Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Firm Social

Another extremely long day. Woke up at 9:30am with only 5.5 hours of sleep and did my dreadful Financial Derivatives and Hedging homework. Got to school around 12:30pm and had class all the way till 6:00pm. Headed to Pasadena right after and got to the Twin Palms restaurant for KPMG's career social event.

It was actually very nice. The young recruiter was super charged with energy. You could tell that he was the right person for the job from the very beginning. I was very hungry so I went for the food immediately. I guess they really wanted to encourge people to talk more, so they provided plates that were barely the size of your palm. Forks were the normal size and they appeared to be ginormous in those plates. Everything was in its mini-sized counter parts. For example, bite-size pizzas and bbq lamb pieces. They were so small that it made me wonder if it was really for consumption or for display. Anyway, after a couple of bites, I decided to talk to people. It was extremely uncomfortable to navigate through the crowd to only get bite size pieces to feed myself. I was to recruit anyway for god's sake!

Started to talk to bunch of people. I really want to do corporate tax, so I went straight to the tax department. Talked to some interesting people. Three senior managers and 1 partner. The partner really stood out though. He was Korean and he had a very healthy face. His face was pinkish, the kind that can almost make you see the glow of his healthy blood under his skin. I was telling him how I struggled when I just transferred. How I struggled with the family stuff, my academic works, and my health problems. But then again, really, in this kind of events, whatever people spewing out there are subject to intepretation. If I were the partner I probably wouldn't believe everything that a person tells me, especially when that person brings out bunch excuses for his poor school performances -_-..... But he actually listened and told me to think outside of the box. He told me to never get discouraged and Big Four should not mean this much. Considering that I ultimately want my own business, he told me to start now and don't waste any time. He said that if I am going to work only for a few years in this field then these years in KPMG would not be substantially different from other firms. He told me even I don't make it to the Big 4, I shouldn't be depressed or disacouraged in any sense. He looked at me in the eyes and kept telling me those. He said that I was already in the right place, USC has top four accounting programs in the nation and he said I would go somewhere. I shouldn't worry.

It was quite touching actually. We talked for a long time. But later I found out he was, first not a TAX partner, but an auditing Sr. Manager, and he wasn't recruiting for LA office, instead, he was looking for people in the OC. Beh he was nice anyway.. At this moment, really I don't even care if it is for tax or audit. Stepping into the office of any of the Big 4 accounting firms would be a huge success. I want it personally and partially I want this for my parents. I know I could care less and all, but because of my family's traditional education which started back when I was like 3-4 by my grandmother, the family's name and duty is carried on. The next generation is entitled to those responsiblities. It is so not American and yet it is deeply rooted in me. I am Chinese btw lol.

I don't know. I have always liked competition. Not the atheletic kind, it is the intellectual kind. I always envisioned that I would become the richest person in the world, or the most brilliant but wicked politician, or the best lawyer etc. But I think as I mature, I see the world and life a lot different. Especially after my disease snapped when I was 12, a lot of views changed since. I still like those kind of competitiveness. But I also think that life needs its simplicity. Whenever you slow down a bit in Los Angeles, for example, lay on the beach, look at the skyscrapers at night, enjoy a good company in a nice little cafe, you can feel your life essence flowing back to you. It is like life is on stand-by mode when you are off to become the next biggest hot shot in Wallstreet; it just patiently waits for its time to show you what living is like and what life is all about. Living doesn't have to be large. A Ferrari is nice, but my Accord may just do the trick. I would like a personal jet, but it would be too large and empty if I have no real friends to share with. Yes I could buy a 50 million house and love it, but after a busy day, I can only sleep in one of the 100 bedrooms. I think THAT is scary. All the excessiveness is SCARY. Yet, at USC, especially in the Marshall School of Business or the Leventhal School of Accounting, PROFIT, MONEY, TOP SPOT, JOB, STATUS, TITLE, NETWORK, MILLIONS, BILLIONS, these are the air we are breathing in and out. It is REALLY hard to not catch a bit green fever.

For example, today in my Strategic Management class, we spent 15 minutes discussing what is a good pay. The teacher is VERY good. Harvard graduate student + PHD. Extremely energetic. He is a very astute scholar, practitioner, and observer. He makes you really think. He revealed that in America, the top 125 hedge fund manager's AVERAGE SALARY/YEAR is 350 MILLION dollars. Well if that is the case, I just want be a sucky hedge fund manager then. I will take 100 million and smile. In schools like USC, Berkeley, any of the Ivy League, the goal is to show you what you are capable of and at the same time leading you to the way to your goal. But when this is advertised too much, people's goals and dreams are tinted. People lose their directions. It is a group sink, because everyone is doing it, people stop asking questions like "is that REALLY my goal?" Hell if you really think about it, in that case, do most of the people even want all those big over the top dreams in their lives? You can only spend so much in your life time!

Bah, ok now I am just ranting. The main reason is because my GPA is low and I don't have a job offer yet. This is really frustrating and getting really really old. I hope I get a job soon, so that I can resume my hedge fund manager dreams >_<...

I found this picture and I think it makes a good point. A pyramid of knowledge and civilization and the top never looked so beautiful. It shows you the mystery, the secret, and the power that you can only access at the top. But beyond that brilliant facade, what is really there.

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