180 DC Swarthmore — Semester 1 Down!




180 Degrees Consulting has been an absolutely transformative experience for me — and NONE of the achievements so far would have been possible if it weren't for ALL the consultants, executive board members, and the clients.

I would like to thank everyone for their hard work. I was dreading junior year of college, but you all made it such an amazing semester. Regardless of your class year or major, I always learned something new every time I worked with all. I also learned a lot about myself: the good, the bad, and how I can improve as a leader.

To the wonderful consultants, what I enjoyed the most was seeing your professional growth throughout the semester! Handling a client for the first time is definitely not an easy task, but you guys did it despite your difficult coursework. I hope that you all got a taste of what consulting is like, and I hope that you enjoyed it!

A huge thank you to the executive board members for working so hard to make this organization what it is today. We really started from scratch... Even though we all had internships over the summer, you guys helped me with the C-Level approval presentation slide deck, helped put together a really efficient organizational structure, trained ten consultants, and took on three clients. That's a lot of work. Thanks so much, you guys.

Here are some pictures from 180 Degrees Consulting Swarthmore throughout this semester, in chronological order!

Canada Goose Sizing for Petites

Hi, everyone!

I've been on the search for a nice coat to wear in the winter for quite a while. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I was trying to decide between Burberry and Canada Goose. I decided to get a Canada Goose because it just seemed a lot warmer and more practical for the freezing Pennsylvania winters! But then the question was "Which parka should I get?!"


When I was researching online, I could not find a single article or blog post that was dedicated to Canada Goose for petite women like myself (I am 5'1 tall, almost 155 cm), which is why it took me nearly two months of extensive research and trying out five different department stores to find the right parka.


I hope you find this post helpful. I tried on the three most popular Canada Goose parkas: the Trillium, the Kensington, and the Victoria!


EDIT: For size references, I fit into an XS in all three parkas!



trillium








Saks Fifth Avenue advertisement of the Trillium Parka

The coat I ended up buying was the Trillium Parka!



  • 34" length from shoulder to hem. For my 5'1 height, the Trillium falls right above my knee, unlike the Kensington.
  • There are strings on the inside of the coat that you can adjust. I adjusted it very tightly so the coat has an A-line shape, but you can choose to keep it loose for more of a relaxed fit.

kensington


I initially fell in love with the Kensington Parka, but I didn't realize how long it would be on me! I had a chance to try it on at Bloomie's when I went shopping on my birthday.

Some things I noticed:
  • The Kensington Parka is 38" from shoulder to hem. For someone like me who is only 61 inches tall, that is more than half my height! The Kensington Parka falls mid-thigh for the model who is 5'10-5'11, but, for me, it fell past my knees, as you can see above.
  • The Kensington is a gorgeous coat, though. It is a slim fit, so it will fit your figure nicely.
  • The coat is really warm. I felt really hot just after wearing the coat for two minutes. 
victoria

I tried on the Victoria Parka, but unfortunately I did not get any pictures of me in it!
  • The Victoria Parka is 33" from shoulder to hem. For a tall person like the model pictured, this length would be just long enough to cover your rear. The Victoria coat fell mid-thigh for me, though.
  • I felt like it did not have much room for me to wear lots of layers. It was not as roomy as the Kensington.


Hope you found this post useful!
Happy Black Friday shopping!

With love,
Phyllis

180 Degrees Consulting Swarthmore Progress!

Hi, everyone!

Hope you all had a great week. This past week has been surprisingly relaxing, and I've been extremely pleased with the pace of 180 Degrees Consulting at Swarthmore.

We have two clients. We had our last day of training today. We are ready to go!
I am really excited to get to know the social enterprises and nonprofits in the area, and to help them make a greater positive impact.

Here are some of the headshots we took today! I say we're a good looking group of consultants ;)


The women of 180 Degrees Consulting Swarthmore

Fall Break + Wharton

Hi, everyone!

Hope you all had a lovely week or fall break!

This fall break was one of the most productive and exciting breaks I have had in a while. It is the first time in my college career that I stayed at school for break instead of going home, which was initially a bit depressing (no homemade Korean food!), but it was worth it :)

If you read my earlier post, I went to New York for a much needed treat yo self day, but once I got back from New York, it was time to focus on a case competition at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Staying at Swarthmore over fall break for this case competition was one of the best decisions I have made yet this semester!

I'm not going to lie though — working on the case was tough. The fact that we were on break didn't necessarily give us a competitive advantage, because some of us already had plans with family and friends and also because we were all so burnt out from midterms! That's why I am extremely thankful to my amazing team for pushing through with our analyses and slide deck.

Pictured, left to right: Ferial, Simran, me, and Isaac
We were finalists at this case competition! I could not be prouder of my team! It was so exciting because we were the only liberal arts college out of all the finalists. Although the other competing schools have a huge advantage over us in terms of classes and resources for case competition preparation, we still made it. It was great to represent Swarthmore.

180 Degrees Consulting + Brooks Brothers



In fall 2014, I came across an amazing organization called 180 Degrees Consulting.
180 Degrees Consulting is the world's largest social impact consultancy that offers affordable consulting services to socially conscious organizations. They create branches at universities, where college students can get real life experience in consulting.

I was immediately intrigued by this organization. I mean, what a clever idea. It's a win-win for both aspiring consultants like me and for social organizations: we get real life experience and the said organizations get the strategies that they need to keep their businesses successful.

Workaholic Bag

I cannot count the number of times I've had the "I need a cute purse for school/work that can fit my laptop!" conversation with my friends. Here are some bags that I have used/am using/am eyeing...


I used this purse during my senior year of high school. Longchamp bags are a great choice because they are affordable, go along with a lot of outfits, and can fit so much. However, I haven't used Longchamps since then because I now prefer leather over nylon. Longchamp has leather bags but they tend to be a lot more than what I'm willing to pay for them.

Nonetheless, Longchamps are excellent purses considering that they are usually less than $200. The large bag can also fit a 13" MacBook Pro (possibly even bigger ones)!



If you haven't heard of Everlane, you should definitely check it out. They make designer-quality products at a fraction of the price (this bag is $48!!!). Anyway, the Twill Zip Tote is wonderful is because it is extremely practical: it is large enough to fit any size MacBook, and it has a zipper at the top so your belongings are secure at all times. It also comes in many different colors, so check it out here.
 



This is my current work/school purse. I got this bag for Christmas, and I get compliments pretty much every time I carry it. This bag was $295, which is not a bad price (compared to Prada or LV). It's a very pretty purse, appropriate for work, light class days, or for running errands.


Some major pros: it can fit a 13" MacBook Pro and notebooks, and it has many internal pockets (one of which is big enough to fit my iPhone 6 Plus!!!).




It has a pocket inside that divides the purse (pictured above, right). However, my complaint with this is that the bottom of the pocket is NOT attached to the "floor" of the purse, which can make your purse really disorganized and messy. I purchased this bag knowing that it wasn't going to be a long-term bag. I have had it for 9 months and it is already showing signs of wear. I will probably sell it online at some point.


 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Medium Satchel


The Phillip Lim Pashli is pricier than the three aforementioned purses ($895) but still cheaper than a Prada! I have been eyeing this bag for a while, because not only is it a good size for going out or running errands but it also fits a 13" MacBook Pro!!! Another good thing about this purse is that it has zippers on the sides so you can create more room if you need it. They also come in a bunch of fun colors!


Prada Saffiano Double Zip Top-Handle Bag



This bag has been on my wishlist forever. It is so chic. I like the medium because the size is perfect for my short, petite figure; it doesn't dominate my frame! Conveniently, it comes with a strap and has two zipped pockets on the sides (pictured below):




It fits a 13" laptop in the center of the bag, not in the zipped pockets. Therefore, it will fit an iPad with no problem. The only downside to this bag is the price (~$2,500), but everyone says that it is worth it.


Hope this post helped those in search of a work bag!


With love,

Phyllis 

College: 50% Done


The other day I ran into my old piano teacher at a bookstore. I was her student for nearly eight years, from elementary school to until boarding school, so she was like a second mom to me. Anyway, we sat down and the first thing she asked me was "Are you happy?" This led me to reflect on my past two years in college.

My Summer Internship

Today was my last day as a summer intern at EMH Strategy, a boutique management consulting firm in New Orleans. It's bittersweet. It's sweet because I won't have to sweat like crazy on my commute to work (gross, I know), I can be with my family, and relax, but it's bitter because I am really going to miss EMH, my mentors, and my clients.

Overall, I could not be happier with my decision to work at EMH. My mentors have been so considerate and helpful every step of the way, and EMH was truly a great place to get exposure to consulting. I learned a lot about myself, the industry, and New Orleans.



from left to right: My MD Jeremy, Malavika, me, and Andrew

As an intern, I had many internal and external assignments. My internal tasks included creating databases on Southern companies, writing blog posts and white papers, and organizing business development stuff for client acquisition. My external tasks were client work. It's a pretty broad category, but my external assignments depended a lot on the client and what their cases required.


People told me that analysts in smaller firms are given more responsibility than those in larger firms. They were 100% right. On my very first week of work, I was put in client meetings, gave presentations, and conducted market research. Pretty fun, right?


I learned so much just from the first week. You can memorize frameworks as much as you want, but I think the best way to learn them is by applying them to real life situations. I watched my mentors put frameworks into action and learned how they structured the problem.


For instance, there was a client whose business needed help but he wasn't sure what the problem was; all he knew was that something wasn't right. Sounds like a typical case interview, right?


My team members got together for a strategy session. We sat there and considered the internal and external factors that could be affecting the business. After almost two hours of drawing diagrams and flow charts on the white board and throwing around ideas, we had a game plan. We knew what we were going to do to find the problem and what to do about it. It was stimulating, and most of all, it was fun.


Consulting is fun, but it is not easy.  Coming up with a strategy is one thing. Working with clients is another. Sometimes your clients won't take your recommendation, even though they paid a lot of money for your expertise. Sometimes they won't give you the data you need to do what they asked of you. When I was at the McKinsey Women's Summit, one analyst told me that even Fortune 500 companies sometimes do the same thing! I was somewhat surprised that a large and prestigious firm like McKinsey had the same challenges as my small firm.


Despite the challenges of client work, I feel like consulting is very rewarding. It's a great feeling to know that your client trusts you, and it's an even better feeling to see your suggestions work. Even if clients didn't take my suggestions, I knew that my coworkers and I did all we could do to help them. We took the time to look into their business and worked hard to come up with the best strategy possible.





My mentor Katherine and me before she left for China!

One of the things I loved the most about my internship was how I became part of the New Orleans community. I worked with the coolest people. The brands, businesses, and companies that I grew up hearing about were now my clients! It was so amazing that I was actually meeting the owners of these companies and helping them make a positive difference in their business.


I got to meet not only business owners but also influential people in the New Orleans nonprofit and social innovation community, one being Timolynn Sams Sumter (click here for my interview with Timolynn!) There are really some truly amazing people doing incredible work. I think that's what makes New Orleans so special. People love New Orleans so much that they dedicate a lot of time and energy into improving the city not for themselves but for others.



Timolynn Sams Sumter and sweaty me...
I loved my mentors the most. A pro about working for a small firm is that they allocate time and resources well to help you. For instance, when I told my coworkers that I was struggling with interview preparation, they scheduled a two-hour help session. They also planned a "your-internship-is-halfway-over" luncheon for me. One of my mentors, Andrew, emails me links to every helpful article that he comes across. This past Wednesday, they had a nice little "Goodbye Phyllis" at this place called Purloo during their happy hour, which was fantastic. It's very different from working at a huge company where strangers outnumber the people you do know.

My internship taught me a lot about myself. By completing difficult assignments, putting myself out there, and engaging with clients, I learned what my strengths and weaknesses were and what I really enjoy doing. In addition, I now know what to look for in other internships or jobs, such as culture and strong mentor programs.


You know you're grateful when you have trouble fitting everything you want to say into a thank you card. I literally stayed up until 2 AM because I had so much to thank my mentors for.


Thank you, EMH, for an absolutely amazing summer. I wouldn't trade it for the world!



With love,
Phyllis

Stress + Type A Personality

If you know me personally, you probably know that I am a textbook example of Type A personality. For those who aren't aware of the terminology, some common characteristics for Type A Behavior (TAB) are:

  • Competitiveness
  • Time urgency, impatience
  • Hostility, aggression
  • Perfectionist tendencies
TAB is common amongst many successful people, high-achieving students, my family and friends. While we have many traits that help us to aim higher and work hard towards our goals, there are downsides to perfectionist behavior. If uncontrolled, it can really affect your personal and work life.

And then on top of being Type A, my Meyers Briggs is an ESTJ. A lot of the ESTJ characteristics intensifies, or overlaps with, those of TAB, which isn't exactly great.




I'm the type of person who must be organized, have a sense of security, and make sure that everything (my academics, career, outfits, literally everything) is in order. I knew that this behavior of mine would really wear me out one day, but I didn't think that that day would visit me so soon.


There were a lot of reasons I was physically and emotionally stressed this summer: the incredibly hot weather in New Orleans (I was dehydrated most of the time), my job, not knowing many people in my neighborhood, preparing for junior year, and other personal matters. As a result, I felt really isolated, misunderstood, and undervalued. I wasn't happy and I couldn't really pinpoint the reason why.




One thing that took me a while for me to learn is that you can't blame others or anything for your stress. Yes, work or school or certain people can annoy you, but it is your responsibility to make sure that your stress doesn't ruin you. Your hardships should not affect your relationships, your work performance, or your priorities. This is easier said than done, but it is really important to keep that in mind.


It is possible to live happily as a Type A perfectionist and find peace. Here are five tips that I formulated this summer:


1. Maintain your strengths and improve your weaknesses.


People with TAB are usually hard-working, determined, and success-oriented individuals. Don't lose that attitude! Those characteristics are what got you to where you are today and will help you get to wherever you want to go in the future. However, do make sure that your goal-oriented tendencies don't get out of hand. Try to be more patient, less aggressive, and understand that things take time to achieve. Not everything happens overnight.


2. "Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger."


That is actually a verse from the Bible (James 1:19). Regardless of personal religious views, this is great advice that can help you be less aggressive and maintain your relationships. Listen to what people have to say. Take time to organize your thoughts and formulate them into a nice, constructive sentence. Be empathetic and understand the other person's point of view.


3. Be responsible.


In other words, don't blame others for your problems. Be responsible in how you handle stress and hard times. You're not the only one who gets frustrated from work and trying to balance work and life. Life will throw you (and everyone) lemons, but you are accountable for how you handle them. Are you gonna squirt those lemons into people's eyes or make lemonade?


4. Control yourself.


Control yourself! By that, I mean that despite your inner feelings, make a conscious choice to put on a smile, keep calm and carry on. Try to be aware of how your actions affect others. This will eventually come naturally to you with more practice.




5. Try to be happy.


Release that negative chi. Be happy with what you've got. Don't take your anger out on others. Otherwise, you are the only one who's going to lose. Try to relax; read my tips on how to relieve stress. Find a healthy outlet for your feelings and frustrations, something that won't hurt people, especially your loved ones.


As I mentioned earlier, TAB is common amongst successful people in our society, but one thing that made them successful in the first place is their ability to handle stress and negative energy.


My five tips in this post are really easier said than done. I myself haven't mastered any of them, but I am really trying to make these changes in my life. I hope they can help you too.



With love,
Phyllis

LinkedIn: DOs and DON'Ts

Over the years, LinkedIn has become one of my most commonly used apps on my iPhone. I use it more than Instagram. Maybe that means I'm getting boring...

Networking is important for a lot of reasons, but I think the most important reason is that it shows that you're taking initiative, like my reader did. If there's something you love to do and want to take it to the next step, you can't do it alone. You need as much help as you can get. Networking is a great way to get that help.

LinkedIn is such a great tool for networking. Through LinkedIn, I have met absolutely amazing people, and it's made networking so much easier for me. In my opinion, LinkedIn makes networking more personal, because you can actually see who you are talking to, you can look at their profiles which are basically online resumes, and you can occasionally post your own and/or see other people's status updates.


Having been a LinkedIn-er for about three years, I've learned some tips and tricks to get the most out of LinkedIn. This list is not comprehensive; I'll add more to the list as I come up with more things. But for now, here are my tips:


DO use a profile picture, but DON'T just use any picture.


Remember, this is a photo that anyone can see — recruiters, alumni, anyone. Don't use a selfie. Make sure the background is not too crowded. A professional headshot would be ideal. If you don't have one, use a photo where you look polished, clean, and professional. Make sure your attire in your photos are appropriate. No bikinis, tank tops, no cleavage, no belly button.


However, the type of photo to use for LinkedIn does depend on what industry you are in. If you are in the financial services industry, the type of photo you would use is a lot different for those in the arts industry. Headshots for businessmen are very different from headshots for actors, for example. Do more research on what type of headshot is most appropriate for your field.


If you are not sure what industry you're interested in yet, just upload a simple, clean picture. Your high school graduation or college graduation picture would be okay, too.


DO make sure that your biography is good. DON'T sound like a robot in your biography.


Your biography is the one spot on your LinkedIin profile where you can actually make yourself seem human. Make sure that your biography makes you seem approachable and friendly. Talk about what you're interested in, what you hope to achieve, and your interests. Always end your biography with "Feel free to connect with me" or "Feel free to contact me" or something along those lines.


DO explain your interests. DO be human.


If you're a finance guy, don't say your interests are "investment banking" and "private equity." What do you like to do in your free time? What do you like to do for fun? Some good examples are hiking, cycling, or hotels (I actually really am interested in hotels and hotel management).


DO update your profile.


While resumes are typically limited to one page, your LinkedIn profile is not. Did you work somewhere? Did you get certified for something? Are you multilingual? Did you get a scholarship? Has someone recommended you? If so, put it on your profile!


I know people who have had incredible, competitive internships but don't have anything about it on their profile! Why not? Showcase your talent and accomplishments. However, it is okay to not mention jobs or past experiences if they aren't pertinent to your career anymore.


DO be aware of your privacy settings.


Everyone on LinkedIn should be aware that LinkedIn notifies you about who looked at your profile and when they did. LinkedIn is not the best stalker-friendly social network, so DON'T look at someone's profile too often.


There have been times when I got notifications about the same people repeatedly looking at my profile every single day. I was glad that they were looking at my profile, but I could tell that they didn't know about the LinkedIn privacy settings. Although I didn't mind this too much, there are people who will find this creepy. Which brings me to my next point...



If you want to look at someone's profile a lot, DO edit your privacy settings.


Believe it or not, there are a lot of good reasons why you should look at people's profiles anonymously. At one of my past internships, we were hosting a huge event and needed the right journalists and press there to cover the event. We used LinkedIn to find out which journalists would be interested in our event. We first made sure that our profiles were anonymous, because otherwise, the journalists could find it suspicious that almost everyone at my firm was looking at their profiles.


Basically, if there is someone's profile that I want to look at, maybe more than once, I make sure that I am anonymous, just so it doesn't look creepy that I've been looking at it a lot.

This doesn't mean you should always keep it anonymous. It's not creepy to look at someone's profile non-anonymously every once in a while.



DON'T write obnoxiously long descriptions under your name.


You might have noticed that a lot of students' titles on LinkedIn are "Student at ABC University" or "Intern at XYZ Company" or something like that. You may have also noticed that some people's titles are something like "Student specializing in THIS and THAT. Feel free to connect with me!" Yeah, don't do that.


If you want to talk about your specialties or what you're looking for, utilize your biography for that.


DO be aware of your tone and speech on LinkedIn. DON'T be a Donald Trump.



Regardless of whether you support Donald Trump's political agenda or not, I think we can agree that he isn't exactly the most polite person ever. You can share your opinions on LinkedIn, but DO be aware of your tone and speech on LinkedIn. DON'T be rude. Be very cautious when you post anything about your opinions, especially if they are about sensitive topics. They might be more appropriate for Facebook than LinkedIn.



DO watch how you talk on LinkedIn.


This ties back to the previous point, but really be aware of how you talk on LinkedIn, because your connections can see what posts you liked and what you commented on them. Let's say your best friend just updated her LinkedIn profile saying that she is working at a new company. You probably shouldn't say, "OMG YAAAAS." Do that on Facebook instead. On LinkedIn, a simple "Congratulations!" or "I'm so proud of you!" will do. 




DO join groups.


This is a great way to meet people and it makes a good impression on the people who notice your groups when they view your profile. It also shows them what you're interested in.


DO describe your accomplishments. 


When you list your accomplishments on your profile, describe the important details. What did you do? You don't need to be too detailed, but put a general idea of what you've been doing.


DO quantify your achievements.


And more importantly, quantify your achievements. Let's say you worked at a business. Did your participation in a project have some sort of positive feedback? Did sales increase by 20%? How many people/customers/clients did you help? How many hours did you volunteer? You get the point.


DO endorse people for their skills. DO return the favor if they endorsed you, but DON'T be fake about it.


Endorse your connections' skills on LinkedIn. They will endorse you back (or they should). Some people think that endorsements don't matter on LinkedIn, but it does matter for some people. When I am looking at someone's profile and that person has 100 endorsements for Java, for example, I would think, "Wow, this person probably knows Java really well." If someone endorses you, endorse them back if you think they should be endorsed for a certain skill. However, DON'T feel obligated to endorse them if you don't think it's honest, though.


I hope you find these helpful. Obviously, there are lot more things to be aware of on LinkedIn. I will add more DOs and DONTs list for LinkedIn as I think of some more. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!



With love,
Phyllis

Networking — Who Do You Know?

"It's all about who you know."
"Networking is so important."
"Connections are everything!"

We've all heard it. We get it. But how do you network? It's easier said than done. Lately, I have been getting a lot of questions on how I network and thought it would be a good idea to write a blog post about this!

I honestly cannot stress enough how important networking is, no matter what your field is — fashion, finance, marketing, journalism, etc.

I network a lot because my university is not a target school for most big employers. Does that mean non-target school students can't work for a big name employer one day? Definitely not — but you will have to work harder and network more than students from target schools.

I dedicate 80% of my career success to networking. I have met some of the nicest, most helpful people through networking and I am grateful to them everyday, because, honestly, I would not be where I am today if it weren't for them.

During my freshman year of college, I became very interested in investment banking. After a short internship at an investment bank, I realized that it wasn't for me. When my friends told me a lot about consulting, it intrigued me. I did a lot of research on consulting, but I had so many more questions about consulting that Google simply couldn't answer. That's when I knew I had to network.

Getting started on networking was hard. I had just come home from my freshman year at college. I had no internship. I didn't have a "how to network" guide. I stayed up late, googling everything I could find to help me learn how to network. I read a lot of how-to articles and other schools' career services guides. After reading more on how to network, I applied what I had learned on LinkedIn. Ever since then, I spent around 6-8 hours every week just on networking. And now I have over 100 connections, just for consulting.

At first, I felt like networking was selfish because it's essentially trying to get to know someone who can help you later on. But the thing is, it doesn't have to be a selfish thing. Don't think of networking as a one-way thing. Thinking that it's a one-way thing will not take you very far with networking.

In order to be successful with networking, I think the most important thing is your mindset. You need to be willing to contribute as much as you can to your alumnus, and always be grateful for their help, because, honestly, they don't have to help you. Your alumni are taking time out of their busy days to speak with you and help you with your career. Always be thankful.

Here's how I did it:

1. Take advantage of your school's alumni directory.

If you have access to your college alumni directory, definitely check that out. Every school's alumni directory is different, so you should visit your school's career service center if you need help navigating the database.

If your high school has an alumni directory, definitely take advantage of that too. Some of my most helpful connections are from my high school directory. Most people connect with their college alumni, not high school, so reaching out to someone from your high school could be more close to home.

I also highly recommend updating your profile on your high school alumni directory. You never know who is looking through it. It also lets a current student at your high school reach out to you if they need your help!

Honestly, I think finding the people is the hardest part about networking. Sometimes alumni directory aren't organized in the most efficient way and it can take some time to find people. It took me three hours just to find alumni from my high school that I wanted to speak with. Depending on how large the directories are, it can take you even longer.

2. Take advantage of LinkedIn.

If your high school and/or college has an alumni group on LinkedIn, it's a good idea to join them. You will find a lot of people on there. A good thing about using LinkedIn is that it's likely that the people on there have updated profiles (some people don't update their high school/college alumni directory). Join the groups, find people who work in industries that interest you.

3. Reach out to your family and friends, if necessary and/or applicable.

Do you have a family member or a close friend who has the connections you need? If so, ask them if they would be willing to introduce you to said person. It's okay if your family and friends don't know anyone — it's not the end of the world! My parents are both professors, so they don't know any consultants, and yet I'm still here!

4. Send an e-mail.

This is where I get the most questions. "What do I say?" My answer? Be honest. Ask yourself why you want to talk to that person. Does that person's career really interest you? Are you seeking advice?

Keep it brief. Introduce yourself. Tell them where you found their name and explain why you are reaching out to them. Ask them if they would be willing to chat with you for 15-30 minutes. Then send. Be genuine.

TIP 1: Whatever you do, do not ask for an internship and don't attach your resume to the email.

TIP 2: Don't ask something that you can find on Google. Don't email a consultant and ask them what consulting is. This will not give off a good impression, because if you truly are interested in a field, then you would've at least Googled it.

TIP 3: This is related to tip 2, but do your research. Know your stuff and have good questions to ask your alumnus. Your alumnus can tell whether you've done your research or not.

5. Wait.

Waiting is hard. It's normal (and expected) to get no response. Some of my friends sent emails to 100 people and only heard back from 8 of them. This is normal! It is extremely frustrating, but this low-reply-rate is precisely why you need to network a lot — not everyone will help you.

6. Networking is what you make of it.


If your alumnus replies to your email, great! Try to work out a time to chat with them. Where things go from your first email depends on you and the alumnus. Get to know your alumnus. Let the alumnus get to know you. Let it be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Honestly, networking isn't hard; it's just very time consuming. But the payoff is great.

If you have any questions or would like more tips and pointers on networking, leave a comment below.


Hope you found this post helpful!

With love,
Phyllis

Dedication, Perseverance, and Happiness

My dream job has changed multiple times. I wanted to be a doctor for the longest time — until I took honors chemistry in high school and found that molecules don't really make sense to me.

Then I thought about going to law school — until I took a practice LSAT. To be fair, I took it with no preparation (I had actually just graduated from high school). I was just really bored. My score was far from a perfect 180. The reason I wanted to go to law school was because I wanted to be a prominent policymaker, and a prestigious law degree is definitely beneficial for that sort of career path. After experiencing my college's extreme liberal culture, I "escaped" politics and became interested in finance.


Investment banking was my next big dream. I wanted to work at Goldman Sachs, until I did an externship at an investment bank. While I learned a lot in a short amount of time, I didn't feel like it was a good fit for me.


Then, at last, I fell in love with a job that I think is for me: management consulting.


I love how my creative juices are free to flow, I can work on the coolest projects, and learn so much constantly. In the past school year, I have had amazing opportunities to work with actual consultants on real life projects, and I had such a great experience. I was working 11 hours a day sometimes, but it didn't even feel like it because I was learning so many things and the projects were so interesting.


I know that the probability of my working for a prestigious consulting firm is not very high, given the competitive application process, but a part of me still tells me to go for it. Am I stupid? Or is this perseverance?


Yesterday, my friend was telling me about how a guy he met while interviewing for medical school. The guy applied to medical school five times, and he was finally accepted. He had already been out of college for eight years.


Wow.


It's common for people to apply to medical school twice, but five times?! I can't even imagine what that guy's friends and family had been telling him. I'm sure some people told him to give up and get a job in a different field. But that guy persevered. He really believed that he could get in eventually.


When should one call quits and when should one persevere? Unfortunately, that's something we'll never know.


It scares me that I'm pursuing a job in a field where the acceptance rates are equivalent to the percentage of fat in my milk. But I have enjoyed the experiences that I've had so far in consultancy so much that I think it's worth pursuing.


Of course, I should have a back-up plan for when my dream doesn't work out.


This morning, I read an article that McKinsey posted about their new incoming hire, Alyssa Callister, a recent MBA grad from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. She attended Utah State University for her undergrad, where she studied Business Marketing.


Even though her academic background is not as prestigious as the majority of people who work at McKinsey or Goldman Sachs, she still got there.


When she started working at Goldman, she knew she did not have a strong background in finance. So what did she do? She ordered finance textbooks, studied all night for many nights, and soon enough, she became one of the top performing members of her team. In business school, she wanted to work on her public speaking skills, so she competed in case competitions, gave presentations in class, and gave speeches at club events.


She has so much leadership, and even though she wasn't very confident about some of her skill sets, such as public speaking, she threw herself out there, and, more importantly, she learned from that.


After reading about her, I completely understood why McKinsey hired her. It's not about what school she attended for her undergraduate or business school, or what she scored on the GRE. It's this hard working and disciplined character of hers that will make her succeed no matter what she decides to do.


I find her very admirable.


When I clicked the aforementioned article, I thought, "Yay, this article is just going to make me feel like a failure because she's so accomplished." But instead, this article gave me a huge boost of optimism. It really shows that hard work pays off. No matter what your background is, perseverance pays off. She has given me hope not just for my career but for anything.


My perseverance and dedication will take me someplace where I will be happy and proud of myself.