Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ah My Heroes!

Two days ago, I was on my way home, eagerly waiting to catch the next exciting episode of Heroes. But NOOOO...

The producers just had to put it on hiatus!! No more Heroes for seven weeks! Even the simple pleasure of watching a weekly episode of Heroes has been taken away from me!


On another note, I just happened to go to the Mosaic music festival recently. WB got some free tics to a Tristan Prettyman studio performance and kena flown aeroplane by a girl (haha, don't worry, only initials). And so, as a good buddy with nothing better to do, I went along and I must say the Esplanade's pretty happening during this time.

Unfortunately, Tristan wasn't my kind of music. In fact, I was trying very hard to keep myself awake. She actually told us that one of her audience once replied "coffee" when she asked if there was anything they wanted. I can begin to see why. Her voice is soothing, but so soothing that it puts people to sleep (even with the drums and all).

But I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the opening act by Rai and Jack, the lead vocals of the local band EIC. Apparently, they have got their debut album coming out soon.

There was also a free but insane performance by Jivekustic (I think that's what they were called) at the Nokia Music Station. They performed covers of U2, Police, Snow Patrol, etc, and they were pretty damn good! It was a pleasant experience so I'm glad I went. Thanks man, WB :)

But like what a good buddy should do, I also left him queuing alone for Tristan Prettyman's autograph while I left early to catch the last train. Ho ho ho.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Yesterday sucked. Two disappointments, one law assignment and no sleep at night.

I must have been punished for praying to the Ti Gong only when I needed him. Don't mistake me for being religious — I don't believe he existed the rest of the time. Anyway, UBS chose another candidate instead. Great. Their loss.

It is really ironic how a friend couldn't get into an internship with a Big 4 firm because his resume is too good. He was asked why he wanted to go for an internship with a Big 4 when he could apply for banks with his resume. According to him, the stronger candidates lost out in the end.

I understand how firms would want to hire for the long term, and so might prefer poorer candidates with fewer opportunities that are likely to stick around longer. But if that's how they look at hiring, then all they're getting are just so-so people and everything will be just... so-so. And where do people like my friend end up if for some reason they can't get into banks? When one is not exactly the best, but not just average either, one gets stuck somewhere in the middle and it sucks since you put in effort in return for peanuts. In fact, being the worst is marginally better. Because slacking doesn't require effort.

Didn't get any reply from INSTEP either so my chances of going for exchange is almost nil right now. I guessed going for the summer exchange last year reduced my chances of getting chosen.

How can one compare the two experiences? One is six weeks, the other is six months! I say we get equal opportunity for both. They didn't tell me that I have lower chances for INSTEP if I went Hong Kong. But I guess even if I were to choose again, I would still have gone for the summer exchange. I met some great friends there and the experience was almost life-changing.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

I want this job

I had my very first interview for a job (ok, an internship) today. I am proud to say that I have never, ever worked officially before in the twenty-two years of my life! Not even as a McDonald's cashier. No CPF account either. It's quite an achievement considering how hardworking I am *cough*. But that's beside the point.

Front-office investment banking internships are almost impossible to get (I heard the numbers are like 3 out of 3000 applicants). So, I went for mid-office stuff for my Professional Attachment this coming summer.

I applied for some internship that involves doing business unit controls for the FOREX, cash and collateral traders. It sounds important, but who actually knows what the hell they do. When I asked one of my interviewers, she rattled a long string of hardly recognisable financial jargon. Guess I'd have to learn on the job then.

But seriously, the job scope is quite exciting. In the relative sense, of course, since I'm comparing it to an accountant's work. The job would give me a chance to interact with the FOREX traders and pick some of their brains. And maybe I'd get to see what they have traded, how much they have made or lost, and do a bit of investigative work. I don't know why but that just appeals to me.

Other than the reconciliation stuff, I would also get to use my "1337 programming skillz"(I wish) for god knows what. Probably generating analyses in Excel. And I might get to liaise with peeps overseas, though when they say that, it could mean anything from a phone call to MSN chatting. The latter sounds good.

Security is tight. To enter the bank, I had to go through some turnstile with a security pass. They must have some pretty important information in there to protect. Then I took the wrong lift. I took one that took me to only the odd levels, and my destination was on an even level. I thought I could take the stairs down from floor 13, but everywhere except the lift area was considered out-of-bounds-to-non-staff. So I took the lift all the way down to the lobby and switched lifts, barely making it on time.

My interviewers were two pretty ladies around my age or just a little older. So I had no problems with keeping eye contact :) Thankfully, their questions were rather general and they didn't ask any stunners like some of the firms I've heard about ("If you were an animal, what would you be?" suggested answers - puking merlion or horny rhino) Halfway through, I could feel my mouth drying out. I was practically speaking continuously. This almost never happens.

Anyway, I think I should not go on any more lest the people from the bank find out that I'm making a joke out of this and decides not to recruit me.

I'm not being evil here, but I hope the other candidates sucked.

Ti Gong Bo Bi!! Sky God Bless!!