BEHIND THE BULLET POINTS: The Hidden Career Advantages of Global Co-op

We’ve all come to love that Northeastern is synonymous with all things global and experiential!  Dialogues of Civilization, Study Abroad, the hallmark Global Co-op program, a large international student body, and many other avenues to name a few, are ways in which our students gain critical exposure to an array of foreign cultures.

Alane De Luca, Peace Corps Volunteer, photographed with two Senegalese friends

To be a university student in America offers a certain right of passage – to ‘find’ oneself – to be able to explore courses of interest, entertain various career options, and take advantage of the many co-curricular options often promoted on campuses across the country.  Now is the time to seize this luxury opportunity – to indulge oneself – to imagine the possible and realize the impossible!  The convergence of this moment offers students multiple of directions from which to chose their path – my advice – be open to the new and different.  I did just that when I joined the Peace Corps, and it was one of the most transformational experiences of my life.

Much discussion about the benefits of Global Co-op revolves around the unique work experiences students can expect and the interesting companies and organizations co-ops are offered.  What many students miss at first glance, is that a Global Co-op also offers invaluable learning opportunities and cultural exposure way beyond the 9 to 5.  It’s the day-to-day living in a foreign culture that cannot be assigned a price tag – the complete immersion into how business is conducted in another country, soaking up the language, and easily overlooked nuances of communication among people. These are the exact bullet points that are difficult to add to your CV, but that are so critical to self-realization. They might be hard to articulate, but so powerful once experienced.

Alane De Luca, Global Employer Relations, here with newly married couple in Indonesia

Here, for example, after a day of meetings, I was spontaneously invited to attend a weekend wedding (not your usual turn of events given that I did not know the family), and what an incredible chance to seize a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would be forever imprinted in my mind.  How incredible it would be for a student to have a similar experience – no, this activity is not necessarily resume-worthy, but as a Global Co-op and to absorb and reflect upon these types of cross-cultural interactions, is what will give you the ‘career advantage’ over your competition and indelible passion for diversity in years to come.

I am often struck by the smells of foreign lands.  Burning wood in Bali, simmering curry and saffron in India, barbecue steak in Argentina.  Who would think that something so powerful as the sense of smell would be part of a career blog?

Alane De Luca, Global Employer Relations, here talking to children in central India

 Exactly.  No one.  To my point, when a Global Co-op ventures to their work site across the globe, part of the journey is to relish in the new and different.  Global Co-ops are laser-focused on developing new skills and adapting to their new employer as they should (mapping out resume-worthy bullet points the key goal), however, it would be short-sighted to overlook the permeable grittiness of day-to-day life in a new environment.  Something as innocuous as smell can lend to deeper learning – an up-close-and-personal diary of sorts about society the economic advantages and challenges, the geo-political climate, and the societal norms, to name a few.  When I was in India, for example, I was metaphorically slapped in the face with economical inequities – one that brought me right back to my Peace Corps days.  Knowing now what I didn’t know then made me realize that I could not have put a price on how an experience from 25 years ago would prepare me for feeling so at home in a place surrounded by such rich and contrasting realities.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound.  Travel is an education – unbound by walls with endless horizons to take in.  My hope is that this blog will inspire one student (if not hundreds or even thousands) to take a chance on a Global Co-op.  A Global Co-op experience will put you on the front lines of the impossible, where strength is challenged and growth is inevitable.  Impressive CV’s are a common commodity in today’s economy – what will make you different?  How will you stand out?  What will be your story – one that can be told as if you are painting a picture – what impression will you leave your next employer, and employer after that, and so on and so on…?

Alane De Luca, Global Employer Relations, watches as boy and his mother buy ice cream on a busy street in Hong Kong

In closing, I will leave you with this – I was struck by seeing this simple ice cream truck on the side of a busy road in Hong Kong.  The little boy and his mother were rushing and hailing their hands to make the truck stop for them (just like we would do here).  What struck me is that I would not necessarily notice this seemingly traditional pastime of buying ice cream from an ice cream truck in my own neighborhood – but, given I was in a new culture with senses heightened, to me, observing a mother and child buying something as simple as ice cream seemed so poignant in a foreign land.  Definitely not a bullet point for the resume, but oh how cool it was to witness on that hot summer day….

Alane De Luca oversees the Global Employer Relations team and global lead-generation initiatives within Career Development and Cooperative Education.  She comes to Northeastern with 25+ years of experience working in the international education arena.  Alane’s passion for global experiential learning began when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, where she worked alongside NGO’s and native Senegalese in rural parts of northern Senegal.  Upon returning to the states, she assumed a position funded by the United States Agency for International Development focusing on initiatives set forth by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and administered at Northeastern.

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations, Northeastern University

She also has experience directing global and experiential learning programs within academia at Merrimack College, Salem State University, Suffolk University Law School, and Saint Anselm College.  She is a dual citizen of Italy, holds an M.Ed. from Northeastern University and a B.A. from The College of the Holy Cross. www.linkedin.com/in/alanedeluca

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Beyond the Green Line: Silicon Valley, CA

Beyond the Green Line: Silicon Valley, CA

BEYOND THE GREEN LINE is a blog series featured on the Northeastern University Career Development Blog, ‘The Works.’ Each post highlights a major city and gives you an inside look at the local food, culture, music scene, the industries that are thriving there, and some current job openings in the area.’

You may have already read “Beyond the Green Line: San Francisco,” but we felt that the Silicon Valley deserved it’s own post entirely. The ‘Silicon Valley’ refers to the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area and includes San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley and was named as such because of the production of silicon semiconductors. The area is now known for its booming biotech and software industries and is often considered the heart of the technology world.

There are at least 20 Fortune 500 companies concentrated in the Silicon Valley area alone, depending on where you draw the boundaries. These include Apple, HP, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Tesla and many of the other most innovative companies you can think of. However, if you’re more interested in working for a start-up than a major corporation, lucky for you there are literally thousands of startups based in the Silicon Valley.

In 2015, Northeastern University actually opened a Silicon Valley hub, offering advanced degrees in STEM fields through partnerships with several companies. Almost 400 NEU students have worked in a co-op role over the last year alone. There are also over 5,000 Northeastern Alumni currently living in the Bay Area, so you’d be in great company there.

NU alumna Ana Gvalia loves living in the San Francisco area. She shared:

“After graduation I moved to San Francisco to work at a startup to learn more about entrepreneurship and innovation. The city is an amazing place to meet young, aspiring founders as well as seasoned, experienced business leaders. Every day I learn something new and everyday is a new adventure!”

 

Food and Drink:

  • There are 22 wineries to visit in the Santa Clara Valley
  • Try “gourmet” ramen, made popular first by Orenchi Ramen
  • Enjoy very fresh food thanks to the growing farm-to-table trend
  • Several funded startups are even developing meal replacements that are gaining popularity

Culture:

  • Visit the museums – there are several technical museums like the Computer History
  • Museum and the Tech Museum of Innovation
  • Go to the Ballet San Jose and Symphony Silicon Valley
  • Learn about traditional Japanese culture at the Japanese Obon festival
  • Stroll through the SoFA arts district

Activities:

  • Relax at a nearby beach, like Half Moon Bay
  • Root for the 49ers and the San Jose Sharks
  • Visit the Winchester Mystery House
  • Go to the San Pedro Square Market for local vendors and live music
  • Attend free lectures at Stanford
  • Visit the HP garage, the “birthplace of Silicon Valley”

Job Opportunities – log into NUcareers to apply!

Companies with Current Postings:
Airbnb: Software Engineer – Full Stack, Job ID 181535
Apple: Software Engineer – Data Scientist, Job ID 1821887
Cisco: Full Stack/Backend Engineer, Job ID 1821882
Dropbox: Product Designer, Job ID 1821705
Facebook: Data Scientist – Analytics, Job ID 1821699;
Software Engineer – Network, Job ID 1821701
Github: Git Infrastructure Engineer, Job ID 181704
Google/Alphabet: Software Engineer, Job ID 1821695;
Credit Research Analyst, Job ID 1821696
GoPro: Software Engineer – Media Discovery, Job ID 182163
Lyft: Business Intelligence Engineer, Job ID 1819885
Pandora: Software Engineer, Job ID 1821707
Plethora: Prototype Machinist & Programmer, Job ID 1821372
Quantcast: Software Engineer, Job ID 1816127
Twitter: Data Scientist – Ads Marketplace, Job ID 1821702
Visa: Business Development Analyst, Job ID 1819880

Additional Companies:
Box
Chegg
eBay
Sun Microsystems

Coming up Soon: Beyond the Green Line – Denver!
We want your feedback!
Feel free to leave us a comment if there’s anything we’ve missed or a particular city you’d like us to profile. If you’d like to have your photos considered for the next post, send over your Denver photos now!
This post was authored by Molly Osmulski, a third year Northeastern student. Molly is working toward a degree in Marketing with a minor in International Affairs. She works part time at the Northeastern Career Development office and has previously completed a co-op at Travel + Leisure Magazine in NYC and has studied abroad at the London School of Economics. When she is not studying or searching for her next co-op, she loves travelling, thrift shopping and trying new foods. You can contact her at osmulski.m@husky.neu.edu.

Sources:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimhandy/2012/05/30/what-is-it-like-to-live-in-silicon-valley/2/#532e6ac16e9c
http://www.businessinsider.com/tech-startups-will-never-leave-silicon-valley-heres-why-2015-12

What’s The Deal With Company Culture?

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downloadWhen looking for a job, most interviewees try desperately hard to impress the interviewer by being marketable and portraying the best version of themselves. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Great interviewees research the position, company, and the individuals they will meet during the interview. Most people spend their time preparing their physical appearance, reviewing mock interview questions, and being agreeable during the entire interview process. But how about the interviewer portraying their best, performing their research on the candidate, and preparing respectable questions? There are many things that candidates can learn and pick up about the company culture during their one hour interview or even before!

One of the things I find most helpful is researching the company. I don’t mean just looking at their objectives and pipeline or the current news on their latest breakthrough. Try and connect with people who are in the company to find out how they enjoy what they do and how their work environment makes their job a welcoming place before the interview. You need to find out if people feel like they’re making a difference in the company and if they’re happy when at work (yes, there is such a thing!)

the-art-of-information-interviews-managing-americans-postHere is a list of some possible questions that you can ask on an informational interview:

  • Can you please describe the kind of work that you do here?
  • Do you feel like you are making an impact at this company?
  • Can you describe the company culture and how that plays a role on work performance?
  • What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?

It’s important to get the scoop on how the company works in terms of the work atmosphere and if everyone is being treated with respect. Everyone from the intern to the CEO should feel well respected and that they are succeeding their career goals in their positions.

Back to the interview! I’m not an expert on reading body language, but there are some signs you can pick up on.

  • During the interview, is the interviewer giving you their full attention or checking their phone every 2 minutes?
  • Did you arrive at the interview only to find out that it has been rescheduled without your knowledge?
  • Does the interviewer seem unprepared when explaining the position or asking about key major details they should know are already clearly printed on your resume?
  • Does the staff look happy or at least content during the tour of the workspace?
  • Does the staff seem like they’re friendly and get along with each other?
  • Can you feel tension amongst the employees when you walk into the office?

If you’re in a situation where the company culture is far from ideal, there are small ways that you can make some changes by doing your part in providing a safe work environment where people can grow and learn from one another with a high level of respect. Respect everyone and remember that you’re in a team environment. Sure, mistakes can happen, but how you react to them and help others can make all the difference in the world.

Joviane Bellegarde is a Northeastern Alumna hailing from the Class of 2014. She graduated with a BS in Biochemistry and is working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a Technical Research Assistant. In her free time, she enjoys reading, catching up on her favorite shows, and expressing her inner geek. Email her at bellegarde.j@husky.neu.edu or connect on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jovianebellegarde.