Michael Gustav Helfenberger, Dual Degree IE Business School IMBA ’15 and Yale School of Management MAM ’16 graduate, will be joining UBS at their New York City offices in July 2016. In this new endeavor, as a citizen of Switzerland and Brazil, he will be running a new strategic unit within the international broker dealer & private bank division of UBS Wealth Management Americas. He shares his recruitment journey with us.
How did you find out about this job opportunity and why did you accept it?
Prior to pursing my MBA with IE and Yale, I had already worked several years for UBS. While one of the goals for my time at both IE and Yale was to explore alternative industries and extend my network outside finance, I concluded about half way through the program that there were few other opportunities that would attract my interest as much as Wealth Management does. It is an industry that has undergone great transformation in recent years, and this trend continues to evolve. I truly believe it is an extraordinarily exciting time to experience such revolution first-hand.
Throughout my MBA, I maintained close contact to my colleagues, former managers and mentor in the company. When this thrilling opportunity popped up, in a city that I believe to be distinctive in many regards, I was glad to be considered an appropriate candidate.
Were there any other opportunities that were offered to you? Can you expand on them?
I timely considered recruiting one of my top priorities in business school. It was not really about applying though; one-on-one conversations with current managers, Yale-called “coffee chats” with recruiters, company visits around Madrid and Connecticut, as well as a job-trek to Silicon Valley all formed part of this experience. All of this effort definitely helped me finding the right path –not just for the stake of getting a job in those companies, but for broadening my network extensively and enjoying the exchanges.
Luckily, I was offered some other job opportunities. Among them are a position of Finance & Administration Manager at the International Committee of the Red Cross, and roles in the Pathways Operations Manager program for Amazon in Europe. The attentive reader notices the wide range of industries –a result from my proactive exploration of all those fields.
How did the CMC and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process?
In my first year, while at IE, I did not leverage on the CMC too much, though they offered several workshops and drop-in sessions to fancy up our CVs, or explained how to approach recruiters effectively. In my second year, at Yale, however, I did use both IE and Yale’s resources extensively. Consolidating the career board of both institutions gave me access to a fascinating variety of firms, industries and valuable contacts.
How was the recruiting process: stages, tests, interviews, etc.?
With UBS, given that I was referred to this opportunity, the recruitment happened thoroughly but informally.
For the other companies, I went through several different types of hiring processes ranging from Skype conversations, over traditional in-person interviews, quantitative and language tests, casings, all the way to final-round assessments in Panama City, Washington DC, London and Geneva.
Would you want to share any tips or advice with students interested in applying to any of the firms?
Overall, be committed, show engagement. Don’t assume that because you are graduating from a top university in Europe or the US, opportunities will emerge effortlessly. Oftentimes, a successful application is driven by persistent follow-ups. On the other hand, also enjoy the recruitment process –keep in mind, your life is most probably not dependent on that one single opening. Relax and focus on the next one if things don’t work out the way you had expected.