June 20, 2022

Cheran Ketheesuran | On The Journey To Banking and Consulting Graduate Roles

Cheran Ketheesuran | On The Journey To Banking and Consulting Graduate Roles

Cheran Ketheesuran is in his final year of commerce and law at the University of Sydney. He’s a former Investment Banking intern at Macquarie, current investment intern at OIF Ventures and incoming graduate at McKinsey.

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Content
00:00 Cheran Ketheesuran
00:44 Cheran's Intro to Finance
04:23 The Finance Job Process
07:46 Cheran Missing Winters
11:06 How to prepare for IB Internships
20:01 How did Cheran prepare more for Summer
27:16 Importance of your Network
33:27 The value of university clubs in creating connections
35:46 Common areas in job applications that people get stuck on
40:10 Cheran's Biggest Learning
44:49 Cheran's failure that ended up being a success
51:23 The Post Interview Decision Process
58:53 What questions did Cheran ask in his post-offer decision process?
1:02:40 What drives Cheran
1:06:24 Cheran's Advice
1:10:33 Where to contact Cheran
1:11:34 Outro

Transcript
Cheran:

Now, if you think you can do that for 20 banks in three weeks and perform at your peak for each of those processes, then I want to make you because you're Superman and superwoman

James:

hello and welcome to graduate theory. Today's guest is in his spawn a year of colas of law at the university of Sydney. He is a former investment banking intern at McQuarry current investment intern at OIF ventures and an incoming grad at McKinsey. Please. Welcome to the show. Sharon can discern

Cheran:

Hi, James. Thanks for having me love what you're doing with the, the grandchild costs and, um, yeah, really humble that you've had.

James:

No, no, no problem with old man. Did you all, like, I've heard so much, so many good things about you and so many great things about the way you apply for roles and kind of how much of a role model you often wants of people that are currently going through some of this process at the moment. Um, I'd love to sort of one back the clock and stop perhaps from when you were first interested in going into sort of consulting banking, VC, like this kind of, uh, you know, very competitive fields and, and kind of, um, yeah. What was your first sort of intro, uh, into, into this kind of area?

Cheran:

Yeah, Tyler. Um, it really was a bit of happenstance, I think. And some of it was probably, um, deleting options off my interest list that left me with commerce. To, to sort of set the scene. I remember in, in year 12, I think I was applying to Sydney uni wondering what degree I'd be doing. Um, I lo had always been a bit of an interest, and I remember if you, if you read my scholarship application from back in the day, it talks all about wanting to be a human rights lawyer and wanting to help people and commerce wasn't even on the scientist interest really in my view. Um, and then eventually I sort of had some exposure to corporate Laura at Allen for a little bit through some of the sort of pre-internship programs realized that I sort of wanted to do a job where you have to wake up every morning and you do need to know what's happened overnight. You do need to know what's happened overseas in markets. That constant stimulation was something that law really wasn't going to. So I knew pretty quickly that law wasn't going to be the path then arguably should have dropped by law degree there, but that's, that's a conversation for later. Um, spent some time over in DC doing government work had always loved government work. Um, I did a bit of banking and finance, um, over there too. And then when I came back to Sydney, um, I heard about this little state called the industry placement program, which was a program run by and still is a program run by Sydney uni, where essentially you do a unpaid internship at a, it can be a bank, it can be a private equity firm or any sort of commerce the house. Um, and it accounts is one of your subjects as well. And I thought that was a really cool process. I didn't really have connections in the industry. Um, and I ended up applying, ended up getting a spot, um, and it ended up being at a mid market, private equity firm called CPS. And at that time, I had no idea what TP capita was at the time they were called champ private equity. Um, and I remember talking to one of my finance tutors who was a few years above. He was at Goldman at the time. I said, oh, I've got this gig at cha private equity. And here's, you just looked at me and displayed saying, how on earth have you got it to chat private equity? And then I said, oh, it's through, it's through the IPP at Sydney uni. And then from there I thought, okay, well, I'll probably do a bit of research and figure out who these guys are. And ever since then, that was my introduction. Um, and I guess, yeah, we can talk about the whole life cycle of my finance journey, but I definitely started at sort of the place where a lot of people end up type. It's only been going sort of backwards.

James:

It's pretty cool. Yeah. So do they surprise, uh, entry into, into commerce and finance? Um, cause cause then you sort of going through like, and you're into the world of investment banking and financing, you know, this whole process around, uh, internships and you know, everything that goes along with that, I'd love to, I mean, I'm not super familiar with this process, so perhaps I'd love if you could sort of outline if someone wants to sort of a big graduate. You know, Goldman or wherever it is, uh, you know, what are the sort of steps required to do that? And kind of, when do you need to sort of stop thinking about the steps that kind of go into things?

Cheran:

Sure. Um, it is very much a. I called the hedonic treadmill of internships sort of process, unfortunately. Um, but if you take it all the way to sort of, you know, how do I become a grad the festival? So this sort of, most of the investment banks, um, both Biogen boutique, there are sort of two ways to become a grad. You either apply the year prior to your starting year as a grad immediately. So you might start say, you're meant to start in February of next year 23, you would apply in February of 22 for grad spot. I'd say that probably is about 30% of the retro class positions come from there. The vast majority of positions, 60 to 70%, um, come from what's known as the summer analyst role, which is essentially in your penultimate year of university. Um, so your second, last year of university, um, you do a 10 week. Ish internship over summer. So I sort of started in December, end up in February. Um, and from there, there's sort of, you know, a conversion rate obviously, of, of people who due to some internship, um, and then ended up getting a return offer, then ended up starting at the bank and the following year. So the best chance with candidates therefore is to become a, some analyst. Now, if we work backwards from there, what do we actually need to become a summer analyst? And I think this vastly depends, you know, on your background, on the various things you've done during university. I think for me, I knew that banking experience was essential. It is pretty common to have done investment banking, internship of some sort prior to getting a summer analyst or a wind tunnel. Um, and for that raise that I think you'll see a lot of students sort of do a internship at a boutique and a boutique is normally, you know, say five to maybe 15 people. Um, I personally would want to Greenstein partners and I was lucky in the sense that one of my best mates used to work at great partners told me that they were interviewing. And then I interviewed for the role with probably about 10 other people and ended up getting it. Um, but that was crucial to me. And, you know, ultimately. Uh, role at McQuarry because that sort of ticks the box of, okay, you're interested in banking. Why? Well, you've spent a year in banking, so having stayed so long, there, there probably is a reason why you're interested for that. Um, and then everything outside of that, I mean, you know, we can talk about these things and when you get to the interview process that, um, a lot of the things outside of that are building up your core finance skills at university. You know, there are still, you know, stem programs and alternative pathway programs that come through. Um, that, uh, as I've mentioned, the hedonic treadmill is definitely, you know, boutique internship, winter summer, and then a grad role. And I think that's what you'll commonly see on the LinkedIn progression of many

James:

Mm. Yeah, sure. And it's interesting with that. Um, there are many stories of, I mean, you know, I think this, this happened to yourself, right? Where, well, I'm just thinking through like, obviously the first step that that's going to help you a lot when it comes to the second step, which is going to help you a lot to get to the third step, you know, any kind of, if you perhaps. One of those steps or, you know, then, then it makes things a bit more difficult because then you're sort of coming up against people that have, uh, you know, have, have done the steps in between, um, cause this, this happened to you, right? Like with the, with the winters, uh, I'd love to sort of dive into that and kind of how you, how you approach, like, you know, you're, you're then getting this summer internship, you know, following, following that.

Cheran:

totally. Yeah. So, um, I always had great assigned partners, you know, I started in light Tish 2020 and went through all of 2021. So we're talking now, it's say March, 2021, I've started applying for the winter programs. And, um, you know, the idea with the winter programs is that a lot of banks like the lockup candidates early on, um, before the summer rounds come, um, at some of the banks as well, you know, Goldman in particular bank of America, a few others, um, also gave sort of summer spots immediately quite early on. So I remember applying to it would have been most of the winter banks. I think Jeffrey's credit Swiss UBS, quite a few of them got to the final around for most of them, but there was a pretty clear deficiency in each of those. Processes that led to a failure. So, um, you know, for UBS, for example, it wasn't really being as on top of technicals, as I should have paid, um, for CS, there was what they call it, not as much of an X factor with me. And, you know, we can talk about that in a second. Um, with Jeff raised, it was just a really poor cultural fit there. Um, so there was always a reason. Um, and I think I stepped back from that and said, okay, so I haven't got editing for summer yet. Um, I'm going into the process, you know, having to apply for all 20, 25 banks essentially. Um, and what I realized was the importance of peaking at the right time. I think, um, he was really crucial for me not to view a lot of those winter failures as failures, but almost as practice funnily enough, because deep down I knew that I probably didn't want to end up at a lot of those, um, various places. Um, and I think they knew that as well, and it sort of happened for a good raise and in that it forced me to ultimately. Okay, here are the banks actually want to be at, let me show really clearly through my CV cover letter behavior was what I want to be there. Um, and then by the time summers had rolled around, I knew to myself that I had, like, I could not have done any more work for the summer internship roles that it ended up working quite well. So, um, those were definitely failures, no doubt. And I say this to a lot of students who are currently going through your process as well, but I sort of had the hindsight to say, probably didn't prepare as well enough at the time. Um, there were really good things to work on and I really asked for feedback after each one of those failures as well. Um, because I knew that it wasn't really important to me to peak a winter. I was important for me to take in summer with that where my future budget role was.

James:

Yeah, no, definitely. That's, it's really interesting to hear, um, hear this sort of thing. And so I'm interested to ask when you say like, um, you know, preparing for some of these roles and you mentioned some things there about like, uh, perhaps you can touch on like the X specter, you know, or like, you know, not knowing certain things as well as you would have liked, you know, what does it kind of look like to prepare for, for some of these things? Like what sort of like, what are you, what are you even looking at when you are like, yeah, what is, I guess you guys, what does preparation look like when you're applying that interested in applying for these kinds of things?

Cheran:

Yeah, sure. Um, so if I take it back sort of macro. Level, let's say you're applying for 20 jobs, which is what I was doing. So I was applying, I didn't have a summer gig. So I was applying to all the banks actually, which is about 20. Um, so I had a massive Excel spreadsheet, um, with sort of a bank on each row. And then each column was a different pilot application process. So it would be, you know, the date, the date it's due, um, cover letter submitted, you know, video submission, psychometrics, and then first round, second round, so on and so forth. And then I had a column essentially of people I knew at the bank, um, and people who I wanted to reach out to, um, as well. And I feel like that really grounded me in terms of, okay, here's all the work I need to do in order to potentially get one job out of this process. Um, and I think it's really important in these processes and not to leave anything to your mind, um, make sure as much of it as down on the page so that you don't have to remember. Okay. Did I apply for jobs and have I done the psychometrics for your credits wastes? So insightful. So that was my big platting ratio. Um, first and foremost, and then the next stage from there, you know, perhaps we'll touch on sort of the CV cover letter side of things, um, attempts of coughing those. So I think the cover letter, um, is the big chance for people to differentiate themselves. I think people underestimate the fact that whilst your recruiting manager may not Raider your interview or often does. And it got brought up quite a few times in my interview and I had a really simple structure, um, to go through these, you know, you sort of get bookmarked by your intro and your conclusion. There are three key questions to ask in every cover letter. The first one is why this company, the second one is why this industry. And then the third one is why you, and if you're going to add to all three of those questions, to some degree of specificity and sort of, um, passion, then you automatically put yourself in. Like one to 5% of applicants. So in terms of why this company, you know, that's the paragraph that changes for each cover letter. So even if you're doing 20 cover letters, you know, 80% of that cover letter stays the same. It's just that one paragraph that changes. Um, for that wise company paragraph, I really had three key reasons that, you know, I'll always try to bring it out. I think praise a nice round number. Um, and I always made sure my last reason was something related to being at the company for a long time or creating a longterm career out of it. So, um, take McKinsey for example. McKenzie have this program called the fellowship program, or essentially after your first two years, you can go away and do a sponsored MBA or do an internship at a client company and so on, so forth. And I explicitly said, you know, pretty much quite quiet, you know, I could really see myself building a long-term career at McKinsey. And you know, whether you believe that or not, those are the things that are what a lot of these corporates banks consulting firms are looking to because churn is quite high in these industries. And therefore knowing that they can lock down people potentially for five, 10 years to pretty important. And then this wise company, um, question also comes back to the research you do on the company and it needs to be super specific. So, you know, 80% of candidates will look on the website. They might cite the mission of the company, which is still a lot more than a lot of candidates do, but finding a really specific reason why you want to work at that company is super important. Everyone is very aware of the fact that everyone is applying everywhere. Um, so, you know, specific examples at things like, you know, at Macquarie, I talk a lot about the head office advantage. So Macquarie banks had offices in Sydney compare that to a lot of the U S banks, you know, Goldman JPM, Morgan Stanley, their head offices are overseas, or if it's APAC, they're offering in Singapore, Hong Kong. So there's a lot more red tape if all involved in sort of getting decisions done. And if you, as a potential intern can highlight that, that's pretty impressive to a lot of the seniors, um, who don't think that research could have. Um, so I would say, you know, that's really the prox, the cover letter as to sort of the wide it's industry and sector and the why you, you really just linking it back to your personal experience, um, and, and your skills. And you mentioned the X-Factor feedback, you know, off my credit Suisse interview. Um, I said, she asked, you know, what, why didn't I get a role in? And the response was, you know, you, you've done all these incredible things, which are referencing being a late in the FM society wanting to do with consolidating army cadets on so forth. Um, but they felt I didn't have this quote unquote X-Factor. And what I realized was my X factor was having done all these bossy, disparate things. Um, but linking them all together somehow in a way that painted me as a super well rounded person. So that just sort of shaped the way I ended up. I ended up approaching the interviews and the process as well. So that's sort of the cover letter. And then the save is very similar. I'd say, um, obviously you want your CV not to, um, overlap too much of your cover letter, but I think firstly keep it to a page. Like if a CEO can keep it to a page, so can you, um, and I think there's like, yes, the CEO obviously has a lot of brand equity. They don't need to put out all their achievements, but I got the comment numerous times. Oh wow. A one page CV. This is really nice to see. So clearly it's something that it's not. And then it terms of like the key segments, obviously education, professional experience, leadership and extracurriculars. And then the steel is an interest component. I think the two big pieces of advice I'll give here are one quantify everything. Um, and this is particularly the case for consulting and banking interviews. Like if it's a banking interview and a banking CV, obviously anonymized things that can't be public, but say things like, you know, we advised a X billion dollar company on the acquisition of a X million dollar asset. Show them that you have a knowledge of size and numbers. Um, talk if you've screened companies, don't just say screened, you know, companies across the e-commerce sector in, in APAC say, you know, personally screened 50 companies or a hundred, whatever it was. I think it's really important to show. And then the second piece of advice is what's your personal impact. And I think that's where so many people fall down on is that teamwork questions. Aren't about the team they're actually about you and how you work in the team. So you need to focus a lot on what your specific role is. And sometimes that can be really hard. Like if you're a junior in an intern bank or a boutique bank, um, it can be hard to sort of overstate or properly state the role you've played. But I think it gets pretty easy as a banker or consultant to see where a potential candidate is sort of fibbing and not saying exactly what their role was. And then the final piece of advice I'd have for, um, to say they, I might still stop there after this is, um, that final line of your savings, which is probably going to be an interest line is the most important line in your entire CV. That's the differentiator between you and all the other 10 minutes, and it's the opportunity to just essentially shine. Um, and I think a lot of candidates get told to keep it pretty tame, and obviously don't put it interest in there that is obviously not kosher, but, you know, as an example, I'm heavily interested in the science of longevity and aging and the work of David Sinclair and Pedro TIR and all these incredible people. And the last word on my survey is longevity because it's the last interest on my interest section. And in my final round McKinsey interview, um, we spent 15 minutes talking with the managing partner about, you know, senescent cells and zombie cells and the fasting and the impacts on organisms. And, you know, this was a fun around management consulting interview. So my point being is that you never know when these things will come up and, um, that interest side is probably the finest line of all.

James:

Yeah, well, that is really cool. I think that's, that's what, uh, like taking notes and writing some of that down, cause yeah, I think that's super valuable and I absolutely agree with a lot of that. I think like particularly, um, you know, the quantifying like using quantities or whatever in your resume, super important. Um, and then, you know, saying like, um, outcomes rather than things you actually did. So like I'll, even if it's like, I did this thing, which had this outcome, you know, that's super important too, rather than just being like, I did this, like okay, cool. But yeah.

Cheran:

And you'll get asked that in your interview as well. Anyway. So if you can preempt that early on and it always.

James:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Um, I'm curious then, so all this self kind of applying for these, what, um, what did you do more. You know, going from sort of the winters to repairing for summer. Is there anything that like, uh, you know, you said you did slightly more in preparing for summer, like what sort of things did you do more of to kind of clear out, you know, some of the things that you maybe didn't do as much of in winter?

Cheran:

Sure I think, um, so the saving and COVID let off all that fell off pretty quickly. Like once you get those in check, there's only, there's only so much you can do and you watch, if you hit that cap, you know, send it to 20, 30 different people as I did get that fade back and then you're done. Um, I submitted those applications pretty quickly. I think the big difference between winter and summer. Was essentially pro you know, sounds cringe, but priming yourself for interview performance, I think, um, and in the same way that you wouldn't rock up to the a hundred meter sprint in the Olympics without a whole lifetime's worth of blooding, that sprint a billion times, um, practicing interviews, especially when audited, which was the age of virtual interviews, um, practicing interviews was super duper important. So let me take banking for example. So, um, banking interviews, there are really four key buckets, and I think more broadly, actually, there are four key buckets of questions you get asked. Um, the first bucket is technicals. The second bucket is behavioral questions. So how do you work in a team? Um, the third bucket is general knowledge. And how much do you know about the world around you? And the fourth bucket is sort of company specific. So why do you want to work at this company? Do you know what the work, what type of work we do and those sort of things. So if I keep it specific to banking, um, you know, technical is, everybody knows there's this mergers and inquisitions 400 question book that everybody has. Um, so I use that book, um, as well as after each interview I had during winter, I immediately, you know, I'd go to a bathroom, I'll go to the lift or somewhere where I would be quiet and straightaway. I'd write down all the questions I got in that interview. Um, I never left it to memory to sort of go home and remember, I sort of immediately wanted to get them down. Um, and also that I had a repository of what maybe 50 questions or so, which to me were far more valuable than whatever's in that MNI 400 book, because these were questions that were being asked. Um, and by the time I got to summer, a lot of those questions were coming up again. So I made sure I practice those. And in a sense, winter essential was backwards. Um, and I did the same thing for behaviorals as well. Um, what I essentially did was have a big document where I had all the questions listed out. I'd write a little paragraph for each question. Um, and then I bought myself sort of a 200 pack of Palm cards. And this would have been about three weeks before, um, the interviews and anyone who is going through banking interview process knows that the banking interviews are all over within three days. So it's a very sort of concentrated time period. Um, so I had sort of 200 Palm cards on one side of the Palm card. I'd want the question on the other side of the Cod, I'd write a dot pointed version of the answer, and I sent you a student for my mural for a week. Um, and then just recited those over and over again, you know, obviously not 24 7 in that, uh, you know, an hour or so each night. To the point where I was comfortable enough that I knew the ads done. I understood the logic behind it, but not so concerned that it was sounding robotic. And like, I just memorize something and you need to find the balance. And I think this is where a lot of candidates fall down is that they're either under-prepared, um, by meaning they don't know their content, or they're not aware of, you know, their various star methods for various behavioral questions, or they've prepared to the extreme where they they've either memorize something and they just say it verbatim. Or they hear a question here that it's similar to a question they have practiced. And then just add to the question they've practiced rather than answering the question they get given, and you don't want to be on either parts of those experience. You want to be somewhere in the middle. So practicing technicals and behaviorals in that manner, um, was really useful for me. And then the final two buckets around general knowledge and company specific things. I think firstly, on the general knowledge. Full banking. Um, it's pretty common knowledge that you will get asked a, you know, tell me about a deal in the market. Um, and, or tell me about a deal that we've advised on. And I chose sort of three or four deals that covered off the price for banks that I ended up applying to in the end. Um, I just knew as much as I could about those deals, the, what the top sort of S lot of candidates do is that they provide a view on the deal and they provide a view on what's happening in the market. Uh, and that's something that people don't do enough of because ultimately you're being hired as an intern or a graduate analyst, not just to sit in the back of rooms and take meeting notes, but also to actively contribute and show that you have a view on what's happening in the world. And if you can show that, you know, at an intern level or interviewing for an internship role level, um, that becomes infinitely valuable. And then the last part around company specific, I think, you know, probably two buckets to this, firstly, You know, rehashing the similar, why McKinsey, why Goldman, whatever you've written in your cover letter and CV and so forth. But I'm not saying a cover letter. Um, but more specifically, once you find out who your interviewers are, if you're lucky enough to do. Do your own due diligence on them. So, you know, people might think it's talking whatever it is, but, um, you know, go on their LinkedIn, see what the news coverage has been like, what are their interests? What are their passions, which deals have they worked on quite recently? Um, not so much for the bank interviews, but for the consulting interviews, often a lot of your interviewers will have written articles and thought pieces on the company website. So, um, especially in a consulting context where normally the cases you get given up problems that your interviewers have actually already done in real life, you can get a pretty quick idea of what your problem is going to be based on, you know, oh, wow. You know, Emily, my interview, I did a banking transformation. It's actually it's Asia. Okay. It might be something to do with banking. Um, and that's sort of the comp you know, this is, you know, two, three days before your interview, that's the sort of prep you want to be doing is that you're tailoring, whatever you're saying.

James:

Hmm. Yeah. That's super interesting. And thanks so much for sharing that because I think that's even, I'm finding that valuable that I'm not, I'm probably not going to. Yeah. I'm obviously I'm going to grab any more. So I think that's difficult and I think that's advice that like you can apply, you know, no matter where it is that you're sort of going for, you know, this, this level of depth and, and kind of the approach, a couple cover letters and things like that is, is pretty universal regardless of the industry or whatever. So, yeah, I appreciate sharing that because I think that's really useful.

Cheran:

Absolutely. I'm like one even, you know, even before I met you sort of a month and a bit ago, um, you know, the one minute you spend finding out a person's background makes the conversation infinitely more enjoyable. So that's a, a common piece of advice, regardless of whether you're applying for a job.

James:

Yeah, no, that's really cool. I want to ask too around like the networking side of this, um, because like you mentioned, when you, you had, you had your Excel spreadsheet and you had sort of this job, this is like the data to like, and all these different columns. And then one of them there was like, who do I know that works here? Um, I'm curious to understand, like, did, was there any, like how do you go about sort of connecting with people, um, that work in these places and then sort of, what is the, I guess, how do you go about, uh, involving them in your, in your process to, to like, you know, when you're applying for this kind of stuff?

Cheran:

Yeah, absolutely. So I think network is a bit of a dirty word. At least it sort of has that connotation. Right. Um, the word networking is seen as transactional in many cases. Yes, I think it is transactional, but that's what I think the differences between networking and relationship building. Um, and for me, especially for graduate students, I think it's super important to separate the role of networking into two different values. Firstly, you have informational value and then secondly, you have outcome value. Informational value is unlimited. It's untapped. There is never too much information that you can get from an individual or a group of individuals. Outcome value is capped. Once you get a particular role, that's your outcome finished, you've ticked the box. Um, and if you start thinking about network building and relationship building from an information diet perspective, that's going to make those relationships much more valuable to you, but it's also going to mean people are much more likely to buy into helping you out as well. And those are two big things. I think I realize it's the first time. People like to help other people generally. And if they don't like to help other tables, that's a good signal of the culture of the place and the individual. Um, and then secondly, people very easily get invested in other people's success. And once you can get those connections going, it does help you out quite a bit. So in terms of how I actually approached networking. So as you said, when I, you know, this probably would have been around January of the year and applications were in July, so big runway, and I think that's quite important as well, but in January, February, around that period of time, I looked on my LinkedIn went on to H bank. And so who am my first degree connections. And most of those people were either peers who had actually just started as graduates or people who are in similar societies has may, um, and would therefore obviously foster way connections as well. So I pretty quickly could have a list of. Uh, maybe two or three, maybe five people per bank who I sort of view. Um, and in the festival, since I made sure to reach out to all of those individuals, um, you know, a lot of them, I knew pretty well anyway, so it wasn't really a, Hey I'm meeting with you only to like it, it was also just a friendly connection anyway. Um, but that was sort of the first step. And then after that, I think the big mistake people make is they look at networking as a numbers game. It is not a numbers game. I remember one of there's a student I mentor in the year below who told me, oh, Sharon, you know, one of my mates was talking about the fact that I needed like a hundred minimum connections and absolutely not the case. Once you get into the interviews, the network, unless you somehow know the managing partner or managing director of a company, is it rod the, uh, Bizible in terms of your chances, what networking does is it's firstly, a safety net in terms of it makes sure that you aren't, um, left within the cracks between say submitting an application and getting a video interview or getting an interview. But to me, the network gave me informational value. So it allowed me to say really unique things that people wouldn't know because McKinsey, for example, aren't going to be advertising the day-to-day life of a consultant, both the good and the bad on the front page of a website. Whereas I can talk to a current third year consultant, for example, or an investment banking analyst at Macquarie, for example, understand what's actually happening on a day to day basis. What are the new things that are coming out? That was where the value was? And that boosts to my interview chances. Cause I was saying things that made me sound like I was already a graduate at McKinsey, Goldman McQuarry, wherever it was. So I think that comes down to, you know, after you've done your first degree list, think about whether you really need to talk to more people. And if you do need to talk to more people. Firstly, don't be sort of, um, coy about it. Feel fine to go talk to a hiring manager and say, Hey, um, I don't know anybody at the firm currently. I would love if you can connect me with X and that's exactly what I've I did for McKinsey. I was lucky enough that one of them it can be hiring managers also hired me at Macquarie. Um, but I didn't know any consultants at McKinsey prior to applying. Hey margarita. Uh, I don't know anyone at the firm. Could you, I get connected to one individual, him and I had a great chat. He was like, without me even asking, he was like, Shauna, I've got a really good match. I want, I want you to speak to him as well. And that's no bull keeps going until you've met, you know, five, 10 people, but each incremental connection off of that needs to come from a place of, okay, we have this common background interest, or there's a really specific reason why I want to talk to you as opposed to the other 30 grads I could've talked to. And that might be because they work in a particular team. They may come from a similar socioeconomic, you know, LGBTQ, racial, whatever background it is that showing that common interest is what really helps you get your network going from. Um, and ultimately now that I'm at the end of my grad process and everything's done, I don't think about outcome value anymore. And I'm very privileged in the sense that I had a positive outcome as to where I've ended up, that all of the people I've met are informational value people because even PayPal say at the Boston consulting group, but I ended up not going a lot of the people I've met. There are still very happy to grab coffee with me and so-and-so forth to help me as I leave with.

James:

Yeah, I think that's really cool. When, w can you speak to like the importance of, cause I think like, like you said, a lot of the, the, the first degree connections that you had in different places you met, like at either at university or maybe through other people or whatever, you know, so how important do you think? Uh, well maybe what, what is the value of like university clubs, uh, you know, at the university? Um, is, is there value in the actual participation or is it more of like a, you know, just a great way to sort of connect with people that are on a similar, similar journey to yourself?

Cheran:

I think it's a bit of both. I think without a doubt, the biggest value is the people you've made and the connections you make now, they may be your best friend. They may become your partner. They may just be a person you work in the future that, um, of course joined the local business society. I'll plug the financial management association of Australia or 180 degrees consulting. All of those are good ways just to meet a bunch of different people in your own year group. Now being part of the actual committees is probably where you then often get the next step of meeting people in the years of Bob who have also been through what you've recently been through and things like that. Um, but a lot of these clubs and societies do mentorship programs, where they connect you with people. Either one to two years old, older in university, or have recently graduated. Um, and for me it was invaluable. I would not be anywhere close to where I am now. Um, without having join the F AA or 180 degrees, um, not the clothes, those were things on my CV that, because I knew people who could help me out when the time was right and could give me advice. Um, so to me, those, those connections are invaluable. Um, and the incremental step up in terms of taking responsibility, I don't think that's a networking thing anymore. I think that's more just, you know, you're building your own teamwork skills and of course it gives you substance to talk about those behavioral questions.

James:

Hmm. Yeah. That's interesting to hear. Yeah. I was in 180 in my final year of university and suddenly I agree that like the kinds of people that I met there, you know, really super interesting people and, um, have gone on today, like really cool things. And so it's, it's great to sort of build your, uh, relationships in that light. Um, yeah, definitely. Um, what do you think are some of the areas of the application process that people kind of underestimate the difficulty awful, like common areas that people like kind of get tripped up? Um,

Cheran:

Yeah, I think, um, that's probably a few things. I think the big one is underestimating the time it takes to perform at each stage of the application process to your peak. Now, what do I mean by that? Let's say applications as they do for it, you know, some banking and I'm probably going to scare a lot of people who are listening, who are applying at the moment, but let's say they're close in the first week of August in reality, to have a chance you need to get your application in minimum two weeks, maybe three weeks prior. I'd say if it was me, I'd be getting in three weeks prior. So let's say, you know, let's say you, do you get it in three weeks prior? That means you have three weeks between when you click submit. And when you click your interview slot, if you lucky enough to get one, um, to do your psychometrics, do your video interview and start preparing for interviews without the knowledge of whether you're going to get an interview or not. Now, if you think you can do that for 20 banks in three weeks and perform at your peak for each of those processes, then I want to make you because you're Superman and superwoman. Um, so that was the big learning for me is. The psychometrics I failed and the video interviews I failed because I rushed to them and I. Give them the appropriate time of day and night, um, to, you know, take the steps to actually do the preparation required. And I think the preparation I do is probably a bit extreme for some things, you know, for the, um, philosophical metric tests, I'll go find out what the providing company was. Normally it's contrary some comments, other ones, um, and I'd go spend an hour watching YouTube videos of other people solving, you know, the games and going on Reddit and figuring out what trips other people up and doing all the practice tests and then treating it like an actual exam because people don't realize how competitive these prices are. Um, and the barrier, the hurdle rate for surpassing, a lot of these tests is so high that people almost take it for granted. And then before you know it, oh, I've lost out at the psychometric stage. And, um, I've been on the wrong end of that numerous times. And those were the failures that it took for me to realize to actually take those seriously. So I think, um, that would be the Fest thing. I'll take people sort of forward. The other thing I'll say, um, is when you get to the interview stage, um, there is a tendency to show that you are the best candidate for right now. Um, and the hard reality is that companies don't care about rice. Now they care about 12 months time, 24 months, time, 72 months time, they're priming themselves to pick a cohort of people who will peak in the future, not right now. And that means that it's okay to say things like, I don't know the answer to that question. Um, I'm not sure I made this mistake in this period of time. Um, I admit, are you going to show weakness is so crucially important to success in these interviews because it first shows coachability in the sense that, um, obviously most of the jobs that we're talking about are team related jobs and therefore they want students who can show, you know, an ability to listen. People who have had more experience. Um, but secondly, as I said, the picking people who are going to take and who have potential, um, and once you get that into your head, it becomes, um, a humbling experience, but it also makes sure you don't fall into the trap of being too cocky or too boasty. Um, which is where I think a lot of students fall away from because they have all this knowledge in their head. They have all these experiences they've done and they're bursting to show what it means. And that sometimes comes off the wrong way.

James:

Yeah. That's really interesting to hear, uh, what, like you had to say goldmine of information. So I don't really have much to offer. Just interested just to keep asking you stuff.

Cheran:

I say, you apply for a whole bunch of stuff.

James:

Yeah, that's it. Well, so now you're at like kind of, you know, a lot of this sort of, a lot of time spent applying and all this kind of stuff is, is now in the past for you, uh, at least in the immediate term. Um, so I wonder what has been the biggest lining for yourself over the last, I guess what maybe year to 18 months kind of, as you've gone through this journey,

Cheran:

Hmm, good question. Um, I think the biggest learning is to care less about I'm so conscious of the privilege and the statement, um, but to care less about the outcome, um, and to care more about the journey and the incremental task, um, that's way more important than some job that you're going to get. In 12, 18 months time. And I think I struggled, you know, I was deeply unhappy at various points of university because I thought I wasn't keeping up on the hedonic treadmill of internships that other students were. And I already know, I can hear my own mates screaming at me, listening to this, say, you know, we all wish we were on your level of the tonic treadmill as well, but there's always someone who's further ahead. Right. Um, and I think that can eat away at you a lot if you aren't careful with it. Um, so that would be my biggest learning. And, you know, we might end up talking about how I've gone from banking to consulting in the end that, um, that last experience is probably the one that's told me that the most. I think the other thing. Being self-aware enough to know that luck is a huge, huge factor in these processes, both on the upside and the downside. Now that doesn't mean I can't say, you know, I deserve, or I worked hard enough to get X, Y, Z. Um, but that isn't a mutually exclusive statement from, I was lucky to some extent, to not have been screened out, um, to have shown that I can do, you know, whatever it is. And you want to put yourself in that position where you recognize that luck is a factor. Um, and recognizing that is a factor you can sleep at night, knowing that there's nothing else you could have done to have influenced the outcome. And if that's the stage of. Yeah, that's all you can do. But if you're at a stage where you're almost having to blame lock because of an unfortunate outcome, you don't want to be at that stage because that's where regrets starts 18 away. Um, and you know, that's one bank that, you know, I was interested in and, and they didn't go through, but I knew I could not have done anything else I wanted to do. And I knew the perception from that interview or that day. Um, what's the reason why, and that's perfectly okay. I'm at peace with that. Um, so if you can find peace in that journey, I think it helps you a lot.

James:

Hmm. Yeah, definitely. I think that's really cool. I guess like sometimes like, um, when, when Pepsi get a disappointing outcome or things like that, people can kind of blame. The, the downside on luck, but the, the outside is cause they worked hard,

Cheran:

Always happens. Always happens. Yep.

James:

you know, so it's like, I got this job because I worked hard and I didn't get it because the

Cheran:

Oh, it's unlucky. Yup.

James:

yeah. I was on lucky ride. Um, and so, yeah, so I, I, I think that's a great point that like, uh, you know, taking ownership of like what you, what you did and kind of the outcomes that you're expected and then kind of letting go of whatever happens after that. Uh, you know, we'll be, we'll be and, uh, yeah, I think, yeah, certainly it's, it can be difficult to approach things like that. Right.

Cheran:

It can be hugely difficult. Yeah. And I think after, um, having a string of failures, I have a winter last year, I sort of, I have this white board in front of me, which is sort of falling, falling by the wayside at the moment. But, um, I wrote up on the top, I can't remember who said this quite a bit, basically. They can't ignore you essentially. Um, and that was a mentality I've taken throughout. A lot of life is do you know, be good enough? Don't make excuses work as hard as, you know, you can work. And anything else that happens is outside of your control. Um, and that's all you really need, um, sleep well at night. Plus, you know, a loving family, a loving friends and all those sorts of things.

James:

Yeah, absolutely. It's important. We've spoken about kind of the, um, the failures, finally, just, you know, kind of the things you, you hope to go. Well, I guess with regard to sort of the winters and things like that, but what has been, um, like something that didn't go to plan along this whole journey that, that ended up being something that was really benefited. Before you were the end. Is there any, like, perhaps it's the winter's situation there, or, um, I'm curious if that was perhaps another situation along the way that ended up, uh, you know, was, uh, something you, uh, uh, like frustrated by the time, but ended up being something that turned out really well.

Cheran:

No, I'm really happy talking about this one, because I don't think when I was going through this, um, process, um, I didn't know anyone else who had been through the same. So, you know, I was at Macquarie capital web customer. Um, loved the experience there I've in the team met is what they call it. Um, the team at team, instead of technology media, um, entertainment and telecommunications, um, team, really lots of culture and the team. And I was pretty set on going back to Macquarie and most likely, um, afterwards, and I remember it was a, it was a Wednesday evening, um, around 5:00 PM. Oh, this is after the internship had finished a week after. Um, and I was doing my McKinsey application actually at the time I was doing my, um, my cover letter for McKinsey. Um, and I got a call from HR and HR said, she said, look, we're really sorry that we aren't going to be offering you a graduate position, um, at this stage. And I had sort of felt that in my gut for a few days. Cause I think I summarized it could just feel that I was coming, but that was a pretty big shock to me, a really big disappointment. Um, and obviously the sort of the freakiness nervousness nature kicked in straight away, you know, what am I going to do now? I'm not going to have a job as a grad job coming back, you know, exchanges off the cause. Now there's no way I can be able to say he's doing all these things. And um, it took me a while to sort of, uh, step back for a moment and say, okay, sorry, I haven't got a graduate job now. Um, I'm in the middle of consulting processes. I have an option to apply for banking grads, um, in a few weeks time. And I sort of sent, um, one of my friends like him who you'll know as well from next chapter, I sent him a message and I said, um, FYI, I'm going all in on these consulting processes. Let's see what happens. Um, and I never I'd seriously considered consulting, but had always sort of thought I had a preference for banking having worked there for a year and a bit. Um, but ultimately with about two weeks left, but all the consulting firms, you know, a month later had a few offers luckily enough, um, and sort of took my time off of that, um, to really consider what did I actually want to go to banking? You know, No rose tinted glasses per se. I did my diligence. I'd spent about six weeks and we can talk about this as well in terms of person to be decision-making. Um, that spent six weeks talking to bankers consultants, a whole bunch of people saying this is where I want to be in five, 10 years time, um, which is either on the investing side of things at a VC or as an operator. Um, and what's going to be the best way for me to get there. Um, and after a lot of conversations, um, was pretty confident that consulting was the way to go. And I ended up not applying to banking again, um, for the graduate roles. Um, so. You know, I was always going to apply to McKinsey, BCG Bain, um, regardless of McQuarry, but I think Macari, the failure was Macquarie gave me a big kick up the top team to recognize number one. Um, you know, I didn't agree with all of the raisins and outcomes that they gave me, but I learned a lot about, you know, the need for either communication and balancing numerous demands, working from home saying no, like there was a lot of valuable feedback I took away from the team. But I think the other thing is that, you know, we don't talk about failure and us. And I think, um, when I was, when I got that initial call, you know, I called my buddy and I asked her, um, and she straight away said shrunk. There are people that, you know, at Goldman and Morgan Stanley, other banks who have also been through the exact same thing, um, that no one ever talks about it because they just don't really want to. And, um, I think that's, that's the shame, you know, the failures don't matter. As long as they're manageable failures and Ray Dahlia always talks about sort of the idea of micro failures and macro wins. Um, and for me, this was a micro failure, like, okay, I didn't get my graduate job at Macquarie, but I'm not looking back in five years' time. Talk, talking about it as a macro in essentially, um, a completely different path that might set me up at all. So, um, look, it's hard to put a positive spin on failure sometimes that, um, a big learning curve for me and, you know, everything happens for.

James:

Yeah, no, you're spot on there. I think. Yeah. Well, I, I totally agree with what you said. I think it's often, especially with these kinds of things, you know, you, you look out and it seems like everyone's just had like the perfect journey, you know, nothing went wrong and they're just like sailed through and everything went exactly to plan. Uh, when, you know, like it almost done Western wise is not the case, you know? I think, yeah.

Cheran:

Yeah. And you know, you got you on LinkedIn and you just see a progression of, of one thing to the next to the next. But I think if we all restructured our LinkedIns to say, okay, you got this job and then failed at five others in between, and then got this job, I think everyone would be feeling a little bit better about themselves. So, um, it's about high time that we just made that a bit more public.

James:

Yeah, I've seen, I don't know if you've seen this idea, but there's this idea of like an anti resume where like you have like all the, all the places you didn't get into and that's like a separate thing,

Cheran:

Yeah. I mean, Bessemer venture partners who, uh, one of the big, um, SAS spaces in the U S have an anti portfolio where they essentially, um, have on their page or list of companies that they didn't invest, you know, that they passed on. Um, and I think some of them are, you know, I think a lot of other VCs have tried to do a similar thing. Um, but it reflects the same sentiment. Right. Um, let's be more open about this. Let's talk, talk about those failures. Um, because in reality, it's not all the way up into the right curve. Um, you know, much like the market it's up on day down the next. So, um, you know, it's, it's good to make that more.

James:

yeah, no, you're spot on there and I appreciate you sharing, sharing that story. Cause it certainly it's when, when you've worked so hard for something it's, it's hard to kind of. You know, face that, that I think, like you said, you overcame it really well and it's ended up working potentially better than, uh, you know, been going down the original part. So, so that's really

Cheran:

out in a few years' time.

James:

Yeah. Well, yeah, I'd love to sort of talk about, you were talking there about like the post interview decision process and kind of, um, what you went through there, speaking to heaps of people to try and work out. Like, what does this look like for me? I think one thing I want to mention is I think it's really, really great that you have like a T this is where I want to be in 10 years. Right. Cause I think if myself, to some extent and, and many people out that don't have that. And so it's hard then to sort of filter which opportunities. Yeah, I good. And which maybe is if you get offered something, it, should you say yes or no, like having that as a filter, a way to decide things is, is really cool. But, um, so I just want to mention that. I I'm sure, like you can imagine as well, but yeah. I'd love to sort of dive into this process here of like what, what you did once he had some of the offers available.

Cheran:

off what you just mentioned. I'll just qualify it to say it's good to have a plan, but it shouldn't have a be, you know, in stone. Um, I was fairly set. I was going to end up in investment banking and I look what's happened there. So, uh, I mean the same way that I was fairly certain that I would end up in law and fairly, so I end up in politics. So, um, these things all need to be sort of movable and, um, flexible, I think, um, you know, for me the post interview decision-making process. I have no doubt in my mind that I was probably one of the last people to sign, um, the McKinsey contract. And I took a long time, I think, 6, 6, 7 weeks in the end. And I think candidates should feel absolutely no pressure, um, to sign within deadlines. Now I know investment banking is a bit different sometimes. Um, they give you a week and that's it. Know, Navarro Robert con um, you know, very famous Angela Investo sound evangelist talks about three big decisions in your twenties, um, where you'll live, who you'll be with, um, what your job is, and you should take your time on all three of those decisions. So it doesn't my actual process. Um, the first thing I did was I sat down and I thought about what mattered to me from sort of a rubric, you know, sense, um, and try to rank those. So it might be things like pay prestige, exit opportunities, opportunity to work overseas, you know, learning and development, um, training, any factor that you think is relevant. Um, and what you want to do is figure out what matters to you and what doesn't matter to you. And I think the big, you know, for me and this massive privilege that I acknowledge and saying this for me pay was the bottom of the list. So, um, yeah. Yes, massive pay card. And one of the big things that people will always say finally enough bankers. A lot of the time I'm moving from banking to consulting is all you're working similar hours for half the pay. And I was like, yeah, I am that. Um, if I'm going to have a material step change in wealth, um, it's not going to be because I've earned an extra $300,000 in my first two years, it's going to be because, you know, I've met a certain person or data set business. That's resulted in a massive step change in 10, 20 years time. Um, so I think, think about the factors that are matter to you. And I think this is really important for people to remember. You know, we talk about. When it comes to working out or otherwise, but short-term pain, long-term gain is a big thing. And I think we undervalue the effect of compounding a lot. And that's why, you know, a short term cash stipend or the opportunity to go overseas immediately versus, you know, training networks development over five years, you know, you have to discount those back, um, whether you're a discounted cashflow person or not, you have to discount those back to some present value and understand what that value means to you. So that was the first stage. The second stage then was, you know, leverage your success, like talk to as many different people as possible. I probably ended up talking to about 50 consultants, um, across McKinsey and BCG, um, uh, You know, I sort of had three buckets of people I wanted to talk to, and this is how I phrased it. When I asked for connections, I said, number one, I want to talk to people who had received offers from both firms that had chosen one or the other. Um, two, I wanted to talk to people who had come from investment banking or previously been in banking, um, or considered banking and I'm come to consulting. And then the third bucket was, I want us to hope the people who had left this, um, so like alumni essentially. Um, and I was like, both consultants were happy to connect. You connect me with all those people. Um, and after a while, you know, you hear very similar things. You take everything with a grain of salt, cause obviously everyone has a vested interest in bringing you towards their company. Um, You, you know, I had like a 30 page document by the end of the six weeks with all the notes I'd taken from all those people. I sat down one Sunday afternoon. Um, I already pretty much knew my decision, but, um, I said, I went through all of those notes, link them back to my various decision factors and tick the box between the two firms. And it came up pretty overwhelmingly clear. So, um, that was my decision making process. You know, it is a very consultanty process. It doesn't break. You get dad, um, completely aware that, uh, that, you know, I think for me it was really structured and, um, it links back to, I think I've taught, this is something I've started only in the last maybe nine months or so, but died. Euro decision journal, I think is so important because, um, whenever your, you know, say. Say I'm at McKinsey in 12 months or 18 months time. Um, and I'm going through a rough patch and I'm questioning why I'm there. I can go back to that decision frame, the notes that I talk and say, these were the reasons I chose this job. Is that still true? If it isn't true. Why am I still here? And then make that decision again? Um, and it's so important to have a decision journal for every decision in life, whether that's, you know, if it's who you want to date or what restaurant you want to go to or whatever it is, but ideally it's the bigger decision to be alive. But, um, I think for me, it was really important just to have that bolted down. So, you know, that would be my structured process, but, um, at least talking from a consulting perspective, you know, take your time. Um, and don't be afraid to ask, um, because you companies who wants you and they will, if you've got an offer, um, they will be happy generally to, to connect you to the people you want to be.

James:

Hmm. Yeah, that's really cool. I think, yeah. It's really interesting to hear how you fractions and certainly like yeah, having those, those criteria. I know I've done that. The big decisions that I've made, like go on and exchange. I, I did that where I was like, what are the pros and cons of this? And then like, uh, you know,

Cheran:

Cotton's empty bank account.

James:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Literally. Yeah. That was the only time basically. Like you have no money left, you got to see the world, all this fun stuff. Like, okay. I'm young. Like it makes sense.

Cheran:

Exactly.

James:

but yeah. Yeah. I agree. I think, and, and able to sort of tie it to perhaps a medium long-term vision of like what you want your life to look like as well. Um, you know, I think having that criteria sort of somewhere in there is a great way to evaluate important decisions like this, you know, whether it be like your first sort of job out of university, I think. Yeah. I think that's, that's really cool.

Cheran:

Yeah.

James:

Um, One thing I want to ask is like, sort of what, what questions would you ask people in this process, like you're meeting with, with other consultants that, that currently work or, or have recently left? Are there any, yeah, what's the, what kind of themes? What, what are you trying to ask and perhaps, like, were there any good questions that you asked them to kind of learn more about, about the company? Cause I I'm thinking as well, you could probably ask similar ones through the recruiting process as well. Right. Where you're trying to learn about, um, about the company and the culture and, and the opportunities and, and all that kind of stuff.

Cheran:

Yeah, absolutely. I think when it comes to. Like when it came to post decision making, obviously a lot of the questions and a lot of these consultants had already been debriefed. So they were like, okay. Shrine is considering between McKinsey and X unit. It convinced him to come to X and like that sort of the, you know, the flow of the conversation. But that, that being said, the question is still quite similar, even before I had got offers. So, um, you know, a lot of the questions are wide. Have you come to X? You know, I saw you've done X previously. What was the framework around that? You know, why did you leave that job? Um, why you still here? Um, but I think, you know, the value for your listeners probably comes from some of the nature of questions to ask. And I had a few that I always asked, probably follows conversations after offers. Um, The first one I always asked was just, what were the decision factors that you were thinking about when you made your decision? Um, and you know, 90% of the time they aligned with the same things I was thinking about. So fighting a development offshore, um, pay if it was a material factor or not, but every now and then there would be one consultant. Who'd say some factor that I hadn't thought of at all. And I'll often it would be, you know, a very niche industry that they were interested in, for example, or, you know, um, McKenzie, you have to start at them, it can be health Institute. And there was one consultant who had come specifically for that. So all those sorts of things, um, as well, um, the question I always asked every person was, um, what are, and actually, this is the question I asked during the interview as well, which I think was quite effective, um, was what are the characteristics of the. Uh, business analysts, which is the entry level position at McKinsey. Um, one are the best characteristics of the business analysts at McKinsey or the SRE sets a basic J or then there's some backing analysts at Macquarie or Goldman or wherever. Um, and what that question shows is that firstly, you're wanting to be the best, but secondly, that you're thinking back two steps beyond what you're actually applying for, because you know, you're not just asking you about your internship. You're asking about, you know, I want to be an investment banking analyst at Macquarie growth. What are the best things or what are the characteristics that I could develop now to prepare me for that in 18 months time? Um, um, I think most of the times that question followed with about 15 seconds of silence because no one had ever asked them that before. And then they sort of thought, okay, well, yeah, this is one like junior to my team who I think he's really great. And these are the things that he does. Um, and that was a really nice way to get that conversation going. Those would be a lot of the questions I would ask. And then the rest are just risks on personal life. And, um, there's, I'm a big four wheel, one fat and there was one, um, there's actually two consultants at McKinsey. One's ex red bull one's ex Ferrari. So we could just talk about that for ages as well.

James:

Nice. No, that's, that's difficult and yeah, I think like asking the right questions is so important. And I think a question like that is, is great. Cause yeah, like you said, it shows you're interested, um, you know, gives them answering. It gives you feedback around this sort of thing is that perhaps you could like turn it around and give them the example of like a time where you exercise those traits. Uh, you know, perhaps if you're in somewhere in the interview, so yeah, I think that's, um, yeah, I think that the thing that's super cool. Um, I want to ask, perhaps we're getting to the end, so maybe two more like things that I just like to ask you. And one is like, what, um, um, I'm interested just cause like why. You're you're a high-performing person. Right? You, uh, you know,

Cheran:

appreciate that.

James:

you do. Yeah. So you do a lot of things really well, like, um, and so I'm interested to know kind of what, uh, like what, what drives you like on a, on a daily basis? Like what, what, like, why do you go out and achieve, like, is there, are there any like sort of reasons that you can put to that is, well, yeah. How do you, how do you think about that?

Cheran:

Hmm. That's a really good question. Um, I think if I'm being completely real, it's a fear of mediocrity. I think that's something that a lot of people can probably achieve with, um, that, you know, it comes from a place, you know, my parents both came from and not so great time in the world and fairly middle-class. I see how hard they were. Um, You know, there's part of me, that's like, well, you better ACE this life because you know, there's only one chance to do it. And I think, um, if I were to look at myself and say, you know, much, like when we were talking about the concept of lock and lock is away, it's going to exist in the world. But if you put yourself in a position where there's nothing more that you could have done, then you sleep well at night. And I think if you extend that out or if my entire life I'd want to wake up every day, knowing, um, that there have been no regrets and that I haven't, you know, I remember when I was a. this is a complete tangent, but I remember in year five English or something, um, I, I didn't get the English award for, for something. And I was pretty disappointed in it. And, um, I remember my year five teacher saying, you know, you're, you've got so much potential. It would be worthless if you didn't tap into it once in a while. And I think that's where we stuck with me ever since, because that's something you don't really want, right. If you can perform at your best and that's all you can do then I think, um, that's what drives me every day. I think the other thing as well, I do just generally think I've a pretty deep satisfaction of eventually having a career in social impact and eventually having, um, I recognition and Chamath Palihapitiya, um, an American or Canadian investor talks about this a lot. Um, That money drives the world, whether you like it or not. And I think, uh, to affect social change in the world requires a command of capital, um, at some stage. And I think I have a big drive to eventually, you know, marry my interest in venture capital with an interest in longevity and, and biotech and life sciences. And, uh, being able to say that, you know, I'm, I'm not smart enough to do the chemistry or the engineering behind it that I potentially could help with the capital allocation process and those sort of things. Um, that's what drives me every day is to take the skills that I have and to use that for the best influence of, you know, the people around me.

James:

Oh, no, thanks so much for sharing that loss. Yeah. It's super interesting to hear, uh, you know, inside your life and inside your mind and, you know, the things that you're thinking about. And I think that's, uh, you know, that's really great. It's like the, you know, having a positive impact on the world and, you know, really creating the ability for yourself to do that in the future, I think is, uh, is really cool. And I look forward to the, the positive impact that you will have eventually, uh, I look forward to following your journey, right?

Cheran:

Come back to me in 30 years and we'll say

James:

Yeah. Fantastic. Well, yeah, I've got one more question for you, Sean. And that is a question. I ask all the guests that come on the shot and it is if you could kind of let's let's even for yourself, go back to when you were first starting university and kind of add into this journey of discovering, um, you know, the different opportunities that are, that are awaiting you. And what advice would you give to someone that's perhaps, you know, now just starting out on their.

Cheran:

Yeah, totally. Um, I think I've seen a few things. Um, I've always had three things, um, have to keep it very structured as a future consultant. Um, I think the first one would be do things your own way. I've mentioned the phrase, hedonic treadmill a few times now, but it's very easy. And I know that I am a person who subjects this on others is you see the LinkedIn's the table and you say, oh, well, by doing this, you got to this. And by doing, they, he got to say, and, um, have a consciousness that there are a million ways to get to where you want to be and be driven enough that you pursue goals. And you know, if you are pursuing roles and titles and whatever it is, that's fine, but don't be so driven that you forget to SSA, smell the roses from the way. Um, and you forget about the race, why you've done that journey. And you know, I'm not ending up in banking, but I'm still glad I've spent one and a half years in banking because that's taught me a whole, um, skill set of things that if I was so focused on the outcome, I think that was a waste, which certainly isn't. So I'd say, firstly, do things your way. Second thing. Um, nobody cares. Um, and that sounds rather flippant. Um, that what I mean by that is genuinely, nobody cares about so many of the failures that we have on a daily basis. I remember, um, seeing this visual visualization once on. And if you imagine two concentric circles and you sort of have one circle and then you have a little small circle, um, in the middle of it, um, and that small circle is how much other people think about you and all the space around it is how much you think about other people thinking about you. Um, and that's just the reality yet. Literally nobody cares. Everyone has their own issues and problems to sort through. And it's very liberating once you realize that, because all of a sudden, you're just focused on your own happiness and your personal pursuit of your goals. Um, and that's all you need in life. I think life is already tough enough, um, without worrying about what other people think or, you know, what's going to be the impact of me not getting X or not being at this stage in life. Um, and especially when you surround yourself in a high academic shaving background of students and cohorts, as you know, the universities, you and I have been to, um, either it gets very easy to fall into that middle. And then the last thing I would say, um, is that life will generally be okay. Um, and I think this sort of links back to, you know, nobody cares, but, um, I've said this a lot too, you know, it's graduate season at the moment. A lot of students in the years below some students that I tutor at university has been really stressed and worried about, um, applications. And I think, remember that everybody's. Peaks at a certain period of time and that's not going to be 22 for everybody. And it'll be rather sad if you're picking a 22. So I think, just remember that the vast majority of your listeners and the people who are part of this community, um, have lived in a time, which has never been better than time before. Number one. Uh, and that second late, generally, everybody, if you work hard enough, if you don't that luck impact everything in your life, you will be okay. Um, and you will get to where you want to eventually, um, and that there's no rush in life in terms of reaching certain goals. I just, because it seems like the vast majority of people reach goals within a certain period of time doesn't mean that you have to be part of that as well, because there are countless numbers of people, you know, Reed Hoffman is a prime example, uh, period reached their peak successes and their Fest successes in their forties and fifties. So, um, That would be my three pieces of advice, do things here right away. Um, nobody cares and, uh, it'll all be okay, James. It'll all be okay.

James:

Amazing. No, that's, that's really, really cool advice. And thanks so much for sharing that with us, Sean, because yeah, I think, you know, if people can really take that to heart, uh, then yeah. Then I think it'll really. Help them set them up for, for more interesting and successful life. So, yeah. Thanks so much for sharing that with us today. Um, if people listening want to go and find out more about yourself, perhaps I've now heard your fantastic advice on applying for roles in various different places, uh, where is the best place for them to go and find out more about you?

Cheran:

Yeah, LinkedIn, uh, my name straight onto there, um, woman TROSA for dinosaurs. So please just message a message. If there's anything that I can help with. Um, otherwise I'm on Twitter as well as strong K seven. Um, probably those two places.

James:

Fantastic. Well, yeah, we'll direct people there, but yeah. Thanks so much for coming on the pod today. Sean, it's been really, really cool dogging into all the things you think about then. Yeah. Thanks so much.

Cheran:

Thanks, James. This was fun.

James:

Thanks for listening to this episode I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you want to get my takeaways, the things that I learned from this episode, please go to graduate theory.com/subscribe, where you can get my takeaways and all the information about each episode, straight to your inbox. Thanks so much for listening again today, and we're looking forward to seeing you next week.