Northeastern international-business major Andrew Alperin is a budding entrepreneur.
He also played one onstage.
The Clarks Summit, Pa., native’s dramatic debut unfolded quite unexpectedly this year in Ireland. From March through July, Alperin held a co-op at PayPal’s European headquarters, in Dublin, working as a project manager and handling contact analysis.
Then he heard that Dublin City University was planning a production of the rock musical “Rent,” one of his favorite plays. Although he didn’t have any acting experience at all, he decided on a whim to audition.
He got a part. In fact, he got a leading part, that of landlord Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III. The play’s producers, he says, “saw me as the perfect Benny,” believing “a business-oriented student would be the best person to play a business-oriented character.”
Four successful performances at the Helix, a large arts center on the Dublin City University campus, followed, including two sold-out nights.
And Alperin’s star continued to rise. After a professional production house learned of the troupe’s success, the show was remounted at the Olympia Theatre, a concert hall in Dublin. The thirty-strong cast sold out five nights in the 1,200-seat theater. “It was pretty incredible,” Alperin says.
Meanwhile, back at the office, his supervisors remained supportive of his theatrical side trip.
“When I told my boss about the play,” Alperin says, “he was really incredibly accommodating. And when we got the gig at the Olympia, I cleared it with him. The beauty of working in Europe is that you get twenty-five personal days, so I used five to do the play.”
The bright lights and glamour haven’t sidetracked this senior’s desire for a business career, however.
He had a great experience at PayPal, he says. His work focused on the company’s finance and management information systems. His primary responsibility was to analyze approximately 3,000 contacts that had come into the PayPal call center, and offer recommendations for addressing issues that were reported.
Last year, he had a co-op at Merrill Lynch’s New York City offices, where he was a business analyst working on data-processing projects.
Even without the opportunity to star in a play, Alperin says, he would have counted the Ireland co-op as a major plus in his educational career.
“Going abroad helps you in ways you couldn’t imagine,” he says. “It makes you really experienced in understanding the rest of the world.”