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Career Stories - Madhu

Sr. Account Supervisor
BBDO, New York

My first job was at NW Ayer & Partners, NY. as a Project Coordinator in the Account Planning Department

AEF: How many people did you have to meet with?

Madhu: I met with an HR manager who then passed me onto the two principals who were running the Account Planning/Research Dept. at the time. In other subsequent interviews for other positions, I've also had to meet with Managing Directors or the 'Head of Client Services'.

AEF: Did they ask you any surprising questions?

Madhu: Not in the interview for my first job but in a subsequent interview [maybe for an AAE position], someone asked me if I had a choice to either fly or be invisible, which would I choose. I thought it was a great question since it forced me to think/be creative with my answer vs. all the usual canned interview questions asked and responses given. I've adopted the question into interviews I conduct now that I am a manager!

AEF: How long a period of time were you there being interviewed?

Madhu: Most good interviews I've had have lasted at least 30 minutes. However, you CAN sometimes instantly click with someone or talk to someone for an hour without establishing any chemistry. Chemistry is very important, if you don't 'click' with your intended supervisor, don't take the job.

AEF: How long a period of time passed between your interview(s) and your start date?

Madhu: I interviewed in June but did not start until end of August. Usually, however, they want you ASAP!

AEF: How were you notified that you were hired?

Madhu: Initially through a verbal offer, but then I've always made sure to get something in writing that spells out all terms/conditions [salary, title, start date etc.].

AEF: Did you send a thank-you note?

Madhu: Always send thank you notes. I prefer hand-written ones.

AEF: Things you know now that you wish you knew then:

Madhu: Even the tiniest details matter, from scuffed shoes to dirty jackets. Especially typos on your resume, check and double check. Also, maturity is key in interviews. It's great to be enthusiastic, but composure is important and you should always ensure you are presentable and articulate, especially in Account Management, because you will be interacting with clients.

AEF: Things you wish someone had told you when you were just starting out:

Madhu: Don't be afraid to bug your superiors about letting you take on more projects etc. Don't make them solely responsible for your growth/learning. Being motivated is key.

AEF: How many jobs have you had since then?

Madhu: 3, all in the same field [Advertising Acct. Management]

AEF: What did you major in/study in college?

Madhu: Economics and English Lit.