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Career Spotlight: Anna Grassel Lands Position With Federated

Anna Grassel is a senior Marketing Management major at Grove City College. Recently, Anna landed a highly-sought after position working in sales at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, PA.

Federated is a massive financial services company with its headquarters located in Pittsburgh. The company was founded in 1957, and manages about $364.1 billion of customer assets. Grassel is this financial powerhouse’s latest hire.

I had the privilege of sitting down with Grassel to talk with her about the process of landing the job, and the role the GCC Career Services Office played in the process.

The interview is below:

(Nathan) When were you first interested in working in Sales, and how did you know this was the career path you wanted to pursue?

(Anna) Two words: Professor Kocur. I took his upper level business sales class. Initially I thought it would be an “easy A.” However, I was naive into all that goes into being a successful sales associate. His passion for sales was contagious. His passion for sales couples with his experience working for GlaskoSmithKline translated into a valuable sales class.

I knew sales was for me because I love working with people! The psychology behind sales is fascinating. Beyond that, I work well against a set of goals – and that is a crucial aspect of sales. The results in sales are tangible. That is very motivating for me.

How, or where did you hear about Federated?

Federated Investors has an amazing reputation in Pittsburgh. Being a Pittsburgh native, I was familiar with them because of their involvement in the community. I have always been intrigued by the financial industry and Federated Investor’s reputation precedes itself. So they were at the top of my list when looking at companies in Pittsburgh.

Did you intern with them?  Did you think that hurt/helped your chances of getting in, or just motivated you more?

This is a funny story. I applied for a marketing internship with them my junior year. Unfortunately, I got turned down for the position. It was very motivating. From that point forward, I was determined to get more experience in the financial industry and refine my skill set to be a stellar applicant for them in the future. At the end of the day it was a blessing in disguise because I got connected with the right department within Federated.

What were the initial steps you took to break into to the Federated team?

Before I began I direct dialogue with the company personnel, I utilized Grove City College’s alumni network to connect with alums who worked in the company. Everyone I was in contact with was very encouraging and had nothing but positive things to say about Federated. This really confirmed my interest.

Next, they were coming to the Career Fair. I went and bought a rocking black suit, personalized my resume – stating a firm interest in the company, and I researched the company and opening they had listed on there website. They were the first and only company I spoke with at the Career Fair. I went in with a reasonable next step in mind. By that I mean, I asked her about open positions and expressed an interest in job shadowing. She connected me with the director of sales at Federated. And Grove City, being the amazing college it is, actually was hosting Federated for an informational meeting in a few weeks. I made sure I went to that, went there early to get face-to-face time with the Sales representatives present. After that I went to Pittsburgh the following week to job shadow. After talking to the people and seeing the work environment  I fell in love with the company. However, at that time they were not hiring, but they were encouraging about keeping the dialogue open. A few months later they contacted me for an interview for an internal sales position. The rest is history!

How did the CSO office or connections from Grove City assist you in creating a relationship with the Federated team?

The Career Service Office at Grove City College rocks my socks off! Mrs. Vago, Career Service Counselor, was a professional and emotional support during this entire process. She helped me prepare an elevator pitch and was always willing to review my resume. The most important career advice she gave me was always having a reasonable next step in mind. By that she meant going to the Career Fair and have in mind job shadowing. I think this was important because it is hard to have realistic expectations. I would not have my job if it were not for her!

It seems like you really fostered a frequent flow of communication with the Federated team during this process.  Practically, (maybe give an example of how you kept up communication) what did that look like?

I am surprised they did not file a restraining order against me 🙂 There definitely is a fine line between being pushy vs. persistent. Every time I could reaffirm my interest and give tangible examples of how I could provide value to the company was essential. In my communication my goal was to be personable. Every person I came in touch with I followed up with an email thank you note, as well as a handwritten thank you note. I was intentional to say what they had taught me and why I thought I would be a good fit.   

When do you think was the real breakthrough moment that got your “foot in the door”?

Going down and job shadowing definitely put me on the map. It showed I was serious about the company. Really, it allowed me to look at the people who worked there. After meeting my potential future colleagues I could see how they were driven (and fashionable) people. They were happy and the security guards were friendly. It was evident that people had an enjoyable working environment and took ownership of their work.

Contrasting this to other places I interviewed at was night and day. Federated has a corporate environment, but is intentionally personable. It really is the best of both worlds.

When did the interview process start for you?

I interviewed on Christmas break in December.  

Any advice for someone hoping to land a job like yours?

Take Professor Kocur’s sales class and start the job hunt fall semester of your senior year! Many companies hire early. Also, build a strong relationship with the Career Service Office at Grove City.

To follow Anna on LinkedIn, find her profile here:



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