Citigroup CEO visits campus and talks job prospects

| Editor-in-chief
Matt Mitgang | Student Life

Matt Mitgang | Student Life

Citigroup Inc. CEO Vikram Pandit met with Olin students Monday in the Knight Center during a visit to St. Louis. Pandit was in town to announce preliminary third-quarter results of Citi’s foreclosure prevention activities in Missouri. Citi has more than 200 million client accounts globally and is known as one of the “Big Four Banks” of the U.S. Pandit sat down with Student Life and gave advice to students looking for jobs or internships.

Student Life: What would you recommend for students about to enter the job market?
Vikram Pandit: It’s all about an education. Don’t worry about the rest; it will happen down the road.

SL: Is 2010 a bad time to be graduating?
VP: I do think that the economy feels a little better to us, it seems to be stabilizing a bit more here, so if you were to look at the economic environment right now, by the time they get out of school, it might actually turn out to be a good time for them.

SL: Is Citi hiring right now?
VP: We are hiring a lot from schools right now, and I know some other firms are as well. Most of the firms like ours take a very long-term view—you want the young people in, you want to get them every year and train them because ultimately, it is a talent business. We haven’t really changed many of our plans, and I know that most other companies haven’t. Students should do what they have been doing, which is study hard and interview well so they can get a good job.

SL: With foreclosures on the rise, there are more jobs available in the mortgage industry than in years past, for example. Should students package themselves differently in order to meet the current demands?
VP: There are aspects of that that one has to be aware of, but when we recruit students coming from schools—undergraduate and graduate students—we recruit for the long haul. This isn’t about hiring you for a particular job, this is about bringing you in as a part of the training programs, [a] part of what is going to make you great over time.

SL: How should you approach job recruiters?
VP: There may be jobs that are specific that they might be going after, but if you are looking at Citi, just be yourself and just talk about what you really like to do, what do you want to do in your life, what do what you want to learn, what kind of career do you want to have, what interests you. That’s the most exciting for us.

SL: Are there a lot of business job opportunities in St. Louis?
VP: There is a great community in St. Louis, and Citi has been lucky to find some great people who have decided to work here. I think we have some 6,000 employees in Missouri and 4,500 in St. Louis. What St. Louis offers is a lot of different aspects of a large city in a great living environment, which is why there are a lot of companies here. There are a lot of opportunities here.

SL: So students shouldn’t be scared to graduate?
VP: I think it is good to be prepared and it is good to have realistic perspectives about what could happen. I’m not saying that every employer is still doing the same hiring that they used to. I’m saying that we haven’t changed.

SL: And Wash. U. students specifically?
VP: My guess is that you are going to find that for the kind of school Wash. U. is and the kind of students you are, I think that they are going to be in demand.

SL: Did you enjoy your visit to Wash. U.?
VP: There was so much energy. It’s great to see the energy; it’s great to see the diversity. I thought the [students’] questions were absolutely terrific. They are really tuned in to what’s going on, so I enjoyed spending time with them.

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