Initially intimidated by the career center, Kira leveraged her own talents along with the dedication and expertise of her career advisers to land a job in economic consulting three months before graduation.
Part of the Young Alumni series
In what ways did a liberal arts education help shape your career aspirations?
As a senior in high school, I had no strong sense of what I wanted to major in let alone what career I wanted to pursue after college. Having to declare a major during the application process seemed premature to me and it really intimidated me. However, a liberal arts education provided me the opportunity to explore subjects I was interested in as well as others that I had no prior experience with. I had no intention of taking courses in economics or Diplomacy & World Affairs, and I ended up double majoring in both. I found them to be so interesting and interconnected. I always knew that I wanted to embark on a career that aligned with my interests and would challenge me, and the liberal arts education that Occidental offered me allowed me to figure out what that could look like.
What inspired you to pursue a job in your current industry?
I am working as a consultant in the economic litigation consulting industry—a field that I had never even heard of before. I can't say that this has always been my dream job, but I can say that I truly found something that challenges me every day as well as something that I really enjoy doing. The interview process included a lot of brain-teasers and puzzles as well as logic and efficiency tests. I did not realize it beforehand, but these were all things I was good at and had always enjoyed. Now I am able to take advantage of my skills and integrate them into the work that I do. What really inspired me to accept the job offer was that everyone I met during my interview was so smart and knowledgeable. I wanted to have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside them.
[The career center advisers] are so passionate about what they do and will do everything in their power to help you succeed. They have so many incredible connections to Oxy alumni and friends around the world—the possibilities are endless.
Describe the process you went through to land your first job out of college.
The Hameetman Career Center was a very intimidating and foreign place to me up until my senior year at Oxy. I had made an appointment to have my resume edited and it was pretty obvious that I needed help. After salvaging my resume, my advisers encouraged me to keep coming back even if it was just to pop in and say hi. Later in the semester, I started applying to various job postings from Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Handshake. I had no direction in terms of where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do or how I would make any of it happen.
I came across one posting that looked particularly interesting because it was both in the economics field and required no prior work experience. I applied and soon after had a phone screening with the company. At the beginning of my last semester at Oxy, I was invited to an all-day, in-person interview. I was very excited but also knew that a lot of preparation was required if I wanted any chance of getting the job. I reached out to an Oxy connection that worked at the company and asked for advice on the interview process as well as his perspective on the company in general.
I made an appointment with the career center for some guidance and they really went above and beyond to assist me throughout the process. Jamila and Cherena reached out to another Oxy alum that worked at the company and got a list of all of the things that I would need to know for the interview. They signed me up for the all-day Excel training course they were offering so I would be able to brush up on those skills. I had two mock interviews with Jamila, which helped me work out my nerves and feel more confident in my responses. I went in for my interview on a Tuesday morning and 12 hours later I had the offer letter in my inbox. Jamila and Cherena assisted me in negotiating a salary and were my biggest cheerleaders when I shared the news that I had accepted the offer. I never thought that I would be fortunate enough to have had a job secured by February of my senior year, and I truly could not have done it without their unwavering guidance, wisdom and support.
Any advice for current students at Oxy?
My advice for current students is to take full advantage of the career center. There is no reason to be intimidated like I was, and I wish I had gone in as a first-year just to build relationships with the amazing advisers. They are so passionate about what they do and will do everything in their power to help you succeed. They have so many incredible connections to Oxy alumni and friends around the world—the possibilities are endless. Not only will you gain a support system and professional resources, the career center will also open up many opportunities for you while you are at Oxy.