AIFS Study Abroad Alumni Ambassador, Peter Kivuva from the University of South Florida, tells us about how studying and interning abroad in London had an impact on his professional life and how it helped him land his dream job.
During November of 2017, I accepted an offer from Goldman Sachs in New York City after graduation! This was merely months after returning from a semester abroad that changed my life and truly helped me land my dream job. My values in global initiatives paired with my passion for finance have been at the forefront of my career search. New York City embodies all the values I cherish as it is considered the capital of the world with over 800 languages being spoken every day. Living in such a vibrant and eclectic city will feel as though I am still exploring the world and finding myself. With graduation being only a few weeks away, I reflect on this tremendous opportunity and accredit my experience abroad as a key factor in allowing me to pursue my career in the city that never sleeps.
Significance of Education Abroad
As college students, professional development is fundamental. The goal upon graduation is to land a job at your dream company. In today’s competitive job market, it is now more important than ever to spend the four years of your undergraduate experience reinventing and investing in yourself as much as possible. Adding value to your personal brand will show employers that you are joining their company to offer your experiences and ideas as a new graduate. The most effective way to do so is by studying abroad.
Be sure to choose a location that you will be able to tie back to your career of choice. For me, the most obvious choice was London because it is one of the top financial capitals in the world. I am a finance major and I wanted to live in a city that embodies the industry I am pursuing. The same energy found in places such as New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Frankfurt, and Shanghai influenced my decision to see London as the perfect place to experience life in the finance world. Living amongst individuals with similar goals and aspirations coupled with a pragmatic way of thinking had a significant impact on my development as a young professional. London was the perfect location to further my ambition in one of the most influential cities in the world.
Type of Program
AIFS offers a plethora of overseas locations all of which fall under several categories: Gap Year, Study, Internship, Volunteer, or Multi-Destination programs. I chose the internship program because I wanted my experience abroad to include a practical component within my field of study and industry of interest. The internship program was perfect because as a business student, internships expose you to what your career choice may look like and gives you field experience demanded by most employers. Having done so in another country certainly added value to my brand. The internship program during allowed me to study two courses and be an intern at an international company headquartered in London. I loved this program because I expanded my personal network by meeting professors and classmates, but also grew my professional network by meeting industry professionals and fellow interns. I created meaningful, lifelong relationships with everyone I met abroad and still keep in contact with them today.
Length of Time
Choosing a length of time abroad varies for everyone. AIFS offers multiple terms which is great because that means you have options. There are January, summer, semester, or year-long terms — all of which are fantastic! When choosing your term, take into consideration finances and climates. The semester-long term was best for me during spring 2018 because I experienced a different climate than what I am accustomed to having grown up in Florida. This term was also great for me because I received scholarships and funding that was most applicable to a semester-long term. For graduation purposes, this semester allowed me to take for-credit elective courses abroad that I still needed. The spring semester also allowed me to do independent traveling through Europe during the summer after the completion of my academic semester and internship. There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting a term so speak with your academic advisors, parents, and AIFS Alumni Ambassadors for advice on choosing what works best for you!
During your job interview, it is important to communicate your experiences in a way that show you will be the best-fit candidate for the company and the position. Remember that approximately less than 10% of college students ever study abroad during their college experience. This already sets you apart and is a key indicator that you are willing to develop yourself holistically by spending part of your college experience in another part of the world. Have concrete examples to share of ways you demonstrated independence, adaptability, and communication while abroad. All the examples and stories you share with the interviewers will give them a better idea of how you will perform and fit in the company culture. Share with them why you chose to study abroad, why you chose a specific location, what you learned, and how that will add value to their company. If you can articulate your study abroad experience well, you will impress the interviewer(s) and have a great shot at being the best candidate for the company and the position!
Click here to view Peter’s e-portfolio.