Welcome to The Question, where you’ll get answers about life at Brown all year long! I’m Celina Stewart, and I’ll be bringing you insights (and photos!) into my fourth year at Brown and my answers to some of the questions I wish I’d asked before college.
One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is transitioning to life after graduation: jobs, apartments, budgets, oh my! Seriously though, one of the main things I think most people are hoping for when thinking about college are your prospects for after college. Obviously, your education is incredibly important, but, for most of us, so is the way we apply it afterwards. As you can see above, I acquired quite the business card collection during this process (and these are just a small sampling of companies I pursued). So, how does Brown help you get a job after graduation?
As someone who recently went through the job application process, and someone with friends from all backgrounds applying to private sector jobs, fellowships, academic field studies, research positions, non-profit positions, and a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities, I hope I can give you some good insights into what Brown can do for you in terms of jobs.
First and foremost, long before applying to jobs, you’ll feel pressure to fill your summers to give your resume something extra. This can take a whole variety of paths; depending on your concentration, you may have more opportunities earlier on in your career at Brown. My freshman year, I studied abroad in Spain and the Czech Republic, as I knew the prospects of an internship in International Relations (even an administrative internship) would be extremely slim. However, I had friends who pursued UTRAs (Brown’s equivalent of a research grant to work with a professor over the summer), research at independent firms, and a couple who even scored prestigious internships with tech companies (many offer exclusively ‘freshman’ coding experiences).
Later, with more coursework, better recommendations from professors, and greater resolve, you’ll pursue actual internships, hopefully in your field. After my sophomore year, I completed a cybersecurity internship (sadly unpaid, because, again: International Relations) with the Department of Homeland Security, while my friends completed software engineering internships, went to China for non-profit work, or stayed at Brown doing research. Last summer, I worked for the Organization of American States’ cybersecurity team (I received a LINK Award from Brown, which fortunately offset it being unpaid, again). My friends interned both in the United States and abroad (one friend even received a grant to work at a firm in Georgia and study post-Soviet economic concerns), or pursued thesis research. Junior summer is the one that counts the most: the one where you receive return offers. Most of my friends working in the technology and financial sector received return offers, and subsequently knew where they’d be working by September (assuming they liked the company).
So, where was Brown in all of this? Fortunately, study abroad is almost entirely coordinated through Brown (I found my Prague program on my own, but most programs are through Brown). Secondly, the Career Center provides many different options, including:
- Careers in the Common Good: specific opportunities for Brown students to work at selected non-profit companies in cities in New York.
- Career Fairs: The Career Center offers two career fairs each semester, a tech career fair and an interdepartmental career fair. Both attract a mix of companies, including some start ups and several well-known companies.
- Career Counseling: You can have your resume read, revised, and get help with cover letters, LinkedIn profile making, get profile photos taken, etc.
- The Job and Internship Board: A listing of all companies looking to hire Brown students for internships, both for summers and for jobs after graduation. You can even submit resumes and cover letters directly to companies through the JIB.
- UCANN/Specific professional networks: Networks that you can use to search for positions listed on other schools’ career websites and specific professions.
- BrownConnect: Networking with alumni.
The best thing Brown offers, in my opinion, is on campus recruitment, however. This is an option that I used a lot when interviewing for consulting positions (they also offer this for tech, various human resources positions, various non-profits, and some assorted other positions). It starts on the JIB, where you submit your materials and then either see that you’re waitlisted or have received an interview. If you get an interview, you can schedule it for whatever time you’d like, and any open times then get filled by waitlisted people. Then, you head to the Career Lab on campus, meet with the interviewer, and have your interview here. This saves SO MUCH TIME AND MONEY, it’s ridiculous (and this coming from someone who had to travel to Boston every Wednesday for 6 weeks for interviews, so much so that I got a B in my Wednesday class for skipping – oops). I was lucky, and for about 10 weeks, I had at least one interview a week, sometimes multiple in one day. All for just submitting my resume online!
I say these things not to brag; I don’t study economics, I haven’t taken a math class during my entire time at Brown – companies who are already here don’t mind interviewing you, since they are already here! I walked into (and out of) some interviews where I clearly didn’t match; but that’s okay! I also walked into a couple, bonded with the interviewers, who then took an interest and invited me to second rounds in Boston. Had they not met me in person, I don’t think I would have passed their cursory interest test (or have gotten an offer). I would have never even KNOWN about these companies, had they not come to Brown.
Another great thing is the regional diversity of companies recruiting at Brown: you can find jobs from across the east coast, California, the midwest, international locations. Plus, many companies offer pre-interview help; alumni or representative “interview coaches”, case interview prep workshops, and networking events with employers. All of these things are not unique to Brown, but definitely help Brown students enter the career field on equal footing with other students from top schools.
So, what’s the moral of the story? Brown offers students several great resources to find jobs during and after Brown. The rest is up to you.
Want more photos and FAQ updates? Check out @thebruinclub on Twitter! Have questions or comments for me? Want more details? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back ASAP!