Ending My Long and Stormy Relationship with Zicklin

By Aleksandra Ryshina, Peer for Career

The Zicklin School of Business and I have had a difficult relationship. I prepared to enter the school, knowing it wouldn’t be easy, but assured that I could handle it, that I was different. Sure the pre-requisites were hard, and I had zero interest in business, but wasn’t this what Baruch was all about? I had seen many students share an article online that had Zicklin as a top ten school of business, not far from Wharton. Top ten? Top ten! In an age all about numbers, this range was great to hear. I convinced myself that Zicklin had a good reputation, and that I would somehow find something in it for me. Along with this came the relief of having a “difficult major”, one that would attract law schools more than an “easy” humanities major. And so began the troublesome relationship.

I could almost hear Zicklin’s words inside my head, “You’ll never find anything better than me.” At first, the idea of being an Economics major was appealing-a kind of educational arm candy that I used to please my parents and confuse my book-club friends. Yet as the relationship continued, our disagreements grew much greater. I started to develop a wandering eye, one that was easily attracted to English theory and government classes, and I often wondered just how happy or how interested I was in my business classes. With Zicklin, I lacked the proper exploration I needed, since I was under constant pressure to complete its prerequisites.

Still, I went forward, taking almost all the necessary business prerequisites this fall semester. Taking required classes for Zicklin was like dating a vegan Pilates instructor; a thrilling challenge, but one that leaves you exhausted and longing for cheesecake. My disdain grew, and I resorted to making a pros and cons list, trying to get a grip of my future. This internal battle led to sleepless nights, studying for tests and quizzes, and a search history populated by questions like, “Can I still be rich without college,” and, “Is a coin toss a proper way to make a tough decision?” And then, without warning, I stopped doing well in my business classes. Until that point, I did not think I needed Zicklin, since I had many options for a major in the other schools. As midterms concluded, however, it was Zicklin that did not need me. There I was, stuck in a sea of students who knew they desired a business major, feeling like I was about to sink. I wish I could say someone tossed me a line, or that I relinquished the test scores, or anchors, that held me down, but my escape was and is a little different. I did not “swim to shore”, using Weissman as my safety net.

I realized that, in my college career, there would be no “easy” classes to take. For some, formulas and calculations are a second language; for others, research and writing come naturally. It was all to easy to go with the tide and pine for a career that wasn’t mine. I loved literature and writing intensive courses, and I knew that my interest would only better my grades. This realization came with some bridges to burn. Firstly, I had to switch my attention to Weissman courses, but that’s not to say that my experience with Zicklin had no use. Zicklin gave me some wonderful insights into the business field and a whole new perspective on how the economy operates. It is with these important learnings that I went forward and chose to be a Political Science major.
My love for humanities and my acceptance of a major not as frequently pursued in Baruch was not a rebound, nor a ploy to make Zicklin jealous. It was a chance to learn and grow in an environment where competition and hard work was indistinguishable among the majors.
I had never before felt so honest saying, “Zicklin, it’s really not you, it’s me.”

Developing Yourself Professionally: Using Available Resources to Your Advantage!

By Erika Apupalo, Peer for Career

During your early college years, you should take up the opportunity to develop yourself professionally. This means developing your skills. It begins with assessing which skills are important for your desired career field. Ultimately, it will allow you to become a more well-rounded and competitive candidate when you are getting ready to apply for an internship, job, or fellowships.

In order to develop myself professionally up to this current point, I have tried the following strategies and resources:

1. Find your own inspiration. My primary resource has been Carl Newport’s blog “Study Hacks Blog: Decoding Patterns of Success.” This has poignant and interesting ideas and practices about the meaning of success.
2. Attend resume reviews. Before I entered high school, I was made aware of the importance of crafting a strong first impression. This includes having a good first document to start with.
3. Meet with other professionals. At the earliest stage of my college career, my interests were all over the place. Therefore, I met with professionals from different arenas, such as the Math, English, and Science Departments. They all shared a similar devotion to their careers.
4. Learn about yourself. I am a reader; this is how I make sense of the world. But at times I had to stop reading and see what was in front of me. I had to understand what I wanted in order to move forward with those goals.
5. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Speaking of goals, I was taught a guideline for goal setting, and since I learned how to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely ones, I’ve used this guideline to set my personal and career goals.
6. Adapt. I have learned that personally I like to move at a slower pace. But when necessary, I have quickly adapted to the more fast-paced work environment of the business world since I want to pursue a career in this area.

That’s all for now. I hope that you will find some of the strategies that have helped me helpful for you. Best of Luck!

A Journey of Landing an Internship Abroad

By Khalid Khalid, Peer for Career

Interning abroad is indeed exciting. It has been one of my main goals to achieve during my studies in Berlin, Germany. As an International Business major, I knew having such a practical experience would pay off in different ways down the lines in the future, which motivated me to take every possible effort to make it a reality. Although there were quite a few obstacles that I had to overcome at first, there were definitely plenty of valuable things to note and learn from the German culture along the way.

First of all, due to my high involvement on and off Baruch’s campus, I felt confident enough that I had what it took to get an internship abroad easily. But this was not necessarily the case. To nearly everything there is a price, and I certainly had to pay mine in advance as well. Unfortunately, because I took for granted the first internship opportunity offered through my host university, I ended up not getting it for two main reasons. Firstly, the company did not clearly state the available position they had open, and I quite frankly did not do enough asking to find out. This obviously put me at a disadvantage to be well prepared for the interview and to know whether it was in my best interest to intern with them or not. Secondly, there was a very limited correlation between the position offered and my career field, which I only came to realize after the interview. Reflecting on this experience, I learned to utilize my time more efficiently, take actions to find out every possible detail about companies, and be more prepared before walking into an interview.

Fast forward: with very limited German-speaking abilities, I felt left out and overwhelmed, given that all my German classmates were corporate students who already had been working with companies for years. I started sending out my resume through my host school not only to known firms, but also more obscure firms I found interesting on the internet. However, most of the companies I applied to either required some German speaking skills or no less than three months long-term internships, which would be virtually impossible because our spring semester in Baruch starts by the end of January.

Realizing that networking might be of help, after one of the lectures I asked my International Economics Professor about any multinational companies she might be aware of. The lecture was about international trade, and it was a great way to approach the discussion. And as they say, “You don’t lose when you try.” Sure enough, she had a perfect suggestion that seemed to be just what I was looking for.

A few weeks later, I received an email from my professor’s colleague and was informed of an exciting internship opportunity with Hoffmann Dental Manufaktur, where I could intern along with the Global Supply Chain Marketing Manager. I promptly started doing my research on the company, its history, mission statement, my prospective supervisor and the two people who were going to interview me. Most importantly, I researched the role in the company and other factors I needed to know about Hoffmann. Impressed by all the information I gathered, I even became more eager to be a part of a company that supplies dental products worldwide.

Due to cultural differences, I had to pay careful attention to my resume and cover letter and make sure they were precisely what Germans look for. In Germany, applicants are encouraged to have their resumes on more than one page and chronologically ordered, with colorful font and a personal picture on the top of the first page. Now this is something completely different from what we are used to here in New York. For instance, employers in New York (and across the country) think it’s more appropriate for students to have their resumes in one single sided page. This is so mainly because there usually will be a stack of resumes during recruiting, and employers just want to see very briefly the highlights of our achievements and experiences. In addition, including personal information on the resume, such as a photo, nationality, age, and marital status, while common on European resumes, is highly discouraged when applying for jobs in the United States.

To present my own American culture while also meeting the German hiring culture, I decided to go with a one-page resume and write a cover letter that meets the standards and expectations of German employers. And to figure out what Germans look for in cover letters, I stopped by the International Office of my host university. Luckily enough, I was able to have it looked over by the International Internship Coordinator, who provided me with helpful tips about Hoffmann as well.

Looking back now after making it through that the whole application and interviewing process, I feel honored to have been accepted to intern with a dental multinational corporation that has been successful for over three decades. With all the challenges I have confronted and the learning experiences I have gained, I can only say that nothing feels better than reaping the fruits of one’s labor!

A Freshman Year Retrospective

By Michelle Sheu, Peer for Career

Freshman year was a tumultuous trip that seemed to last forever, like the daze of a summer break, but ending all too soon.

It’s the same trite story played ad infinitum, like the new kid in the big city, nothing particularly unique or new in the “growing up” phase that we all succumb to. But these individual experiences shape a student’s perspective of the world and their outlook of the future. Although we’re no longer children on the jungle gyms, stumbling and fumbling through life in our adventures and mishaps, we as city students are in the midst of our core, everlasting memories.

Looking back at my freshman year as a current sophomore, I begin to recount the incredible people I met, the late night study sessions, the struggles to find comfort food that hit the spot, sneaking said food into the library and staying there until 12 AM, and hundreds more memories throughout the course of late August into mid May. I already miss my freshman status as an underdog, perhaps because I’m on the edge of the responsibilities my sophomore status brings forth, as I begin beefing up my resume with activities.

In my first year, I pushed myself to limits that I didn’t know were possible, fled from my comfort zone, and crumbled a few times — but in the most perfect ways possible. In between the awkward phases of meeting new people and throwing myself in unfamiliar situations, I learned an incredible amount about myself. By no means was this easy, but it was insanely gratifying to see who I really am, and finding myself through this difficult process.

At one point, I found myself overwhelmed, consumed with ambition, scraping by on bits of time, not getting enough sleep or meals in, weight dropping due to stress. I was that freshman who so desperately wanted to get involved, as if this was my first and last opportunity to do so. I was deeply immersed into the fast pace of the city life, that I had little to no time for myself to reflect. In a dramatic whirlwind of events, I found myself even hating Baruch, and as an arts and design major, I felt estranged from its business rooted nature.

And for a while, it stuck and stung. The school I was destined to spend the next three years of my life, only to feel pigeonholed and cast aside. I let myself stay stagnant during that period, but gradually crawled my way out. It was when I decided to take charge and assume control of my life that I empowered myself to disassociate from some stressors, and reach out for help and support from the amazing friends that I met at Baruch. I picked myself up, began interning at the Lawrence N. Field Center at Baruch College for 3D printing and technology research, started working at STARR Career Development Center as a Peer, and developed my own ad-hoc major in Transmedia Storytelling — I found belonging, contention and fulfillment at Baruch, reinstating my love and pride for my school.

The growing up story is cheesier than 90s Disney movies, but so important to one’s development of character, ambitions, and understanding of self through these low peaks. I might be a sophomore now, but I know that this year alone will bring forth more and more changes that I can’t even begin to anticipate. Days piling up into weeks, weeks into months, and so much more time in between to have my senses knocked out of me and develop thousands of new perspectives. New York City is mine to explore, and Baruch College is there as my support.