Alumna discusses transition from student to professional
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 19:04
In only a couple of months, the class of 2012 will graduate and being active in the Baruch College community will just be a memory. With the end of the semester fast approaching, we wanted to get some insight into life after graduation.
To do so, we sought out a past club leader, Jiayan Huang, also known to some as Cathy Huang, to give us some advice on the transition from school to work. Specifically, we wanted to know how her participation in clubs and classes has helped her.
While attending Baruch, she was an active member of several organizations such as Beta Alpha Psi and VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance).
In her senior year, she served as President for Golden Key International Honor Society. Since graduating, Cathy is working full-time as a Tax Accountant for Goldman Sachs.
While some of you may be thinking: “I’m certainly not as active as Cathy was, how will I possibly make the jump from student to professional.”
Fortunately, as Cathy explains, the strengths needed in succeeding in a full-time job are very similar with what you are already doing in academics.
“In terms of being prepared and managing time, I think Baruch does a great job for its students. Most students are unaware or unconfident of their time management skills but all the hours spent on projects and studying for exams have a positive effect on one’s innate work ethic,” says Cathy.
“Planning is a great skill to have. Being active in a club helps you prioritize your tasks.”
Cathy shared her experience on the significance of networking.
“As President of Golden Key, I had to reach out to many different people,” said Huang. “Whether they were other student club leaders or Baruch faculty members, I acquired a lot of skills in the area of networking. It’s something I’m doing even to this day,” says Cathy. “I am part of the Goldman Sachs Dragon Boat Racing Team and I small talk with senior level management during every practice session.”
She urges every student to simply be on campus during 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Huang said, “Whether it’s a bake sale or general interest meeting, events are always happening. Surrounding yourself with friendly, ambitious groups of people will help you grow as a person. As for the students who take night classes, many clubs still host events with guest speakers from various professions. Find out when they’re held and take advantage of the opportunities.”
By now, you should start getting a good idea of the helpful skills you can obtain at school to use when you begin to work. “The big difference is that in the professional field, you have no one to hold you accountable but yourself,” sais Huang.
“You have to set the deadlines because the President or your team will not be asking for updates. You have to be able to determine which tasks are the important to do at that moment.”
Cathy goes on stressing the importance of learning through adversity. Although adding club activities on top of your academics might seem crazy, it is actually very beneficial. Cathy’s advice is if you’re completely overwhelmed with schoolwork, you may want to take a breather. However, if you find yourself looking to be a part of something, then definitely consider joining a club. Juggling school and clubs may seem challenging, but it is a great opportunity for you to learn.
When looking back, Cathy said that, “I have no regrets in my college career. I have learned so much that I have taken with me to GS and can use in the future. Aside from that, I really miss the social aspect of being a student.
I loved being in groups working towards a common goal. It was a great feeling whenever Golden Key was able to successfully plan and execute an event.”
She offered some advice: “I encourage every student, from freshmen to seniors to get involved. It’s never too late to become part of something bigger than yourself. I miss all the friends I made and still keep in touch with a lot of the underclassmen who are still in Baruch.”