Career Takeaways from a Senior
This blog post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Julian Parra ’20
Reflecting on my career development journey throughout my four years at Babson, I am in awe as to how quickly time has gone by. I also acknowledge the plethora of resources and information out there that Babson offers its students that more people should take advantage of. Below, I have outlined a few key takeaways I have learned throughout my personal career development journey that I hope stick with you at any stage of your career.
- Actively seek out opportunities to refine your career interests. I understand it may be difficult to balance your time between studying for your classes, socializing with friends, understanding yourself better, and even getting those rare eight hours of sleep each night. Nonetheless, I encourage you, once a week or so, check Babson’s events page to see if there is anything of interest. Sign up to receive career-specific emails from Handshake to know about other events. Attend conferences at other schools or venues close by through a quick search on Eventbrite. Take advantage of the events Babson hosts even outside of the regularly scheduled semester, like the Babson Connect events. These are all different ways you can further expand your network and knowledge and have the chance to meet with Babson alumni and other professionals doing the same work you may be considering doing some time in the future. Be sure to dedicate at least a certain amount of time per week in doing so, and you will have a better understanding of where you see your career going. I also encourage you to do the Universum Career Survey and other personality and career aptitude tests to refine your search as to what careers may best align with your interests and personality.
- Be sure to maintain the relationships you make throughout your time at college. Of course, you want to keep in touch with the close friends you made at Babson. With respect to alumni and employers you meet in more professional settings or even those who you may have reached out to over email, it is super important to send them follow up emails after a month or so of reaching out to them! This will give you enough time to implement any advice they may have given you -. You would want to maintain the relationships with people you had a genuine connection with and someone who’s career interests align with yours. For example, during the winter break after my first semester at Babson, I met the founder of a marketing agency at a Babson Connect event and expressed my interest in marketing. At the time, he said he wasn’t looking for interns at the moment, but encouraged me to reach back out in a couple of months. After reaching out again, he was appreciative of my follow-up email. Although I didn’t end up interning for him, he grew to act as a mentor figure earlier in my college career, by happily answering any marketing-related questions I had. This goes to show the importance of maintaining the relationships you build with those who you truly connect with.
- It’s totally okay if you decide to change your mind throughout your time at college. First, I changed my mind a few times as to what I wanted my career to be and still don’t know what I want to do with my life, so approach these four years with an open mind, consider the multiple opportunities that come your way, and don’t be afraid to get after them. The summer after my sophomore year, I started my first internship as a Launch intern at Ernst and Young in Times Square, NYC. I was excited yet nervous about what to expect. I had taken Intro to Accounting and enjoyed the course, but now I was ready to put my skills to the test. I did three weeks in tax, and three weeks in audit. After my experience, I could safely say that accounting was definitely not for me. This is why internships are so important – they are relatively low-commitment ways for you all to get some experience related to what you think you may like as a career, and if you like it, then that’s great, if you don’t like it, then you are one step closer to finding out what it is you do actually want your career to look like in the future. Employers are increasingly looking for students who have internship experiences when hiring for full-time positions, so be sure to be in contact with your center for career development earlier than later. After my internship, I realized I wanted to do more financial analysis, so I decided to take those types of classes my junior year. The summer after my junior year, I started my internship with IBM. I was essentially using data analytics to help IBM executives make better business decisions and at the end of the summer, I presented recommendations as to what kind of other types of customer data they should take into account to help IBM make more accurate business decisions. Each week, I would hop on calls with my mentor from Sponsors for Educational Opportunity to talk with him about what was going right and what I should be improving, and the organization helped me manage any challenges I was facing along the way. My internship solidified my interest in working in the technology sector after graduation since this industry disrupts every industry out there and grows at an exponential pace. After my final presentation at IBM, I was extended a full-time position to return to IBM and the same team for after graduation, which I accepted, so I was very happy to have had a job lined up before I started my senior year, and I can’t help but thank SEO and Babson’s Center for Career Development for all its guidance and help.
Finally, everyone’s college experience is going to be unique. Take these four years as an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone, learn about the things you are passionate about, spend time with people who bring you up and want to see you succeed, and enjoy these moments. It was because I was always checking my email and going to events that I got to meet people and learn things I would have otherwise never learned about or met. Now that we’re young and do not have major life commitments is the time to take these risks, since it’ll be harder to do so when we’re older. College is a special time in our lives and these places have tons of resources at your disposal, it’s up to you to get out there and take advantage of it. At the end of the day, I feel truly fulfilled by my college experience, and I know each one of you can be successful in your respective career development journeys!