Dr. Ildikó Taksz, Lead Partner in Financial Services at KPMG, recently gave a Practitioner Talk at CEU. She shared with students her secrets of getting a job at the Big4, succeeding in a team of over-achievers, balancing career and private life, and many others. She also gave tips on how to pass job interviews and interact with people.
Education & Career Path: From Corvinus and Oxford to McKinsey, OTP and KPMG
Taksz confessed she became a consultant almost by coincidence. After completing a degree in Economics at Corvinus University of Budapest, she went on to study Politics and write her doctorate at the University of Oxford. Once Taksz realized academic work was not her cup of tea, she started looking for opportunities, where she could employ her problem-solving skills.
Having applied to a number of different consulting companies, Taksz received an invitation from two American consultancy giants — BCG and McKinsey — and underwent the experience of going through “tough” case interviews. Ultimately, she was successful and became a consultant at McKinsey in Budapest.
While working for McKinsey, Taksz frequently worked abroad. As she described it, this “eye-opening” experience extended to Germany, France, Poland, Greece, Slovakia, and other countries. At one point, however, she realized it became challenging to balance career and life.
As often happens in the consulting world, Taksz took a job with a client, joining OTP Bank. During her fourteen years with the organization, she helped to transform OTP Bank in Russia into a highly profitable operation. Recently, Taksz shifted to a new role at KPMG, where she is responsible for advisory services predominantly in the financial sector.
How to Get a Job and Stay There? Some tips.
Making a strong impression is crucial, Taksz advises. When coming to a job interview, you should dress according to circumstances. She also advised to smile, pay attention to posture, firmness of the handshake and eye-contact during interviews. “Show the drive, show you’re interested,” she said.
Additionally, she noted, it is important to speak concisely with potential employers. She recommended techniques such as giving three reasons to back up your statements, in order to demonstrate your capacity to think and express yourself in a structured way.
Speaking foreign languages is a distinct advantage for job-seekers, said Taksz, who speaks English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish in addition to her native Hungarian, while a positive attitude and curiosity can come in handy once on the job. Indeed, they can be a good way to show employers that you make an effort. Relentless drive, enthusiasm and great problem-solving abilities are all key to career advancement and financial recognition.
Taksz encouraged students to read literature on psychology regardless of their field of specialization. “Wherever you go, you will work with people. If someone is angry, tense or simply unreasonable, you need to learn how to deal with that,” said she.
Taksz also advised students not to jump from one work place to the other too fast, as ‘job-hoppers’ may be less attractive to prospective employers. As she pointed out, many people quit their job immediately when they perceive a mismatch with their boss. “Humility is important, finding the point where you can learn from that person,” Taksz said.
Taksz concluded with a final word of advice and encouragement to approach the job search process with resilience and resourcefulness: “It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get a particular job. If you don’t get it, it’s probably not for you. Go on and find the right one.”
- by Tetiana Horban (INTR '20)