Here is An UNSCRIPTD Journey written by Daria Greeno:
“The future belongs to those, who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
The quote above was shared with me by a good friend and mentor. It really resonated with me as I remembered the time when I decided to follow my own dreams, leaving my friends and family behind, to fly to New York on my own from Russia. After that, another dream came true when I got accepted to Columbia University, where I continued to pursue my passion about Financial Markets and decided to major in Economics. Juggling jobs, internships, and school at the same time was never easy, yet I still found time to be very involved in the Columbia community. I tried to help other students with their career and academic journey by volunteering and trying to make an impact through student initiatives.
But it’s hard to keep believing, when you have put all your heart into your dream and worked really hard to achieve your goal, yet you keep getting rejections. That’s how my senior year at Columbia felt. Between part time jobs in hospitality and sleepless nights studying for rigorous four thousand level Economics courses, I spent hours networking and preparing for interviews. Ironically, the more I heard that the field is very competitive, the more I wanted to get in. The higher the goal, the higher I needed to jump. I spoke to many alums who tried to talk me out of it– some of whom worked over 100 hours a week. Honestly, those people actually inspired me even more with their discipline and passion, as I figured at least 10 of those hours out of the remaining 68 in the week were spent on conversations with me.
I got very excited when I finally seemed to have a break through with an M&A group at one of the top bulge bracket banks. It took several months of coffee chats, phone calls and interviews to get to the last round. The dream started to be so close, that it almost felt like a done deal. Yet I got a rejection. I recovered, moved on to other opportunities and suddenly I got a second chance with a different group at the same company. At that moment I truly believed that dreams do come true. I believed that second chances are not random.
Then came another rejection. This was one of the worst rejections so far because by that point I felt so committed. Even my family members suggested that maybe it was time to change my trajectory and start applying to other roles. I have to give a lot of appreciation to my mentors and friends in the field who supported me during that period. The truth is, rejections are not easy for anyone. Most importantly, they don’t become any easier to hear over time. I just had to learn how to deal with them and how much I could let them affect my dreams and myself. I think I’m still learning. At the end of the day while you giving your best, you can control only what you can control.
Another important thing that I realized I could do was to request feedback. IB interviewers are not known to easily give feedback, yet it’s possible. I began asking everyone for feedback, starting from my academic advisor and Professors to my mentors and former colleagues. The majority of feedback was actually unexpectedly good because these people were surprised I still found strength to keep going. But the most important feedback I was getting was about the growth that those people noticed in me over the years of mentoring and guiding me through my journey in finance, academics, and life in general. From that most difficult rejection, I came out with strong connections with people who saw my passion and my hard work. Even after rejection we were able to continue our relationship.
As of right now, I am not sure yet where I will land. Moving forward, I hope to share my experiences with current students through mentoring. It truly pays off when you see them succeeding at something you invested time in with them. For myself though, I will continue to learn and grow from my experiences so that even when it seems like I’m not progressing, I will have something to remind me to keep moving forward. Each experience is given to us to make us stronger so that once our dreams do come true, we can appreciate it that much more.
This is my UNSCRIPTD Journey,