Guest Perspective: Advice From A Recent Grad

by Sara Fleisher, W ’09

While studying marketing and management as an undergraduate at Wharton, I was never quite sure where I would end up after graduation.  I thought about going into advertising, retail, project management, marketing, management consulting – anything and everything in those related fields. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to explore each and every one of these areas through Penn Career Services’ career fairs and information sessions.

It was during Career Link in the fall of my senior year that I first discovered Rosetta. It was a smaller company that I hadn’t really heard of before, but the work they were doing really resonated with me. It was the combination of consulting, marketing, and agency work that won me over. Following Career Link, I attended the Rosetta information session in Huntsman Hall where I had the opportunity to speak more one-on-one with some consultants. Talking to current employees allowed me to get a feel for the culture at Rosetta, which I have since learned is a major reason why it is a great place to work. Before I even had the opportunity to interview, I knew Rosetta was the place for me.

After an on-campus interview and then a super day of interviews, both case and behavioral, I received my offer from Rosetta. With very little hesitation, I accepted and eagerly looked forward to starting in August 2009.

In my 16 months since starting at Rosetta, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a variety of clients – B2B, healthcare, etc. and projects – strategy, marketing campaigns, quantitative and qualitative research, database building, and product and sales rep tracking. New opportunities and projects constantly pop up, always keeping me on my toes. I have also planned and participated in many internal projects including holiday parties, happy hours, and enhancing our staffing and career development programs. Activities like these foster a strong culture and make working at Rosetta even more enjoyable.

If I could offer any advice to those undergraduates planning their future careers, I would firstly say utilize Penn Career Services as much as you can, not only for career fairs, but for resume and career guidance as well. I would also recommend talking to current employees at whatever companies you are considering (and even some you aren’t), as they can give you the best view into the culture, work-life balance, and overall job satisfaction at the firm. Lastly, choose a company like you chose Penn: a place where you can see yourself growing and succeeding in a comfortable environment.

Guest Perspective: How To Work Abroad

By Kate Thiers

This post comes from alumna Kate Thiers (Wharton undergrad 2000) who currently works in South Africa as a international healthcare recruiter.  She recently posted for @PennCareerDay on Twitter, for more on Kate click here and to read her Twitter Feed click here.

Working abroad is a privilege and something I have always wanted to do. Back in my junior and senior years at Penn, I would find myself sitting in front of my computer looking at jobs and trying to work out how it would be possible to work in London or Paris. I had no idea. It took me six years of working in Philadelphia before I finally made it to Oxford for my MBA, then to London to work with Siemens, and finally to Johannesburg to work with Africa Health Placements. I have learned along the way that it is easier than you think to get abroad: harder than accepting a US-based job but not the insurmountable feat it can seem when you are staring at job vacancies… again… on your laptop.

There are three main ways to get abroad. The first is the almost-accidental route I took – getting a second or advanced degree in an international university. Getting a visa to continue working in the country after graduation is usually relatively easy, depending on where you are. This route is pretty self explanatory and the school you are involved with will usually assist you. However, you should never completely depend on a second party to advise you on immigration rules unless it is an immigration agent. And they can be expensive. Your biggest challenge will be keeping on top of your personal visa situation and making sure you convert your student visa into a working visa. I did this upon graduating from Oxford in the UK – the rules have changed now but they are still accommodating to students with good degrees. The hardest part will be deciphering the process! But don’t be discouraged… it can be done with a good day’s worth of work, patience, and a dependable file of all your personal documents.

First tip: Always know your visa status and take complete responsibility for it.

Second tip: Keep an original copy (or certified copy) of your life with you. This includes birth certificate, passport, diplomas, transcripts, etc.

The second way to get abroad is to go and live in a country first; then look for work when you are there. This only admittedly works for some countries as you may not actually be allowed to do job interviews on a tourist visa. However, this is the route I took when coming to South Africa. My significant other is South African and we both decided it was time to make the move from London to Johannesburg. I showed up on a tourist visa, had a bit of a holiday (Johannesburg has the most amazing sunny days), and then looked for work. I found a job within three months and took complete responsibility for getting a residence visa and work visa once I had the offer. Sometimes your new company will help pay for your immigration paperwork but you will have to ask!

Third tip: Know the immigration rules of the country you would like to go to (i.e. is it allowable to interview on a tourist visa; will you need a residence visa as well as a work visa when you do find a job?)

The third way to get abroad is to find a job before you even leave the US. This is slightly harder as you have to research the job market for the country or countries you are interested in. Most companies will try to avoid the hassle of hiring a foreigner and dealing with their immigration paperwork. This is an unfortunate issue I faced in London once I started looking for work. The best advice I can give is to look for international companies specifically hiring for foreigners. Some global companies will have an international intern programme for example. Others will be hiring to gain the expertise of your home country, such as a company looking to expand to the US or looking to sell a new product in the US. Another option is to look for countries with a skills shortage in your area of expertise – although these will more likely be developing countries. Remember, when you write your cover letters or speak to potential employers, it is always a huge bonus if you have done your homework on how to get a visa. Contrary to what you might think, most employers will have no idea how the immigration process works for their own country.

Fourth tip: Look in a smart way for international jobs – don’t apply when it is clear they are not going to consider international candidates.

Fifth tip: Do your homework on your visa options before you even apply for the job.

The final issue to consider when you are thinking of working abroad is how you will live when you get there and what life will be like. For example, my younger sister was hired by a French company to teach in Paris for a year upon graduating from college. She had no idea how to evaluate what life would be like when she got there and most importantly, if she could afford to live on the salary they offered her. You can overcome these questions with a bit of research online. For example, look for flat advertisements on the London Gumtree website to investigate typical rental rates. Read up on normal living conventions: as an example, it is completely normal for Londoners to rent out a room of a two-bedroom flat. Who knew? It might seem like a weird setup for an American but it is a lot cheaper than renting your own flat. It is also completely normal in Johannesburg for people to have separate “cottages” on their properties and rent them out, also a much cheaper option than your own place. Once again, it requires you to do your homework and make sure that you are getting a good offer!

Final tip: Pretend you are actually going to live in your new city there next month. Find out rents and living costs online. What are typical and less expensive living arrangements? Where are the areas you should avoid? Expat blogs and online expat community sites are great for this kind of advice.

Visit our Career Exploration page dedicated to international opportunities for more information on ways to work abroad –

Guest Blog: A Career in Conservation

Today’s guest blog is by Eddie McKenna (’04 College, Anthropology & Communication), now an employee with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Communications Division.

Penn Career Services has been a key university resource for me when I have needed it most, particularly for resume reviews and mock interviews.  It is a pleasure to be part of that resource myself for other Penn students and alumni and I hope everyone takes full advantage.

I work for Texas Parks and Wildlife, the agency responsible for the management and conservation of fish and wildlife populations in Texas as well as 93 state parks and historic sites. In PA it might be the equivalent of Pennsylvania State Parks, Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission all rolled together.

Although I am not a park ranger or a biologist by training, my work does revolve around conserving natural resources and offering recreational opportunities to one and all.  My Penn anthropology and communications majors serve me well. This was not my first job out of college, but it has certainly become my favorite.

I would encourage Penn students and alumni to consider public service careers, to know what they want from a career and express it to others, and to pursue their dream employment environments based on the people and the places rather than the starting salary.

A Day in the Life: Urban Public School Reformer

Read Janel Forde’s archived tweet feeds here: Day 1 and Day 2

In the next two weeks, we welcome alumna Janel Forde who will post about another career path in education – urban public school administration. Follow @PennCareerDay on Twitter on November 8th, and then again the week of November 15th. Don’t miss out on what Janel’s days are like!

Janel Forde, W '01

Janel works for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the third largest school district in America with over 400,000 students, almost 700 schools and a $6bn operating budget. For the past year, Janel has worked in the CEO’s Office as the Director of Stimulus Programs. In that role she served as the district’s single point of contact for all stimulus related initiatives and helped to develop the state’s Race to the Top application ($400M) as well as the district’s Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant which was the district’s largest competitive grant award to date, $34M. She has also led several strategic projects for the office. Prior to joining the district, Janel was a consultant in the Boston Consulting Group’s Chicago office. She specialized in the financial services sector and functionally in process management and strategy development.

Originally, from the east coast, Janel has worked in marketing and business development at American Express and in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, all in New York. Janel earned her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and her undergraduate degree from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

A Day in the Life: Publishing

Read Jamie Cheng’s archived tweet feed here:
If you have a love for the written word, then a career in publishing has likely crossed your mind.  There is more than meets the eye in the publishing sector, you can publish books, magazines or industry specific journals.  Furthermore, the sector has a wide range of opportunities beyond editing and writing – spreading the word.  Jaime Cheng (SAS ’99) posts for @PennCareerDay on Wednesday, December 8th and will highlight a day in her life at Elsevier.  Read more about Jaime below, and follow her next Wednesday!
Jaime Cheng

Jaime Cheng is a Product Marketing Manager at Elsevier, the world’s leading publisher of science and health information. Jaime’s team provides hospitals with electronic reference solutions that meet the training, education, and reference needs of the nursing staff and leadership to optimize patient outcomes.

Prior to joining Elsevier, Jaime was a Database Marketing Manager with the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers professional sports teams. There, she managed the database marketing and research strategy and operations. She also worked at a startup company in San Francisco for three years.

Jaime has a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.