HarvardOCS

Harvard FAS Office of Career Services

Where will you be next year? 
New Haven, Connecticut

What will you be doing?
Pursuing an MD degree at Yale School of Medicine

What advice do you have for undergraduates?
Treasure your friendships. Try to be less individualistic and gain social consciousness if you haven’t already. Acknowledge your privilege(s) and work towards leaving Harvard a better place than when you arrived.

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Where will you be next year? 
San Francisco, California

What will you be doing?
Working with McKinsey & Company as a Business Analyst

What advice do you have for undergraduates?
My advice to undergrads is not to take things too easy at Harvard and make sure you’re constantly taking advantage of all the opportunities available, because four years pass by so fast, and if you’re not careful you’ll be at the end of your college career and realize you didn’t set yourself up as well as you could have.

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Where will you be next year? 
The Dominican Republic

What will you be doing?
Working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in education

What advice do you have for undergraduates?
If I could give any advice to undergraduates, it would be to study abroad! I studied abroad in Morocco and it completely changed my life. I met the most incredible people (both American and Moroccan), I saw beautiful sights, ate delicious food, and learned more in one semester than I had in my whole life. Most important, Harvard College offers significant funding for study abroad—what are you waiting for?

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Where will you be next year? 
Atlanta, Georgia

What will you be doing?
Investment Analyst at Reicon Capital

What advice do you have for undergraduates?
Visit the Office of Career Services as soon as possible and many times. Also: be in close contact with advisers to get ahead on recruiting and planning your college classes so they cater to your interests/goals.

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Where will you be next year? 
Back home in Denver, Colorado

What will you be doing?
Teaching 5th grade in a K-8 charter school through Teach For America

What advice do you have for undergraduates?
The advice I would offer to Harvard undergraduates is to not be afraid. This means to take risks in what classes you take, by speaking up in class despite being shy or unsure, and to not be afraid to question what happens here at Harvard through the classes, in dorms, and overall. Be bold and wise enough to question what you see and hear rather than being complacent. Harvard is a phenomenal place, but can only get better by supporting and challenging others to improve - this includes challenging yourself! 

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Where will you be next year? 
Cadiz, Spain, through the Michael C. Rockefeller Fellowship

What will you be doing?
Practicing Spanish, studying flamenco dance, and setting up dance therapy programs at local rehab centers; planning to attend medical school

What advice do you have for undergraduates?
Take risks: don’t assume you won’t get an opportunity because you’re not qualified enough. Believe in yourself: you got into Harvard!

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Arts & Museums Fellow: Jinzhao Wang

Having immigrated with my parents to Boston from Nanjing, China, at the age of thirteen, I recall one of my father’s favorite facts: that the first thing that he—a Chinese country boy—read about Boston was not on its universities or sports teams but its symphony orchestras.

So it is with this distance that my family has come in mind that I have appreciated every hour of my internship enabled by the OCS Arts and Museums Fellows Program at the Handel and Haydn Society (H+H), which is America’s oldest performing arts organization. I am grateful for this opportunity because it has opened up new possibilities for not only my career but also for future cultural exchanges between China and America, in which I hope to take a part.

On the front-end of my internship, I have witnessed the power of classical performing arts in bringing joy to its audience. From being asked about release dates for CDs of concerts audience members were just watching in an H+H concert, to hearing proud grandparents sharing their excitement for their grandchildren’s performances with H+H in a Collaboration Youth Concert, I feel even more encouraged to involve myself in culturally enriching groups.

On the back-end, I have found out that H+H’s organizational energy dwells in each of its staff member’s dedication to every detail in each operation of H+H as a non-profit. As an intern, I have worked with databases of donors’ information, merged letters sent to patrons, stuffed envelopes using stuffing machines, and helped to spot bids during live auctions. But none of these tasks could nearly match the moving commitment of my supervisor, who under high pressure, still manages to keep the online and offline records of H+H organized.

Even not at H+H, I enjoy the internship because each trip to and fro H+H allows me to pass by familiar places in the neighborhood, including my high school. So I guess it is a testament to the beauty of the advice “follow your heart,” because our favorite things become so surprisingly connected this way.

Jinzhao Wang '14
Arts & Museum Fellows Program
Handel & Haydn Society

Learn more about the Arts & Museums Fellows Program:

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When we think of “bouncing back,” we usually of think of sports. But failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. It happens at work. It happens with relationships. What is the relationship between trying, risking, and succeeding? At a recent panel, Tommy Amaker, Jon Dienstag ‘05, and Jessica Gelman ‘97, MBA ‘02, shared their expert tips on how to deal with failure and come back stronger than before:

There’s always a lesson in the loss.

Sometimes your greatest rejection can lead to your best direction. Don’t just walk away from failure, but think about why it happened and how you can use it as ammunition in the future.

Change tactics, but don’t change principles.

Recognize that you might have to change the way you do something in order to get the desired result, but make sure you do not compromise your vision or values.

Your team is important.

You need to be able to have confidence in those on your team. Working together is crucial, and being able to rely on your teammates is often crucial to success. Invest in your team. Stay loyal to them.

Listen to the criticism.

Be open and willing to hear constructive feedback. Listening will help you go beyond that moment of failure in order to be able to move forward. Learn from your mistakes and teach yourself how to improve.

Always think about the next play.

Register your failure, but always be looking forward. Regroup and respond. What’s next on the agenda?

Valleys are necessary for the peaks.

One of the panelists advocated for failure, because failure allows you to grow and make your successes that much better. You won’t be able to enjoy the highs as much—and you won’t know how to bounce back—if you never experience the lows.

Complacency is dangerous.

Even if you’re in a good spot, always strive to be better. Live up to what’s important to you. Keep making goals. As Coach Tommy Amaker advised: “You should always worry ‘Where am I?’ Everyone thought we should win the NCAA tournament this year, but last year nobody thought we could win the second game against New Mexico.” Keep setting the bar higher.

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Julia Eger, ’14

"Bouncing Back: Lessons from Athletics on Success, Failure, and Resilience" was sponsored by the Department of Athletics, the Bureau of Study Counsel, and the Office of Career Services, and featured Tommy Amaker,Head Coach of the Harvard Men’s Basketball team; Jon Dienstag ‘05, Senior Manager at the Boston Red Sox; and Jessica Gelman ‘97, MBA ‘02,VP at the New England Patriots.

Arts & Museums Fellow: Leah Schulson

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Leah Schulson ‘14
Arts & Museum Fellows Program
Boston Children’s Museum

Sure, most of the walls are lime green. And it’s hard to go more than a few minutes without hearing a kids talking, or giggling, or banging on old pots and pans to learn about the physics of sound. But my time at Boston Children’s Museum (BCM) hasn’t been all play. I’ve been working with Grants and Development, helping to research potential funders, edit grant proposals and follow-up reports, and update records of past grants.

The nature of grant work, though, is such that you really have to understand the details of the project for which you’re seeking funding: how it was developed, its importance, and how it will fit into the rest of the museum’s work. Therefore, I’ve been exposed to so many facets of the museum. I’ve gone into Boston to sit in on meetings with a community partner about a potential collaboration. I’ve combed through old grant proposals to get a sense of how BCM thinks about healthy lifestyles. I’ve researched hundreds of foundations to understand what they’re funding. And I’ve gotten the chance to talk to my incredible coworkers about what they’re doing, and the challenges that they’re facing.

And, when things slow down a little, I’ve gotten the chance to walk through the museum and see everyone’s work come together into shining moments: toddlers concentrating on construction work, kids examining live turtles, and whole families rocking out (and learning about healthy exercise) on the Kid Power dance floor.

Learn more about the Arts & Museums Fellows Program:

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Photo of Boston Children’s Museum from Wikimedia Creative Commons user Twp.

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One of our bloggers reports from the recent Careers in Africa panel, sharing nine tips for work in Africa—and beyond! Panelists included Freeman Awindaogo, MPH ’14; Lydia Hsu, EdM ’14; Laura Melle, MPP ’15; Seni Sulyman, MBA ’14; and Kerry Williams, MPA ’14.

Here are nine things you must know if you want to go into a career in Africa: 

1. School is just a toolkit

A diversity of degrees is good for any post-graduate career. But don’t forget the other skills that can be even more important — can you learn quickly? Can you work well with other people? Can you think on your feet?

2. Have a vision

It’s critical to have a general vision of what you want to accomplish in your career. With a vision you can basically sway in the wind. You can take different skills from different jobs and apply them to get to where you want to be.

3. Embrace the awkward

In Africa, it’s going to be awkward to begin to assimilate to an entirely new culture. Don’t shy away from that. Use the language barrier to your advantage. Ask questions that push the boundaries, think of everything as a cultural exchange. Go in with an open mind.

4. Be flexible

For those considering fellowships, there is a lot of flexibility and opportunity to structure your time the way you want it. You’ll have the opportunity to meet so many people outside of your bubble. Enjoy this flexibility, even if you don’t necessarily have a plan.

5. Explore beyond the city

Sometimes, living in a smaller community outside of the city can be a better expatriate experience because you can work more directly with members of the community. Living outside the city is often a better way to integrate into the culture.

6. Be aware of your impact

If you’re going out in the world to “do good,” be aware that your good intentions might have unintended consequences. Spend time listening and looking at what’s going on around you.

7. Watch out for corruption

Be extremely careful about the company or organization you’re working for, and who runs it. Make sure you do your research before you start because corruption can be a huge issue.

8. Don’t stick to your plan

You’ll find out that it’s not about having a plan, but it’s about life’s plan for you. If you try to follow a path, you’ll just fall off of it. Branch out. Expect the unexpected.

9. Write home

Even if your work is based in Africa, you have a responsibility to educate people in the United States about what’s happening in these countries. Help spread awareness of what you’re working on.

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OCS adviser Loredana George welcomes guest panelists.

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Regional cuisine enjoyed during the event.

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Julia Eger, ’14

Careers in Africa was cosponsored by: The Office of Career Services, The Committee on African Studies, Harvard Africa Business Investment Club (HABIC), and Harvard African Student Association (HASA).

Arts & Museums Fellow: Katherine Price

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Katherine Price ’14
Arts & Museum Fellows Program
Boston Casting

I first heard Angela Peri, founder and co-owner of Boston Casting, speak at an OCS event my freshman fall. She was so passionate about casting and the entertainment business that the experience stuck with me even three years later. When I saw that OCS had partnered with Boston Casting to offer the opportunity to intern for the company, I knew I had to apply. I’ve continued my internship into the spring semester, so I go to the main office in Allston all day Tuesday and Thursday. The office is always busy, and there is never a dull moment! The most exciting days are when we have multiple casting sessions going on. I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on the sessions themselves, watching auditions for commercials and even feature films. One of the most important and common tasks I do is helping to prep auditions. Scheduling and confirming actors for auditions takes a lot of time – sometimes leading me to make 50 or more calls in a single day! – but it also means that the actual audition day runs super smoothly. Overall, I’ve had an incredibly hands-on experience at Boston Casting, and I’m looking forward to spending my final month as a Harvard undergraduate working with them.

Learn more about the Arts & Museums Fellows Program:

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Read about Boston Casting’s role in casting American Hustle.