Alumni Enlighten Class of 2022 at Orientation Week Q&A
Fielding questions from a sea of curious freshmen, a panel of NYU Shanghai alumni shared insights on navigating internships and choosing careers beyond one’s major. Zeyu Zhao ‘17, Lathika Chandra Mouli ‘17 and Yuwei Wu ‘17, as well as Nan Zhao ‘18, Shiyu Chen ‘18 and Annie Seaman ‘18 returned to campus for a panel discussion hosted by the Career Development Center, and shared stories of their academic and work experience.
Q: How did you find your career interest?
Yuwei Wu ‘17, a mathematics major, who now works as an e-commerce operation specialist for L’ Oréal (China). : It was quite a beautiful accident for me as a math major, to work in marketing. Sophomore year, I took Prof. Yuxin Chen’s Introduction to Marketing, and was inspired by his quantitative marketing research methods. With his recommendation, I became a TA for Prof. Masakazu Ishihara while studying away at the NYU Stern School of Business, and wrote an in-depth paper on marketing with Prof. Ishihara’s guidance. Since then, I found myself really interested in marketing and thoroughly took it into consideration when looking for a job later on.
Q: How does your interest tie into your current position?
Zeyu Zhao ‘17, a business and finance major, minor in interactive media arts, who now works at ACCESS Health International as a research project manager: I became increasingly interested in law and public policy during my sophomore year. In a course entitled Relationship Between Government and Religion, I had a debate with former NYU President John Sexton, about the First Amendment of the US Constitution. I enjoyed this course so much, even though it was a difficult one. Meanwhile, it occurred to me that I would like to further my studies in this area.
Currently, I am working at ACCESS Health International, which has been an opportunity for me to understand health policies and relevant regulations of various countries, which will surely benefit my future career.
Q: How does one become an interdisciplinary talent?
Nan Zhao ‘18, an interactive media arts major and computer science minor, who now works at Huawei as a user experience designer, responsible for Artificial Intelligence design: When I was young, I started learning oil painting and sketching, but I eventually found it more fascinating to interact with the audience via new technology rather than through art alone, and that is what most of my work is now--incorporating technology into design.
When first attended interactive media arts courses here at NYU Shanghai, I was quite certain about what my interests were, but what I would do in the future was still vague to me. At the same time, I gained knowledge about computer science and took business and marketing courses. The combination made it possible for me to comprehend what users really want, and how to make what I design more appealing and practical. While reading through job descriptions on the Career Development Center website, I found that user experience design matched well with my interests and talents.
At NYU Shanghai, disciplines interact with one another. I suggest that you do not hesitate to try or explore new things so that you can find what you truly love and stick with it.
Q: What is your advice on internships?
Shiyu Chen ‘18, who majored in social science, who now works at Wacai Internet Financial Service Co., Ltd. as a senior operation analyst: Staff at the Career Development Center usually advise freshmen to focus on their studies rather than doing internships during their freshman year. Take me as a bad example: I got an internship off-campus during the second semester of my freshman year. However, I took too much onto my plate that my final grades were terrible. So, my first piece of advice to you is, do not look for internships until you can guarantee your academic performance.
Secondly, take your internship as an opportunity to fully explore your interests and advantages. I have interned in law firms, NGOs, start-ups, and so on. When looking for internships, try to get involved in different industries and companies of different scales and receive more experiences, rather than focusing on a shiny resume.
At last, I suggest you go out and socialize. Many large corporations encourage their employees to recommend outstanding talents, which is also a good way to get internships.
Q: Will international students encounter language barriers when they work/intern in China?
Annie Seaman ‘18, who majored in social science with a minor in interactive media arts, is now studying in the Master of Science in Global Health (MScGH) Program at Duke Kunshan University: I didn’t have any internships until my senior year. My advice is, don’t take on any internship you don’t love owing to peer pressure.
I don’t think international students will encounter significant language barriers in their proper internships or work. On the contrary, it can be your advantage. As an international student, your English is much appreciated and more importantly, you can offer a different way of thinking to the team. However, if you do mention your Mandarin competence in your resume, employers will definitely examine your Chinese proficiency, so you’d better be prepared!