Dec 19, 2014

Blackstone Women Interview and Resume Workshops: Student FAQs

At campuses around the country, Blackstone professionals conduct workshops open to all undergraduate women designed to prepare them for the Blackstone interview process. At these workshops, Blackstone women provide first-hand advice from their personal experiences as women in finance, as well as their experiences interviewing candidates. In 2014, workshops were held at 10 universities and more than 400 undergraduate women attended, and we will continue to build the program in future years.

Please find a list of the most frequently asked questions from undergraduate women who have attended these workshops and answers from Blackstone recruiters and professionals below.

Should you list your GPA and SAT scores on your resume? 
Yes, you should always include your GPA on your resume.  If you don’t include it, the person reviewing your resume will assume the worst.  It is up to your discretion if you would like to include SAT scores.  If you have strong scores for all three sections, it’s worth including. 

Should you include activities or skills outside of professional experiences on your resume?
We would encourage you to include extracurricular activities that you have a strong interest in and have dedicated significant time to.

How is best to show interest in finance through non-finance past experience?  If your previous internships weren’t in finance, what is the best way to indicate an interest in finance?
You can show an interest or passion for finance through your major, coursework, students clubs and organizations, or managing your own portfolios.  Don’t worry if you do not have relevant work experience yet.  The key is to mold your responses through the interview so that you are telling stories that show you have qualities the firm is looking for in a candidate (e.g. hard working, a leader, eager to take initiative).

How is best to talk about prior work experience in an interview if you only conducted administrative tasks in the position? 
Try to reference any accomplishments you had in the role that impacted the company versus simply discussing your tasks.  For example, instead of stating you filed papers, discuss how you created a new organizational structure for filing all invoices, which allowed for a more efficient process.

Should you say that a firm is your top choice in an interview? Should you mention competing offers?
It is OK to say a firm is your top choice, if it is, in fact, your top choice.  It is also OK to be honest about other firms you are applying to and why you are applying to them.  You should always notify your interviewer or recruiter of any competing offers and offer deadlines so they can be mindful of them as you are going through their interview process.

What do you do if you are given a technical question and have no idea where to begin? 
Take a deep breath and try to think about the question logically. Many technical questions are intended to see how you think through problems versus always getting the right answer. If you are completely stumped, it is fine to say you are unfamiliar with that method or problem.

When asked about strengths and weaknesses, what are the guidelines for that?
Before an interview, you should prepare a few strengths and weakness.  You should have clear and concise reasons as to why you have selected your strengths and how you are working through your areas of development.  Try to avoid weaknesses that are really strengths (e.g. perfectionist).

What kinds of questions are best to ask at the end of an interview? 
Feel free to ask basic questions (e.g. What is the summer analyst program like at your firm? Can you tell me about a deal you’ve worked on recently?). Avoid forcing generic, high-level intellectual questions (e.g. What do you think is the future of Private Equity?).

Following an interview, should you send a thank you note? How long and personal should it be?
You should write an individual email to all interviewers following an interview.  You can keep it short – a few sentences – that thanks your interviewer and reiterates your interest in the position.