Building a Better Interview: My One Year ISFFAnniversary
By: Lenard Robles - VP of Finance
As a lot of people know, I’m pretty new to ISFFA. In fact, I’m just celebrating my 1-year anniversary (i.e., ISFFAnniversary) in this great organization this August. I still remember my very first ISFFA event. It was August of last year, and Mark Bojocan (previous President of ISFFA LA Chapter) invited me via LinkedIn to come and have my resume reviewed in the 2015 Mock Interviews. At that time, I was a fresh green-card immigrant from the Philippines, so while I hesitated (being the shy guy I am), I ultimately accepted – and it was one of the best decisions of my life.
Last year’s event was held at the EY office in downtown LA and was attended by a record number of students and professionals. And this year was no different. The 2016 Mock Interviews, entitled “Building A Better Interview,” was held also at the EY office – in the same building, same floor, even the same room. The attendance was about the same as well – 50 students participated in the event and 40 professionals from firms like EY, PwC, Grant Thornton, and Warner Brothers donated their time to conduct mock interviews and review resumes. Even the smallest details were the same – the schedule, the nametags, the elevators, the water bottles, and so many more.
There was one thing that wasn’t the same though – me. Last year, I was a lost, confused boy looking for a job and trying to acclimatize to the new American lifestyle. Granted, I still have a long way to go with the American lifestyle part, but I’m happy to say I am no longer lost, confused, or unemployed. And that’s all thanks to ISFFA.
The Mock Interviews have a very special place in my heart, and not just because it was my first-ever ISFFA event. It is, in my mind, one of the core events of our organization because of its transformative power. The tips I learned and the people I met helped me land a job at KPMG. At the same time, most of the students I met last year are now successful professionals who were able to apply what they learned in their real job interviews.
And I think the reason for this success is because of two things. First, the very execution of the event is great. A lot of the students I talked to this year were saying how helpful having two mock interviews in a day were, and also how useful it was to be able to sit down with professionals so they could honestly review their resumes with them.
Secondly, I think it’s also because the community is just amazing. There is a special warmth and genuine willingness to help in this organization. People want each other to succeed. I felt it last year, and I still feel it to this day. Professionals aren’t just professionals – they are mentors and friends. And it’s this kind of community that helps events like the Mock Interviews become successful every year.
At the end of this year’s event, I found myself in a familiar spot – seated at the corner of a half-empty room while the tables were being cleaned and organized. This year, however, I wasn’t alone. I was with my fellow ISFFA officers – my friends, mentors, and teachers who I just met.