Main Content

Alumni Profile: Marshall Santoso

The key to a successful career? Networking

An image of Marshall Santoso

Marshall Santoso, '11, MA '13
Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Now working at Ernst & Young, Santoso attributes his success to networking: “The key to looking for a job is to not worry about the job.” 

At 24, Yohanes Marshall Santoso (who goes by Marshall) MA ’13 has invented his own koan:  “The key to looking for a job is to not worry about the job.” That’s easy for Santoso to say. The young graduate recently joined Ernst & Young doing valuation analysis for the Boston firm.

But the road to landing the job was paved with perseverance, spirited self-competition and some help from Brandeis classes and the career center. Oh, and old-fashioned preparedness. In short, the job search is all about building relationships, according to Santoso.

It all started when Santoso showed up at a job fair hosted by the Association for Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) at Brandeis International Business School (IBS). He connected with Recruiter A from Ernst & Young and sent a “nice to meet you, I’m interested in valuation work” email after their meeting.

Next step: Santoso took and aced the Bloomberg Assessment test and followed up with Recruiter A to share the good news. Recruiter A introduced Santoso to Recruiter B, someone closer to the valuation department. Now Santoso was getting somewhere. He researched each person with whom he spoke, looking for talking points that would bring a genuine connection to the conversation, keeping the focus on building a relationship, not landing job. His methods landed him an interview.

Born in Indonesia, Santoso was raised in the Philippines by parents with Chinese bloodlines. “I’m as international as you can get,” he said. During his school years, he played competitive sports including volleyball. At Brandeis he helped turn the recreational volleyball club into a college league competing team. His competitive streak shows up in his academics as well.

After earning his bachelor’s from Brandeis, Santoso went for his master’s right away. He credits his core classes as giving him a “broad set of financial knowledge” and the career center advisors with constantly encouraging him and providing chances to practice and hone his interview skills. “They do a lot of workshops and put the emphasis on knowing yourself, so when interviewers ask about your qualities; it comes out as second nature.”

That practice came in very handy. With less than 24 hours notice, Santoso nailed the interview of his dream job, overcoming a snowstorm to arrive on time to boot. “I put a lot of emphasis on making a connection versus being interested in getting a job,” he said. “The big thing about competing with yourself is that you always want to be the best you can be.”