Tag Archives: college

Move to New York If…

New York is not for the faint of heart. I mean, I sometimes I stop and think, why exactly am I making all these sacrifices to live in this city? Sure there’s great people, great food, amazing culture unrivaled by any other US city, and  fantastic scenery. In other words, there’s just so much to do in New York. It’s hard to get bored and it’s hard to get lonely. If you’re lonely in New York city, that just tells me you’re living under a rock. But really though, why move to New York? Is it really worth making all these sacrifices just so you can say you live in New York? What trade offs are we talking here?

I moved to New York because of a couple of reasons. And it’s more likely than not that you’re considering moving to New York or are in New York for the same reasons. 

  • I wanted to work in either tech, fashion, or finance. Seriously, what other city can boast that they are a hub for all these major industries? Oh yeah, that’s right. Nothing. 
  • I wanted to be in a truly diverse culture. New York, in my opinion, is the most melted social environment that I’ve ever experienced. Black, white, Puerto Rican, Chinese… The list keeps going on. They’re all here.
  • I want to succeed among the bests. I want to challenge myself and compete with the best. 

You should move to New York if…

You’re willing make your career a priority

This sounds bad and might be construed as something not good, but when you move to New York, realize that the competition just tripled. The talent that the city attracts is amazing. And if you think that you’re just a number in the city, you’re probably right. Unless you’re already the CEO of a midwest oil company expanding operations to the east coast to take advantage of European business opportunities, then you’re not yet really a significant contributor to the city. Sucks, but that’s the reality. I’ve met Merrill Lynch employees who are working entry level, graduates of top schools like University of Virginia, George Washington University, and University of Michigan, who are working menial, low-paying jobs that don’t really need a college degree either as a way to supplement their pay or because they just can’t get any work. Tough is an understatement. You will get kicked in the gut left and right, but you’ve got to keep pushing. Eventually, though, as I’ve learned, you’ll start picking things up and life will slowly get better. It’s a learning curve, so pick it up fast. 

You want to be the best

When you’re bruised and battered from all hardships, just remember that it’s all part of the ride. Because when you’ve reached your destination, you’ll smile and realizing that the past was the best thing you never want to do again. I think I’ve emphasized enough how competitive New York city is. That 3.8 GPA that you have from Yale? Impressive but there’s 100 others like you. It’s always good to keep aiming to be the best and I think New York is the best of the best. Chances are, you won’t be the best in your field. But at least that way, when you fall short of your goal, you’re still able to achieve something remarkable. That’s what I like about New York – the best are the Michael Bloombergs, the Justin Timberlakes, and the Stephen Schwarzmans but those who fall short of being the best are still managing partners at Goldman, or founded some small tech company that raised a $4 million round of funding. 

You value having a social life

I just realized, when I moved to New York, that the 40-hour workweek is almost non-existent. Most, if not all of my peers are working anywhere from 50 hours – 100 hours a week. The average being around 60 hours a week. Despite such long hours, people here are still able to have time to hang out with friends and socialize. Working 60 hours/week is going to burn you out pretty quick. And thus, you’ll need time to let loose and enjoy a bit. Especially if you’re like me, 22, single, male. Guy like myself have party as our middle name. You’ll never be lonely in New York. You will easily find people you’re can relate with and find friends pretty easily. It’s expensive though and you’re going to learn that the moment you step foot here. Pre-gaming will be a common term in your vocabulary. 

If you can’t make sacrifices, you won’t make it in New York. Heck, you won’t even be able to get here. Sacrifices are tough but it’s also a way to weed out all the incompetent people. Case in point – I lived out of an air mattress for the first 5 weeks when I got here and I’m still trying to find a place to live. Like I said, it’s really tough, but when you see value and progression in what you’re doing, then it’s worth it. If you’re 22, young, single, with no kids – take the leap. This is the only time in your life where you can take risks and get away with it. 

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The 80-20 Principle Revisited

It’s been a great few days. My theory works. The shock and awe idea that I originally theorized from a previous blog post actually works. I knew this day would come; it was only a matter of time. I recently received an offer to work as an intern for Offerpop, a New York City based start-up. Offerpop is a software-as-a-service company that provides marketers and brand managers an easy to use platform to create campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. In addition to that, I also received a temp offer to work for a proxy firm    in Midtown Manhattan. Things have finally been falling into place and I’m really glad that my hard work is starting to pay off. Allow me to tell my story. 

Shock and Awe

The first step for me, was to research a bunch of web 2.0 media companies in NYC. There’s a lot of them here in NYC. New York really has fast growing tech talent pool and I’m sure this is just the beginning. After all, NYC is a hub for finance, fashion, and media. After doing my research and looking up companies that I feel like I was going to be a good fit for, I looked up their addresses. Offerpop is one of those companies. Using my Shock and Awe theory, I decided to take things to differently. I talked about how I created a cover letter using Power Point, and that worked like magic. This time, I decided to literally walk up to the office of the start-up of my choosing and speak to whoever is in charge. At the very least, my goal is just to drop off my resumé. But of course, I would at least like to speak to people who are in charge and introduce myself as a qualified and sharp candidate.

The very first office that I walked into was Offerpop. I came up to the office manager, Nicole, and handed my resumé. I told her that I’m really interested in the company and would like to be considered for the biz dev position. 10 minutes after introducing myself, I was having a conversation with the head recruiter and was arranging a meeting for an interview. Unfortunately, the biz dev position was not open anymore but luckily, they still had an internship position open. Internships are great feeders into the position that you desire. It’s very simple really, do an awesome job as an intern, as if you’re getting paid, and make damn sure that they would regret not having you on board. That’s the next step as I just got confirmation that I got the position for the Business Development Internship. The position is unpaid but like what I’ve said, I’m more than willing to work for free in order to prove myself worthy. You see, internships are great ways to really stand out. Since the position is unpaid, your supervisors don’t really have high expectations regarding your performance. And that’s exactly why you should work harder, smarter, and more enthusiastic than everyone else. Like Zappos, you want to under promise but over deliver. That’s the goal and I’m certainly making my way there. 

To be Continued

Part 3 of this post will be continued as soon as the internship concludes, which should be by the end of October or mid November. Right now, I’m keeping myself busy by working part-time doing other gigs that bring in some money. Apart from all the things that I’ve said, there’s only 3 things that I want you to remember at the end. 

1. Research and qualify prospective companies where you will fit in well and companies that would consider you as an asset. Look for companies that you’re really interested and passionate about.

2. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, use guerrilla marketing tactics. Use the shock and awe principle. Remember, the first impression is the most important. Don’t mess it up! Be creative and think of ways to stand out as a candidate the moment you introduce yourself. 

3. Show your passion, hunger, and ambition. Nothing is more appealing than a person who is passionate. Your passion will get you through, no doubt about it. If you’re really passionate, it will show. 

I’d love to help out in anyway possible. I’m no expert, but I’ve gotten results. If you think there’s something I can help you out with, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

Cheers!

There’s Life After College Part II

It’s been exactly 4 weeks since I left Austin, Texas for New York City. I’m not going to lie, I’m very homesick. I never realized how much I love Austin and my school, the University of Texas, after leaving and realizing that the next time I ever set foot on the campus that we call the 40 acres, I will be an alumni.

I guess it’s always hard for college students to graduate because college is one of the best years of our lives. I don’t know about you, but I certainly had an amazing time at UT. From here on out, the eyes of Texas are upon me and I will live up to the great name of Texas. I love New York – the fast paced lifestyle, bright lights, and amazing people. But one thing is for sure, Texas will always be close to my heart. Hook ’em!

What My Life Was Like in College

College was amazing. Plain and simple. An average day would be described as follows.

8 am – wake up, shower, and get ready for class.

9 am – eat breakfast, check e-mail

9.15 am – off to class

9.30 to 11 am – class time

11 to 12 – break

12 to 3 pm – back to back classes

3 to 5 pm – review notes, do homework, try finish any major duties for the week

5 pm – head back to the house (fraternity house)

6 pm – Dinner

7 pm onwards – happy time. I’m either with friends, working out at the gym, drinking at a bar, or just dickin’ around (excuse my french).

Being in a fraternity made things so much more fun. Parties, traditions, events, formals, everything was just great.

During the fall semester we would have a couple of major events that a lot of people look forward to.

  • First we have the football season kick-off. Every single home game would be celebrated with tailgates all over the stadium. It’s absolutely manic.
  • In October we have the Texas vs. OU game. Our biggest rival in the Big 12. The game is held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX.
  • Also in October is the Austin City Limits music festival. ACL is the largest music festival in Austin. 100,000 people flock to Zilker park for 3 days of great music
  • In November, major parties around West Campus. West Campus is where the majority of UT college students reside in. During the 3rd of 4th week of November, fraternities hold major parties that have now become a yearly tradition.
  • In December, there’s Christmas formal. Christmas is the greatest time of the year and everyone in Austin loves to celebrate this season.

All that said and done, it’s hard to blame someone like me, for not missing college. That’s why college is so great – no major responsibilities other than studying for exams and it’s all fun from there. I know that this transition is going to be a bit of a struggle but it’s time to move on. After all, I wouldn’t want to be a 5th or 6th year senior, see my friends graduate and move on to their careers as I get ostracized as the old dude at the frat party.

This is dedicated to the Texas Longhorns. The 2012 season is going to be great. Hook ’em!

My Failures and Successes in Business in College

So back in college, I experimented with a couple of business gigs to try to make some money. I knew I was never going to get a job while in school because first, it never really worked for me, and second, I just never saw satisfaction in a dead end job that didn’t challenge me. Here’s a juxtaposition of my successes and failures about my first foray into business.

1. iPad/iPhone reselling – In college, I found reselling iPads my main source of funds. I made around $600-$1000 per month working about 1 hour each day. If you do the math, I actually made around $25/hour doing this. And most importantly, I was able to do this all on my computer and phone. I can still easily replicate this system in NYC but the problem is traveling to meet your buyer would be a hassle when you have a job that requires you to be around for 10 hours/day. If you want to learn my system, I’ll teach you. Just send me an email. It’s really really simple. All you need is a phone, a computer, and $300 to start with.

The main disadvantage of this model is that it isn’t scalable. Why? Simply because you would need a steady supply of iPads. That means getting in contact with Apple and arranging terms, which is very unlikely that they’ll just sell you iPads at wholesale.

2. PS3 controllers – This business wasn’t entirely mine, but I was part of it. Basically, my college buddy ordered a bunch of PS3 controllers from Alibaba.com and we sold them on eBay. Turns out, though, that the controllers were knock-offs and my friend’s eBay account eventually got a bad rep.

3. Niche Adsense Websites – Basically, I created (paid someone to make the site) 5 single page websites with a highly-targeted and keyword-rich domain name that can rank easily on google. Out of those 5 sites, 2 succeeded and brought it some decent earnings. One site averaged $150/month without any maintenance whatsoever. The sites are created in a way that maintenance is unnecessary. The other site made about $75/month. The best part was, once the sites were up and running, I didn’t have to do anything and I simply watched money come in. It was awesome!

What I Learned

The most important lesson that I learned was to research a product/service that would bring in money right away. I learned the hard way when I decided to start a clothing store online. I tried to spend as little as possible because I didn’t want to risk my money. I pooled around $500 to buy minimums of some pieces,  an e-commerce site, and advertising. It turns out the market is way too crowded and you would either need something that jumps out of the page or something that has such an insane value that people won’t be able to turn it down. The internet is just littered with so many clothing stores that it would be crazy difficult to launch another one without any significant selling proposition.

Likewise, test, test, test your product/service before going full-on. I’m currently testing a couple of products right now to see which one is the most lucrative and which one would have the fastest traction. Updates will be made as soon as I am able to gather some data on my market test. I would obviously love to see this work out right away but my experience in sales tells me that business, is a numbers game.

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What I Learned About The ‘Real Life’ That College Failed To Address

Before graduating from college, I had my life planned out almost entirely. After graduation, my plan was to go backpacking to Europe for 2-3 months. Then after that, I would move to either NYC, San Francisco, or L.A. At which point, I was going to work for a consulting firm or a major bank either as a financial analyst or an investment banker. 2-3 years after working and doing the corporate grind, I would go to a major business school like Wharton, Columbia, Northwestern, or even Harvard (my top lists). Then after that I would go back to consulting or banking and just keep working until I become a partner. Well, it turns out that things are much easier said than done. Plans, apparently, are made to be broken. 

Before College

  • I thought getting good grades were enough to land you a decent job. By decent I mean, $50,000 a year with benefits and other perks. 
  • I thought it would be easy getting a job given the credentials that I have on my resumé. Good school, above-average grades, great experience and good recommendations. 
  • I thought everything would be a smooth transition. That is, graduation, travel to Europe, get back to the U.S., then   get a job and work. Things just didn’t work that way. 

After college

  • I learned that unless you come from a top 10 program in your school, which in the Univ. of Texas was Engineering, Business, or Accounting, jobs wouldn’t just be handed to you. If you don’t come from a top 10 program, you better have a stellar GPA or really great experience like say, an internship at Goldman Sachs. I had a 3.42 GPA in economics with a minor in math and that wasn’t enough. 
  • I learned that if you have a good resumé, there’s easily 100 people with better resumés. Improve your interviewing skills. Your resumé gets your foot in the door but beyond that, it’s all about the interview. Make the interviewer like you and respond with absolute enthusiasm in the company.
  • I learned that without the security of a job, which will give me the much needed cash-flow, it will be very difficult to accomplish all these travel and relocation plans. It’s doable, though, and I know some people who have done it. Pretty soon, I’ll get to travel a lot and it will be amazing. Image

courtesy of  mariecarrb.tumblr.com