On Wednesday February 20th, the Zicklin Graduate Accounting Society (ZGAS) hosted representatives of Grant Thornton at Baruch College in a presentation primarily about resume writing and interview preparation. Representatives included University Recruiter Carly Reiner and advisory professionals Kristina Vienni, Ketan Zaveri, and Jahrein Brown; ZGAS Co-VP of Event Plannings Shamisa Zvoma moderated the event. All four GT representatives emphasized the importance of writing a good resume, since the document is the interviewer’s first impression of the candidate. Ms. Reiner advised job candidates to reach out to multiple people for help in editing and polishing their resumes.
Ms. Reiner discussed interviewing in extensive detail as well. According to her, an interview is about selling your talents and answering questions honestly. A candidate should identify challenges that he/she has faced. In the process of behavioral interviewing, there is also a focus on demonstrating traits of the interview candidate. Ms. Reiner discussed the importance of body language during the interview, including walking slowly to and from the interview chair, sitting up straight, and maintaining appropriate eye contact with the interviewer.
Ms. Reiner advised that, at the end of the interview, the candidate shouldn’t say that he/she has no questions for the interviewer. An example of a good question she gave was, “Why did you choose this job?”; an example of a bad question to ask the interviewer was simply, “Do you like working here?”. Mr. Zaveri suggested that the candidate ask questions that cannot be answered by consulting the firm’s website. Ms. Reiner, Ms. Vienni, and Mr. Zaveri also stressed the importance of writing a thank you note to each interviewer after an interview. The thank you notes should touch upon some specific things that refer to the previous conversation(s) between the candidate and the interviewers; they should look sincere.
During the question and answer session, students submitted various inquiries about the interview process and the advisory business. In response to a question about how to justify wanting to leave a current job in an interview with Grant Thornton, Mr. Zaveri advised that the student explain how the position at GT would be different from his current one. Another student asked a general question about what skills GT is looking for. Mr. Zaveri said that he tries to determine how a candidate will approach the job. In the context of the firm’s advisory business, he emphasized the importance of communication; a candidate’s behavior in an interview may indicate how the candidate will behave when facing clients. Finally, Mr. Zaveri noted the 3.0 GPA requirement for GT’s entry-level advisory positions. Ms. Vienni added that the advisory business focuses on projects, and interviewers for advisory positions prefer candidates who work well with teams.
Mr. Brown answered other questions about the responsibilities of an associate, how to stand out in an interview, and how to understand the greater advisory business. Mr. Brown explained that an audit associate learns from a senior associate (or “senior”) how to be a professional and perform an audit, contact clients, gather pertinent documentation, and run tests. On the other hand, associates in advisory usually provide services more depending upon the professionals’ background and interests. Regarding how to stand out in an interview, he advised candidates to search the firm website and find subtle, intellectual points about GT or its business lines that others might not find or pick up. When discussing advisory in general as a business, he stressed its difference from consulting. While advisory has a consulting component, it focuses more on compliance issues and has a wide variety of applications.
Contributing Writer: Yufei Yang