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Placer grad’s viral “best ever” cover letter lands coveted job

Former Auburn resident Matt Ross’ leaked email turned into Internet sensation
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The story of a Placer High grad who saw his humble-but-honest email asking for an internship turn into a viral sensation on the Internet has a happy ending.

Matt Ross, 22, has been hired by the business he sent his plaintive plea to. New York finance firm Duff & Phelps announced the hiring this past week.

In a worldwide Web whirlwind early in January, the San Diego State University accounting student’s email request “to fetch coffee, shine shoes or pick up laundry” ended up being described in England’s London Daily Mail Online as the “best ever” cover letter, mentioned on NBC’s “Today” show and gained  a following in a Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald column.

Through it all Ross, a 2009 Placer High graduate, kept his head down, even as – the San Diego press reported – major television news crews waited outside his home.

Duff & Phelps, a financial advisory and investment banking firm, issued a statement saying Ross will join the firm’s Los Angeles office as an intern during the summer.

“While Matthew’s cover letter gained our attention, interviews over the past few weeks have made it clear that Matthew brings the strong work ethic, interpersonal skills and capacity for technical rigor that is characteristic of all Duff & Phelps team members,” said Scott Oblow, head of the firm’s human capital division.

While Ross has chosen to stay out of the spotlight, in the face of morning talk show crews “Good Morning America” and “Today” initially staking out turf in front of his residence, he did issue a written statement in light of the hiring.

“When I reached out to Duff & Phelps, I simply wanted to get my foot in the door with a leading global financial services firm,” Ross said. “I’m pleased that my cover letter started a dialogue that ultimately led to an exciting internship opportunity.”

The letter itself was initially distributed to financial offices in New York and then leaked to the Business Insider website. The Daily Mail first named Ross as the author.

The letter struck a nerve with readers.

“I won’t waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles, or feeding you a line of crap about how my past experiences and skill set align perfectly for an investment banking internship,” Ross wrote in his cover letter. “The truth is I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near-perfect GPA and will work hard for you.”

Ross said in this week’s statement that he now looks forward to “rolling up my sleeves, getting to work and learning as much as I can about the financial advisory and investment banking industry.”

He added that he wants to thank all who have offered support and encouragement.