Presented by Economics Society: How to ace your interviews
The Economics Society brought us an exclusive lecture, given by the famous entrepreneur Muzzafar Khan, who was given the esteemed title of ‘Mentor of Wall Street’. I sat down in a packed lecture theatre with quiet, but anticipatory, chatter amongst students. In all honesty, coming from a non-economics and maths-phobic background, I was a little apprehensive about a two hour lecture on the intricate and complex dealings of the financial world. I was mistaken. This was not a lecture for economics students’ interviews at banks – it was for all interviews you will sit in your life, and so was universally applicable to everyone at university.
Mr. Khan explained that he was going to apply to teach us, and we were to decide if we would accept him, as an interview. He said persuasion is what the industry is about. There is an art of seduction (steady on, not literally), by which two conversations occur; one with the mouth and one with the body. Yeah I know this sounds very steamy and you’re wondering where I am going with this, but, rest assured, it was all very professional and there were no audible giggles. Anyway, an important fact to remember is “an interview, at the end of the day, is a conversation”. This is what led to bankers from Wall Street opening up to him about their problems.
According to Mr. Khan there are three key points which a candidate must demonstrate; credibility, value-add, and empathy. At this point, he relaxed his firm business-like exterior and showed a more human side by telling us about himself. There were stories of getting a job, losing a job, quitting a job, an anatomical description of how to shove an employment contract up your bosses butt, not being hired for a job, retiring from a job after five years because, let’s face it, there’s only so much money you need (questionable for women), a heart-warming tale of a sibling’s academic struggle, and, my personal favourite, a racially stereotypical story involving; an angry
Pakistani father, failing your university exams, a gun, and a passport, and finally, flying in private jets, setting up funding for energy projects, mentoring Wall Street firms and bankers, and still being a nerd at heart.
As well as these exciting tales that leave you questioning your own mundane life, there was a lot of valuable information to absorb – explain your experience in the relevant sector; demonstrate a passion; what is the person going to gain by hiring you? Offer them something of value. And if all else fails, use the backdoor method (honestly, stop being so childish!). Networking can be used as a tool to break into the industry; sometimes just speaking to the right people will get you to where you want to be – do not underestimate the power of nepotism. But emphasis is placed on following procedures, especially in the banking industry “anyone who tries to be original ends up in prison”.
Mr. Khan also held CV workshops during the day where he hand-tailored each student’s CV. The President of the Economics Society was thrilled to have someone of such a high calibre come in and speak; he took up Mr. Khan’s tips last year and landed himself an internship – so there is proof of results! Other students were impressed with his bold and honest thoughts towards the financial industry, others found him inspiring and took on life advice, and I thought about a sequel to the Wolf of Wall Street.