2. What company do you work for? How long have you worked for them?
I work for Boeing! We build defense and commercial aircraft. For the past year and a half I’ve worked on the 787 program out of Charleston, SC.
Currently, I’m on expat assignment for a few months as a process consultant for Boeing Defense Australia.
2. What is your position within the company? What are your responsibilities?
I’m in a leadership development program so my job changes every 4 months! So far I’ve been a project manager, a financial analyst, and a process improvement specialist. All of my roles have been so different but have the same end goal – make the planes cheaper and help us build them faster! Sometimes my job is figuring out how to cut our inventory of certain parts in half or doing network optimization to lower our transportation costs. And sometimes it means grabbing a tool kit and installing a stowbin with a mechanic to see if it can be done more efficiently. Each day is different and that’s what makes it exciting!
3. What are some challenges you face within your job? How do you overcome them?
Starting a new job can often feel like drinking out of a fire hose. I have the pleasure of doing that every 4 months. Whenever I start to really master what I’m working on, it’s time to move on to something I know nothing about! As the perpetual “new girl”, I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable. And now I’ve found it’s those moments that make me grow.
I learned to be comfortable admitting when I need help. To stop apologizing for asking the dumb questions! The best career advice I got this year was from a friend who said she starting taking the word “just” out of her emails. Start paying attention and you’ll realize how many times you “just” have a question or “just” need a minute.
I’ve found having good mentors and open relationships with my teams is what keeps my head above the water. I may be experiencing baptism by fire, but that doesn’t mean I have to go through it alone!
4. Throughout your undergraduate career, what steps did you take to eventually secure this job?
Having the right grades and the right attitude got me the internship. Performing in the internship got me the job.
I thought there was no way a company like Boeing would give me the time of day. Thankfully Brother Jake Taylor forced me to go up to them at the career fair anyway! I had some decent leadership experience and a previous internship at a company you’ve never heard of – just enough to get a recruiter to talk to me. When he asked me why I wanted to work for Boeing I said “To be honest I couldn’t tell you the difference in a C17 and a 787, but I’ve been on a plane so I support what you do.” By the grace of God he cracked up and gave me the interview because I made him laugh!
An internship is nothing more than a 3 month interview. Treat it accordingly! I freaked out and took 4 GSCOM classes in one semester so I’d know what to do. That summer I put in overtime, job shadowed anyone who’d let me, hung around on the planes and learned the basics of how we built them. None of which my internship required me to do. But it made me stand out from the other interns!
5. What kinds of internships/previous jobs have you had? What was your role?
Publix Supermarkets – Cashier and Pub Sub Girl
South Carolina Senate - Page
Diane Dal Lago Ltd – Marketing/Ops Intern
The Masters Tournament – Sales Associate
Boeing – Lean Manufacturing Intern
6. How has your study abroad experience and involvement at USC and SOU prepared you for an international career?
I unfortunately didn’t get the chance to study abroad during my time at USC. But travel was always an interest and SOU kept the dream alive! I like to say I’m living proof you don’t have to be an IB major to become an expat!
Hands down the most valuable experience I got at USC was being the president of my sorority. Trying to manage 400 20 year old girls prepares you for just about anything! I had to learn obvious skills like time management and commanding the attention of a room. But I also learned the hard lessons – like how to give and receive negative feedback with candor or learning when to cast the rules aside and show compassion instead. 365 days in that role is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.
7. What do you like to do in your free time?For the past few months, every second of free time has been spent traveling! I never thought I’d be lucky enough to live in Australia so I’m taking advantage while I can! My team laughs every Friday when I come to work with a suitcase because I’m catching a flight or train right from work.
When I’m living my regular life – I spend 99% of my free time with friends! I’m a huge people person so I always make the people in my life a top priority!
8. What advice do you have for brothers?
Personal and professional development is a continuous process! Every so often, check in with yourself to make sure the path you’re on is still the one you want to be on. Goals change and that’s ok! Find mentors in your work and personal life who will challenge you and ask you the hard questions you avoid/forget to ask yourself.
Most importantly, cherish your time left with the other brothers and keep in touch after you graduate! The people I met through SOU will forever be the most impressive and genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. And you never know who you’ll run into / work with one day! (shameless shout out to Brother Matthew McCalister for being the best coworker/roommate/friend a girl could ask for!)
I could go on for hours more but if you want that you’ll have to reach out! I, and so many other alum, will always make time for current members. Leverage that network!
What company do you work for? How long have you worked for them?I work for Octagon, the world’s largest sports marketing and entertainment agency. I started in July!
What is your position within the company? What are your responsibilities?I am an Account Executive on the Allstate Tailgate Tour. Our client, Allstate hosts a mobile tailgate tour that visits over 40 schools across the US. My job is to plan and execute activations at college football games across the west coast throughout regular season. Once bowl games and the College Football Playoff begin I will be in charge of planning hospitality events for Allstate and other industry executives.
What are some challenges you face within your job? How do you overcome them?Traveling 100% is not always as glamourous as it may seem – especially when you’re driving from game to game. We have weeks where we have to go from Los Angeles to Iowa in six days (25 hour drive!), and you’re spending allof your time with one other person so it can get lonely. The key is to have a positive attitude and make the most of the long drives, that 25 hour drive we’re stopping in Vegas, Aspen and Denver along the way.
In addition, this is a temporary position that leads into a full time job so it is essentially a 6-month interview. You always have to be on your A-game, ready to put in the extra hour of work at the end of your 15 hour day, and not make mistakes. The sports industry is really small so if you do great, you will go far. If you screw up, you’re out.
Throughout your undergraduate career, what steps did you take to eventually secure this job? After working at the 2016 Masters tournament, my professor informed me of an opportunity at the 2017 PGA Championship as an unpaid intern. When you factor in flights, housing, parking, food, etc. I essentially paid$500 to work 15 hours a day, but I had a feeling it would be worth it. I was assigned to work with the Bank of America hospitality tent, where I met the BofA Octagon Account team organizing all of their executive events. At the time, I had never heard of the company. As the week progressed, I talked to more and more of their employees and realized the mix of sports marketing and hospitality is exactly what I want to do. On the last day, their Account Director gave me his business card and said to reach out after graduation. I made sure to stay in touch throughout the year, and in June he informed me of this role. He even went so far as to grab a beer with my hiring manager to tell him why he thought I would be a great fit – the guy knew me for a week. You never know who’s watching/how they can help you down the line.
What kinds of internships/previous jobs have you had? What was your role?Shady Harbor Marina – Marketing Coordinator
Boathouse Grille – Supervisor/Events Coordinator
Masters Tournament – Server
PGA Championship – Corporate Hospitality Representative
Carolina Panthers – Guest Relations
How has your study abroad experience and involvement at USC and SOU prepared you for an international career? I believe my study abroad experience is a huge reason why I got this position. Semester at Sea challenged me to adapt to new environments almost weekly, a skill that is vital for a role that involves 100% travel. There are weeks where I wake up in a new state every DAY. The leadership skills I developed serving as Vice President of Operations in Phi Mu helped me get hired for a higher up position than I originally applied to (Account Executive over a Trainee). SOU gave me the professionalism, skills and confidence to deliver in the interviews. They have also pushed me to look beyond my comfort zone for full time positions after football season ends – I have looked at jobs with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar!
What do you like to do in your free time?Anything outdoors – hiking, boating, swimming, drinking a trashcan on the breakers porch, etc.
What advice do you have for brothers? (I know this was asked in the survey, but just in case you’d like to elaborate)Be a yes man! You never know what unpaid internship, extra hour you spent helping a co-worker after hours, or beer with someone in the industry may help you land a job. Meet as many people as you can, always go the extra mile and never burn bridges.
Seniors – Enjoy this year and work hard, but don’t over stress about getting a job or settle. I was ready to take a job at any random marketing firm in Charlotte just to say I had a job at graduation because I was the only person in my friend group still unemployed when I was walking across the stage. I applied to 100 jobs and got 100 nos, but in the end it was all worth it because I got my DREAM JOB. Be patient. It’s better to wait a little longer for a job in the field you want than to just take a job you hate just to get a foot in the door.
Company and position:
I work for a company that sells power tools called Milwaukee Tool. Specifically, I work for the Asia branch of the company and I am stationed in Hong Kong. I have been with the company since I graduated from USC in 2015. I am a Product Marketing Manager. Basically, I manage a few of our key product lines for all of the Asian countries where we operate. This entails launching new products in to the market, adapting products to fit local markets, implementing branding and commercial executions, and researching new opportunities.
Challenges in an international environment:
Since I work internationally, the biggest challenge is definitely language and cultural barriers. I travel to many Asian countries to study what processes our target users currently use to complete their jobs. More often than not, these users do not speak any English. Even when interacting with my own local teams in different countries, there are clear cultural differences. For instance, many Asian cultures will not outright tell you “no” when they do not want to do something. You have to be able to understand what they mean even when they will not say it. Overcoming these challenges can be difficult, but I find the best way is to just be patient and humble. I have to work to keep myself from getting frustrated, but I always try to maintain my composure and humbly ask for help whenever I need it. This also shows respect which is very important in Asian cultures. With patience and humility, you can almost always solve the language and cultural barriers you face.
I think the biggest thing for me getting this job was actually joining SOU! And I am not just saying that. I learned about this position because an SOU brother, Sasha Davisson, had graduated a year before me and had gotten this job. She then came to present the opportunity to our fraternity. I worked with her and landed myself an interview through her recommendation. The rest is history! Truthfully, the network/connections I made in SOU were a huge part of the opportunity I got. With great alumni like Sasha and other brothers that want to help, you can really have a lot of doors opened for you. In school, I majored in International Business and Marketing with a Japanese minor. Having such an internationally recognized program with Darla Moore absolutely helped me land an international marketing job. I also studied abroad in Japan which has certainly helped me with business in Asia.
Previous internship and job experience:
I had a different job every Summer in college, but I have two that really stuck out as instrumental in my career path. The first was a sales management position for a start up company that made an all-natural sweetener. That experience taught me how to grow a brand from nothing into a true business. I also learned valuable sales and presentation skills that I still use today. The second job was as an international franchising coordinator. An automotive company wanted to expand their operation to Japan, so they hired me to begin the process of finding a local Japanese business to partner with. That was my first experience working internationally and doing business in Asia.
Importance of studying abroad:
I studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan as a Junior at USC. That experience taught me how to live and work with people internationally. I truly do not think I could live and work in Hong Kong without having that previous experience. Being in a foreign country forces you to get used to being uncomfortable. It also forces you to learn how to solve problems and makes you become extremely adaptable. All of these skills are invaluable in the work force. My study abroad experience definitely prepared me well to handle my current international career.
I play in a couple of basketball leagues here in Hong Kong. I also love to read and I am almost always in to the latest Netflix show. Of course it almost goes without saying since I was in SOU, but I absolutely love travelling too!
Advice to brothers:
My advice is to put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable. It’s very easy to avoid challenges and stay in your comfort zone, but I would encourage you to step outside of it whenever you can. I’ve been very lost in countries where I knew no one and could not speak the same language as any of the locals. Learning how to deal with these kinds of situations and learning how to problem-solve when you are not comfortable will force you to grow as a person. These skills then translate to almost any profession. My second and final piece of advice is to use your network. Family, friends, brothers, and anyone you can leverage to help you in your career. Without a brother in SOU, Sasha, I would not have my current job. Without a friend of my father’s, I would not have gotten an interview for one of my Summer Jobs. The people in your network are so valuable so please make sure you are leveraging those relationships. Do not ever be afraid to ask for help and definitely keep in contact with brothers and alumni of SOU.
Career and Position:
I’m currently with a customer experience analytics firm called ClickFox based in my hometown of Denver. I’ve been with them for 8 months now. I’m a Senior Consultant on our Business Services team. Basically, we work with clients to improve customer journeys – how customers interact with them on any given end-to-end process. I’m responsible for tailoring our machine learning algorithms to handle multiple client data sources, plugging the resulting data into our visualization platforms, and creating + /solving use cases.
Outside of that, I liaise between clients and our R&D team to inform new product initiatives, build automation scripts to alleviate future instances of carpal tunnel for myself and others, and lead workflow/productivity workshops for new hires.
Challenges in the Workplace:
A common stressor amongst consultants stems from wanting to help the client more than they want to help themselves. In that regard, knowing and respecting the client’s limits will save you a lottttt of headache throughout your career
Beyond the typical workflow headaches (learn VBA or Python/bash to rid yourself of these!), navigating the dynamics of client relationships is a constant tug-of-war. Politics will play a role in every project – both at your client and internally at the office. So how do you overcome something inevitable? Consciously build and maintain relationships with people that have the power to tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no’; use whatever tools at your disposal to maximize the difference between input and output. Consistently creating value for others is the surest route to both personal and professional success.
Finding Professional Success:
In terms of steps I took to set myself up for success, the importance of internships/voluntary graduated exposure to the things you find challenging cannot be overemphasized. I only had one internship with an automotive manufacturing firm, and decided it wasn’t for me. I still loved the idea of designing efficient processes though, which took me into the world of computer science and programming – of which I knew nothing.
Luckily, I found a mentor, took some online classes that were genuinely interesting, and found out that the tenets and thought frameworks I’d learned in GSCOM were 100% transferable to other industries and disciplines. The point is, Future You may have a completely different set of passions than Current You, so I would advise against pre-deciding your career early on. Get out. Travel. See as much as you can. Have a rough plan, but don’t work hard at trying to like something for the sake of prestige or starting salary.
Internships and Previous Jobs:
Internship-wise, I worked with Cummins Turbo Technologies in Charleston doing capacity planning the summer of my Sophomore year. I performed the analysis that drove materials forecasting for plants in Charleston, the UK, and India.
Prior to my current role, I was an Associate with PwC. My projects primarily dealt with Anti-Money Laundering and Financial Crime analytics and RPA (robotic process automation – basically automating the retrieval and consolidation of data from multiple inputs).
I completed my semester abroad through the IB program at the Rotterdam School of Management in The Netherlands (would go back in a heartbeat :D);My primary language of study was Arabic. Overall, both experiences were of tremendous personal benefit, and consequently, have carried over to the professional realm. Being away from everything and everyone you know – physically and linguistically - teaches openness and autonomy. You learn to be resourceful, patient, tolerant, and resilient, all of which are valued immensely in any organization worth its salt.
Leadership in SOU:
I served as the Pledge Development Chair and quickly realized that I was not as good at planning events or keeping a schedule as I needed to be (s/o to Olivia Barthel for basically keeping things intact that semester!). I never enjoyed the idea of legislating ‘fun’, but learning how to cater to various wants and aspirations in that role made me infinitely more conscientious of others.
Any leadership role demands truth in words and in action to be effective. In my case, I realized I needed to close the gap between who I told others I was and how I actually behaved if I wanted to be successful. More so, the role taught me that there was value in giving wholly of yourself to others without the expectation of anything in return; that nurturing camaraderie and mutual devotion to a common goal – even under an organizational pretense – was a fulfilling skill to cultivate.
The Three G’s – golf, gym, and guitar
Big Fortnite guy - (gamertag: xAyyLeubenx for anyone who wants to squad up)
Read interesting books in coffeeshops while stroking my chin and audibly being like, “ohhhhhh, I see…”
Advice to Brothers:
Listen to podcasts! Music is great and all, but some of the funniest/smartest minds of the 21st century are in your hand right now. Favorites include:
Don’t be afraid to network with people. You might think you’re perturbing them, but in all reality, you’re just giving them an excuse to focus on something other than work for a little bit. Introduce yourself to the world, and you’ll be surprised how many of the things you thought would be challenging or stressful really aren’t that bad. You may feel like you’re starting at the bottom of a big mountain, but in my experience, becoming the person that you yourself admire is kinda like stepping up onto a curb.
Learn VBA/Python – Will seriously save your sanity and make you a savior to 90+ percent of businesses out there.
At any rate, remember that nothing is permanent – good or bad. You might go through a bout of depression when you come back from study abroad, or when you’re two years into working. Combat this by keeping in touch with people and finding something on the side to keep your mind active. Lastly, don’t wait to do the things that matter (you know what these are already).
Cheers! Thanks for putting up with my manifesto, and feel free to touch base with any questions/friend requests.
Position and responsibility:
My official title is a Senior Consultant for IBM’s Global Business Services. However, I am currently acting as the Continuous Improvement Lean Leader for the Communications Sector. I interact with Sector and Account Leadership to help drive strategic initiatives around increasing profit margins and revenues or decreasing costs. I’m currently working with about 30 accounts and driving more than $1M in savings per quarter.
My current position is 100% remote since I work with accounts located all over the country. Being able to work fully digitally while maintaining effectiveness has been extremely difficult. I’ve had to revert back to some business basics in order to overcome this; including effective emailing, agenda setting, note taking, and time management. Additionally, I personally call each of my accounts routinely to establish rapport.
Preparing for a professional career:
I pushed myself to cover all bases: summa cum laude, summer internships, studied abroad, extracurriculars, job fairs, and networking events. Securing my job came down to two things. 1) Getting the interview by attending a GSCOM workshop event and submitting my resume to IBM through an alumni. And 2) Killing the interview, which I attribute to a life changing book I read about landing your dream job (“Automatic Wealth for Grads…and Anyone Just Starting Out”).
Internships and prior experience:
During my undergraduate career, I held 1 internship and completed 2 Capstone projects. My internship was as a Business Operations Analyst for the Executive Operations Group at Uline. My Capstone projects allowed me to be an Expansion Consultant for BarberWind Turbines (International Business) and a Six Sigma Consultant for Siemens (GSCOM).
Connecting study abroad with an international career:
I studied abroad in Shanghai, China at East China Normal University for my Spring Semester of my Sophomore year. I studied both Spanish and Mandarin while at USC. Understanding lingual and cultural differences has been immensely helpful when working for a global company. I am currently building leadership programs for IBM in China, Australia, and Brazil – a success that would not have been possible if I didn’t understand the nuances of cross-culture experiences.
All leadership roles within SOU give you a glimpse of what life is really like in the business world. Every initiative is similar to project management and problem solving. SOU definitely gave me the platform to develop an idea and drive it through to fruition whether it was a cultural dinner or a new policy. These are skills that I use everyday in my line of work.
Interests and hobbies:
I am an avid water-skier and traveler. But on the day-to-day I like to read, exercise, work on my cooking, and play with my pup :)
Advice to brothers:
Find your passion and chase it to the ends of the earth. Don’t let people’s expectations or what you think will land the job define your college career or your life thereafter.
Two reasons: The 1st is failure. Another organization did not accept me; the 2nd reason is there was not an organization that had the exact community I was looking for. Those two factors lead to the creation of the organization you all now make up today. Thanks for keeping it alive!
Nanometrics, a semiconductor industry capital equipment supplier, has been my employer for the past seven months. Before then I worked at ABB, a Zurich based Power and Automation conglomerate – think of GE with a Swiss accent-, for two and half years.
Senior buyer. We are a medium sized company, so all employees wear many hats. My roles range from negotiating with suppliers and eliminating operational inefficiencies to placing orders and fixing invoicing issues.
Overcoming workplace challenges:
While supply chain is primarily an operational function, most of my challenges come from poor institutional procedures and weak culture. Persistence and taking pride in your work is what gets me through the workweek. Of course, getting components at a cheaper price and on-time is the hallmark issue of supply chain. Two peices of advice I would like to share here is to 1.) learn how to communicate well – the social pillar - and 2.) don’t be afraid to express yourself and ask for what you want, professionally. Be reasonable, but don’t be shy. You must fight for your wellbeing and happiness, especially if you managers don’t care about you.
Experience prior to full-time employment:
It’s impossible to pinpoint what single action or group of actions led to my current place in life and career. In many instances, I’ve already won the lottery; other people who made the same choices may not have had the same good fortune. However, one action I took that certainly helped was interning at several companies in my undergraduate years. My first internship was with ABB, whom I ran into at a job fair after college and subsequently lead to a full-time offer. Starting an organization also had a tremendous impact on my personal growth. Founding SOU taught me more about tenacity and leadership than any class or internship.
ABB | Procurement Agent Intern – Summer 2012
South Carolina Department of Commerce – Business Intern 2012-2013
Schaeffler Group | Supply Chain Management Intern – Summer 2013
Keer America Corporation | Logistics Specialist – 2013-2014
ABB | Supply Chain Rotational Trainee – 2015-2017
Nanometrics | Senior Buyer – 2017-2018
Every week, I go Latin social dancing. I recently go to dance at the Reno Latin Dance Festival, the ‘Coachella’ of bachata. On weekends, I enjoy riding my Monster around the beautiful Bay Area mountain roads. Occasionally, I get the opportunity to spend a few days camping in the ineffable Sierras.
Don’t be afraid of failure; that’s how you grow.
You don’t need permission from anyone to live the life you want. Not saying it will be easy, but trust your gut, even if others disapprove.
SOU has a lot of great people and values, however, don’t let one community command all your time and energy. SOU was built on the concept of diversity. Apply it! There are lots of other organizations and pastimes to discover in your short 4 – or maybe 5- years in college.
Express genuine gratitude to yourself and others.
Thank you for dedicating your time to personal improvement and contributing to the growth of your community. Totum maior summa partum!