1. Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Maximum word count: 50 words)
I met John at an NYC investment networking conference over a year ago. Since then, he was selected as a full-time intern analyst in our investment analyst team. John supported our work in the area of asset allocation, investment research, and portfolio construction for Cantor Fitzgerald’s $3.7B investment advisory practice.
2. How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (Maximum word count: 500 words)
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with many graduate-level finance professionals including John, but he stands out to be one of the top talents whose performances exceeded my expectations. He remarkably demonstrated his analytical, communication, interpersonal and organization skills. John is a unique strategic thinker/visioner that transforms ideas into reality. Within a “start-up” business environment/culture such as Cantor’s newly-created investment management business, he was an instrumental figure in the initial build-out of the firm’s business. Under my supervision and guide, John was able to designs several strategic initiatives and developed critical resources and tools that were used to enhance our firm’s proprietary investment research capabilities effectively. Most importantly, he served as a motivator to his peers, colleagues and even seniors, by inspiring them to be out-of-the-box thinkers. As a result of that, we were able to achieve far greater investment research production even with limited start-up resources.
I have seen John demonstrate his confidence, intelligence and professionalism in practice. He started performing excellently one month after he began work. At that time, an important analyst left the team, and this posed a problem for our project. The analyst was responsible for creating model spreadsheets, programming functions, and doing quantitative research. Since other team members know a little about how to deal with all the details and write the API codes, our deliverables such as client proposals, monthly reports, and charting packages cannot be successfully established. However, John, on joining the team and knowing about the problem at hand, took the initiative to learn API codes of the two platforms, Bloomberg and Morningstar Direct, within a few days and then update the information. His effort made sure that all the materials were accurate and delivered on time. After that, John not only fixed issues but optimized the process to make it more efficient and easier. I was greatly overwhelmed with this great achievement of John, even when he is new and has not familiarized well with other analysts in the team. Moreover, he prepared practical and detailed instruction and taught other analysts in the team. John and his contributions are of great wealth to us.
3. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Maximum word count: 500 words)
A few weeks into John’s internship, I immediately recognized that he had all the talents/traits needed to succeed in the investment management business. Consequently, I wanted to provide him with the right exposure and platform for him to develop well-rounded leadership skills. On receiving this challenge, he meticulously created for himself a 3-month work-plan which he thought would be a value-add to the team’s initiatives and also provide him with the appropriate platform to further develop his leadership skills. I was specifically impressed by his honest and transparent approach when while he was expressing his thoughts. John eventually led the design and implementation of our firm’s first client investment reporting model which the firm still uses today. Apart from that, he was also involved in setting work priorities for the team, engaging senior leadership and collaborating with peers for improved performance and results.
4. Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, the applicant’s role in your organization. (Maximum word count: 50 words)
John worked in our hedge fund for more than three years and contributed a lot. As the general partner of the fund, I’m his former supervisor. I witnessed the process that a talented but immature college freshman became a promising professional. I’m very glad to recommend him to XXX MBA.
5. How does the performance of the applicant compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (E.g. what are the applicant’s principal strengths?) (Maximum word count: 500 words)
To be honest, at the very beginning, I recruited John to the analyst team because his father is my friend and a limited partner of our fund. But I changed my mind soon after. John really has some traits that made him different.
He is creative and knows how to use his intelligence. When we tried to start a new high-frequency trading strategy to cope with the more dynamic market, there was almost nothing we can take as a reference because of the special trading regulation held by the Chinese regulator. We separated the system into two individual parts and John led the work of the allocation part. Our fund is still using the system today and benefits from the decreasing volatility of our overall performance.
He collaborates with colleagues very well and shows his leadership. When he was an analyst, he persuaded his colleagues to work on research that seemed meaningless. The research proposal was so convincing that we accepted it finally. These allocations became the biggest contributors to our annual performance. And after this, I heard he got a nickname, Captain, from other junior analysts.
I was also impressed with his ambition and passion for the investment. Most peers I know in the market are interest-driven. But he is not. In the first two years as an unpaid intern, he never asked for a buck and did as much as anyone in the same position. Not only worked hard, but he also kept studying. I received his messages and emails with professional questions even during the weekend. Taking Warren Buffett as his career benchmark, John really put a lot of effort into his great dream.
6. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Maximum word count: 500 words)
To help John go further on his career path, I often gave him feedbacks. Some are positive, but some are very tough. But he can translate all the feedbacks into the fuel in his engine.
When he began to work as my assistant manager, I found he was too amiable to other employees and didn’t perform like a manager. Then I told him, as a qualified manager, he should be not only one of them but also one above them. Humility helps to get along with people, but it is the leadership that contributes to the team as a manager. His progress pleasantly surprised me after several weeks. When the team made a mistake, he punished himself first, and then in public criticized those who were responsible for the mistake. But after that, he explained and pacified them privately. He managed very well with both intelligence and personality and kept the balance of the team. I believed he really considered my critical feedback seriously and sought a way to improve.