We are honored to spotlight Zory! She is a Harvard sophomore, and Elivade Campus Ambassador who just recently accepted a position at Goldman Sachs! Here is her story:
“I took the first step. Harvard gave me the connection and I took the initiative.”
- Tell us about yourself.
My name is Zorayda Montemayor and I’m a sophomore at Harvard studying economics with a concentration in ethnicity, rights and migration. This past summer, I interned for Congressman Vicente Gonzalez on Capitol Hill in DC and learned more about the financial industry. I got to connect with a lot of industry professionals and heard about their experiences in banking. [Within financial services], I knew banking was the [area] I was most interested in. I started studying the technicals, practicing my elevator pitch, and reading up on financial markets and the economy. It was a long term process of keeping up.
- Tell us about your journey to Harvard.
I went to a public school in San Antonio. I knew that applying to an Ivy League school was something I was interested in but I never thought I would get in. I was very shocked to hear back from Harvard. I really got more excited about Harvard when I realized they would give me a lot of flexibility in letting me choose what I would do in the future.
Going from South Texas to Harvard was a huge culture shock. I felt super overwhelmed and obviously imposter syndrome kicks in. It was about getting used to that culture shock and grappling with difference.
I also think one of the biggest things that helped me was my mentor. In San Antonio, I met this woman who had been to HBS and had worked on Wall Street. She helped give me advice on the [recruiting] process and did mock interviews. She was a support backing me from a Latina background.
- How did you develop and cultivate the relationship with your mentor?
She was at an event at the Harvard Club in San Antonio and gave an overview of banking. I reached out to her and we scheduled phone calls and went out to lunch. I took the first step. Harvard gave me the connection and I took the initiative.
I was very direct with it. I overcame all my nerves and went up to her and said “I would love to learn more about your experience, could we be in contact, could you be my mentor?”
- What advice would you have for those who might not have access to the resources you did?
It’s a combination of things. Be well prepared and utilize the resources around you. You can use the internet and LinkedIn and ask for informational phone calls, read articles online and follow up with the authors. Utilize what’s available for you and try to translate that into action, even though it might put you out of your comfort zone.
- What are you looking forward to about your internship and what are your fears or concerns? How do you plan to prepare for it?
I’m excited about the amount of exposure to transactions in the market from an industry leader like Goldman. I’m looking forward to growth and being able to connect with others.
One of my fears is translating what I have learned over the summer in prep classes into actual work. SEO has a program that provides prep classes for internships to help you succeed. I’m going to be using them to learn more about Excel and financial models so that I can be more comfortable going into the internship. I’m going to keep reaching out to people at Goldman to see what it takes to be a good analyst and succeed in the internship.
- What do you think makes someone stand out in the interview process? Do you have any tips for those in your shoes for nailing the interview process?
What makes someone stand out in the interview process is the ability to present yourself well and show a dedicated interest in the field. You’re always going to be nervous to an extent. Make sure you know your story and have practiced the technicals, so you have a solid foundation going into the interview.
- Where do you see yourself a few years post graduation?
It’s hard to say for the future. Right now, I’m super interested in using this summer to learn more about the finance industry and banking specifically.
- How did Elivade help you in your recruiting process?
They talked to me about their experience and how great of a place [Goldman] was for personal and professional development.
It took a lot of work and at times, I was so scared. It’s all about keeping your motivation up, staying dedicated and not letting those fears get to you that got me through the process.