Why I attend Finance Coffee Chats…and You Should Too

By Chester Zikhali MSF’23, CSE Career Captain

In my first semester as a Brandeis student, Launching Your Global Career was one of my favorite classes. I learned about the recruiting process both globally and in the US, including the importance of soft skills, networking, interview preparedness, and knowledge of industry news & trends. 

I realized how crucial these elements were in my preparedness for the global job market and becoming a well-rounded professional. I also realized that I needed to get ready, so I started attending Weekly Finance Coffee Chats with Jennifer. Here are three reasons I attend Finance Coffee Chats…and you should too!:

Small talk and Professional Presentation

As an international student, it is crucial that I continue to sharpen my communication skills. Finance Coffee Chats help me refine my small talk skills. It also allows me to practice the art of communicating my point, story, and skills clearly and concisely. I have gained more confidence when I approach alumni and industry professionals for networking opportunities. I’m able to learn about their roles and what they like most about their jobs and present my background and interests more clearly after practicing with peers and Jennifer Voldins in this friendly environment. 

Interview Preparation

The communication skills I mentioned above also come in handy during interviews. Luckily, Finance Coffee Chats provide the opportunity to practice, practice, practice, and become a better interview candidate! At first, I found it challenging to communicate my experiences and skills in interviews. I’ve since learned to give myself time to think of my answers before talking and developed tools to articulate myself in well-structured and precise ways. During Finance Coffee Chats, we also discuss what’s happening in the financial markets and the world, which is especially important as it is transferable in interviews. 

Finance Industry Knowledge

Keeping up with market news is an essential part of career success and development, not only for interviewing, but to excel on the job. Each week, we have a meaningful discussion on the outlook in the US and global financial markets, which helps me stay up to date on current affairs. Finance Coffee Chats also present an opportunity to take advantage of Jennifer’s finance industry expertise. In one of our meetings, she walked us through how various teams, such as the risk department, interact with the M&A or leveraged finance department and why this is important to know. We’ve also discussed how economic fundamentals affect clients’ businesses and how your role as a finance expert is to help clients with their business concerns.

Weekly Finance Coffee Chats with Jennifer help me develop these exciting skills and better understand US recruiting culture. I hope you join in every Thursday at 2 p.m. as well. Stop by the Alumni Common Room or access the Zoom link in the weekly CSE newsletter. See you there! 

Contact globalcareers@brandeis.edu for more information!


By Chester Zikhali
Chester Zikhali CSE Career Captain