Nailing the Job Interview: Zhixue Shu and Graduate Center Career Services

Jan. 11, 2024
Zhixue Shu in a blue button-up shirt and khaki pants standing in front of rolling hills and mountains.

Image Credit: Zhixue Shu

My name is Zhixue Shu from the Department of Physics. Recently, I got an offer from Wells Fargo for a position in quantitative finance. It’s very competitive to get to the final round. There are about 50 people competing for 8 offers, and all candidates are PhDs, mostly from either math or physics. There were some really impressive profiles. 

I believe what really set me apart were the behavior round and the presentation. I know a lot of candidates who did perfectly in the project demonstration— modeling and computation. Even though I made a small mistake in the project, which is usually a dealbreaker, I still received the offer!

Shawn's guidance in tailoring my responses during the behavior round and refining my presentation skills was instrumental in setting me apart from other candidates. I knew, in principle, that I should show my impact and value to the company.  But the words coming out of my mouth didn’t always achieve that goal. She showed me how to describe my experience and answer interview questions in a way that aligned with what the company was looking for. She evaluated my answers to see if they reflected the company’s expectations and preferences. She always pointed to or dug into some experience or some aspects of me that I myself didn’t notice. She is good at reminding me of the “greats” I have done but overlooked. There were a lot of “aha” moments that significantly improved my ability to show my impact and value during the interview.

The Graduate Center’s Career Services helped me through the whole process, from resume crafting, LinkedIn profile setup, interviews, to offer negotiation. It would have been impossible without their help and support.

Shawn Nordell, PhD