his 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 Susmita Roy, COL ’19/WH ’19

When I arrived this summer in New Brunswick, New Jersey, my first stop wasn’t the apartment, it was a hospital down the street, St. Peter’s. Why here? This is where my twin sister and I were born almost 22 years ago. As we entered the waiting room, my mom teared up a bit and kept telling me how our lives started here, and how 21 years later, life had brought me back here. I didn’t think too much of it as I had spent most of my life in Cleveland, Ohio, where I had moved when I was four and the place I called my hometown. By the end of the summer, I gained a new appreciation for this circle of life, being to learn more about my birthplace while also having a fantastic summer experience.

This summer, I had the immense pleasure of working at Johnson & Johnson for the Consumer Business Development group. There, I spent time in the Mergers & Acquisitions group and focused not only on ongoing deals, but also presenting my own material on possible strategic fits in different categories of skincare, over-the-counter, and in wound care.

To be able to present possible acquisition ideas to my managers, I first had to conduct research and become a mini-expert in each category. Therefore, for the first month of my internship, I mostly read up on trends in each category and sought to find out why they were doing as well as they were. It was fascinating to see how consumer behavior has transformed in the past couple of years and how big corporations like Johnson &Johnson are adapting in order to remain competitive in the field, especially with the rise of small businesses and startups. What especially has helped these small startups however, was the transparency they provided on how the product was created, something that is extremely valuable to consumers who are now educating themselves more than previous generations.

I, of course, hadn’t come to this conclusion by myself. My research, coupled with their strategic plan, provided me the foundation to succeed and be able to present the material in a successful fashion. Compiling what I had learned, I then did research on what companies could be of possible interest to J&J. One of the most impactful presentations I had was in the wound care sector, where I presented on possible natural wound care companies, who were leaders in innovation and transparent with what ingredients they used. One of the companies I found, actually made it to the next round of evaluation, something I was proud of. Overall, this summer was a fantastic experience because as a Biology and Healthcare management minor, I continue to find my place in the healthcare industry. With help from the funding, I was able to take a step in the right direction this summer and find something really exciting and engaging, with the hopes of making a positive impact

CS Radio – Episode 90: “Live Show” (Season Finale)

It’s the last episode of Season Four! Thank you so much for being loyal listeners! We’ll be back in September with more great career related conversations! Last week, Michael and Mylene were joined by Natty Leach for a live broadcast of CS Radio on Intsagram. The discussion was about an recent article in the New York Times about the perils of following your “passion,” followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Enjoy and we’ll see you next season!


Discover Your Work Values

Jamie Grant, Senior Associate Director

Today, April 25, 2019, is National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.   The University of Pennsylvania does this day up in grand style – and thankfully provides opportunities for children across our entire community to see their parents – and our students – at work, study and play throughout our campus.  It is my sincere hope that by participating in this day, and pursuing other experiences like this, my young children will be informed and inspired in their pursuits of careers and purpose. 

At one of the events today, my eleven year old son was ecstatic when he figured out how to get his little Lego robot to follow a path on the floor – I wonder, will he become a roboticist?  He and I were both fascinated by the amazing discoveries at the start-up companies in the Pennovation Center, and by the trainers at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center – will he become a veterinarian?  A writer?  A teacher?  An entrepreneur launching his own start-up someday soon?  I find that working in a place like this, not just today but every day, inspires me and keeps me learning all of the time – feeding directly into my strongest work values of Knowledge and Aesthetics.

When you were eleven, did you have a vision of your future?  Did you dream of a career path?  Maybe you were younger when you set on your goal; maybe your goal was solid, but changed due to any number of circumstances in life.  Maybe your goal – and your life’s path – is still evolving.   All of these places to be in your career journey are just fine.  If, like me and my young son, you can find something that lights you up, that makes you feel like you are living and working in a career or a place or with people with whom you share or feel appreciation of your work values, you may just find the “perfect” path for you no matter the industry or job title.

For more information on identifying work values and an exercise to help you clarify yours, please visit https://www.vpul.upenn.edu/careerservices/careerexploration/values.php.   Whether you are considering an organization for employment, deciding on an internship or job offer, or in the process of examining what it is you hope to pursue some day, you will undoubtedly find that knowing what is important to you makes that journey that much easier.

CS Radio – Episode 89: “Summer Prep”

The summer came blowing in across the sea…or at least it will be soon! As the semester nears its end and the promise of summer stands tantalizingly before us, Mylene and Michael take a look at what you can be doing now to pre-plan for a career ready summer! Enjoy!

Not a House of Cards

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 Yuan Zou, COL ’19

In case you don’t know: DC summer internships are not just about building the “House of Cards.”

Summer is the busy time for crops to build their strength ahead of fall, and the past ten weeks in Washington DC was a growing season for me too. During this summer I worked at APIAVote, a national nonprofit that aims to promote voting and other forms of civic engagement in Asian American communities across the country. Without a doubt, the lessons that I learned from the internship are rich and impactful. Also, with the financial assistance from Penn Career service, I was able to embrace the rich cultural diversity exhibited in DC and the surrounding area.

The internship allowed me to observe the passionate and active aspects of life in DC that rarely gets outside appreciation. Initially, it was hard to transition my worldview out from the cynical perceptions that DC was a “House of Cards,” but my interaction with other activists and professionals changed my mindset. Along the way, I saw organizers, who would spend hours in calls to come up with strategies to engage with local communities, and activists who were willing to put their energy and sometimes their safety on the line to send messages to the administration. The commitment and effort of these real heroes behind the scenes helped make the world we live in a better place.

Moreover, different from my previous impressions that people in DC are always looking up in the sky, folks in the DC nonprofit/activism circle are often working on the niche but substantive issues. Several days before the end of my internship I went to a workshop that focused on explaining the consequences of including the citizenship question in the 2020 Census questionnaire forms. On the surface, asking Asian folks to check boxes stating whether they are American citizens seemed trivial and harmless. However, since a majority of Asians in this country are immigrants, and the U.S had a history of using census data against immigrant groups, including the citizenship question will deter Asian respondents from completing the questionnaires. Waking out of the session, I was surprised by the impact of this seemingly minor issue and felt a bit embarrassed for the reason that I did not have these facts in mind before the session. Nonetheless, on the way back to my office, I thought about the work that I do and realized: although my tasks centered around the simple theme of helping people to cast votes, the meaning behind was something bigger, something more impactful. Last (but not least), with the funding from Penn Career Service, I had the opportunity to engage with various cultures and people from different walks of life. Rising housing prices and gentrification have been an ongoing problem in the city for long, and without sufficient funding, summer in DC can easily translate into prolonged commutes. Luckily, the summer funding allows me to stay in downtown DC and have a chance to attend events, workshops, and conference without adding more burden to my schedule. Moreover, having the grant also empowers me to discover different communities and neighborhoods and interact with local folks. Their stories might not be as eye-catching as Smithsonian exhibitions, or congressional hearings are, but they give more textures and weights to my DC experience.