As a college student preparing for life after college, exploring the many industries the working world has to offer can be daunting. Especially as COVID-19 changed how many of us work, there are endless factors to consider when figuring out where a new grad should begin their career.
In my own journey toward choosing a career post college, I felt paralyzed by choices as I considered the many different routes. Because of that, I want to share my experience and decision process on how I ended up choosing technology consulting at Credera, and how I felt confident I was making a wise decision.
I’ll start with my college experience, explore internship opportunities I took advantage of, and finish with a few pieces of advice I found especially helpful on this journey to consulting work.
Growing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Like many students, I began my freshman year uncertain of the academic path I wanted to take. I technically came in aligned with the School of Engineering, but I didn't have a great vision for the years of courses coming beyond what I initially signed up for. After completing some general requirements for most of the year, I ended up declaring a computer science (CS) major.
The requirements of my new plan included quite a bit more work, including courses in the humanities like philosophy and political science. At the time, it felt strange to have such drastic departures from core CS work, but today as a consultant I'm grateful I was exposed to different ways of critical thinking.
Alongside coursework, I found fulfillment in working with a newer group called Coding4Good, which was a student organization founded to provide software-related work to other student groups or local nonprofits. I started as a developer lead on one of the teams and ended up working with the board to help manage multiple teams. Thankfully, I was setting myself up for success in the consulting world without even knowing it.
Overall, I felt involved with the campus community and happy with the diverse experiences of my varied course load.
Additional Experience Through Internships
One additional experience that I knew would be crucial for my professional development and resume building was an internship. After working a warehouse job the summer after freshman year, I was ready to try and find something engaging related to computer science for the following summer. However, I wasn't exactly the most qualified candidate, especially compared to other sophomores who decided on CS earlier, and I certainly didn't stack up to the juniors.
One day, I received an email from Sage Corps, an organization that sends students abroad to intern at startups. After digging in to learn more, I decided the experience would be worth the tradeoff of not working somewhere close to home and signed up.
I landed at a company called Zumata in Singapore, where I spent eight weeks ingrained in their software development processes. Looking back, this experience sparked my love for collaboration and fast-paced work environments. Had I not taken this leap, I would not have developed the skills and experience that made me a more qualified and desirable candidate.
After my junior year, I had a more traditional internship at a large healthcare software company. Having a startup experience combined with this more traditional industry job was valuable in weighing pros and cons of different sized companies that I would eventually apply to the next fall.
After dropping resumes here and there, I ended up on a site called Ripplematch, a platform that allows companies to reach out to you first based on your submitted profile and their recruiting needs. I was lucky enough to match with Credera during their initial run with the platform, and the interview process began.
Interviewing With Credera
Throughout my interviews, I spoke with people in different locations and at varying levels of tenure. I was always shocked after each conversation at how deeply everyone cared and wanted to know my story from a holistic perspective. In each conversation, my internship abroad via Sage Corps always piqued interest, and I was more than happy sharing different pieces of that experience every time. After a few early round conversations, I was starting to fall in love with the idea of consulting even though it hadn’t previously been on my radar.
Eventually, I received an invitation to an in-person final round interview in Denver. I was ecstatic and immediately began picturing myself living there. In each stage of the process, including a dinner and formal and informal conversations, I always felt like I could be my full self and share my story. Thankfully, I received a full-time offer to join the Denver team in the Technology Solutions Practice and have loved every minute I've been here since.
Tips for Internship and Job Seekers
In reflection, it felt like I went through quite the journey to arrive in the consulting industry. I started college with no true academic road map, and had experiences that were somewhat scattered among location, scope, and skills gained. Thankfully, Credera always highlighted those departures from a "normal" journey as strengths, and I never felt like I couldn't be successful.
I currently assist University of Wisconsin-Madison students in their searches for their next opportunities, including students looking for both internships and full-time positions. Wherever your path leads, here are three tips that may help in your journey toward employment after college:
Take advantage of all the online platforms available to find roles that may be of interest, as it’s never been easier to cast a wide net.
Research companies that seem like a good fit to ensure you don’t go into the interview process completely blind.
Reach out to current and former employees via available networks as this both conveys interest and provides the chance to have a candid conversation about a company.
Find Your Fit at Credera
Interested in joining Credera as an intern or full time upon graduation? We value everyone’s unique background and experiences. Check out our website to learn more or apply!