Illustration by Yuree Chang

NYUAD Students Discuss Careers in Finance

A session hosted by the Business and Finance Society offered valuable advice to students interested in working in the field.

Feb 29, 2020

On Feb. 26, NYU Abu Dhabi’s Business and Finance Society hosted a student panel, which featured the experiences of NYUAD students who have pursued careers at top financial firms. Taking place in the Career Development Center’s Career Cafe, six students shared their experiences as a part of the panel. Hind Ait Mout, Class of 2021, and Sorin Panfile, Class of 2020, executive board members of the Business and Finance Society, moderated the discussion with the panelists. All of the featured panelists are majoring in Economics at NYUAD.
In answering attendees’ questions, the panelists drew upon their extensive working experience with a variety of highly coveted financial firms, including BlackRock, Delta Partners, Mizuho, Crédit suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, StepStone and JPMorgan Chase. They repeatedly stressed the selectivity of the entire process of obtaining a position.
Sergey Shkurinsky, Class of 2020, noted that during his search for an internship in the summer after his Junior year, he applied to more than 200 positions, of which only two or three materialized as actual offers. Gregory Goldemberg, Class of 2020, referred to the process as a “marathon,” emphasizing that, “you just have to keep on pushing, pushing, pushing and pushing.”
In other instances, they highlighted the arbitrariness of some of the hiring decisions that take place at the end of the application process. “Sometimes it’s not you, it’s the visa,” said Goldemberg.
Attendees’ questions predominantly centered around gaining a better understanding of the different stages of the application process, as well as the strategies they could use to stand out from other candidates vying for the limited number of positions. Markus Abeler, Class of 2021, recounted some of the necessary elements of a successful candidate.
“[A] decent GPA, [a] decent school unless you’re super connected, you need to know your technicals [and] once you get past these things, the main differentiator really is how personable you are.”
“There are millions of people with a 3.8 or a 3.9 GPA … you need to look like somebody they’ll enjoy spending time with and somebody they’ll be able to teach what you need to learn,” Goldemberg concurred.
Humorous anecdotes from the panelists’ experiences also colored the discussion. Anastasia Karavan, Class of 2020, spoke of a particularly memorable brain-teaser that she had to answer during one of her interviews. “If the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi painted his plane in gold, how much would it cost?” She had two minutes to come up with an answer. Abeler, meanwhile, noted how as a part of his work he had come across a client that was a meme page valued for millions of dollars.
Ultimately, the panelists’ encouraged attendees to be tenacious in their search for new opportunities. For those who are still in their freshman and sophomore years, Abeler’s advice was, “[to not be afraid] to cold call a bunch of companies.”
The panelists reiterated their belief that the benefits of working at a top financial firm are worth all the hard work and long hours that go into obtaining and maintaining a position. “It’s like a stamp of approval for your résumé,” said Abeler.
Danial Tajwer is Deputy News Editor. Email him at
gazelle logo