Trainees tell us about their year in The Big Apple – Work, play and the impact GME participation has had on their careers
Getting an OPT placement is harder than writing your thesis. Any recent graduate has a hard time finding the right fit in this job market. But for international graduates, the challenge is exponentially harder. You must have a fighter attitude to achieve your goal. Just when I had given myself a deadline to find the right role in the US, and was about to start considering opportunities in other parts of the world, I met a former GME trainee who now has a success career in New York City. This introduction was a gift that fell from the skies – after talking to dozens of people and applying to countless online positions, I couldn't believe I found this program offering so many benefits for international graduates. Positions specifically tailored to young international professionals are not published online, and I couldn't have found this opportunity without GME. After I put on my fighter attitude, GME was the final punch that help me win the OPT war and achieve my goal.
As a GME Trainee, I joined a small-sized yet successful strategic digital agency, Vertic, dedicated to providing Fortune 500 companies with groundbreaking solutions within the digital space. In my role as Insights Planner, I'm getting great exposure and received a high level of responsibility from day one. It's a fun environment and my highly-skilled colleagues make every day I spend at work a joyful and tremendous lifetime learning experience.
I love New York City, as there is always something to do and new areas to explore. I enjoy Manhattan and its bustling streets and tall buildings that make me feel like I’m living in a movie. On the other hand, I also like to escape in my quiet neighborhood in Brooklyn to go to the market or stroll past the beautiful Brownstone houses on Sunday mornings.
I work within a small digital agency with a team of less than 50 marketing professionals all working to service leading global brands. Working at a small-sized agency has allowed me to get to know every member of the company, which in turn cultivates a greater sense of community at work. I feel it’s important to form great working relationships, and the team could not have made this any easier for me. In my first few weeks on the job, I was able to help with a website launch for a large global brand. Although this meant there were a few late nights, I thoroughly enjoyed working on the project as I was able to dive right in and learn a tremendous amount in a short space of time. I received great reviews from my manager and team which gave me a big confidence boost and reassured me that, with a supportive team keen to help me, I am equipped to tackle the various challenges I’ll encounter throughout the year.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the multiple opportunities and challenges you face in a city like NYC; you need to stay focused, channel your energy and try to envision the bigger picture in order to succeed in developing yourself and your career. One of the most effective ways to do this is to have a career mentor who not only inspires and encourages you, but also helps to guide you with practical advice and opens new doors by introducing you to other professionals. My GME mentor, a seasoned Facebook executive on their global account team, served this role. Meeting up for informal lunches and corporate events at the Facebook office throughout the year, he offered advice, feedback and valuable networking opportunities that greatly benefited me both personally and professionally.