Changing Perspective

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Luc Silver, WH ’19

I received funding to pursue an opportunity that would help me grow and understand what I want out of my career.

I spent the summer working for a small Chilean bank with operations in Chile, Colombia and Peru. With an office of nearly 15 workers, I was able to learn a lot about the process of Mergers and Acquisitions, and what the different job roles entail in terms of responsibilities and tasks. I enjoyed learning about this sector of finance and think that this knowledge has been helpful to me in understanding how other industries are shaped by mergers, and where to look for merger opportunities. During my time there I was able to fine-tune my skills on excel, and improve my Spanish to the point that I can now safely that I can navigate a Spanish speaking work environment comfortably. This was my first time working a ‘real’ job with an office and time schedules and all. The experience was sobering and maturing, an I am glad for it.

I believe that spending these two months the way I did has allowed me to learn a lot about what I want and don’t want out of a career, and to learn it earlier rather than later. I entered the summer thinking, like many of my peers, that a six figure salary would be worth a less than entertaining life for few years. I don’t think so anymore.

Over the summer, I would get up at around 8:30am five days a week, put on a suit and tie, and face the drudging commute to work in a over packed, overheated subway. Once there I could look forward to creating PowerPoint presentations for a myriad of clients, or spending the day on the phone trying to find buyers for our clients. The work was neither hard nor easy, neither thought provoking nor mind numbing. Rather it was mundane.

In the office there was no space where people could gather to take breaks and relax for a bit. Rather people settled for checking their WhatsApp or the news every now and then while remaining glued to their chairs for 10 hours a day. A little after 8 I got to go home after enduring the crowded subway one more time, as if reminding me that sitting at my office chair staring at my screen wasn’t so bad after all. Once home, knackered and weary from a day of work, I’d muster enough energy to cook dinner or order in a pizza and then watch a little TV before going to sleep. I had hardly any time to work on my other passions or just relax before I had to go to bed to do it all over again in the morning.

But this was a good. Now I know that I not only want, but need a place where I can have ownership over the work that I do, liberty to think of new ways to grow the company, and real rewards for that work beyond a pat on the back. I need a place where the office is not just a workplace but a community. Where upper level management and lower level employees mingle and share ideas. A place where I can have an impact on the company and quick ascension to a place of real responsibility. Spending years making my way from junior analyst to senior analyst to associate is not for me. And I have you to thank for that knowledge.

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.