David’s experience with undergraduate research and extracurricular involvements all came to bear when he attended the Oxy Career Fair as a senior and met his future employer.
In what ways did a liberal arts education help shape your career aspirations?
A liberal arts education helped guide me in exploring my various interests and aspirations. I personally had no clue what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be upon entering college. Oxy’s focus on taking classes from many fields opened my eyes to the possibilities of where I could go. After locking in my major and Core classes, I still had the freedom to take courses from seemingly unrelated fields to bolster my skills and general knowledge. The liberal arts experience allowed me to narrow down my interests and figure out what I liked and didn’t like. Once I found something I really enjoyed, Oxy’s faculty and career resources were second to none in providing me direction and advice for pursuing my future career.
What inspired you to pursue a job in your current industry?
I currently work in the economic consulting industry. I never would have thought I’d be working in this industry, but it ended up being a really good fit for my degree and experiences at Oxy. As a student I had the opportunity to serve as a research assistant to one of my economics professors and work on an Honors Thesis. Both projects involved a lot of data processing and data visualization, and they definitely inspired me to pursue a research and data analytics career path. I didn’t know it at the time, but many industries are looking for this skillset and the possibilities are endless for this sort of work. In my current job, we process data and think through how to visualize it and present it to our clients. Without my experience at Oxy, I would not have been able to get where I am now.
When I first started applying to jobs in the fall and winter of my senior year, I had difficulty landing any of my top choices...I started taking advantage of career center resources and that’s when things turned around for me.
Describe the process you went through to land your first job out of college.
When I first started applying to jobs in the fall and winter of my senior year, I had difficulty landing any of my top choices. I mainly was applying to out-of-state opportunities and using online job postings, but I had to change my strategy when spring came around and I felt like I was running out of time. I started taking advantage of career center resources and that’s when things turned around for me. I attended company recruiting events, industry workshops and the Oxy Career Fair—where I landed my current job. My employer had a table and I quickly became interested in the job because it aligned with my academic interests and career aspirations. The career fair is by far the most important career-oriented event on campus. The opportunity for hundreds of employers to come to campus and talk directly to students is amazing. The atmosphere was engaging, and the entire experience was lively.
Any advice for current students at Oxy?
I will offer two pieces of advice: first, don’t lose hope when you’re feeling lost about what you want to do as a career. Take the time to learn and explore as much as possible during your time at Oxy. Be curious and stay motivated to find something you really enjoy, and Oxy’s resources will help catapult your interests into a potential career path. Second, take full advantage of the opportunities that are available to you. The career center, your professors and campus clubs are all a part of the Oxy experience. Honestly, it wasn’t what I learned in class that shaped my career interests the most, but what I did outside of class. These experiences provide hands-on learning and help round out your academic curriculum. Plus, they provide you with ample ammunition for finding the job of your dreams.