Panelists Advise Students, Discuss Career Planning
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 03:11
The Latin American Student Association held a corporate leaders panel event as a part of the Second Annual Latin American Career Conference Friday afternoon in Riggs Library.
The panel included Maximo Blandón, managing director of Stephens, Inc. and co-head of the International Group; Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg, CEO of Strategic Investment Group; Carlos Zalles, president and Chief Investment Officer of LW Investment Management, and Amparo Mercader, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Professor of operations Ricardo Ernst moderated the panel.
The panelists discussed career planning for college students and emphasized the importance first jobs have on a person’s career path.
“You have to look at [your first job] in context of what’s in front of you and what you’re going to get out of that job,” Blandón said. “I think it’s important as you’re coming out of college to think of [your fist job] as a great first step in [your] future.”
Ochoa-Brillembourg warned prospective employees of the danger of changing jobs too frequently, specifically citing the two-year mark as a goal for any young employee.
“I cannot tell you the number of deserving people interviewing for our firm, and, when I see that they change jobs every two years, I do not hire them because those are people who are immature [and] they live off hopes.”
Mercader began as a financial reporter in Uruguay and said that adapting to American customs was important to her career path.
“Coming from a Latin American background, learning the culture, adapting to the U.S. culture and way of doing business — giving yourself to that process is important to your career,” Mercader said.
Each panelist also brought up his or her own preferences in job candidates. Many stressed the importance of communication skills in the job interview process.
“Is that person engaging, are they somewhat aggressive, and are they able to articulate a point of view by being poised? Those are the things that I think are going to be very important,” Blandón said.
Zalles, meanwhile, asked each individual three questions: “‘What are your strengths?’ ‘What are your weaknesses?’ ‘How much are you worth?’”
“If they don’t know how to negotiate how much they’re worth, they’re not going to negotiate very well with clients,” Zalles said.
Mercader stressed the importance of listening in addition to speaking during an interview.
“The people you are talking with in an interview probably think very highly of themselves and you have to let them talk,” Mercader said. “I sometimes see candidates coming in, and they know what they want to say, and they’ll say it no matter what and they don’t listen. You need to make sure the words you say are powerful and then let the other person talk.”
Blandón also compared the importance of preparation for a career to the preparation for an interview.
“One of the absolute keys is you better know everything there is to know about that company,” Blandón said. “What you’ve been able to achieve in your resume has to translate into reality, and that means [you have to] be prepared when you walk in the door.”