Wharton is known for being a global school; from the students to the faculty to the classes and extracurriculars, Wharton adds an international flavor to the concept of business. In looking back on my four years here, I can confidently say that the global perspective given to me by my education is one of the most impactful and invaluable things I’ll take away. Particularly, my experience with international internships has shaped the way I want to influence my future and leave an impact in the world.
Among many things, Wharton excels at giving students opportunities for professional exposure. Like the majority of students here, I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to do in the future and how I should go about exploring my options. Fortunately, summer break provides the ideal time to delve into your interests. Some students do internships, others conduct research, some travel and pick up hobbies, and some return home and spend time with family or do part-time jobs. For me, I wanted to get some professional experience early on, so I went down the internship route. During my freshman and sophomore years, I was fortunate enough to find internships abroad rather than ones in the U.S.
My freshman summer, I interned in Singapore at an economic consulting firm. The work exposure was fantastic, as I learned what it was like to deliver large-scale projects to important clients. Imagine being just one year out of high school and working on some critical projects independently. Although the responsibility was massive, I found that with only one year of Wharton under my belt, I was more than prepared for the challenges I faced. More importantly, I had an immersive cultural experience, giving me a taste of how business can be different in different parts of the world. I had an absolute blast and knew that I wanted more of this type of experience.
As such, my sophomore summer, I traveled to Amsterdam and worked with a multinational NGO that focused on improving children’s economic empowerment and financial literacy. The position was obtained through the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, which fully funded my summer. Once again, the internship itself helped me get insight into a field I was interested in, and the short-term nature of the job allowed me to pack a lot of knowledge into a relatively quick period of time. Amsterdam was a bit more challenging than Singapore in that I was completely alone. In Singapore, I had stayed with family, but I was all by myself in the Netherlands. Although extremely tough at first, this was one of those life-changing summers where I grew as a person and realized the things that make me who I am. The professional and personal growth from that experience was due in no small part to Wharton.
When underclassmen ask me for advice on what to do during the summer, I almost always reply with the same thing: WORK ABROAD. I get it, it’s not always easy to do. But from what I have gone through and learned, your early college summers are some of the only times in your life where you’ll have almost no constraints. Push yourself, explore, don’t stick with the traditional options. Not only will you come out with a better perspective of the world, but you’ll also understand yourself more.