Monday, September 25, 2006


The basics of On Campus Recruiting

Unless it has already gotten underway, on campus recruiting will begin at U of M in the very near future. A wide range of companies across industries and geographies will visit Michigan and hopefully make some of you future employees of their organization. Typically, the first wave of company presentations and interviews in September and October will be geared towards full-time positions for graduating seniors, while a second wave geared towards underclassmen seeking summer internships will come at the beginning of the winter semester.

Most companies send alumni to do their on campus recruiting, so do not get nervous about meeting and speaking candidly with these recruiters. They are all overjoyed to be back on campus and genuinely want to bring in as many students from their alma mater as possible (although they likely have a target number or limit as to how many students will get offers). Approach as many company representatives as you can until every question you have about working at their firms have been answered. In fact, I recommend asking the same question to multiple people at the same company to get different perspectives or to make sure you get the right answer. Ask about your recruiters' personal experiences and how they made the jump from college to the workplace. The only way that you will get the advice and insight that you need in order to figure out if a job and/or company is right for you is to hear what actual people in those positions/companies do. Questions seem to be the intangible component of a student's candidacy for a job. Asking questions proves to recruiters that you have done research on the company, the position, and the industry. It also shows your level of interest, or lack thereof, and opens the door for providing examples of how your experience relates to the job at hand.

Citigroup will assuredly be one of the financial services firms recruiting for both full-time hires and summer interns at Michigan. Similar to other companies, on campus recruiting at Citigroup results in hired students becoming part of a professional development program. For example, undergraduate hires will enter into an Analyst program, while hired graduate students will enter into an Associate program. Unless these programs have changed this year, both result in an offer to work in a specific Citigroup division (not every division recruits at Michigan) for the duration of the two-year program. After two years, assuming satisfactory work performance and positive reviews, the employee will graduate out of his/her program and then have the opportunity to interview with other areas of the company. You can also stay in your most recent position if you want. At the same time, some employees will take a job at another company, and others will not receive an offer to continue employment at Citigroup and will have to seek work elsewhere.

I believe Citigroup is recruiting undergraduates at Michigan this year for full-time and intern positions in IBD (Investment Banking Division) only. IBD and Sales and Trading divisions are probably going to be recruiting Michigan graduate students, but I'm not very familiar with Associate program recruiting, so if you are a grad student interested in working for Citigroup, let me know and I will find out for sure.

During the recruitment process, here are a few basic pointers to get you moving in the right direction so as to put yourself in a position to get an on campus interview:

There is so much more to say, but the points that I have made seem to pertain to recruiting and pre-interviewing as a whole regardless of major/company/geography. If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask. Best of luck getting your dream job. For those of you who do not get hired on campus or have not found anything of interest yet, go to your school's Career Planning office and begin your off campus search. As an off campus hire that went through on campus recruiting initially, I plan to tackle the off campus job search in a future entry.

M Go Blue, Beat Minnesota

Friday, September 22, 2006


University of Michigan Business School (Ross) ranks #1

Although I was a BBA, and this is the MBA ranking, I take pride in knowing that Ross Business School is #1 (again) in the 2006 Wall Street Journal rankings released this week. Don't worry undergrads, the last time I looked at the U.S. News and Business Week rankings of undergraduate business schools, Michigan was ranked #3 and #6, respectively. Any school in the top 20/25 national rankings is a Tier I institution in my eyes.

P.S. Citigroup is full of Michigan grads: B-School, LS&A, Law School, Engin, etc. We run this place.

Monday, September 18, 2006


What does a Controller do at a Financial Services firm?

What does the Controller function perform at a Financial Services firm? Controllers' duties probably vary slightly across companies, but in general, the controller is one or more persons who supervises the accounting for an organization. Note, a controller is not necessarily an accountant in its traditional sense, yet he/she is versed in accounting in order to review and oversee the accounting work of others.

Other titles for the controllers division here at Citigroup include Financial Control and Product Control. At Citigroup, I would say that Financial Control could be viewed vertically in a top to bottom control scope. In other words, it is the overall control function of the activities of ALL of the departments in a business unit such as Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) and the Global Consumer Group (GCG). Product Control could be viewed in a more horizontal fashion within Financial Control. Product Controllers control the day-to-day activity of a specific department or product within the business units such as Derivatives, Corporate Reporting, FX, or my own group, Emerging Markets Sales and Trading. Therefore, a Financial Controller is concerned with the entire business and manages the Product Controllers who are product experts of one part of the business.

To view the Product Control role as a part of the organization as a whole, here is how my personal reporting tree stacks up (titles might not be 100% precise):

So, continuing right along, my Product Control group concerns itself with understanding the financial accounting and management accounting of the Emerging Markets Sales and Trading desk and tieing the accounting numbers to Citigroup's financial reporting structure and regulatory requirements for eventual public release.

An interesting observation that I have noticed in my thus-far short career in Product Control is that nobody seems to have trained in college specifically for a controller function. Most people I know here were either assigned to a product control group as a part of the Finance Analyst (FA) or Finance Management Associate (FMA) program after undergraduate or graduate school recruitment into the Finance Division; or, like me, they had related and/or complementary experience in an accounting or finance position coming into the job.

In summary, Product Controllers are product experts with a solid grasp of financial accounting, managerial accounting, and the regulatory and reporting environments of a company. Product Control is the last straw before financial numbers are reported and disseminated, so it is very important to be precise and exemplify scrutinous attention to detail. We reconcile P&L (Profit & Loss) and the GL (General Ledger) every day, and tie out the reporting numbers/breakouts of the numerous Financial Reporting Systems utilized by Citigroup CIB.

So, that concludes the least humorous post I have ever done in my two-posting blogging career. To make it up to you, I will leave you with my favorite joke of all time:

M Go Blue. Beat Wisconsin.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Personal Introduction

Hello all, my name is Nicholas Chang, and I graduated from the BBA Program at the formerly-known-as UMBS (now Stephen M. Ross School of Business Administration) in 2003. I held out in Ann Arbor all summer that year, partly traveling Europe and partly playing photo hunt at Rick's, until the day my lease ended. Then, I moved out to New York City to start my professional career. Currently, I live in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan, and I work at the Wall Street location of Citigroup's Corporate and Investment Banking division as a Product Control Analyst. It's been a rollercoaster the past three years since graduating, but like anything, I wouldn't want it to have played out any differently. No use in speculation and regret.

Throughout my posts, I plan to take readers through my weekly life both in the workplace and out. I spend most of my time in the office, but so does everyone in New York City. I am used to it, and I do not see it changing any time soon. Life after Michigan is tough, but a nice change at the same time. $2.50 pitchers and ArborFest were great at the time, but those are things many Michigan grads give up to live and work in the dynamic, expensive, and fast-paced lifestyle of NYC. I hope to give you a glimpse of that lifestyle as I post entries in the coming weeks/months, so let me know if there is anything specific you want to know about New York, Citigroup, or sharing one bathroom in an apartment with four dudes. Until next time,

Go Blue, Beat Notre Dame

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