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Leia N. Wedlund ’17 and Deb Carroll


Leia N. Wedlund ’17 Advertising Sales

K. David Choi '19 Peter Ayala'19 Christopher J. Huh '18 Farhana Nabi '16 Design

Nadia X. Haile ‘17 Ashley Zhou ‘17 President

Mariel A. Klein ’17


COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF XENIA O. VIRAGH Copyright 2016, The Harvard Crimson, Inc. All rights reserved by The Harvard Crimson, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the expressed, written permission of The Harvard Crimson, Inc. For advertising information, please call (617) 576-6600. For job search questions not answered, please call OCS at (617) 4952595.







STUDENTS GOING ABROAD...................................32

CONCENTRATIONS AND CAREERS......................06

USING CRIMSON CAREERS ...................................33

AN ENTREPENEURIAL APPROACH.......................07

APPLICATION FAQS .................................................37

MAKE CONNECTIONS.............................................. 8


EXPLORE OCS RESOURCES ...................................10




GETTING THE OFFER...............................................40

INTEGRITY .................................................................12



EVALUATING THE OPPORTUNITY.........................41

OCS FALL PROGRAMMING.....................................14

MAKING A COMMITMENT......................................41


ONCE YOU MAKE A DECISION...............................41

CREATE A STRONG RESUME.................................16



SAMPLE RESUME.....................................................17



150 SAMPLE ACTION WORDS...............................18




ENTERTAINMENT ....................................................48


CORPORATE STRATEGY .........................................49

SAMPLE COVER LETTER.........................................20




RETAIL MERCHANDISING ......................................50


INVESTMENT BANKING .........................................51

INTERVIEW TIPS.......................................................22

PUBLIC SERVICE.......................................................52

GET INTERVIEW HELP AT OCS..............................24


INTERVIEW TYPES....................................................25



EDUCATION ...............................................................57



WHAT IS THE CAMPUS INTERVIEW PROGRAM?........................................................................ 30

MILITARY ...................................................................58 CONSULTING .............................................................60








hether you have some specific goals in mind or have no idea what to do after Harvard, the Office of Career Services (OCS) is a valuable resource for any stage of your job, internship, fellowship, or graduate school search process. OCS can help you identify and explore options, build a professional network, focus your efforts, and maintain your motivation. As you start thinking about which pathways to pursue, remember that there are many road maps and people willing to help you along your way. One piece of advice that has stood the test of time is that “the early bird gets the worm.” Don’t wait until the last minute to begin to explore and plan for your next step. Let OCS help you find the right approach and guide you from start to finish.


`` Many opportunities for both junior summer and post-graduation arise in September - don’t miss out on all the programming that begins the first week of classes. `` Select from over 75 diverse panels and workshops offered each semester at OCS. `` Look for “This Week at OCS” emails on Sundays, and select your subscription preferences to receive additional updates in fields that interest you most!


Opportunities: Educate yourself about diverse careers options.


Connections: Find people who can help you in your job search. Meet employers, Harvard alumni, and students with similar interests at numerous workshops, panels, and events hosted by OCS.

`` Alumni speakers and panels. `` 20+ OCS career fairs and expos already scheduled for this year. `` See the OCS Google Calendars for all the details!

Success: Get personalized advice to help you get where you want to be! `` OCS Drop-In Hours, Monday through Friday, 1-4pm, for resume and cover letter reviews, quick questions, just getting started, or touching base.

INSIDER TIP Drag your “This Week at OCS” email to the “primary” tab in Gmail so you don’t miss out!

`` Extended Drop-In Hours in September, 10am-12pm for juniors and seniors. `` Half hour advising appointments covering a diverse range of career areas and career decision-making.

Be sure to stay connected with OCS through the OCS website, including the This Week at OCS Newsletter and OCS Google Calendars, at We look forward to working with you this year! -THE OFFICE OF CAREER SERVICES STAFF



ost students find the job or internship search process both exciting and stressful, since it is a time of exploring options but also a time of narrowing choices and decision-making. At OCS we appreciate this, and we are ready to help you through each step of the way.


Before applying for specific opportunities, it is important to do some thinking about what you want to do next. `` Explore options and discover which organizations, graduate schools, sectors, and types of employers most closely match your interests, personality, skills, and offer you the best learning opportunities. `` Reflect on your possible and preferred next steps and think about how you would like to participate in the world of not-for-profit, forprofit, and/or government work. `` Think about other opportunities, such as international experiences, fellowships, or research positions, and determine which path is best for you at this point in time. `` Identify parameters that might focus your search, like geographic preferences or financial needs. `` Connect with the Office of Career Services at 54 Dunster Street and and let an adviser personally help you get focused and started on your search.

[Employers and graduate programs] want flexible, adaptable minds, minds exposed to a broad range of knowledge and trained in rigorous critical thinking. They want students who can think analytically, look at life as a whole, read with interpretive skill, and write decent, well-constructed sentences.” -JAMES ENGELL, GURNEY PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH AND PROFESSOR OF COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

CONCENTRATIONS AND CAREERS The world of work is changing so rapidly that it makes it very difficult to predict what skills might be needed in the future. Even doctors say that everything they know could be obsolete in ten years. That’s why it becomes so important simply “to learn how to learn.” Harvard’s rigorous academic curriculum, enriching residential community and wealth of extracurricular opportunities prepares students broadly for a vast number of jobs, graduate programs, and future careers, regardless of what concentration they select. Apart from some technical or engineering fields, most entry-level employers don’t expect students to have prepared academically for their specific positions. Instead, they are looking for students to demonstrate their interests and/or to develop general skills through internships, international experiences, extracurriculars, or coursework. Each year the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveys employers to discover what they are looking for in entry-level hires, and invariably the most sought after skills are those that can be developed across disciplines:

Top-10 Skills/Qualities Employers Look For `` Able to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization `` Ability to work in a team structure `` Ability to make decisions and solve problems



You should approach career strategy the same way an entrepreneur approaches starting a business.” -LINKEDIN FOUNDER REID GARRETT HOFFMAN

`` Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work `` Ability to obtain and process information `` Ability to analyze quantitative data `` Technical knowledge related to the job `` Proficiency with computer software programs `` Ability to create and/or edit written reports


Don’t be discouraged by the super competitive process. No one gets all interviews and all job offers. Just remember that all you need is one opportunity!” -HARVARD ALUM ‘15

`` Ability to sell or influence others


Source: Job Outlook 2016, National Association of Colleges and Employers

AN ENTREPRENEURIAL APPROACH In this current hiring climate, some of the characteristics of a successful job search are very similar to the components of launching a successful new business or venture. Both require taking initiative and being proactive, finding ways to stand out and differentiate yourself from the pack, being resilient and adaptable if your first plan doesn’t work, and making professional connections that will help you through each step of the process. It is not enough to hit the send button on several applications and then sit back expecting your Harvard credentials to do the work. The job search is a very active process that involves meeting and interacting with many professionals, which is why OCS often refers to the job search as a “contact sport.” As a Harvard student you have many reasons to be confident and optimistic, provided you approach your job search with realistic expectations and are ready to invest both time and effort. Remember that different organizations and industries hire on different timelines. Like an entrepreneur, be prepared to iterate and be adaptable throughout the job search process.

`` Cast a wide net. Don’t approach the job search with your heart set on one dream employer, job, or

industry. Keep in mind you can take multiple paths in the short term to gain the skills you need to discover or achieve your goals in the long term. Extend your search beyond the campus interview program, which only represents a small fraction of the opportunities available to Harvard students. If you don’t get an offer from your first choice organization, think about where else you could learn similar expertise or develop other valuable abilities.

`` Use all the resources available to you. OCS has expert staff and resources to help you navigate your job

search in varying economic climates. Take advantage of resume and interview workshops to put your best foot forward. Attend career fairs and panels to meet face-to-face with potential employers. Meet with an adviser to strategize the best course of action for you and your goals. Use online resources and connect with Harvard centers and offices such as the Institute of Politics (IOP), Center for Public Interest Careers (CPIC), and Harvard Varsity Club (for student-athletes) to expand your search.

`` Build your professional network. In an uncertain economy, employers are often less able to predict

their hiring needs in advance and therefore rely more heavily on “just in time” hiring. For this reason, it is essential to be proactive and not wait until a job gets posted. Use OCS events, the Harvard network, family and friends to meet people in the organizations and industries where you would like to work. Stay in touch so you are at the top of their list when a position becomes available. Furthermore, having a good network is your greatest asset in the future as you try to change jobs, change sectors, get relevant inside information, or advance in your chosen field.

`` Stay positive. Although the job search may seem more difficult or take longer than you expected,

remember that employers want to hire people who can solve tough problems, overcome obstacles, and stay enthusiastic through challenging times. OCS staff, programs, and resources can help you stay motivated and stay on track. Keep in mind that people hired during a sluggish economy often advance more rapidly, as they have had opportunities to take on more responsibility earlier in their careers and have demonstrated success in the face of adversity.




You have to talk to people in order to learn what is out there, to get up to speed on current issues in a particular field, and to determine which options are a good fit for you. “Building a Professional Network” means making connections with people who can provide you with up-to-date information and help you develop some “gravitational pull” from inside an organization, increasing your chances of being noticed and successful in your search. The contacts you make building out your network can be crucial to finding and landing a great job or internship. Over 90% of job seekers land jobs or internships through this process of building professional connections. Take advantage of all the opportunities Harvard offers you, both on and off campus, in person and online, to speak with lots of people about your interests.

INSIDER TIP Make connections at Harvard with house tutors, faculty, and staff here to help you. Connect with Harvard graduate students and utilize Harvard centers and offices such as the Institute of Politics (IOP), Center for Public Interest Careers (CPIC), and Harvard Varsity Club (for studentathletes).

Attend Professional Networking Workshops. You are going to be networking throughout your professional career, including each time you want to change jobs, so make sure to learn and practice these skills before you leave campus. “Leveraging your Harvard Network to Make Connections” is one of the “Nuts & Bolts” programming offered at OCS. OCS advisers also host creative careers, public service, and science, research, and innovation orientations that provide field-specific job and internship strategies. Check the OCS Google Calendars for more details.

Go to Events with Employers and Alumni. These are opportunities for you to: `` Ask questions

`` Learn what is a good fit for you and what is not

`` Meet people face-to-face

`` Get application and interview tips

`` Experience the culture of a company or organization

`` Demonstrate your interest, knowledge, and skills

`` Learn about full-time and summer internship opportunities

`` Get contact information and stay in touch if interested

Attend Career Fairs and Expos. Speak with employers about jobs, internships, and career paths. Recent Harvard alums often represent their employer at career fairs, making it even easier for you to connect and ask questions. Collect business cards or contact information and stay in touch. Below are some of the key events already planned on campus for the 2016-2017 academic year. Be sure to check the OCS Google Calendars for any updates and changes.



Finance & Consulting Networking Nights



Campus Interview Program Fair

Biotechnology Career Fair

Big Data Analytics & Technology Fair



Media, Marketing, & Merchandising Expo


Nonprofit & Education Career Fair DECEMBER


HGSE Fall Charter School Fair

11.03.16 10.17.14 10.14.14

Advertising, –10.17.14 Marketing, Global Health& & Public Human Rights Expo Relations Expo Government Week

Summer Funding & Programs Fair

11.16.16 10.03.14

Crimson Journalism & Engineering Career Fair Collaborative Media Fair FEBRUARY




Public Interested? Conference


Startup Career Fair MARCH


Theatre & Entertainment Meet-Up



MIT European & Asian Career Fairs

HGSE PreK-12 Expo

Life Sciences & Healthcare Expo APRIL


All Ivy Environmental & Sustainable Development Fair



09.01.16 09.16.16



Harvard Extension School Degree Candidate & Alumni Job Fair

MIT Energy Expo

Social Impact Expo

Attend Career Panels. OCS arranges many panels with diverse employers and organizations where alumni and other professionals talk about careers in areas such as non-profit management, fashion, sports, entertainment, global health, human rights, international development and more. Most organizations do not hire through the Campus Interview Program, so use these opportunities to build your professional network and connections. Remember that speakers are always looking for new people who are passionate about what they do to join their organizations and become the next generation of leaders in their field. See “OCS Fall Programming” in this section for a list of programs currently scheduled for this fall, and check the OCS Google Calendars for additions, updates, and changes.

Attend Employer Networking & Information Sessions. THE JOB SEARCH

Over 100 organizations, mostly large employers who hire a lot of people at one time, come to campus between September and December looking specifically to meet Harvard students and to present information about their organizations. Make sure you check out the OCS Employers on Campus Google Calendar for specific dates and times. Don’t be discouraged if the type of organization you would like to work for does not offer an employer session, as there are many other ways to get in front of potential employers. While these sessions can be great learning experiences, they are also a chance for you to stand out from the stack of resumes these organization representatives have in their offices. Take the opportunity to demonstrate your passion for the field as well as your “soft skills,” including how well you interact and communicate with different kinds of people. If an employer sees that you will handle yourself well in a professional social situation, it will help them remember you and pull your resume out from the pile of other candidates! `` Attend Employer Programs – Learn directly from experienced professionals how to navigate the hiring process in their fields. `` Campus Interview Program Networking Nights – Learn about the opportunities at some of the smaller or niche employers in the Campus Interview Program. `` Finance – Thursday, September 1st, 4-6pm @ the Sheraton Commander Hotel `` Consulting – Friday, September 16th, 3-5pm @ the Sheraton Commander Hotel `` Resume Clinics – A number of employers conduct field-specific resume review clinics in areas such as consulting, financial services, and tech. See the OCS Employers on Campus Google Calendar for dates and details. `` Interview Workshops – Many employers come to campus to present finance, technical, and case interview workshops. These are excellent learning opportunities for students who think they may be interested in interviewing for these types of positions. `` Employer or Recruiter Office Hours / Coffee Chats – Usually held at OCS, the OCS Interview Facility, or a local cafe, office hours/coffee chats are a great way to get recruiting, application, and interview questions answered while demonstrating your interest and helping you develop connections. Bring your resume and/or cover letter and get employer feedback. See the OCS Employers on Campus Google Calendar for dates and details.

Leverage the Harvard Network Remotely. Reach out to Harvard alumni virtually, especially if the organization that interests you is not represented on campus or you were not able to attend one of their events. Many Harvard alumni are willing and happy to speak to current students about their field, career path, and specific opportunities. Check out the Making Connections section on the OCS website for a guide to informational interviews and utilize online tools such as LinkedIn, the new OCS Firsthand Advisers platform, and the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) alumni database to connect with alumni (see the Resources section of this guide for more information about online networking tools).


The best advice I could give is to be ready to improvise. The ability to recognize opportunities and move in new—and sometimes unexpected—directions will benefit you no matter your interests or aspirations. A liberal arts education is designed to equip students for just such flexibility and imagination.” -DREW FAUST IN A FORBES INTERVIEW, 7/30/12


EXPLORE OCS RESOURCES Some exclusive to Harvard students, OCS’s online resources provide job and internship listings, networking contacts, and industry information access 24/7. Attend a workshop at OCS to learn more about these databases, or stop by OCS during Drop-Ins to have a member of OCS first-floor team give you a personal demonstration.


Search broadly through our job and internship database, Crimson Careers. Look regularly—listings are added frequently. This past year alone there were over 9,700 jobs and internships posted in Crimson Careers. Keyword searches may lead to better results when searching “non-profit” or “engineering.” Specialized searches also can be selected for jobs and internships posted by:

`` `` `` ``

Harvard Centers and Departments Harvard Alumni Campus Interview Program Internship Consortia

`` UCAN - 21 select colleges and universities from across the country jointly post over 9,000 domestic and international internships each academic year in order to represent a wide diversity of geographic locations, industries, and job functions `` iNet - an elite Ivy+ internship database with nearly 3,000 internship postings, iNet includes a range of industries, with non-profits, communication/ media, marketing, internet, and start-ups as the 5 most-posted industries this past year

GoinGlobal includes informative country guides with tips on local professional etiquette, tailoring resumes and curriculum vitae by country/region, and visa information. GoinGlobal also provides resources for international students looking to work in the U.S., including a list of all of the employers who applied for H1-B visas for their employees in the previous year. Often used for career exploration and interview preparation, Vault has over 140 downloadable career guides, employer profiles and rankings, as well as discussion boards, industry blogs and news. Free, lifetime access to the interests, skills, and values self-assessment exercises helps many students get started. To take any of the assessments, students simply create an account through the OCS website. 10

A professional networking site, LinkedIn provides job listings and opportunities to connect with students, alumni, and employers. Join the official Harvard Alumni Network to connect with thousands of alumni. Utilize the Harvard University page to explore the careers of over 125,000 alumni. Follow the “company page” of organizations that interest you, and search job listings that may not be posted anywhere else.

Connect with alums who have worked at top employers worldwide and have volunteered to offer you a resume review, mock interview, or career conversation. OCS Firsthand Advisers allows you to search on alumni profiles using filters such as industry, employer, and area of expertise. When you find someone of interest to you, the platform allows you to schedule a phone conversation in a few easy steps. The Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) provides an alumni database available to current students as well as all Harvard alumni. Start to build your professional network by connecting with alumni who have volunteered to speak with students about careers, pathways and industries. Select multiple career areas and keep searches broad; use this resource to make connections and request informational interviews, not for job placement or listings.


Make sure to always follow up with connections and add them on LinkedIn. It never hurts to start developing your network early.” -HARVARD ALUM ‘15

RESEARCH EMPLOYERS AND INDUSTRIES You may hear that to be successful in the job search and interview process you need to “do your homework.” This means researching the employers and industries that interest you. Background research will help you tailor your resumes and cover letters for greater success, prepare for interview questions, and ensure that you are prepared to evaluate job and internship offers when you get them.

Where to conduct research? `` Some companies, often start-ups, PR, and social media ventures, often post jobs and internships via Twitter. `` OCS website, including access to: `` Crimson Careers job and internship posting `` Vault industry guides `` Industry Publications, including: `` The Wall Street Journal `` Bloomberg Business Week `` AdWeek `` Wired `` OCS Reading Room and Library `` Numerous career and industry publications selected by OCS staff `` Hoovers (Hollis) available through the Harvard library system

PROFESSIONALISM When going through the job or internship search, it is always important to present yourself as someone ready for employment and the responsibilities that go with it. Interactions with employers, though some more casual than others, should always be professional. Be polite and engaged with everyone you encounter, even people who you don’t necessarily think will be part of the hiring decisions, like receptionists and wait staff at restaurants. Make sure to think beyond just face-to-face events, but consider all the ways you might communicate with an employer. `` Email: Make sure your emails are businesslike with proper grammar and punctuation. A pet-peeve of many recruiters and alumni is when students begin an email with “Hey.” Use “Dear” or “Hello” as your greeting. Also, don’t forget to revise your email signature to something appropriate for employer correspondence.


`` Employer websites `` Search engines `` Set up “Google Alerts” and/or other notifications to email you when a particular organization or topic is mentioned online `` LinkedIn `` Join LinkedIn groups in relevant industries and sectors, browse the group discussion boards to stay current with hot topics `` Follow the “Company Page” of organizations that interest you, they will post relevant articles and updates, and you can see who in your network is connected there `` Twitter `` Follow companies, industry thought leaders, and industry news and have it delivered directly to your Twitter feed.


Make sure to narrow down your application focus before you go onto the job search, not only will it save you time, it will help you prepare much better for interviews if you have a compelling narrative and solid understanding of a particular industry.” -HARVARD ALUM ‘15

`` Telephone: Employers will try to reach you by phone, so set up your voicemail, and make sure your outgoing voicemail message and ring back tones are straight-forward and professional. Check your voicemail regularly so a recruiter never gets a message that your mailbox is full and cannot leave you a message. Remember to return voicemails with a phone call – take the cue from the employer as to how they want to communicate with you. If you can’t reach the employer by phone, leave a message and then follow up by email. `` Online: Edit what you have on Facebook and other social networking sites and update your security settings. What would happen if a recruiter Googled you? Also, be proactive about your online presence by setting up a professional LinkedIn account. Some things vary by industry and organization, such as dress code (see the Interviews section of this Guide for more details on dress). This is why you should always do research online, make connections with alumni and other professionals in the field, and follow any formal instructions or informal cues given to you by an employer. When in doubt, always err on the formal side until you are sure.


INTEGRITY As you meet with outside employers and organizations, remember that you are not only representing yourself, but the Harvard community as well. Although applying to positions and interviewing with organizations is often about “putting your best foot forward,” it is important that the things you communicate about yourself and your accomplishments be accurate and true. It can be challenging, because you don’t need to disclose all information to a potential employer – you don’t need to reveal to an employer that you are also interviewing with their biggest competitor or tell an interviewer that your greatest weakness is that you often sleep through your alarm – but the information you do reveal should be honest and in good faith. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult with an OCS adviser.


Note that employers may ask for your “Unofficial Transcript” or other documentation during the application, interviewing and hiring process. Your “Unofficial Transcript” must be your Unofficial Transcript, Student Record or Official Transcript only. Misrepresenting yourself and your Harvard record can be an Ad Board offense. See the Unofficial Transcript page of the OCS website for more details. “We – the academic community of Harvard College, including the faculty and students – view integrity as the basis for intellectual discovery, artistic creation, independent scholarship, and meaningful collaboration.” – Harvard College Honor Code

QUICK TIPS FOR USING CRIMSON CAREERS Through the Crimson Careers online system, you have access to jobs and internships posted exclusively to Harvard students, opportunities posted by Harvard Centers and Departments, internships posted by our consortia partners, events and career fairs, as well as appointment scheduling with OCS advisers and RSVP options for OCS workshops and programs. Below is a brief overview of how to navigate Crimson Careers. `` Navigation Bar – The navigation bar, located on the left, is consistent throughout every screen in Crimson Careers. As you get more familiar with it you may find other ways you prefer to get from place to place in the system, but the navigation bar is an easy place to start.

`` Home Tab – On the home page of Crimson Careers, you will find shortcuts, announcements, and alerts indicating activity on your account or steps you need to follow, such as signing up for a campus interview. `` My Account – The “personal” sub-tab contains basic yet important information for OCS internal use only and is not


visible to employers. It is used for contact information and for scheduling appointments. Keep your phone number and email address up-to-date so that we can contact you in case of a change in schedule, interview cancellation, or a last minute open interview time! Make sure that your class level and graduation date are correct under the “academic” sub-tab. Please note that you must use your @college, @fas, or @post email address to access the Crimson Careers system. If you are having this email account forward to another account, like gmail, be sure to double-check that you are not missing any important system messages by continuing to check your Harvard account while you are conducting your job search. Email messages, such as appointment and interview reminders, are sent from Crimson Careers on a batch basis and may be filtered as spam or promotions during the forwarding process, so check these folders as well.


`` Documents Tab – All application documents can be uploaded or viewed from this tab and may include resumes, cover letters, unofficial transcripts, and writing samples. While customized resumes and documents can also be uploaded directly to specific positions from the job description page, we recommend uploading all documents from this tab so that you can preview the document format. Below is some important information to help you use the documents tab most efficiently: `` Upload resumes, cover letters, and writing samples as .pdf to better maintain formatting and to reduce the upload time. `` “Unofficial Transcript” means a scan of your official transcript, unofficial transcript from the registrar’s website, or “Student Record” only, see the Campus Interview Program section of the OCS website for more details. `` To remove encryption, your digital transcript or student record must be printed to .pdf using Adobe Professional and then saved. If you do not upload your unofficial transcript this way, even if the document looks fine from your view, employers may receive your application materials as a blank page stating “document could not be included.” `` Always “View” uploaded documents from the documents tab to ensure proper formatting was maintained in the file conversion. `` There is NO LIMIT as to how many documents you can upload, so take advantage and tailor your resumes and cover letters to the specific positions you are applying to whenever possible. `` Jobs & Internships Tab – Crimson Careers allows you to set up your own searches, set favorites, and set up “Saved Searches” to get email updates on new postings. Consider beginning with a broad search on keyword or industry and then progressively narrowing your search from there perhaps utilizing some of the “Advanced Search” filters such as “position type.” `` Saved Searches: Set up saved searches based on keywords or other search criteria in Crimson Careers. Simply click the “Saved Searches” drop-down (located next to the search bar) to save your search criteria and opt to receive email updates when new postings are added either daily, weekly, or monthly. `` Applying to Jobs and Internships in Crimson Careers – Whenever possible, tailor your application materials to the specific job, organization, or industry for which you are applying. `` Make it Final! Think of your application as if you are sealing it and posting it by mail to the employer. Changes you make to your documents will not change or update a submitted application. To review applications to non-campus interview positions, navigate to the “Jobs & Internships” tab and then to the “Applications” sub-tab. Employers will contact you directly by phone or by email if they would like to schedule you for an interview. See the Campus Interview Program 101 section of this Guide for specifics about applying to campus interview opportunities, as they are managed differently.


OCS FALL PROGRAMMING Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations `` Brand Development and Activation: Inside the Ad Agency: Explore Careers: Wed. Sept. 28, 6:00– 7:00pm, OCS `` Media, Marketing, & Merchandising Expo: Fri., Oct. 14, 3:00–5:00pm, SOCH `` Advertising & Marketing, Featuring WPP: Wed., Oct. 19, 5:30–6:30pm, OCS


`` Professional in Residence, Advertising and Brand Development featuring Tony Cregler, VP Brand Strategy Director at Leo Burnett: TBD, TBD, TBD, OCS

Architecture, Urban Development, Design `` Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design: How to Find Jobs & Internships: Fri., Sept. 16, 2:00– 3:00pm, OCS

Arts Management, Museums, Galleries `` Professional in Residence: Museums: Tues., Oct. 25, 12:00–1:00pm; 2:00–4:00pm, OCS

Consulting, Business Strategy

`` Psychology & Social Work: Explore Career Pathways & Grad Programs: Fri., Sept. 23, 12:00– 1:00pm, OCS `` Education: Explore Careers: Tues., Sept. 27, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Teaching Abroad: How to Find Jobs: Tues., Oct. 25, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Nonprofit & Education Career Fair: Thurs., Oct. 27, 3:00–5:00pm, OCS `` HGSE Fall Charter School Night: Thurs., Nov. 17, 4:00–6:00pm, OCS

Engineering & Physical Sciences `` Science, Research, & Innovation Job Search Orientation for Seniors: Tues. Aug. 30, 2:00– 3:00pm, OCS `` Science, Research, & Innovation Internship Search Orientation: Tues. Sept. 6, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Engineering Career Fair Collaborative: Wed., Nov. 16, 3:30–6:30pm, Sheraton

Entertainment, Media, TV, Film, Sports `` Entertainment: Pathways to Being a Hollywood Agent with the United Talent Agency: Thurs., Oct. 20, 6:00–7:00pm, OCS

`` Management Consulting: Is It Right For Me?: Tues., Sept. 13, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS

`` Music & Entertainment: Explore Business Careers: Tues., Nov. 8, 5:30–6:30pm, OCS

`` Business School Night with HSA: Thurs., Oct. 13, 5:00–7:00pm, OCS

`` Professional in Residence: Music Business & Technology with Caren Kelleher, Global Lead, Music App Partnerships–GooglePlay/Android: TBD, TBD, TBD, OCS

Creative Arts, Film, Music, Theatre `` Creative Arts, Film, Music, & Theatre: Orientation for Seniors: Tues., Aug. 30, 3:00–4:00pm, OCS `` Creative Careers Job & Internship Search Strategies Orientation: Wed., Sept. 7, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Thee Business of Theater: What Performers Need To Know: Mon., Sept. 12, 12:00–1:00pm; 3:00– 5:00pm, OCS `` “I Was A Showbiz Intern” Panel & Harvardwood 101 Info Session: Thurs., Sept. 15, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Freelancing in the Arts: Mon., Sept. 26, 4:00– 5:00pm, The Signet Sety `` Very Funny: Writing and Producing for Comedy: Wed., Oct. 5, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS


Education, Psychology, Social Services

`` Professional in Residence: Sports & Entertainment with Nana-Yaw Asamoah, Global Managing Director, Partnerships at National Football League: TBD, TBD, TBD, OCS

Entrepreneurship, Startups, Social Enterprise `` Professional in Residence: Global Entrepreneurship: Fri., Sept. 23, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Entrepreneurship Disrupted: To Do or Not to Do?: Tues., Oct. 18, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Making an Impact in the World rough Innovation: Tues., Nov. 1, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS

`` Environment, Energy, and Sustainability: How to Find Jobs & Internships: Wed., Sept. 21, 4:00– 5:00pm, OCS

Fashion, Retail, Consumer Products, Hospitality `` Consumer & Luxury Goods: Explore Careers: Fri., Oct. 14, 2:00–3:00pm, TBD

Finance, Hedge Funds, Real Estate, Private Equity, VC `` Finance 2.0: Hedge Funds, PE, VC, and Asset Management: Wed., Aug. 31, 5:00–6:00pm, OCS `` Investment Banking 101: Tues., Sept. 6, 4:00– 5:00pm, OCS

Global & Public Health `` Global Health: Career Pathways: Thurs., Nov. 3, 3:00–4:00pm, OCS `` Global Health & Human Rights Expo: Thurs., Nov. 3, 4:00–6:00pm, OCS

Healthcare & Life Sciences `` Life Sciences: Explore Careers: Tues., Sept. 20, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Finding a Lab at Fits: Gaining Traction in PreHealth: Fri., Oct. 28, 4:00–6:00pm, OCS

International Relations & Development, Human Rights `` International Development Careers: Strategies for Success: Mon., Sept. 26, 4:30–5:30pm, OCS `` Professional in Residence: UN/WHO: Wed., Sept. 28, 12:00–1:00pm; 2:00–4:30pm, OCS

`` The Writing Life: Turning the Practice of Law into the Art of Memoir: Thurs., Oct. 20, 4:30–5:30pm, OCS

Law, Government, Military Service `` Public Service Job Search Orientation for Seniors: Thurs., Sept. 8, 6:00–7:00pm, TBD `` Public Service Internship Search Orientation: Mon., Sept. 12, 5:00–6:00pm, OCS `` Applying to Law School 101 with Pre-Law Tutors: Thurs., Sept. 29, 5:00–6:00pm, OCS `` Leadership Opportunities in the U.S. Military Services: Lunch & Learn: Fri., Sept. 30, 12:00– 1:00pm, OCS


Environment, Energy, Sustainability

`` Law: Learn About Di erent Career Pathways: Tues., Oct. 4, 5:00–6:00pm, OCS `` Professional in Residence: Law & Legal Practice: Fri., Nov. 4, 12:00–1:00pm; 1:00–3:00pm, OCS

Nonprofits, Foundations, Fundraising, Corporate Social Responsibility `` Nonprofits: How to Find Jobs & Internships: Tues., Sept. 20, 5:00–6:00pm, OCS `` Nonprofits & Public Service: Pathways Panel: Tues. Oct. 18, 5:00–6:00pm, OCS

Technology, Big Data Analytics, Cyber Security `` Landing a Tech Internship: Thurs., Sept. 29, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Big Data & Analytics: Explore Careers: Wed., Oct. 5, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Big Data, Analytics, & Technology Fair: urs. Oct. 6, 2:00–5:00pm, OCS

`` International A airs: Explore Career Pathways: Wed., Oct. 19, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS `` Professional in Residence: Foreign Service: TBD, TBD, TBD, OCS `` Professional in Residence: UN Peacekeeping with Nina LaHoud: TBD, TBD, TBD, OCS

Journalism, Publishing, Writing `` Journalism and Media: What’s Trending Now: Thurs., Sept. 22, 4:00–5:00pm, OCS


`` Publishing: Careers: Thurs., Oct. 13, 4:00–5:30pm, OCS


03 RESUMES AND COVER LETTERS CREATE A STRONG RESUME A resume is a concise, informative summary of your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and skills, and differentiate you from other candidates seeking similar positions. Although it alone will not get you a job or internship, a good resume is an important element towards obtaining an interview. Tailor your resume to the type of position you are seeking. This does not mean that all of your work history must relate directly, but your resume should reflect the kind of skills the employer would value. Find additional guidance on resumes and cover letters, including resume samples and templates, on the OCS website or on the first floor of OCS.


Resume Language Should Be: `` `` `` `` ``

Specific rather than general Active rather than passive Written to express not impress Articulate rather than “flowery” Fact-based (quantify and qualify)

`` Written for people who scan quickly

Don’t: `` `` `` `` `` `` `` ``


Use personal pronouns (such as I) Abbreviate Use a narrative style Use slang or colloquialisms Include a picture Include age or sex List references Start each line with a date

Top 6 Resume Mistakes: 1. Spelling and grammar errors 2. Missing e-mail and phone information 3. Using passive language instead of “action” words 4. Not well organized, concise, or easy to skim 5. Not demonstrating results 6. Too long (keep to a single page for most industries)

Do: `` Be consistent in format and content `` Make it easy to read and follow, balancing white space `` Use consistent spacing, underlining, italics, bold, and capitalization for emphasis `` List headings (such as Experience) in order of importance `` Within headings, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first) `` Avoid information gaps such as a missing summer `` Be sure that your formatting translates properly if converted to a .pdf

Plan to work internationally? Resume guidelines can vary from country to country. Check out Going Global at www.ocs.fas.harvard. edu.

If an employer asks for your SAT scores or GPA, you can include them in your education section

Use different verbs

Note that relevant interests and skills can be demonstrated through campus and volunteer activities as well as through previous employment.

Watch out for typos!

Be consistent presenting data. Use either numerals or words but not both.

433 Mather Mail Center Harvard College Cambridge, MA 02138-6175

Roberta Josephina Maddox (714) 558-9857

Education HARVARD UNIVERSITY A.B. Honors degree in History. GPA 3.73. Relevant Coursework: International Political Economics and the European Community. Commit 25 hours per week to the Harvard Varsity Field Hockey Program.

17 Rodeo Road Irvine, CA 92720

Cambridge, MA May 2015

UNIVERSITY OF LONDON Study abroad coursework in European History and Econometrics.

London, UK May - August 2013

IRVINE HIGH SCHOOL Graduated with high honors. SAT I: M:780 V:760. National Honor Society. Member of Varsity Field Hockey Team.

Irvine, CA June 2011

Experience PEPSI-COLA NORTH AMERICA BEVERAGES New York, NY Marketing Analyst Intern May - August 2014 Examined profitability of foreign market for new fruit drink using analysis of comparable brands. Managed focus groups and consumer surveys gathering over 500 data points. Created ideas for niche marketing campaigns including use of social networks and viral marketing. Presented findings to senior managers using quantitative analysis and creative visuals in combined PowerPoint presentation.


Always use your @fas or @college e-mail account and check it frequently, even if you have enabled forwarding.

London, UK THOMAS WILCK ASSOCIATES Assistant Account Executive May - August 2013 Researched and assembled requests for proposals for medium-sized public relations and communications firm. Actively participated in staff meetings and brainstorming sessions. Generated correspondence with top executive officers. Laguna Hills, CA TECH HILLS Technology Intern May - August 2012 Implemented new web site, including back end database storage system and dynamic web pages. Leadership Cambridge, MA HARVARD UNDERGRADUATE WOMEN IN BUSINESS (WIB) Executive Committee Member February 2012 - Present Organized marketing and advertising campaign to increase membership. Coordinated business conference and networking reception for 50 business professionals and 500 students. Cambridge, MA HARVARD COLLEGE MARATHON CHALLENGE Training Program Director January - May 2012 Developed training program for 25 charity runners. Raised over $25,000 to support Phillips Brooks House Association and The Cambridge Food Project. Skills & Interests Technical: Microsoft Excel and Access, Stata, SQL, Java and HTML. Language: Fluent French and Conversational Spanish. Traveled extensively in Europe. Interests: Ultimate Frisbee, Bhangra dance, and European films.


150 SAMPLE ACTION WORDS Accomplished Achieved Acted Adapted Added Administered Advised Analyzed Assembled Assessed Broadened Budgeted Built Calculated Centralized Changed Clarified


Classified Collaborated Compiled Completed Composed Conducted Conceived Concluded Constructed





























































































































Get Resume and Cover Letter Help at OCS `` Resume and Cover Letter Workshops. In addition to in-person workshops throughout each semester (check the OCS Google Calendars), you can also learn the nuts and bolts of resume writing from the OCS Online Workshop: “How to Write a Resume” on the OCS website.

`` OCS Drop-Ins. Monday through Friday, 1–4pm, come by and sign up for a ten minute session. Have someone review your resume or cover letter, get any career question answered, or get help getting started.

`` Extended Drop-Ins for SENIORS. In addition to the regular OCS Drop-Ins, OCS advisers will review resumes and

cover letters from 10am-12pm every Monday through Friday until the first Campus Interview Program deadline, Wednesday, September 16th.

`` Industry-Specific Resume Review Clinics. Led by employers in areas such as consulting and financial services; listed on the Campus Interview Program Google Calendar.


WRITE AN EFFECTIVE COVER LETTER A cover letter is an important part of the application process. It is an opportunity to make a concise argument as to why you are a great fit for the particular position and how you can contribute to the organization. Your cover letter should demonstrate that you have thoroughly read the job description and the employer’s website while highlighting your skills and experiences that are most applicable to the job or industry. It is not a narrative version of your resume, but instead a means of connecting your resume to the specific needs of the position and organization. While many sections and ideas in your cover letter can be reused for multiple positions, even in multiple industries, avoid using a generic cover letter. You may have filled out a common application for colleges, but for job applications your materials should always be as tailored as possible to the needs and specifications indicated in the employer’s job description.

`` Address your letters to a specific person if you can. `` Tailor your letters to specific situations or organizations by reading the position description, reviewing the organization website, and doing additional research before writing your letters. `` Keep letters concise and factual, no more than a single page. Avoid flowery language. `` Give specific examples that support your skills and qualifications. `` Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What can you say that will convince the reader that you are ready and able to do the job? `` Don’t overuse the pronoun “I”. `` Remember that this is a marketing tool. Use lots of action words. `` Have an OCS adviser provide feedback on your letter. `` If converting to a .pdf, check that your formatting translates correctly.

INSIDER TIP Leverage the connections you have been developing! Reference anyone you know or have met at the organization in the opening paragraph of your cover letter. For example, “After speaking with Sonia Dara at Microsoft’s campus presentation, I know my analytical and communication skills will be a good fit for the Marketing Analyst role.” You do not need to know the contact extensively, but be genuine in how you refer to him or her.


Some general rules about letters include:

`` Reference skills or experiences from the job description and draw connections to your credentials. `` Make sure your resume and cover letter are prepared with the same font type and size. You can find additional guidance on cover letters, as well as letter samples on the OCS website or on the first floor of OCS.

COVER LETTERS AND CRIMSON CAREERS Below are some of the frequently asked question regarding cover letters and the Crimson Careers online system.

`` How do I know if a cover letter is required on Crimson Careers? Application requirements are listed once you click

the “Apply” button for a specific job or internship in Crimson Careers. You need to upload a resume for the system to know that you are eligible to apply and to reveal the application requirements, so you might want to upload a blank document as a resume to get started.

`` If a cover letter is not required, should I submit one anyway? For Campus Interview Program positions, no. The

employers are very specific about what they want and are looking for candidates to follow instructions. For other positions, you should also generally follow instructions, but as long as it is not specifically prohibited, a thoughtful, tailored cover letter will add value to your candidacy.

`` Whom do I address my cover letter to? Unless there is a separate contact listed somewhere in the body of the

position description, you should use the contact information posted in Crimson Careers. You can find the contact's name on the bottom, right-hand side of the position description. If you do not find a contact name, “To Whom It May Concern” is sufficient.


SAMPLE COVER LETTER September 20, 2016 Ms. Ellie Wells Senior Manager Wallaby Yogurt Company 110 Mezzetta Court American Canyon, CA 94503 Dear Ms. Wells: I am a senior at Harvard University and am writing to apply for the Manager in Training opportunity at the Wallaby Yogurt Company posted in Harvard’s Crimson Careers database. I’m very interested in the field of digital marketing and would welcome the opportunity to contribute my research, writing skills, and experience to your growing business.


I am excited about Wallaby’s commitment to organic, all-natural ingredients in its products. As a varsity field hockey player, I’m very aware of the importance of healthy food as the foundation for a healthy life. Your emphasis on “learning by doing and leading by serving” is also consistent with the training I received as an athlete. Whether on the field learning new drills in the worst weather conditions or patiently working with a new team member, I am most fulfilled when contributing to the team effort. In addition to my concentration in History, I have completed advanced coursework in Economics. My academic work has strengthened my research and writing skills as well as my understanding of the economics of business growth and development. Working with Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business (WIB) over the last two years gave me the experience and confidence to work in a dynamic, fast-paced organization where learning quickly and pitching in are instrumental to success. As a member of the Executive Committee, for example, I managed campus advertising and social media campaigns that increased overall membership and attracted more than 500 students from 12 different schools to our annual Intercollegiate Fall Conference. Thank you for your consideration. I very much look forward to the opportunity to speak with you in person about my interest in this position. Sincerely, Jane Smith


`` What will you be doing? `` Creative strategy for OgilvyRED of Ogilvy & Mather `` What advice do you have for Harvard undergraduates?


`` Don’t settle for what’s convenient or expected of you, doing something you’re passionate about is much more rewarding and will sustain you much longer than doing what you think you should do. Find your passion and try to fulfill it because part of leaving here means leaving an environment that fosters passion, so when you leave you are left in charge of pushing yourself to not forget your passion.

`` What will you be doing? `` I will be working on Google’s People Operations team as an Associate Staffing Channels Specialist (think equal parts data analytics and recruiting) `` What advice do you have for Harvard undergraduates? `` Nothing about your time at Harvard (or beyond) will be perfectly linear. When you separate yourself from the pressure of needing to be on a particular “path” or “timeline,” you can begin to spend each day purposefully, rather than sticking to a plan. Inflexible plans are often a sneaky way of setting ourselves up for disappointment, or an arbitrary way to compare ourselves to our peers in unhelpful ways. But moving forward with purpose – seeking opportunities to help you grow as a person, professional, scholar, athlete, anything – is an organic way to build experience, chart out your own personal path to success and fulfillment, and, importantly, to enjoy yourself along the way!



mployers often tell OCS that most Harvard students are capable of doing the job for which they are hiring. What they are looking for are the candidates who want to do the job for their particular organization. That’s why some of the most common interview questions are Why do you want to work here? and Why are you interested in this position? To answer these questions, you need to be prepared to do more than communicate your achievements or describe your skills. You need to be able to relate your skills and experience to the specific demands of the position, demonstrate that you understand the work of the organization/employer, and convey your sincere interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity. In other words, it is your responsibility to help the interviewer answer their ultimate question, Why should we hire you? Interviewers are trying to assess: `` your qualifications for the job `` your "fit" with the employer or organization `` how well you have considered your reasons for applying `` how clearly you can express your potential contributions to the organization `` your “soft skills” such as communication and professionalism Listed below are some suggestions for improving your interviewing skills.

Research the employer, field, and position Before the interview, read the employer’s website as well as any print material that you may have picked up at a career fair or other hiring events. Google search the organization to get information from other sources, and consider following them on LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media. Be sure to stay current on industry news by reading daily news sources. Utilize Harvard online subscriptions such as Vault (available online through the OCS website) for additional industry and organization information. Whenever possible, attend the employer’s networking and information session or speak with someone who works at the organization to increase your visibility in the organization and to gather additional firsthand information. Use the Harvard Alumni Association database and LinkedIn to identify and reach out to alumni.

Know your resume INTERVIEWS

Be prepared to discuss everything on your resume. Remember that your resume is the only information most interviewers will have about you. Expect questions about your choice of activities, professional experiences, concentration, and thesis (if applicable). Employers and organizations are interested in

INSIDER TIP Year after year, OCS employers consistently rank employer research as the weakest element among Harvard candidates. For example, do you know the name of the company’s CEO? Can you talk about a recent article that mentioned the organization? Do your research and separate yourself from the pack?


knowing how you've chosen to spend your time and energy, and why. Help your interviewer get to know you and differentiate you from other students. Don't be terse when answering "what and why" questions, but don't ramble, either. Expand on your experience and skills. Focus your responses on how these relate to the job for which you are interviewing.

Practice Interviewing


The old saying “practice makes perfect” certainly applies to the interview process. Practice doesn’t mean memorizing questions and answers, Check out the new OCS but instead that you are practicing making eye-contact, clarifying your Pinterest boards for some explanations, understanding the reasoning behind certain questions, visual examples, ideas, and and connecting your own experience to them. You can practice with articles about professional roommates, friends, or house tutors. Utilize OCS mock interview attire. opportunities and online resources, such as InterviewStream, to record and review your responses to common interview questions. The more experience you have articulating your thoughts and highlighting your skills, the more effective and polished your presentation will be.

Prepare some questions to ask an employer Thoughtful questions will help you underscore your interest in the job and demonstrate that you have done your own research regarding the available position. Make sure you know the next step in the process before you leave. Ask, “When might I expect to hear from you?” and, if applicable, indicate your continued interest in the position.

Dress appropriately A well-groomed, professional appearance is essential to making your best possible impression. Attend employer networking and information sessions to pick up cues on how to dress for particular industries. Generally, plan to wear conservative attire in a dark color. In some creative, technical, or non-profit fields you may have more leeway in terms of formal vs. casual dress, but it is always safe to err on the formal side. Corporate Dress (for interviews) Business Casual (for employer events)

• dark suit with a light shirt or tailored dress • conservative tie/simple jewelry • dark/well-polished closed-toe shoes • khakis, dress pants, or skirt • button-down long-sleeve shirt, sweater set, or blouse • have a blazer handy

Have a good attitude INTERVIEWS

Project enthusiasm, confidence, and a positive attitude! Convey the message that you are the best candidate for the position and that this is the employer for whom you want to work. A job interview is not the place to be "laid-back;" it is up to you to “sell” yourself for the job. Market your skills and experience to fit the job requirements, which you know from careful and extensive research of the employer. Be professional, polished, and confident.

Interviewing Nuts & Bolts Tips: `` Map the location of the interview in advance `` Arrive 10-15 minutes early `` Bring extra copies of your resume and paper to write on `` Silence your cell phone


`` Smile and shake hands `` Make eye contact `` After the interview, send a thank-you email or note

Phone and Video Interviews Employers increasingly opt to use phone and video interviews more comprehensively, perhaps even asking case questions and technical questions in this form. In light of this, we encourage you to prepare for phone and video interviews as you would for any interview. During a phone interview, you are not able to see the interviewer’s reactions and adjust accordingly. There is a certain amount of energy that is shared between interviewer and interviewee that can be lost in a phone interview. Make sure you compensate for this by being prepared, focused, and able to communicate clearly. A few tips: `` Enunciate slowly, clearly, and with adequate volume. Convey, through your voice, enthusiasm, passion, and competence. Avoid “up-talk”—the verbal punctuation of each sentence with a question mark. `` If possible, use a landline instead of a cell phone to avoid static, noise, and losing signal. `` Plan the time and place of your phone interview so that you have privacy, quiet, and a good connection. You may be able to schedule a room and phone at OCS if the interview takes place during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, by emailing `` Dress as you would for a real interview. Dressing the part will help you focus on the importance and purpose of the conversation. `` Have clear and organized notes in front of you as reminders of questions to ask, background information about the employer, and perhaps even strategies for answering tough questions. `` Don’t be afraid of silence. If you’ve given a strong answer and there is no response, the interviewer is most likely taking notes. Don’t ruin a great response by rambling on with more details! Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and other video conferencing technologies are most often used by employers on the West Coast or overseas. In addition, these technologies have made it easier for employers to interview students when they are studying abroad or otherwise off campus. Again, we encourage you to prepare for a video interview as thoroughly as you would for any interview. These are some additional things to keep in mind: `` Get familiar with the technology. Ask what product or service will be used and try to practice with your friends and family if you can. This will make you more comfortable in the interview, allowing you to focus on the conversation. `` Remember that the interviewer will be able to see you AND the things that surround you. Items in the background can reflect on you as a candidate. Consider removing things from the background or find an alternative location for your interview.


`` Maintain eye contact. Many technologies allow you to view yourself simultaneously, and it is tempting to monitor yourself rather than stay focused on the interviewer. `` As with an in-person interview, dress appropriately for the position and organization. `` As with a phone interview, make sure that you have privacy, quiet, and a good connection.

GET INTERVIEW HELP AT OCS OCS offers a number of opportunities to learn more about interviewing and to practice your skills. Refer to the calendar section of the OCS website for dates and times. `` Strategies for a Successful Interview – Access this online tutorial via the OCS website. `` Ace Your Interview: Strategies for Success – Monday, September 12th, 4pm @ OCS


`` Case Interview Workshop with Case in Point author Marc Cosentino – Monday, September 12th, 8pm @ Science Center `` Mock Interview Marathons – Schedule a mock interview with a volunteer employer or graduate student who has experience in your preferred industry. You must be registered with the Campus Interview Program and sign-up through Crimson Careers in order to participate. `` Tuesday, September 13th and Thursday, September 14th: behavioral/fit, tech, finance, and consulting case (consulting case mock interviews are for seniors only on these dates) `` Friday, October 14th: behavioral/fit and consulting case (consulting case mock interviews are for juniors only on this date)


OCS has purchased a subscription to InterviewStream, an online practice interview system. Using a webcam, you will be able to record a practice interview and have the option to self-review. You may also seek feedback from mentors, peers, or house tutors by sharing your interview via email or unique URL. Access InterviewStream from the OCS website (PIN protected).


OCS offers free online access to CQI Interactive, the online version of Marc Cosentino’s widely-know Case-in-Point book on case interview preparation. Access CQI Interactive from the OCS website (PIN protected).


NEW: Connect with Harvard alums for a career chat, resume review, or mock interview. OCS Firsthand Advisers makes it easy to schedule a phone call with alums who have volunteered to be contacted. Access OCS Firsthand Advisers from the OCS website (one-time registration). `` Industry Specific Interview Workshops – led by employers in areas such as consulting, financial services, and technology. See the OCS Google Calendars for dates and times.

`` OCS Publications – Available at OCS and on the OCS website. `` OCS Resource Library – Includes online texts by Vault, titles like Case in Point by Marc Cosentino and Investment Banking: Valuation, Leveraged Buyouts, and Mergers and Acquisitions by Joshua Rosenbaum ‘94.

Behavioral and “Fit” Interviews Many employers use a “Behavioral Interview” to assess candidates’ skills and fit with their organization. The principle behind this type of interview is that past behavior predicts future behavior. In most cases, the employer has predetermined a specific set of characteristics, often referred to as “competencies,” that are required to be successful in the available position. Some examples of competencies include problem-solving, teamwork, communication, writing skills, and leadership. The employer then designs openended questions that ask you to refer back to a particular situation and describe how you responded.

INSIDER TIP Many employers will openly discuss their chosen “competencies” with candidates at a Career Fair, Networking & Information Session, or other recruiting or educational event, like a “pre-night” the evening before the interviews.



For example, an interviewer may request, “Tell me about a time when you were on a team that was not working well together.” The expectation is that you cite a specific situation from your own experience. Unless the interviewer indicates otherwise, the example you describe can come from your work, school, activity, or volunteer experience. It is important that you have something specific to say and that you can describe your own role and what you learned from the particular situation. Be aware that the interviewer is expecting to ask you multiple questions, so be as concise as possible while getting your point across.


This type of interview is a great way for you to tell the story behind your resume. Rather than merely presenting a list of your achievements, you have the opportunity to elaborate on some accomplishments that you may be particularly proud of. But like a good story, it is best to keep a few guidelines in mind: `` 1. Situation, 2. Action, 3. Result—follow this framework to answer behavioral questions `` Show, don’t tell—use a specific example and relevant details `` Stay on topic—remember the question you are trying to answer; don’t get sidetracked `` Have a conclusion—be sure to include the outcome or what you learned from the situation `` Make it resonate—touch upon why your behavior or response would be useful to the employer or in the position Below you will find several competency areas, each with a subset of skills and attributes listed beneath it. These are qualities that employers seek in candidates and that you will want to continue to develop across your career. To prepare for interviews, identify and practice telling stories for each of these seven competency areas, demonstrating at least one of the related qualities in your example.

Learning Orientation `` Intellectual curiosity

`` Motivate/empower

`` Quick learner

`` Conviction

`` Flexible and adaptive

`` Good judgment and integrity

`` Open to new ideas

`` Resolve differences

`` Innovative `` Reflect on mistakes, able to make improvements

Problem Solving

Teamwork `` Consensus builder `` Listen to others

`` See multiple possibilities

`` Collaborative

`` Evaluate options

`` Ability to work in diverse teams

`` Synthesize/integrate information

`` Aware of diverse/global perspectives

`` Multidisciplinary approach

`` Can build professional relationships and network

`` Entrepreneurial approach


`` Think on feet

`` Strong writing skills

`` Resourceful

`` Public speaking and presentation skills

Critical Thinking INTERVIEWS

`` Deal with complexity `` Handle ambiguity

`` Influence and persuade effectively `` Communicate globally – culturally sensitive/aware

Concrete/Technical Skills

`` See issues from multiple perspectives

`` Research skills

`` Uncover flaws in arguments

`` Data analysis/handling large data sets

`` Ask good questions

`` Tech/social media savvy

Leadership `` Demonstrate initiative `` Justify decisions


`` Advocate

`` Qualitative/Quantitative analysis `` Coding Languages: Java, C++, Python, etc.

In addition to determining how your interests and skills “fit” with the position and organization, the interviewer is also assessing how you might fit with the company or team culture. Sometimes fit questions are simply about whether you can connect with the interviewer on some other topic apart from your work or Harvard experience. Consider how you want to discuss another interest that you have, whether it be art, current events, gaming, etc., should an interviewer ask you about them – especially if you have referenced these interests on your resume! Many interviewers also apply what is colloquially referred to as the “airport test,” especially in fields where people work for long hours in teams. While they are listening to your responses, the interviewer is mentally asking him or herself, “Is this someone I could be stuck with at an airport for 12 hours?” It is important to keep in mind that this question is not a social question about friendship – this question is in a professional context to encapsulate other questions like: “Can you make the most out of a bad situation?” and, “Can you get along with your colleagues for long periods of time under less than ideal circumstances?” You may consider applying this test yourself as you evaluate whether this is an organization or field where you want to work.

Finance Interviews Because of the highly analytical and quantitative nature of the field, finance interviewers may purposely create a challenging environment to test how you will respond in an actual work situation. It is not uncommon for the interviewer to ask seemingly odd questions in a rapid-fire manner such as, “Quick, what is your SAT score?” or perhaps, “A client is screaming at you on the phone, how are you going to calm the situation?” Even the interview room may be set up so that multiple interviewers have a role to play in creating a test situation (think good cop/bad cop). Remember, in these types of interviews, employers want you to showcase your ability to remain composed under stress, analyze a situation, and form conclusions about the situation. The finance interview seeks to assess two things in a candidate: (1) fit for the job and the organization and (2) technical knowledge. In the world of finance, there are multiple functions such as investment management, investment banking, sales, trading, brokerage, financial advising, etc. Assessing “fit” for a position usually involves questions you are familiar with such as “Tell me about yourself,” and “Why are you interested in working for our organization?” The technical questions will be specific to the finance area for which you are interviewing. For example, common questions for investment management might be “Tell me about your dream stock portfolio? What is your investment strategy? If you are given a company, a market or an industry, what would be the steps to evaluate them?” The point here is to make sure that you have adequately reviewed the basic concepts of the area you are interviewing for and keep up to date on the literature in the field such as the Wall Street Journal and/or The Financial Times. It is especially important to review the financial news on the day of a finance interview.

Case Interviews


The case question, inherent in many business and consulting interviews, is one way of determining whether a candidate has the aptitude for handling complex business problems. How a candidate answers a case question can reveal both the student’s ability to do the job and desire to do so.

1. Repeat the question

Questions are sometimes drawn directly from the employer’s experience or can be crafted on the spot from news of the day. Most employers don’t expect in-depth business knowledge or high-level business terminology (there are exceptions, usually on the individual interviewer level). What they are looking for is whether the student has the analytical or problem-solving ability and the business sense to know what matters in a specific situation and can clearly explain it.

4. Share your thoughts on how you are solving the problem with the interviewer


Finance interviews may also use case questions as part of their general interview format. Although the use of case questions in finance interviews varies depending on the employer, it is important to be prepared.

2. Ask clarifying questions 3. Organize your thoughts

5. Suggest solutions


Most often, the employer verbally presents a business scenario and asks how the candidate would approach the problem. Sometimes, usually in later round interviews, some employers will present the candidate with a case study in print and allow the candidate a designated period of time to analyze the data either alone or in groups. If the case question is presented verbally, make sure you understand what is being asked of you. Reiterating the question is an effective way of confirming that you’re on the right track, and it gives you a moment to think about the situation with which you are faced. Once you are sure you understand what has been presented, don’t be afraid to ask a few questions. A few clarifying questions may well save you from launching into an elaborate analysis that lacks focus and misses the point. In preparing to answer the case, don’t feel that you need to dive headfirst into immediate solutions. Remember that it’s not the solutions they’re looking for, it’s the analysis. They want to hear how you’re thinking about this problem. Organize your thoughts. Think of a systematic way to look at the evidence that has been presented to you. The case interview guidebooks offer a variety of frameworks and strategies that can be useful tools for organizing your thoughts, but none take the place of common sense. You may not have taken business courses at Harvard, but you most certainly learned how to think analytically and use reasoning. Begin by talking about how you “might” want to look at the situation. Share your thoughts so that the interviewer can hear that you are thinking about the broadest dimensions of the problem before you begin suggesting potential paths that you might follow in pursuit of a solution. Taking the time to introduce your approach allows the employer to see that you get the “big picture.” In a first-round interview it is unlikely that you will have time to proceed through all of the necessary analysis. Upon demonstrating an understanding of the scope of the problem and developing a strategy, the employer may very likely suggest that you spend the rest of your time on one area of the analysis. For example, “Let’s talk about the customer. How would you carry out that analysis?” According to Adam Borchert, ‘98; Manager, Bain & Company, “A case interview is a dialogue about a business problem derived from real-life business situations. During the course of the discussion, the interviewer and interviewee will collaboratively work through a number of qualitative and quantitative approaches to the business question. The discussion typically moves from identifying a critical issue, breaking the problem into component parts, and finally recommending one or more solutions.


A consulting firm, such as Bain & Company, uses case interviews to see how you think about the types of business problems we work on each day. The best case interviews are thoughtful and collaborative dialogues about potential approaches to solve a tough business problem. We are not looking for a "right answer" or asking you to display knowledge of specific business terms, current events or well-known frameworks. Rather, we hope to see a good dose of analytical problem-solving skills, creativity, common sense and recommendations aimed at generating results for our clients. Finally, at Bain we believe a good case interview should be fun and thought provoking as it is very similar to discussions you would have daily as a member of our team.”



A case interview is a dialogue about a business problem derived from real-life business situations.”


Technical/Coding Interviews If you are applying to a technical role like software developer, data scientist, or algorithmic trader, you should expect a technical interview or technical questions. Be prepared to code in any languages listed on your resume, and if given the option, choose to code in the language you are most comfortable with. Interviewers will typically have graph paper, a white board, or an online domain for you to display your code, but you may want to bring graph paper with you just in case. Sometimes puzzles and other types of coding challenges are also used. Similar to the case interview, puzzles and technical/coding challenges are often evaluating how you think and collaborate with team members, who in this case are your interviewers. Be prepared to discuss your code aloud with the interviewer and explain your choices. You may also want to review projects and classwork you have completed to have examples ready to discuss. Usually technical/coding interviews include some behavioral interview questions, so prepare for those question types, as well. Many employers offer guidance prior to the interview regarding the format of the interview, including information about interview attire. Feel free to reach out to the contact listed in Crimson Careers for guidance regarding interview format.

Writing Thank You Letters/Emails

INSIDER TIP If an employer offers any kind of assistance with preparing for interviews, TAKE IT! Many students make the mistake of trying to appear self-sufficient and don’t accept help when it’s offered. Instead, you should be prepared to take advantage of any interview guidance or practice that’s offered. Not only does it give you access and insight into an organization’s particular interview style, it demonstrates that you are willing to use all the resources available to you to secure the job or internship offer.

Thank you letters to each interviewer are strongly recommended. Sending a thank you via email is usually sufficient because many employers make very quick decisions about whether a candidate should continue to the next round of their evaluation process. However, additional hand-written thank you notes can be a nice touch and a way to stand out, especially if you feel that your interviewer went out of his or her way to be helpful or informative. For campus interviews, contact information for your interviewers will be available for you to collect before or after your interview at the interview location.

SECOND AND FINAL ROUND INTERVIEWS Most employers will invite you to visit on-site for a second interview if you are a serious candidate for employment. This does not mean that you are assured an offer – preparation for the second and/or final interview is essential so that you can present yourself effectively. Feedback from both employers and students indicates that second-round interviews have become increasingly rigorous and increasingly important in evaluating you as a candidate. You should never assume that you will receive an offer until the employer officially extends it.


If an employer invites you back to their site for second or third round interviews, you can generally expect a fairly full day of meetings with a range of potential colleagues and supervisors. Make sure you get the names and titles of people with whom you’ll be interviewing so that you are prepared. The interviews are likely to be a similar type as your first round, but more in depth and with more and more senior-level interviewers. Know that while you are a serious candidate if you’ve made it to this stage, every part of the day (including lunch and dinner) is evaluative. Remember that the decision-making process should be a two-way process. Think about the information you need about the job, employer, and working conditions to make an informed decision, and go into your interviews prepared to try to glean the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. If you decide to decline an invitation for a second interview, or if you have accepted a second round interview but cannot keep the appointment, please notify the employer as soon as possible. Employers expect to be treated with the same courtesy they extend to you. Declining employers promptly with poise allows you to maintain a relationship with that organization and keep representatives in your professional network, even if you do not end up working for them.







he Campus Interview Program brings employers to campus for first round full-time and internship interviews. Approximately 200 employers participate each year. Students must register each academic year to earn access to the Campus Interview Program in Crimson Careers, i.e. to be able to apply to campus interview opportunities, schedule campus interviews, and otherwise participate in program events. See the Campus Interview Program website for registration details: http://ocs.fas. The Campus Interview Program process is highly competitive and only used by certain types of organizations. Some students mistakenly think of the Campus Interview Program as the “easy” way to find a job or internship; however, it is important to realize that it it is often time-intensive and stressful with multiple quick deadlines and demanding interview schedules. The program is one tool among many that students should utilize in their search for jobs and internships.

Important Campus Interview Program Dates `` First Summer Internship Application Deadline: Sunday, September 11th @ 11:59pm in Crimson Careers `` First Full-time Application Deadline: Wednesday, September 14th @ 11:59pm in Crimson Careers `` Fall Summer Internship Interviews: September 19th – October 31st `` Fall Full-Time Job Interviews: September 21st– October 31st `` Fall CS/Engineering Interviews, Intern & Full-time: October 24th – October 31st `` First Spring Application Deadline: Wednesday, January 11th `` Spring Summer Internship and Full-Time Job Interviews: January 24th – February 9th

Program Eligibility `` Harvard College students and alumni `` Graduate School of Arts and Sciences students and alumni `` Select Harvard Extension School and MIT Students

Why are there so many banking and consulting firms? Over 25 different industries were represented in last year’s Campus Interview Program, including popular opportunities at Anheuser-Busch, EF Education First, Facebook, HubSpot, PepsiCo, and Walt Disney. OCS invites all types of organizations to participate in the Campus Interview Program. The only requirements are that participating organizations have paid opportunities and that they abide by the program’s policies and procedures, including Harvard’s non-discrimination policy. That being said, many types of organizations do not hire through such an elaborate process as the Campus Interview Program. Formal programs are very time consuming and expensive for employers. Highly sought after organizations in areas such as sports, media, electronic gaming, non-profits, and entertainment are overloaded with applications and have no need to spend resources traveling to college campuses in search of additional candidates. Other types of organizations such as start-ups, venture capital, journalism, and



biotech are looking for applicants to show initiative by finding them. Many organizations prefer to make “just in time” hiring decisions closer to the employment start date and cannot predict hiring needs in advance. If you do not see an employer, organization, or industry of interest to you interviewing on campus, they are most likely still interested in hiring you! Many employers who do not participate in campus interviews actively recruit Harvard talent by attending a career fair, participating in an OCS career panel, and posting in Crimson Careers. Refer to The Job Search section of this guide for tips on the networked job search approach. Use OCS Drop-In Hours, Monday through Friday, 1 – 4pm to let OCS help you develop an individualized job search plan.

By the Numbers (2015–2016) Last Year’s Campus Interview Pro-



Student Activity





Number in class





642 (39%)

561 (34%)

268 (16%)

31 (2%)





15 / student

14 / student

8 / student

6 / student





Average number of interviews

5 / student

5 / student

2 / student

1 / student

Number (and % of applicants) who accepted offers

407 (63%)

297 (53%)

90 (34%)

9 (29%)





Number (and % of class) participating in Campus Interview Program Number of submitted applications Average number of applications Number of Interviews

% of class who accepted an offer through the Campus Interview Program

Successful candidates are those who: `` Engage in a significant amount of advance preparation `` Conduct industry research and employer outreach `` Take the time to learn which companies interest them and why and can communicate this clearly during an interview `` Build connections with people who work where they are applying `` Employers frequently visit campus to help you with this step! Over 75 employers will attend the Campus Interview Program Fair on Friday, September 9th and over 100 employers will host networking and information sessions on campus. `` Use these opportunities to meet face to face with Campus Interview Program employers, learn more about the organizations/industries that interest you, and learn how best to prepare for their application process. `` Follow up by sending thank-you emails to everyone you meet. Reference a contact you speak with in the opening section of your cover letters.

CAMPUS INTERVIEW PROGRAM SUMMER INTERNSHIPS Many employers in the Campus Interview Program are increasingly turning to their summer interns to fill their full-time openings, especially in the finance and technology sectors. These employers specifically target juniors for internships that allow both the student and the employer to test-drive a future full-time



employment relationship. Some sophomores may be targeted outside of the formal Campus Interview Program process. Many sophomore programs have a diversity focus. Technology internships are more commonly offered to sophomores and even some freshmen. This hiring may occur through the formal Campus Interview Program in October for technical roles at employers such as Microsoft and Facebook. Students applying for junior summer internship positions must meet high standards and should prepare accordingly. In particular, be aware that the Wall Street firms almost exclusively hire from their summer intern classes and do not participate in full-time campus interviews for seniors. In many cases competition for junior summer internships is more intense than for full-time jobs. This is especially true for consulting. Although consulting firms will interview a large number of underclassmen, they will extend few summer internship offers. This is often because it is more difficult to find meaningful projects for untrained interns in such a short span of time. Even though there are fewer spots in consulting, summer intern recruiting is an important process that helps you develop connections and become more of a known entity with firms. Consulting firms return to campus and make the majority of their offers through the full-time campus interview process for seniors in the fall. Other employers in the Campus Interview Program choose only to manage their full-time hiring through OCS. These companies often have summer internships but ask that students apply directly to them through their website (e.g. AnheuserBusch and HubSpot hire summer interns but only participate in the formal Campus Interview Program for full-time hiring). NOTE to Juniors and Sophomores: Don’t hesitate to attend an Employer Networking & Information Session in the early fall. Even if the employer is not specifically looking to hire interns, it is never too early to start gathering information that will help you be a good candidate later on. Many employers only have one session during the year, regardless of how many times they come to interview on campus.


Stay in touch with interviewers, even if you don't get the job or accept another offer. Next round, it may come in handy.” -HARVARD ALUM ‘13

INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS GOING ABROAD Students who study or work abroad are attractive candidates to employers. Going to an international destination shows initiative, independence, curiosity, a willingness to explore and acclimate to a new culture, and other valuable qualities. Employers do not want to miss these candidates, but the logistics of being out of the country do create some obstacles and may require extra leg work. The most important things to remember about the Campus Interview Program or your job/internship search while you are studying abroad are: `` Start early – Make a plan for how you will proceed given your unique circumstances. Remember that some elements of your search can be conducted even before you leave the country. If you will be abroad in the spring semester, note that the majority of campus interviews and related events for both full-time and intern hiring takes place during the fall semester. If you will be abroad in the fall semester, we recommend proactively reaching out to employer representatives/alumni online over the summer before you leave. Reach out to the recruiting contact listed in Crimson Careers and ask if it is possible to connect with a representative virtually or find alumni contacts via the HAA alumni database, OCS Firsthand Advisers, and LinkedIn (see Make Connections in The Job Search section of this guide for more information).

INSIDER TIP If you will be abroad in the fall semester, be sure to opt-in during the previous spring to the Campus Interview Program study-abroad email list for information about employers that have early or specific study-abroad processes.

`` Be flexible – Each employer will have their own way of working with students who are going abroad, so be ready to research and adapt to their processes. This is also why it is important to start early. `` Use all your resources – OCS advisers and staff are available to help you strategize your individual approach. Many of our resources are online and accessible from anywhere in the world where you have internet access. `` Know the logistics – Be sure to attend an Orientation before you go abroad or plan to take the online tutorial and quiz from overseas (see the Campus Interview Program website). While you may be able to apply to Campus 32


Interview Program positions through Crimson Careers if you have registered, it is important that you do not sign up for an interview time unless you will be available in person on the interview date. Contact ocsrec@fas. for information on how to proceed if invited to a campus interview in Crimson Careers. `` Stay connected – You can still receive the OCS email newsletter, utilize OCS online chat hours, and login to OCS proprietary databases from abroad. Don’t forget to check the student section of the OCS website at ocs.fas.harvard. edu both before you go and while you are away to get the most up to date information and information that is more specific to you.

USING CRIMSON CAREERS FOR CAMPUS INTERVIEWS The Campus Interview Program is facilitated using the Crimson Careers online system. Students are able to manage their campus interview applications and interviews using the same website where they can make advising appointments, RSVP to OCS events, and search other job and internship opportunities posted by companies, organizations, and Harvard Offices and Centers. Below is a brief overview of how to navigate Crimson Careers specifically for the Campus Interview Program. See “Quick Tips for using Crimson Careers” in The Job Search section of this guide for more information.

Searching Jobs & Internships Depending on your search criteria, you most likely will see Campus Interview Program positions side-by-side with all other opportunities. When trying to meet a Campus Interview Program deadline, we recommend filtering for positions by “Position Type” and sorting your results by deadline. When clicking through to the full position description, you will see that there is a list of dates and details on the righthand side of campus interview postings. The interview date, location, application deadline, interview cancellation deadline, and other relevant details are all listed. Most campus interview positions indicate that students should apply by a specified deadline date. This means that the employer will be inviting candidates to interview prior to the interview date. Apply by clicking on the job description and submitting the requested documents through Crimson Careers. Your application to these postings will show up in the “Campus Interview Applications” section of the “Interviews” tab. Rarely, campus interview opportunities may indicate that students can apply and interview. This means that the employer is willing to interview students without prior screening. Apply by clicking on the position description and submitting the requested documents through Crimson Careers, and then you will automatically be able to sign up for an interview slot on a first-come, first-served basis. This is also the position type used for educational events like the OCS Mock Interview Marathon. You may view your scheduled interview under the “Scheduled Campus Interviews” section of the “Interviews” tab.



Applying to Campus Interview Program Positions Students are responsible for providing to individual employers exactly what the employer requests. One of the first things a recruiter asks him or herself is “Did the student give me what I asked for?” Anything listed in the application pop-up screen is required by the employer. If a category of document is not an option in the application window, then the employer did not request it. Example 1: This application requires that the student apply on the company website in addition to Crimson Careers. Example 2: This application requires a resume (with GPA and SAT’s) as well as a cover letter and transcript.

Example 1

Example 2

Signing up for Campus Interviews There are two sections of the INTERVIEWS Tab in Crimson Careers that allow you to manage the campus interview process:

`` Campus Interview Applications `` Scheduled Campus Interviews In the Campus Interview Applications section, you will see some of the most relevant details about your application, including the status of the employer’s decision about your candidacy. In the accompanying screen shot, the application status is highlighted in yellow and can be any of the following five options: `` Pending: Each application will have a “Pending” status until the employer submits a decision. Employers enter decisions by the “Sign-up Start Date,” and your application status will change to either “Invited,” “Alternate” or “Not Invited.” `` Invited: If you are invited to an interview with that employer, an email will be sent to you reminding you to sign up for an interview time. You will also see an alert on your Crimson Careers homepage and the status of that application in the “Campus Interview Applications” section will be changed to “Invited.” `` Alternate: If you are accepted as an “Alternate” you will be able to sign up for any remaining interview spots beginning at 12am, 3 days prior to the employer’s campus interview date. Interviews are available to alternates if an invited student declines an interview opportunity. Alternates may sign up on a first-come, first-served basis starting on the “Alternate Sign-up Start Date,” so be sure to check your email and your application status in Crimson Careers to avoid missing an opportunity. The Campus Interview Program office frequently contacts alternates when interview slots become available by email or phone. Make sure that your cell phone number is accurately listed in Crimson Careers and that your voicemail is set up. `` Not Invited: You have been declined for an interview. You may want to send the employer contact one final followup email or phone call to reiterate your interest and qualifications, but this should be done sparingly and with sensitivity. 34


`` Sign-up Ended: If your status reads "Sign-up ended," this DOES NOT MEAN YOU MISSED AN INTERVIEW. The system automatically registers this status once the sign-up period has ended. When an employer updates your interview status in Crimson Careers, you will be automatically emailed and the Interviews screen will change accordingly. Typically interviews take place between 9:00am-6:00pm, occasionally starting earlier and ending later to accommodate employer demand and student schedules. Interviews will most often last 30 minutes to an hour, and take place at the *NEW* OCS Interview Facility located on the lower level of the Harvard SOCH (59 Shepard St). Due to high volume, interviews may also take place at the OCS Main Office at 54 Dunster Street. However, there are exceptions to all these criteria. You have a responsibility to attend every interview listed under your “Scheduled Campus Interviews” in Crimson Careers, to examine your schedule for conflicting interviews, and to check your @college or @fas email account for any updates or changes. To change your interview time, navigate to the “Reschedule” option, and you will see the interview times that are available. Interviews are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is in your best interest to sign-up as soon as possible. If there are no remaining interview slots that work with your schedule and you would like to see if there is anyone willing to switch timeslots with you, please contact the Campus Interview Program office by emailing ocsrec@fas.harvard. edu for the list of other students on your interview schedule. If you have tried to switch timeslots and there are no times that work with your schedule, you may need to contact the employer and/or recruiter using the contact information on Crimson Careers to ask for their advice. Understand that you will most likely need to share information about your time conflict. Employers have spent a great deal of time and money scheduling their campus interview date and are under no obligation to reschedule a first round interview. Second round interviews are not a legitimate reason to reschedule the first round interview (See Second Round Interview Policy). Please contact the Campus Interview Program office at if you have any more detailed questions.

Interview Logistics: The date, time, duration, and location of your interview(s) will be emailed to you as a confirmation of your interview. You can also find this information from your Crimson Careers Interviews tab under “Scheduled Campus Interviews."



Cancellation Policy Please check your schedule carefully to avoid conflicts. If you need to change your interview time or cancel an interview, you may do so using Crimson Careers as long as it is prior to 12:00am two calendar days before your interview date. If you must cancel your interview after that time, whether due to illness or an emergency, please contact the Campus Interview Office immediately so an alternate can have the opportunity to interview. Cancelling an interview with less than two days’ notice for a non-health related reason may result in restricted access to the Campus Interview Program. Students are not allowed to cancel a first round interview for a second or final round interview. See the Second Round Interview Policy for more details.

No Show Policy Not showing up for an interview is extremely disrespectful of an employer’s time, denies other Harvard candidates the opportunity to interview, and jeopardizes Harvard’s positive relationship with employers. We take this offense very seriously, and will put a hold on your Crimson Careers account and prohibit you from applying to or signing up for any further campus interviews until you meet with the Director of the Campus Interview Program. A letter of explanation and apology to the recruiter involved must be written before reinstatement in the program. Failure to comply with the No Show Policy may result in your removal from the Campus Interview Program. In case of an emergency, explain your situation to someone in the Campus Interview Office as soon as possible (, 617-495-2598).

Second Round Interview Policy Employers and students must both follow the guidelines listed below when arranging second round interviews. Students are not permitted to cancel a first round interview to attend a second round. Employers are not obligated to reschedule first round interview dates. First round interview dates are scheduled by the employer months in advance and listed on the position descriptions from the time of application. However, employers are required to give students an alternate interview date if students have a conflict with their second-round interview date.




NO 2nd Rounds can be conducted outside the September 19 – September 22; Cambridge Area September 26 – September 29 Employers MUST give students at least 72-hour notice to leave the Cambridge Area


NO 2nd Rounds can be conducted outside the January 24 - January 26 Cambridge Area Employers MUST give students at least 72-hour notice to leave the Cambridge Area

If you are having any problems with employers not abiding by these dates, please contact the Campus Interview Office at or 617-495-2598.



CAMPUS INTERVIEW PROGRAM APPLICATION FAQS `` The employer does not indicate that they want a cover



`` ``




letter, should I attach one anyway? For campus interview POLICY opportunities each employer has individual specifications and needs, so demonstrate your ability to pay attention to details Anytime prior and follow instructions by providing exactly the documents You may freely cancel to 12am, 2 days requested, no more and no less. an interview using before your Crimson Careers Can I send one general cover letter for all my applications? interview date No! You may have filled out a common application for college, but your job applications should be tailored to the needs and specifications indicated in the job description. Remember, the Anytime after You must contact the job or internship search is not a numbers game; it is about 12am, 2 days Campus Interview finding and demonstrating “fit.” before your Office immediately Can employers see the saved document names? Yes! Be careful interview date to name your documents carefully. For example, you do not want to send a document called “Consulting Letter” to a nonprofit organization! How do I attach my GPA or SAT scores? If an employer requests GPA and/or SAT scores, simply include them in your resume. A separate document is not necessary. Note: Employers may wish to check the accuracy of these figures before formally hiring you by requesting an official transcript and/or reports from the relevant testing service. Do I need an official copy of my transcript? No! You may use your “Unofficial Transcript” in lieu of your official transcript. See the Campus Interview Program section of the OCS website for specific information about uploading your transcript to remove the registrar encryption. Note: you are on your honor to supply accurate transcript information to employers and must use your official transcript, Unofficial Transcript, or Student Record only. Misrepresenting your Harvard transcript is an Honor Council/Ad Board offense. Why is the employer asking me to apply on their website in addition to Crimson Careers? Some employers, whether for legal or tracking purposes, require students to also complete applications through the organization’s website. If an online application is required, the employer’s web address will be given, and you must complete BOTH the online application at the company website and the Crimson Careers application to be considered for a campus interview. Be sure to check the entire job posting carefully to see if an employer requires an additional application on their website. Note: if an employer is asking you ALSO to apply through their own organizational website, they may ask you to submit a cover letter (or answer application questions) through their site even if they do not ask for a cover letter via Crimson Careers.

Remember, the Campus Interview Program is highly competitive- take advantage of all of the resources and advice outlined in this Guide for meeting people, resume/cover letters, and interviews.



Undergraduate, MA/MS/MLA, and PhD Campus Interview Program


Academic & Campus Interview Calendar, 2016–2017 Aug. 31 (w) – Sept. 22 (th) Sept. 1 (th) Sept. 9 (f)

Networking & Information Sessions, Full-Time & Intern Finance Networking Night, Full-Time & Intern Campus Interview Program Fair, Full-Time & Intern

Sept. 11 (su)

First Finance Campus Interview Application Deadline, Intern*

Sept. 14 (w)

First Campus Interview Application Deadline, Full-Time & Intern*

Sept. 16 (f)

Consulting Networking Night, Full-Time & Intern

Sept. 13 (TU) & Sept. 15 (TH); Oct. 14 (F)

Mock Interview Marathon, Full-Time & Intern*

Sept. 19 (m) – Sept. 22 (th)

Finance Campus Interviews, Intern*

Sept. 19 (m) – Sept. 22 (th)

No Off–Campus (Second/Final Round) Interviews, Intern*

Sept. 26 (m) – Oct. 27 (th) Sept. 26 (m) – Sept. 29 (th) Oct. 6 (th) Oct. 7 (f) Oct. 12 (w) Oct. 24 (m) – Oct. 27 (th)

Campus Interviews, Full-Time & Intern* No Off-Campus (Second/Final Round) Interviews, Full-Time & Intern Big Data Analytics & Technology Fair, Full-Time & Intern CS/Eng Campus Interviews with Employers from Big Data Fair, Full-Time & Intern CS/Eng Campus Interview Application Deadline, Full-Time & Intern CS/Eng Campus Interviews, Full-Time & Intern

Oct. 31 (m)

Last Day for Finance Second/Final Round Interviews, Intern*

Dec. 8 (th)

Fall Campus Interviews Offer Decision Deadline, Full-Time & Intern

Dec. 3 (sa) – Dec. 11 (su)

Fall Reading Period**

Dec. 12 (m) – Dec. 21 (w)

Fall Examinations**

Dec 23 (f) – Jan 22 (su)

Winter Break

Jan. 11 (w)

First Spring Campus Interview Deadline, Full-Time & Intern

Jan. 23 (m)

First Day of Spring Classes

Jan. 24 (tu) – Feb. 9 (th)

Spring Campus Interviews, Full-Time & Intern

Jan. 24 (tu) – Jan. 26 (th)

No Off–Campus Second Round Interviews, Full-Time & Intern

Mar. 10 (f) – Mar. 19 (su)

Spring Break

Apr. 27 (th) – May 3 (w)

Spring Reading Period**

May 4 (th) – May 13 (sa)

Spring Examinations**

May 25 (th)

Commencement *Intern interviews are for JUNIORS ONLY on these dates. **NO recruiting activities (educational sessions, information sessions, and interviews, including off-campus interviews) may take place during Harvard’s Reading and Exam Periods.

Offer Decision Deadlines Oct. 27(th) Dec. 8 (th) or 3 weeks from date of written offer, whichever is LATER Dec. 8 (th) Feb. 23 (th) or 3 weeks from date of written offer, whichever is LATER


Full-Time Offers Resulting from a Previous Campus Interview Program Summer Internship Full-Time & Intern Offers Resulting from FALL Campus Interviews Intern Offers Resulting from a Previous Campus Interview Program Summer Internship Full-Time & Intern Offers Resulting from SPRING Campus Interviews



Undergraduate, MA/MS/MLA, and PhD Campus Interview Program

FALL 2016 Employer Preselect Deadline

Employer Interview Date

Finance Intern (Juniors Only) Sept. 11 (su) @ 11:59pm

Sept. 13 (tu)

Sept. 19 (m) – Sept. 22 (th)

All Sectors Full-Time & Intern Sept. 14 (w) @ 11:59pm (Juniors Only) Sept. 21 (w) @ 11:59pm

Sept. 20 (tu)*

Sept. 23 (F) – Sept. 29 (th)

Sept. 27 (tu)

Oct. 4 (tu) – Oct. 6 (th)

Interview Period

CS/Eng Full-Time & Intern

Student Application Deadline

Sept. 28 (w) @ 11:59pm

Oct. 4 (tu)

Oct. 11 (tu) & Oct. 13 (th)

Oct. 5 (w) @ 11:59pm

Oct. 11 (tu)

Oct. 17 (m) – Oct. 20 (th)

Oct. 12 (w) @ 11:59pm

Oct. 18 (tu)

Oct. 24 (m) – Oct. 27 (th)

*Preselect deadline for interviews on 9/23 is 9/16

SPRING 2017 Employer Preselect Deadline

Employer Interview Date

All Sectors Full-Time & Intern Jan. 11 (w) @ 11:59pm

Jan. 17 (tu)

Jan. 24 (tu) – Jan. 26* (th)

Jan. 18 (w) @ 11:59pm

Jan. 24 (tu)

Jan. 30 (m) – Feb. 2 (th)

Jan. 25 (w) @ 11:59pm

Jan. 31 (tu)

Feb. 7 (tu) – Feb. 9* (th)

Interview Period

Student Application Deadline

*No interviews scheduled on Jan. 23 (m) and Feb. 6 (m)

Interview Schedule Notes 1. All Students must register to participate in the Campus Interview Program. 2. Student Application Deadline: Students submit all application-related materials via Crimson Careers by 11:59pm on this date. Campus Interview Program applications are Wednesday nights, with the exception of the first fall deadline which is a Sunday, two weeks prior to the Employer Interview Date. 3. Employer Preselect Deadline: Invited, alternate and not invited decisions are typically entered by 6pm on this date in Crimson Careers. Check your “interviews” tab in Crimson Careers to view your status. 4. Preselect (Invited) Sign-up Start Date is 12:00am the day after the Employer Preselect Deadline. 5. Schedule Types: Interview Schedules may be one of two options listed below: a.) Preselect - Alternate Schedules: Alternates will be able to select any remaining interview time slots at 12:00am three days before the interview date. b.) Open Schedules: Interviews are scheduled entirely on a first-come, first-served basis. 6. Interview Changes: You may change your interview time in Crimson Careers if there are open interview times available up until 12:00am two calendar days prior to the interview date. If you need to switch an interview time and there are no open times available, please email to request an interview switch with another student. 7. Schedules Freeze: You may cancel an interview up to 12:00am two calendar days prior to the interview date through Crimson Careers. Late cancellations are a violation of the Campus Interview Program Policies. Students may not cancel a first-round interview to attend a second-round interview. Harvard University FAS - Office of Career Services Campus Interview Office 617-495-2598 | | 54 Dunster Street, Cambridge, MA 02138



ongratulations! You received an offer. Now what? The following information will help you think about how to: `` Prioritize the offers you have received, and those you are still working on.


`` Weigh job offers against other options such as graduate school and fellowships. `` Evaluate and negotiate compensation packages.

GETTING THE OFFER `` Say thank you – Many employers will give an initial offer over the phone. Show gratitude that you were selected among many candidates and express your continued and sincere interest in the position. The key point is that you don’t have to answer right away!

`` Ask to get your offer in writing – To thoroughly consider an offer and compare it to others, you

need to have the details. Request the offer in writing when offered the position over the phone. Any employer should be able to email or mail the official documentation to you.

`` Keep in touch – Even if you need time to make a decision, it is essential to keep in touch with your contacts at the organization. Make sure to return phone calls and emails from the employer in a timely manner. It is reasonable for them to check in and see where you are in your decision-making process, but if you feel like they are contacting you too frequently, you can be proactive and suggest the date for your next conversation. Then you can also plan to ask questions that will help you make the right decision.

`` Be an ACTIVE decision-maker – To make an effective decision, you may need to speak to more people at the organization, negotiate some details of the offer, consult friends and family, and/or do some self- and career-assessment regarding your current and future goals. While you should be given time to make a thoughtful decision, you also have a responsibility to use your time wisely and not wait until the last minute.


You are at a moment of transition that requires making choices. And selecting one option – a job, a career, a graduate program – means not selecting others. Every decision means loss as well as gain— possibilities foregone as well as possibilities embraced...if you don’t try to do what you love—whether it is painting or biology or finance; if you don’t pursue what you think will be most meaningful, you will regret it. Life is long. There is always time for Plan B. But don’t begin with it.” -2008 BACCALAUREATE ADDRESS


GOALS Making decisions requires reflection to determine what direction you want to take. Before making a decision, ask yourself the following questions: `` `` `` ``

Where do I see myself every day for the next couple of years? What skills do I want to use? What skills do I want to gain? What do I think will make me happy? How do I want to make an impact?


The goal is to reach a decision that is consistent with who you are and what you value. This is true whether you are comparing job offers, graduate programs, or fellowships for post-graduate study or travel. The decision to accept a job or other career option is a very personal one, and often involves talking to lots of people, weighing the facts, following your instincts, and in some cases, taking a leap of faith.

EVALUATING THE OPPORTUNITY When considering job offers, ask yourself: `` What are the potential paths that could follow after accepting the position? Are there growth opportunities? What will I learn from this job? Where could those skills and experiences take me in the future? `` Do I like and respect my potential coworkers? Do I feel comfortable with the culture of the organization? Do people seem happy working there? `` Will I have the opportunity to meet new people in the field, and expand my network of professional connections? `` Am I happy with the job location, in terms of cost of living, climate, proximity to family, and opportunities for social life or cultural activities? `` Does this opportunity align with my other priorities… work/life balance, time off, etc.?

MAKING A COMMITMENT As you are making this immediate career decision, think about where it will lead you. While this may well be your first full-time job or career decision, it most certainly will not be your last. OCS often refers to the first job as “Next Steps” because you will likely change jobs and even careers as you develop new skills and reality-test your interests. It will take time for you to gain both the quantity and quality of experience to use as leverage for your next step.

ONCE YOU MAKE A DECISION `` Accept Your Offer – You can accept an offer with an employer over the phone, but be sure to follow any instructions that they provide via email or mail. There is often a fair amount of paperwork that takes place to make you an official member of the team. `` Once you accept, STOP LOOKING! Never accept an offer and continue looking for additional opportunities. This is considered an egregious breach of ethics, and can seriously harm your reputation in your chosen field as well as Harvard’s reputation with that employer. Keep in mind that people within fields usually know one another and often compare notes. Similarly, employers often self-police the practice of reneging on offers by rescinding any offer to a candidate who has reneged with another firm. If an opportunity has come along that you would like to pursue after you have accepted a job offer, contact an OCS adviser for help in navigating the situation. While some employers may not want to go forward with a potentially unhappy employee, be prepared for them to ask that you honor the commitment you’ve made.


`` Decline Offers – When you know you are no longer interested in an offer, withdraw from the applicant pool or decline

the offer as soon as possible. Interviewing with or holding onto an offer with an employer that does not interest you wastes both your time and the employer’s, may impact other students who are hoping for that opportunity, and may damage your own professional reputation. You should decline an offer over the phone (not by email or voicemail), and be sure to reiterate your appreciation as you do so. You should also follow up with any person at the organization who you’ve come to know during the job search process. Do not leave a voicemail message or send an email to decline an offer. If the contact person is not available, leave a message for them to call you back or use email to schedule a phone call at a specific date and time.

`` Remember, It’s A Small World – In all your interactions with employers, always be polite, professional, and respectful

of people’s time. Even if you ultimately decide not to work with a particular organization, you never know when your professional paths may cross again. It is in your best interest to keep the people you meet during the job search process in your network. A strong network is the best job security and vital to your own professional development. Consider connecting on LinkedIn with those who have helped you through the process.


What to do … IF…


You receive an offer that you are really excited about…

Don’t delay! There is no reason to drag out the process if you have received an offer that meets your needs and expectations. Examine the details of the written offer, clarify or negotiate if necessary, and accept in a timely manner. Before you accept, wrap up any existing interview commitments. After you accept, be sure to decline any other outstanding offers.

You have multiple offers, but none stand out as the best choice…

Even if you are unsure which option is best, do not wait until you have all possible offers in hand to start making decisions. Actively evaluate options against each other and your ideal and do not hold more than two or three offers at a time. Declining offers in a timely manner helps you maintain good relationships with employers, even if you decide not to work for them. It is respectful of their time and allows them to give an offer to someone else.

You have an offer, but you want to hold out for something else…

If the offer is from an organization participating in the Campus Interview Program, a set timeline applies. Outside of campus interviews, it is acceptable to ask an employer for more time to make a decision on an offer, but don’t do so unprepared. Have a realistic sense of how much time you need and always express appreciation and enthusiasm for the existing offer. If you are granted more time, be sure to call the other employer and let them know you have another offer. If they really want to hire you, they may be able to speed up the process. Also be prepared for what you will do if the employer does not give you more time.

You accepted an offer, but something better has come along…

Once you have accepted an offer, you have given a good-faith commitment to honor it. Reneging on an offer is a breach of your agreement, can jeopardize your professional reputation, and can damage Harvard’s relationship with that organization. If you are convinced that you would not be happy with the offer you have accepted, stop by OCS drop-in hours or make an appointment with an OCS adviser to discuss your options before contacting the employer.

Remember to consult an OCS adviser for guidance, whether you are in the midst of any of the scenarios above or experiencing a unique problem.

Salary While compensation shouldn’t be the sole focus of your analysis, it is an essential component of any job decision. Keep in mind that if you are looking at more than one type of job, you may be looking at different sets of numbers. One cannot compare, for instance, an entry-level position in publishing with one in consulting. The starting salaries are simply too different, but each may teach you a lot and lead to other interesting opportunities. 42

Many websites offer a combination of salary data by job title, industry, and/or field, as well as salary calculators to help determine how salaries may be impacted by cost of living in different geographic regions. Here are a few examples: `` `` `` `` NACE Salary Calculator available through Crimson Careers (uses data from the U.S. Department of Labor) Also remember that compensation includes more than base salary. Bonuses and Benefits may seem like a minor piece of the puzzle, but they can come with a considerable price tag once you begin paying the bills. Benefits to consider include: `` Bonus Structure (Yearly, Performance-Based, etc.) `` Stock Options or Profit Sharing


`` Paid Leave (Vacation Time, Sick Time, and Personal Days) `` 401(k) or other Retirement Savings Plan `` Education Benefits `` Relocation Benefits `` Health, Life, and Disability Insurance

Negotiating Think carefully before negotiating a job offer and actively seek outside benchmarks and guidance from industry research, your personal and professional network, and resources at OCS. Competitive organizations usually offer a set package that is identical to those offered to all new hires. Unless you offer something significant in terms of additional, relevant education or experience over and above other candidates receiving an offer, it is unlikely that you will be able to negotiate additional monetary compensation. However, there are several aspects of your offer or decision timeline that you may want to negotiate instead or in addition to salary. If you do decide to negotiate, plan to have the conversation over the phone. Have notes in front of you, and try practicing beforehand with a friend, parent, or OCS adviser.

Some negotiation guidelines: NEVER


Research the industry to best represent yourself during negotiation Never misrepresent yourself or a competing Get advice from recent alums, professionals in the field, OCS offer in any way advisers, and family members Never negotiate over email (some exceptions Listen carefully for tone of voice and other cues that will help for negotiating across time zones) you navigate the negotiation Never wait until the last minute to negotiate

Never get confrontational

Behave professionally. Know what your deal-making and deal-breaking factors are ahead of time

Maintain Relationships When you ultimately come to a conclusion, it is important to remember that it is a small world. The opportunity you don’t take today may well be right for you in a few years. Being as gracious when declining an offer as you are when accepting one can go a long way towards building a network of contacts that will stay with you a lifetime. Finally, trust yourself. In the end, only you can decide whether or not a job is right for you.


CAMPUS INTERVIEW PROGRAM OFFERS Students need to be aware that many employers in the Campus Interview Program have a very short timeline from when first round interviews start to when offers are made to candidates. Sometimes students feel pressured by employers to accept an offer quickly. If a time frame is not within our constraints stated in the Campus Interview Offer Policy, please contact the Campus Interview Office and we will help negotiate the correct amount of time needed to make the decision. Often the person making the offer is simply not aware of our Offer Policy.

Campus Interview Program Offer Policy OFFERS & DECISIONS

In order for students to make effective decisions, they must explore as many of the options open to them as possible. At the same time, students are expected to be active decision makers, avoid waiting until the last minute, and honor commitments and agreements that they make during the campus interview process.

Get Offer Help at OCS Offers and Decisions Workshops and Office Hours: Check the OCS Google Calendars for updates and additions OCS Drop-Ins: Monday – Friday, 1 - 4pm @ OCS

All organizations participating in the Campus Interview Program (which includes all interviews conducted offcampus with students whose resumes have come to through our resume drops and/or career fairs) must follow this timetable:

Full-Time Hiring Offer Timetable DATE OF OFFER:


Offers resulting from previous summer internship obtained through Campus Interviews

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Offers resulting from Fall Campus Interviews

Thursday, December 8, 2016 or 3 weeks from Date of Offer (whichever is LATER)

Offers resulting from Spring Campus Interviews

Thursday, February 23, 2017 or 3 weeks from Date of Offer (whichever is LATER)

Internship Hiring Offer Timetable DATE OF OFFER


Offers resulting from previous summer internship obtained through Campus Interviews

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Offers resulting from Fall Campus Interviews

Thursday, December 8, 2016 or 3 weeks from Date of Offer (whichever is LATER)

Offers resulting from Spring Campus Interviews

Thursday, February 23, 2017 or 3 weeks from Date of Offer (whichever is LATER)

No Exploding Offers. We expect employers to honor all offers made to students and that no conditions will be placed on the offer (e.g., “We have 10 offers outstanding for 8 openings and will accept the first 8 students who get back to us,” etc.). No financial incentive (e.g., “We will provide a $5,000 bonus if you sign today,” etc.) may be offered to induce students to accept offers early. Students should always insist on receiving offers in writing. Please examine the contract you sign very carefully. Students who renege on offers after both parties have signed will be denied future access to the Campus Interview Program. Reneging on a Job Offer is considered an egregious breach of ethics and will create an adverse relationship not only between you and the employer, but also between the employer and Harvard. Students who do renege on a job offer will have their Crimson Careers account blocked immediately and will have to meet with the Director of the Campus Interview Program. If an opportunity has come along that you would like to pursue after you have accepted a job offer, consult OCS and contact the employer that has made you the offer. Let them know about the situation and ask their advice. 44


How can I be effective?

How can I make an impact and make the world a better place? What am I good at?

Whom do I want to be with and learn from? How can I contribute to my family, community, country and the world?

reach your destination. Each person is responsible for designing their pathway and figuring out where their skill set is best applied. Beginning to think about an individualized path is not as hard as it sounds, since there are plenty of road maps and people willing to help and give advice. The hardest part is learning how to make decisions about your next steps while you are still trying to decide what the path might look like.


It may seem counter-intuitive, but at graduation your learning has just begun! “What do I want to do with my life?” is a question people continue to reflect on across their lifespan. Over time the people you meet and the experiences you have will help refine your thoughts about this question. One of the goals of a Liberal Arts and Sciences education is to help you begin the answer-seeking process in the rich pool of resources that universities have amassed for you to learn from. However, you will need to develop new skills and acquire new information continually to be successful in a changing world. After graduation the rules change for measuring success, and this can be a difficult transition. For most Harvard students, high school success came from following an approved script of achievement in areas like grades, athletics, extracurriculars, standardized tests and other measurable activities where the goals and standards were pretty straightforward. After college, however, there is no one-size-fits-all approved script for success. Instead, there are thousands of pathways in millions of directions with many different opportunities and definitions of success. The first few years out of college can be like driving on a road in the fog. You can’t really see where you are going, but by looking ahead at the part of the road you can see in the headlights you still manage to

Once you embark on your first post-graduate experience, continue to test your hypothesis: collect feedback and data by checking in with yourself periodically to reflect and evaluate how the experience is going.”

You may also want to think about selecting a “Board of Advisors” to help you consider these questions and make intelligent decisions about what to pursue next. Many students seek out family, friends with similar interests, College faculty and administrators, career service advisers, alumni, employers and others with “insider knowledge” of what they are thinking of doing to advise them along their path. The more you talk 45

to reflect and evaluate how the experience is going. Are you still learning, meeting interesting people and moving forward in a positive direction? Trust your gut feelings. When you have stopped learning and growing in an experience or if you feel bored, this is feedback that it is time to start thinking about what you may want to do next. Ask yourself, is it time to go back to graduate or professional school, or time to change jobs? Following this approach over time will allow you to grow and change across many different experiences. What if you discover you really don’t like what you selected, the experience isn’t what you expected or you think you made a mistake? Just like an experiment where the result is negative, you will have learned a tremendous amount about what variables matter. Learning what you don’t like to do is as important as learning what you do like. A “mistake” is a window of clarity. All of a sudden the fog lifts on the road in front of you and you see which fork you did not want to take. This is a gift to you since it is better to learn these lessons early in life rather than later. Remember you will have a long life of getting to know yourself and the world you live in and you will be in a continual state of learning, changing and developing. Life is about the choices you make along the road, the twists and turns you take, the stops and starts, the planned and unplanned experiences. Through experimentation, choice and reflection you will build and follow a path that is right for you. The Office of Career Services looks forward to helping you with your plans and journey.

INSIDER TIP Even if graduate or professional school is not your immediate next step, it might be something you are considering for later. According to the most recent alumni survey, 83% of Harvard College graduates eventually will pursue an advanced degree. Most students take one or more “gap” years prior to attending graduate or professional school. You can take steps to prepare before you leave campus, such as obtaining letters of recommendation from faculty and consider taking standardized tests prior to or soon after graduation while the information is fresh. Check in with house tutors and OCS advisers, especially if you are considering medical school, to make sure you meet requirements and are aware of the application timelines.


BASED ON 2016 SENIOR SURVEY DATA. Copyright © 2016 The President and Fellows of Harvard College.


openly with people about the pros and cons of different choices, the more informed your decision making will be. Also take advantage of all the experts who come to campus to speak and gather their advice, as well. Your past experiences, the current economic conditions and luck will each affect what options are open to you at any given point in time. Since there is no right path and multiple ways to the same end points, your choice of a first post-graduate experience can be seen more like an experimental research project than the selection of a “career.” Think of it as testing a hypothesis about what might be a good next step for you. Ask yourself: Where will I learn interesting skills and information? Where will I meet interesting people? What part of the world do I want to be in? What might this experience lead to? Do I need or want to be close to any particular friends or family at this point in time? Try not to worry too much about what you do next as long as it exposes you to interesting people, knowledge, skills and future pathways. Across time you will need to accumulate many experiences, skills and expertise in an area to be truly effective. The order in which you learn these skills and add them to your growing tool kit is not usually a critical factor. In fact, bringing knowledge and connections from disparate fields and different sectors, such as private for-profit, not-for-profit and public sectors, often leads to novel solutions to problems. Once you embark on your first post-graduate experience, continue to test your hypothesis: collect feedback and data by checking in with yourself periodically



10-49 students



















50-99 students









100+ students


1-9 students

















BASED ON 2016 SENIOR SURVEY DATA. Copyright © 2016 The President and Fellows of Harvard College.



WENDY CHEN ‘12 Manager, Strategy & Business operations at Viacom


As an East Asian Studies concentrator, I had the opportunity to delve into the language, history, and culture of the country my parents were born in. I loved my 9 am Chinese drill sections in Vanserg and my summer as a volunteer at an orphanage in Jiaozuo, China. Overall, I valued my experience in EAS, but decided early on that I was going to enter a field unrelated to what I was studying. I felt that career possibilities were endless and struggled to isolate what it was exactly that I wanted to do. While searching and exploring over the summer after graduation, a friend (and classmate) of mine mentioned that there was an open research position at her company, MTV – owned by Viacom Media Networks. I loved TV, especially having grown up spending summers engrossed in the lives of the


characters and stories portrayed on the screen. I would never have thought that TV could be a career path, but I leaped at the opportunity to pursue this long-standing interest of mine. I channeled my vast knowledge of The Hills and Jersey Shore into the interview and eventually moved to New York to start my first job at MTV. I was excited to break into an industry that was often difficult to navigate, especially without prior entertainment experience. My time at MTV gave me incredible insight into our consumers. I designed surveys, conducted focus groups, and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data to discern trends in TV consumption behaviors among our viewers. Ten months later, I moved internally at Viacom to my current role on the strategy team within the Content Distribution department. We oversee the affiliate deals to provide our TV channels and shows to cable providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as digital partners such as Netflix and Hulu. I quickly learned the ins and outs of the TV business, which is constantly evolving and shifting. In fact, technology has fundamentally changed the way that TV content is consumed. I still remember recording MTV’s Total Request Live on tape in order to watch and memorize every single Backstreet Boys’ song. Today, we are presented with an ever-growing range of platforms and methods to watch TV – whether that means to record via

a DVR, watch on demand, or bingeview on a myriad of mobile devices. In my role, I grapple with the changing TV ecosystem in order to provide strategic recommendations for new distribution channels as

I have grown decidedly more comfortable with the idea that not everyone’s path will be linear."

well as maximize current business models to ensure long-term revenue growth for the company. Day-to-day work aside, my experience at Viacom has been largely shaped by the relationships that I have with the amazing people that I work with and the incredible support and mentorship of the leaders that I work for. I have grown professionally through the feedback and advice that I have received. I am also fortunate that my co-workers are truly people that I can trust and call my friends. In my post-graduation years, I have grown decidedly more comfortable with the idea that not everyone’s path will be linear. From East Asian Studies concentrator to a manager in an entertainment company, I hope that my career will continue to evolve as I leverage my experiences to hone in on my interests.


In the fall of my senior year, I was confused. I was an English major halfway through a creative thesis, but I didn’t want to be a writer. I wondered about law school, but going to class sounded exhausting. And I had enjoyed my internships (teaching, brand development, one glorious summer at Google), but I couldn’t quite shake the feeling in each of those places that I wasn’t in the right place – that I wasn’t making a real impact. So I did the only thing that made sense at the time: I bought a lot of cardigans and started going to information sessions. In that long September of career fairs and networking nights, Capital One Corporate Strategy made me pause and perk up. They were the first company I saw to spend as much time talking about their mission as about the job. The problem, they explained, is deceptively simple. Money is digital. Logically, no one ever needs to walk into a branch – and who even wants to? I couldn’t remember the last time I had been. And yet, when people go about choosing a bank, they think about which branch is closest to them, walk in, and set up an account. Digital products have a way of

[A] first job isn’t about picking an industry. It’s about finding a place where you can try a lot of things, be supported, and grow fast."

can find. Over the past several years, it has had its hand in some of Capital One’s most transformative shifts. When I joined the following fall, my first project was for the Small Business Bank. The leadership was considering building a completely digital checking account for small business owners. No branch, no nothing. Would anyone want such a thing? It was on this project that I realized the difference between external consulting and internal strategy. We began with customer research and quickly discovered that the question we had been asked was much too

small. Yes, people wanted such a thing, but also people were very unhappy with the way banking worked today. For a small business owner, piecing together a complete picture of their finances was often incredibly painful. The question wasn’t “should we go national?”; it was “how can we rebuild this thing from the ground up?” Within weeks, we were making trips to San Francisco to meet with start-ups, interview customers, and design our product. By the time we finished, the client team had put together a development timeline and was talking about release dates. It was a success – not because we had delivered dozens of slides (though we did), but because we had made a difference. Initially, I had been wary of taking a job in financial services. I didn’t know anything about credit cards, didn’t have a passion for checking accounts. But a first job isn’t about picking an industry. It’s about finding a place where you can try a lot of things, be supported, and grow fast. In Capital One Corporate Strategy, associates rotate projects every few months, and I was able to experience half a dozen types of work and management styles. Within the small and close-knit group, I found coaches, mentors, and amazing friends. There is no shortage of things to do, and at every turn, I found opportunities to take on more responsibility, develop new skills, and make things a little better than I found them. After nearly three years at Capital One, I had to face my hardest challenge: saying goodbye. I am now entering my second year at Harvard Business School, and just spent the summer interning with BCG in San Francisco. I plan to continue working as a consultant, first with an external firm and then, I hope, back at Capital One’s Corporate Strategy group.



punishing companies that over-invest in the face-to-face (see Blockbuster, Barnes & Noble, sad old Best Buy). Customer behavior changes fast, and adapting when you see the shift is often already too late. Capital One was not planning to wait. It prefers to predict where the world is going and get there first. It wants not only to get ahead of the industry but also to help customers make the transition, building better and better experiences until branches as we know them become obsolete. The Strategy Group spends its time working on this question, and many others like it. It’s a small group, about 40 people, and sits directly under the CEO, looking out over the vast machinery of a Fortune 500 company and picking out the most interesting and impactful projects it



REBECCA RUSKIN ‘13 Education First

Never in a million years did I think I would work for an education company. I was a science concentrator, and, given that I did not want to go to medical school or become a scientist, I assumed that I would go through the recruiting season like many of my peers and work in management consulting for two years in a big city before finding out what I was really interested in. Then I came across a job description for EF Education First’s 360 Global Management Trainee position. The description immediately caught my

attention, stating that this job was for someone who isn’t afraid of jet lag, getting their hands dirty, and ready to whip out their passport to attend meetings in major global cities like London and Shanghai. Even the application question was intriguing – it asked me to use a variety of random things (from pink jumpsuits to night vision goggles) to create a business idea. It sounded like a start-up from somewhere in Silicon Valley – not an education company in Boston. Knowing that I would go on to


DAN MINAMIDE ‘12 Abercrombie & Fitch


When someone asks me what I do as a merchant at Abercrombie and Fitch, I often respond with, “Where do you want me to begin?” Merchandising at A&F is unique role that combines the traditional buying role with the product development process and allows the merchant to be exposed to every aspect of the business. At the completion of a comprehensive 5-week training program, every merchant at A&F is assigned to a specific product category. I was placed on Fleece Bottoms after training and have been working on that team ever since. As a merchant team, we are responsible for managing the details of our department’s styles, coordinating our cross-functional teams, analyzing daily sales by item, 50

and conducting a top level analysis of our category’s position within the market. We work in an incredibly fast paced environment, and the demands of the business require merchants to be efficient and adaptable. A successful merchant is resilient, can react to the current business, and is constantly seeking new information about our product, competition, and consumer. Each season kicks off with a meeting between the merchant team, design team, and conceptual design team to identify emerging trends in the market and decide how to interpret these trends in a way that is appropriate for our brands. From here, we work with our merchandise planning team to create our sales plan for the upcoming season. We look at historical sales as well as current sales when making these financial projections. It is then our job as merchants to pick the correct, trend-right styles to buy in order to hit the sales plan given to us by our merchandise planning team. It is the merchant’s job to drive the bottom-line and, once our assortment is finalized, the merchants initiate the production process with vendors all over the world! Merchants are often called the “hub” of the production wheel. We are the ones responsible for communicating the needs of the

business to our cross-functional teams in design, planning, sourcing, and inventory management. Merchants have daily contact with our vendors and are immediately responsible for managing strict production timelines, engaging in cost negotiations, and ensuring the product is received on time. This immediate exposure to our diverse vendor base was an incredible learning experience for me. One of the most exciting aspects about A&F has been our rapid international expansion strategy. In 2007, we operated in only 2 countries (United States & Canada) and today we have stores in over 19 countries! This includes Abercrombie & Fitch Flagship stores on Savile Row in London, the Ginza District of Tokyo, Milan, and Hong Kong. We also operate over 100 Hollister stores internationally and recently opened our first stores in the southern Hemisphere in Australia! It’s exciting to be a part of such a growth-oriented company and our exploration into new markets presents a constant challenge to our merchant teams. Harvard University trains its students to be hardworking, intellectually curious, and entrepreneurial, all of which are qualities that are perfectly tailored to the merchandising role at A&F.

accept a full-time offer from EF after graduation, I began interning with their PR team during my senior spring to learn what the company and education industry were all about. During my third week as an intern, EF flew me to Costa Rica to help out with their Global Student Leaders Summit, a 2-day leadership summit where high school students working international teams to create sustainable solutions to global environmental issues. I even got to meet Al Gore, the keynote speaker! After only a few months at EF I learned that the Education encompasses many different fields, products, ideas, and opportunities. It is one of the fastest

growing industries in today’s global economy and the demand has created opportunities for EF, a market leader in the international education space, to grow and innovate in a rapidly changing landscape. Rather than beginning my EF 360 year right away in Boston, EF supported and encouraged my desire to live and work in China. I moved to Beijing to help organize the 2014 Global Student Leaders Summit in China. Collaborating with EF teams in Boston and Shanghai, I not only learned how to organize a large-scale global event with people in different countries and time-zones, but also how to effectively incorporate

educational value into everything I was doing. As I continued working from Beijing and meeting people from all of EF’s global offices, the opportunity presented itself for me to become a 360 Global Management Trainee in Beijing rather than return to Boston. In my current role, I’m part of a small team that is bringing one of EF’s largest American products, Educational Tours,to China. I’m not only learning how to break into a new market, but also how to think strategically through the lens of an educator. Although we’re part of a large successful company, the team I work on thinks and operates like a start-up and each day brings a new challenge.



EASON HAHM ‘12 William Blair & Co. When I came to Harvard, I had never heard of the term “investment banking” and was still confused as to why everyone wanted to recruit for investment banking internships. As a freshman, I knew I wanted to study biomedical engineering and aspired to get my Ph.D after graduating. During my junior year, I was introduced to more of the business side of science through classes and lectures on campus. I was intrigued by the role investors played in the development and commercialization of science

During the recruiting process, William Blair, a Chicago-based investment bank with offices in Boston and San Francisco as well, was at the top of my list because of its small but supportive deal teams, strong healthcare practice, and high degree of deal exposure and responsibility given to analysts. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to join Blair full-time, and during my four years at Blair, I have spent most of the time working with the medical technology and biotechnology teams, and to even my own surprise, I have had a very rewarding experience. Reflecting on my time at Blair, I have had the opportunity to work on many closed transactions (both M&A

and equity offerings). I have realized through these processes that Blair’s strategic advisory services create lasting value and meaningful change for our clients. While the hours can be

The sense of fulfillment after achieving a great outcome for your client makes all of the late nights seem worth it.

long, and it can be difficult managing the workload and expectations of multiple projects and pitches, the sense of fulfillment after achieving a great outcome for your client makes all of the late nights seem worth it. One moment in particular that stood out for me was after the close of an IPO when our client’s CEO told us, “Looking to the journey ahead, our challenge, and our objective, is to use these funds to develop important new medicines that save lives.” Not only have I been able to work on fulfilling transactions, but


that drives technologies from the lab bench to a product. I was much more excited by the business development and strategy behind healthcare companies than the actual science behind the technology. To pursue this, I knew that I wanted to gain financial expertise to complement my science background and went into the senior year recruiting process focused on investment banking positions at firms with strong healthcare verticals.


I have also been able to learn in a very fast-paced environment, from honing my valuation and modeling skills to understanding the marketing and diligence processes of M&A transactions. Blair’s philosophy of engaging the analyst at every stage of the deal process has given me a unique opportunity to learn from not only my deal teams, but

also from senior bankers at Blair and our clients. In addition, the analyst program allows you to start with a class of your peers, which for me, has created a social and collegiate environment and support system. After 3 years as an analyst, I chose to stay at William Blair and be promoted to Associate. Starting this fall, I will be pursuing my MBA at Wharton.

While I may not advocate investment banking as a career path for everybody, I strongly believe that being an analyst is a very gratifying experience and a great platform for next steps in your career, whether you want to pursue private equity, corporate development, graduate school, or remain in investment banking.




Located in the warm arms of the Dominican Republic, amidst the verdant rice fields lies my colorful batey community. A batey is historically associated with sugarcane production and primarily Haitian male laborers. However, over time both Dominicans and Haitians alike formed established families in these communities and have been living in them for generations. A hodgepodge of different languages, nationalities, and colorful houses come together to create a community of hopeful change makers to create a more equitable community for Dominicans and Dominicans-of-Haitian descent. I decided to join Peace Corps to focus on my personal growth. Coming from performance-driven American culture, I wanted to learn about a different lifestyle where my worth was not tied to job or academic performance. I wanted to learn how to appreciate and take the time for 52

the people around me. Throughout my life, I have engaged in public service as a manner of giving back for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me. Joining the Peace Corps was an extension of my passion for public service that has been fomenting throughout my life. Ironically, instead of giving back, I find that I am getting more than I ever imagined through this service. I did not expect to discover just how limited my worldview actually was! Upon reflection, I see that before coming to Peace Corps I was like a horse with blinders on. Living in a batey everyday has forced me to open my worldview to see the perception of Americans in the Caribbean, methods of survival and coping, and most importantly, I finally learned to see myself with a forgiving, and not critical, eye. In fact, the biggest challenge I have had to overcome is actually with myself. I have had to learn how to forgive myself for making mistakes, to understand that this is a normal part of learning and growing up. My main project is to train teachers in literacy methods and reading strategies. Together, we co-teach and co-plan classes in first, second, and third grades to ensure more student participation and engagement. Furthermore, I am responsible for creating a pipeline of communication between the public school, the international non-profit, and Peace Corps to work towards creating more streamlined and efficient community projects. Though these are my main

projects, in my 18 months of service I have also been fortunate enough to: become fluent in Haitian Creole, graduate a group of 11 adolescent girls from a female empowerment group, plan a trip for 20 girls to visit the Dominican-Haitian border, and teach batey children formal Haitian Creole alongside respected community members. If you are looking to find yourself, reflect upon your life experiences, leave your mark upon the world, or simply looking for something you cannot yet name then perhaps joining the Peace Corps could be the right step for you. I urge you to think about what are your goals for your public service experience and assess whether joining the Peace Corps could furt sher those goals. At least in my experience, Peace Corps service seems to be centered upon integrating with your community members and never forgetting that you represent something much bigger than yourself and as a result, you have to balance being on your best behavior while letting your true self come through. It is certainly a tall order to fulfill, but you learn so much about yourself and the world throughout this process. The opportunity to widen your worldview is unparalleled. There is no study abroad, English teaching program, or gap-year initiative that will give you the same opportunity to observe, understand, and compare the intimate workings of a foreign culture and language to your own, familiar yet possibly fallacious ideas.


My senior year at Harvard, my best friend and I had a problem: we loved watching TV and had no convenient way to watch it online or around campus. Back in 2009, Harvard didn’t have any TV service for students. If we wanted to watch Game of Thrones, we had to Google it (leave the rest to your imagination). Our solution was to build our own TV service. We plastered our common room with aluminum foil to pick up the local Boston TV channels and fed that into a server we kept in the room so we could watch TV on our laptops. They say necessity is the mother of all invention. What they forget to mention is that inventions are useless if you can’t get them to market. Our foil apparatus was a fun little creation for us, but it wasn’t a business. This, I learned from Philo, is the essence of entrepreneurship: finding problems, building solutions and, most importantly, figuring out how to deliver those solutions to people in an economical and hopefully profitable way. That was until Harvard Student Agencies took interest in what we were building and worked with us to turn our little creation into a full, commercial television service for the school called Philo. Not long after launching at Harvard, we were flying

rigidly, established. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Working with a startup is like dealing with a puppy. It’s very messy, but a lot more fun. After running Philo for several years, I eventually stepped away from my first company to join Atomic Labs, realizing I liked the idea of becoming a serial entrepreneur. Atomic is a company builder focused on launching, funding and incubating new startups. For me, that process of creative problem solving begins again. So how can you get started? Building a career in the startup world has never been easier. The tech industry and the startup investing community has really evolved in the past few decades to lower the barriers to entry to building and supporting new companies. There are at least three good points of entry.

It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Working with a startup is like dealing with a puppy. It’s very messy, but a lot more fun.

First, is to just do it. Try to start a company. Get your friends together to work on a problem you all care about, build a product and try to launch. Second, is to join an existing startup. Whether through SEAS, OCS, the iLab or even the student groups on campus, Harvard has an increasingly diverse set of resources that can connect you to new and established ventures in need of both technical and non-technical talent. Recruiting is the #1 challenge identified by every startup founder; there will be no shortage of startups looking for talent, but you have to be proactive about looking. Third, for the more financially minded, is to seek out internship opportunities at venture firms. Many firms love working


TUAN HO ‘09 Co-Founder, Philo

out to meet investors in Silicon Valley to secure funding, meeting with HBO executives in New York to form content distribution partnerships and negotiating dealer agreements with DirecTV distributors and, eventually, DirecTV itself to expand the service to universities across the country. Amidst constant setbacks, conflicts, and distractions threatening to derail us, countless man hours, hirings, sales pitches, fundraising pitches all had to come together into in the service of one objective: taking our little creation, a solution to our problem of not being able to watch TV online, out to market and into the hands of users. The entrepreneurial challenge of finding problems, building solutions and working with teams of people to scale and deliver those products and services, while simultaneously blocking and tackling to solve every intermediate problem that gets in your way, is one of the most intellectually stimulating and emotionally fulfilling jobs you will ever find in business. Of course, you say, every company makes it their business to build and deliver products. Why a startup and not an established company like Google or Facebook that already has reach? Startups are the R&D laboratory of the business world. A startup exists within that early stage of a company’s lifecycle before institutions have been established, before the core product has fully matured and before the business model has been firmly established. Your role is high impact, your work is deeply influential, your tasks require much more creativity and the teams you’re working in are smaller, nimbler, and less hierarchical. Everything you and your team is doing is new, often experimental, and even the company itself is experimental. This stands in contrast to working at more established firms like Microsoft where hierarchies and the institutional culture are already firmly, sometimes




with bright young students who can analyze potential investments and help them scout for promising investment opportunities from your classmates. While you may not be building something, this is a great opportunity to expose yourself to the mechanics

and economics of how entrepreneurs are starting and building businesses. As with most things, good mentorship and advice matters. Look to your peers and reach out to alumni. Harvard has one of the most active startup communities in the world, so

take advantage of it. Remember that it all starts with finding a problem that you care about. Financial gain is a secondary consequence of building a valuable solution. All good startups are born out of necessity.


When I first came to Harvard, I never could have predicted that I would be a professional software engineer. Instead, I was set on becoming a research biologist. I had done paleontological research starting in high school and continued studying fossils while at Harvard. Instead of writing code all day, I used to go through drawers full of fossilized rats. One of my fondest memories was accidentally discovering a new species of primate while I was looking through a collection of hedgehog teeth. This all changed for me in my sophomore year. I signed up for CS50 because it fulfilled a Gen Ed requirement and seemed potentially useful. But as it turned out, I loved programming. It was so fun and satisfying to build tools that were useful to me. One of my first side projects was making a program to track all my biology papers, which I still use to this day. I decided if I was doing this for fun, that I should take more

running smoothly, from web servers to data storage. It is fascinating to me to see how these components work together, seamlessly and sometimes not so seamlessly. For example, there was one day during my first year here when we suddenly had an unexplained spike in traffic. I had to fight to keep the site up and crawl through all our logs in order to figure out where the traffic was coming from. It turned out one of our answers had been cited by a major news organization and had instantly gone viral. At the end of the day, we were able to resolve the issue and make the site even more robust. (By the way, in case you’re interested, the question was “What are common activities people get wrong every day but don’t know it?” You can look it up on Quora.) As a software engineer, my job is more than just writing code and managing servers. It’s also contributing to sound and effective product development, ensuring that our engineering standards stay high, and mentoring new members of the team. For example, right now, I’m contributing actively to decisions that will shape the way Quora works as it expands to new markets internationally. On my own initiative, I’ve also been able to contribute to tools and standards that keep the quality of Quora’s code high. I love my job. Improving Quora is especially satisfying because it means improving a useful and enjoyable product. Millions of people are now able to gain knowledge that improves their lives through Quora, and we're growing every day. My work has made Quora faster, more reliable, and more enjoyable for all of them. I’m excited for what’s to come.


JELLE ZIJLSTRA ‘13 Software Engineer, Quora

classes and eventually that I might as well get paid to do it. After working at a small startup the summer before my senior year, I accepted a software engineering job at Quora, a startup in Mountain View, California, building a knowledge-sharing product. Quora’s mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge, and we’re making great progress. People writing on Quora range from Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor to inmates of San Quentin State Prison (as part of a rehabilitation program). I was attracted to the opportunity because I loved the product and thought it could have immense impact. That’s almost two years ago now, and I have enjoyed all of my time at Quora. It’s a very diverse and meritocratic company, with people from all over the world. It’s large enough to lack the intense pressure of an early-stage startup, but still small enough that I am able to know everyone and have impact throughout the company as a recent graduate. We’re a group of people from all sorts of backgrounds—designers, physicists, even a guy who used to look at rat fossils. And people here always have the opportunity to switch roles if they think it will help the company. This leads to an atmosphere where ideas are evaluated not by who articulated them, but by their content. Right after starting my job at Quora, I joined a project to make a critical data processing system more scalable. I was able to contribute immediately, and the resulting system has served us well ever since. Working with the infrastructure team, one of the most exciting things for me was learning about the entire infrastructure stack that keeps Quora




Think of a large company, for example, Apple. Apple customers love Apple because the customer service and products are of a consistent, high quality. If customers buy an iPhone, they are certain that iPhone is of the same quality and functionality of any other iPhone in the store, or in the world. Imagine if when you ordered an iPhone,


JARELL LEE ‘10 Achievement First

you only had a 60% chance of receiving a high quality phone. Imagine if Apple only gave quality service to 60% of its customers. Customers would not accept this lack of consistency and these inefficiencies. Yet, when it comes to the education of our nation’s children, we do. The graduation rate of high school students in 11208, Brooklyn, NY’s East New York neighborhood is 59%. This graduation rate is similar in many other urban environments, and we continue to accept this reality. The American education system works for some, but fails many, and that is mostly determined by the neighborhood a child grows up in. Zip code, skin color, and income are determinants of a quality education. This is unjust and we must do something about it. That is why I am an educator. Initially, I did not want to be a teacher. However, I searched for a route to make an impact and teaching stood out as opportunity to make a positive impact on a classroom full of children. As a Teach For America Corps Member, I fell in love with teaching. I fell in love with the sound of a child’s giggle when they are authentically engaged in a lesson. I fell in love with the look on a child’s face when they learn to read for the first time. I fell in love with the phone calls from parents thanking me for my service. I fell in love with how much I learned about my scholars, and myself. I continued to teach past my Teach For America commitment to learn more about quality instruction and classroom management techniques. I was a Dean at an Achievement First school, and, currently, I am an Assistant Principal at KIPP Seek Academy in Newark, NJ. In this role, I coach and develop teachers to become more effective in their craft. I apply my skills to be able to analyze instructional student data and teacher performance data, develop strategic next steps and outcomes, and create systems to increase the school’s efficiency. The education world is unique and rigorous and on the cusp of major change, especially with the impact of successful charter schools and other effective organizations. Twenty years ago, we struggled to clearly outline effective best practices for schools. Ten years ago, we began to implement these strategies consistently and scale them. Today, we are working on continuous improvement and sustaining success. If you believe it is unjust that the American education system does not produce a quality education for all, become an educator. If you yearn for the opportunity to teach children new skills, become an educator. If you desire an opportunity to develop leadership skills, become an educator. If you are not satisfied with the current state of society and want to create the next generation of leaders, become an educator. 57


JOSHUA SCOTT ‘15 Second Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps


In fifth grade, I had my life planned out all the way to the freckles on my future kid’s faces. With the accomplishments of my childhood idol, General Colin Powell, as my azimuth, I created a checklist. Step 1) Attend West Point. Step 2) Become a four star in the Army. Step 3) Marry Amy. Step 4) Take the world by storm, Pinky and the Brain style. Easy day. However, as I am sure you are already greatly aware, life has a way of taking unexpected turns. Now, with an engineering degree from Harvard, a second lieutenant-ship in the United States Marine Corps (“the”, as emphasized by my counterparts at the Ohio State University), and having not seen or spoken to Amy since I switched schools after fifth grade, I must say ten year-old Josh Scott (TYOJS) may have been off a smidgen on his fifteen year forecast. Nevertheless, TYOJS would be ecstatic to hear that I did not neglect his childhood dreams of serving in the military. You see, growing up in Hampton, Virginia, the military tends to permeate everything you do. With Langley Air Force Base a stone’s throw away, Newport News Naval Shipyard practically in my backyard, and Norfolk Naval Base right down the road, I undoubtedly hail from a military hub of a hometown. So it is of no surprise to me that my armed 58

forces aspirations, albeit latent in middle and high school, re-ignited upon entering college. The spark? Harvard’s rekindling of its relationship with ROTC in 2011, the fall of which I took my first step onto the Yard. However, anxious about the balance between being a part of a then nascent ROTC consortium and a demanding engineering schedule (doable, with 20/20 hindsight), I uncovered a hidden gem at 495 Summer Street in South Boston: The Marine Corps Officer Selection Team. “Why the Marines?!”, is a question I am frequently asked. “Glutton for punishment, I guess”, is the elevator response which, to me, encapsulates the allure of the mental and physical challenges presented particularly by the USMC. However, answering the broader question of, “Why the military?”, I made my transition from rocking civilian attire to donning the uniform with one sole purpose: serve others. I wanted to begin my life after graduation in a profession that prides itself on putting the needs of those to your left and right above your own. I wanted a lifestyle that mimicked my Harvard experience, where I was blessed with opportunities to push past preconceived notions of my limits. I wanted exposure to an environment that forces you to come face to face with your deficiencies and work to push past them, not for myself, but for those individuals whose well-being I am entrusted. And thus far, I have not been disappointed. Now, do not get me wrong: service in the armed forces is not all sunshine and daisies. You do not join to become a billionaire. You will not always agree with the course of action determined by your superiors. You must be prepared to be uprooted and then grow where you are re-planted. There may be periods of physical discomfort, where the only thing on your mind is, “Why in the hell did I volunteer for this?? I did this to me!” And it is in those moments that the meaning of “labor of

love” becomes abundantly clear. [Also, to be fair, even if you create your own start-up you might disagree with the boss #DecisionMakingDilemmas] Some folks I have encountered have shied away from the military because they believe their creativity or uniqueness will be stifled. Yes, there are certain liberties you knowingly and willingly give up, for there are standards

I wanted to begin my life after graduation in a profession that prides itself on putting the needs of those to your left and right above your own."

and regulations that must be upheld. In an enterprise whose currency is human lives, those left and right lateral limits exist for a reason. However, if the overarching aim of the institution focuses on placing the needs of the many over those of the individual, is being clean shaven all that bad? Naturally, there are many ways to get your public service fix. However, if you choose the armed forces, regardless of any prior exposure to military influences, the first step is figuring out which branch best suits you and your talents. No matter which you choose, each offer their own unique sets of challenges as well as culture and history. From there, it is all about being honest with yourself about what you are looking for in your military experience, and realizing everyday is not like, Saving Private Ryan. Nonetheless, one item I would happily report to TYOJS is armed with a Harvard education and the incredible training the military has provided, I do indeed believe I can take the world by storm (maybe not Pinky and the Brain style, though).


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ANDREW ALCORTA ‘11 Boston Consulting Group


Like many in the industry, my journey to consulting was neither linear nor premeditated. In fact, throughout most of college, if someone had asked me what my post-graduation life would consist of, I would have struggled to give any answer at all. Like many of you, I reveled in the liberal arts approach that Harvard allowed me to take. I bounced between courses in government, religion, and astronomy. And I spent summers studying architecture in Barcelona, working in Beijing, and interning at a startup. I loved the idea of being a generalist and realistically throughout most of college I had no real conception of what I wanted to do after graduation. Three years later, I feel extraordinarily lucky to have stumbled into a career in consulting. After a long and at times arduous recruiting process, I accepted an offer from The Boston Consulting Group, where I continue to work today. I will admit that even when I took the job, I lacked a particularly strong understanding of what consultants actually do. Between the multitude of recruiting presentations and the general rumblings around campus, I had gathered that it was a high-powered job that promised personal growth, but the day-to-day of my life-to-be remained a black box. Given that I imagine many of you share this sentiment, I want to take a moment to describe what consulting actually is and what makes it, in my mind,


the best first job a recent graduate can have. At its most basic, the job consists of problem solving. You identify hypotheses, test those with whatever data is available, organize your findings in a meaningful way, and communicate them to your audience. (I would note that these are all skills that generally serve people well regardless of their profession.) A concrete case example may help clarify what all of this actually means. In one of my first projects, BCG was brought in to help a bank understand why its margins were declining. Over the course of the next four weeks, we spoke with senior executives across all the major business units to understand how their businesses functioned and where performance issues might exist. We identified potential explanations for the lower margin and used company data to test our ideas. Ultimately, we turned this work into a presentation for the Board of Directors, which had a major impact on how the company was run thereafter. For a twenty-three year old straight out of college, the level of access, engagement, and impact I had on that case was simply incredible in the most literal sense of the word. As for what makes consulting a phenomenal opportunity for recent grads, the answer is quite simple: learning. While the case I summarized above is one example of what consultants do, one of the best aspects of the job is that the industry, client, and topic are constantly changing, effectively ensuring that you are always learning something new. In my experience, this learning tends to come in two forms. First, you will gain an incredible amount of knowledge about specialized industry or topic knowledge depending on the particular case. Second, you will hone a broader set of skills focused on how to approach complex problems through stronger teamwork, better analytics, and more cohesive logic. To me, both aspects are valuable: the former creates an extremely broad knowledge base to draw from, while the latter

ensures you are more effective at actually achieving your goals both now and in the future. While it is possible to learn these skills elsewhere, I firmly believe that few other industries offer both the speed of development and breadth of knowledge that consulting does. Consulting will also offer you innumerable opportunities for career advancement. In my mind, this means increasing levels of exposure to senior individuals at the client, as well as thirdparty offers that tend to materialize after a few years in the job. I have seen colleagues and friends leave BCG to pursue their own start-ups, roles in private equity or finance, corporate positions, graduate school, and various opportunities abroad just to name a few. Personally, I have been able to do more within BCG than I ever would have dreamed from a first job. I have worked with top-level executives on the integration of major financial companies, prepared presentations for the board of Fortune 500's, and advised major acquisitions for private equity funds. Geographically, I have spent a year living in Istanbul as part of BCG's transfer program and done projects with teams across more than 10 countries. Most importantly, I was constantly challenged and pushed to develop both personally and professionally during all of these experiences. The result of all these factors is that consulting is, simply put, an extraordinary first job. It is a job where career development can be taken as a given, where you will be surrounded by ambitious and intelligent people, and where you will come to work and feel like you are engaged and learning something new almost every single day. I fully accept that consulting may not be the right path for everyone, but I do think it is a profession worth serious consideration as you go through the recruiting process. Whether you are looking for a long-term career or are simply looking to test the waters of the business world, I cannot think of a more interesting place to start.


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