. Very competent, well presented, strongly customer focused and still a hard negotiator if comes to differences. The other and probably one of the most impressive visit was at Zephyr Management. Even though my area of business might not be completely the same as the two partner’s, but the way they presented their business philosophy was an absolute winner. To me their approach towards life, people, business and money is as good as it gets. Yes there was the General Atlantic with their multi-billion dollar portfolio and very loud success. But in my view the credibility of a firm where the Advisory Director openly does not agree with the business philosophy statements of the website – claiming that those are not real and has no idea why is it advertised so, seems extremely controversial.
Last week’s biggest surprise was the EY visit to me. This is simply because I was not aware of the scale of their expansion. They cleverly use every single of these opportunities to promote their firm. Since the whole visit was guided by the Director of Recruiting I think that they occasionally recruit some of the people at these events. I believe that a professional and well-presented approach towards these executives can open doors in one’s career – maybe not in New York but there are other excellent locations.
Again, a very exciting week: great speakers, interesting firms and endless input from every direction…