These past two years have been some of my most eventful. I moved from my hometown of Hyderabad, India, to Upstate New York to pursue my Masters degree in Finance at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Fast forward to a few months after graduation and I’m moving down to Washington, D.C., to work for a quickly growing international student loan company (MPOWER Financing!).
This first job out of grad school didn’t happen by chance, though. I’m making this move thanks to persistence, networking, and hard work.
MPOWER is literally the first company I applied to while looking for a summer internship in between my two academic years. I was on the lookout for a jumping-off point to start a rewarding career in finance and asked my friends and former colleagues if they had any ideas. My friend suggested that I look into MPOWER and, after some research, I knew it was a company I connected with and wanted to help grow – I loved the idea of helping international students just like me find financing to further their academic goals.
I made it all the way to the final round of interviewing but, ultimately, I didn’t have the right experience to fill the role. I kept applying to other places, but couldn’t find an internship that fit what I wanted and instead found a summer job on campus as a financial analyst for my school’s Alumni Relations department. This position helped me gain practical experience as well as exposure to U.S. work culture. Towards the end of the summer, I asked my manager if it was possible for me to stay on as a full-time employee as I had only one course to complete before graduation. He agreed, and during the Fall 2016 semester, I started my first five months of Curricular Practical Training (CPT). I also postponed my final course because I wanted to graduate at the end of the spring semester as it is a busier recruiting season for companies.
At the start of the Spring 2017 semester I continued working on CPT and began my job search again. This whole time, I had kept in touch with the contacts I made at MPOWER so that when the right role did come along I was at the top of their minds for an interview. Luckily, MPOWER had another opening that I thought I was the perfect candidate for. I applied and interviewed again, but this time I didn’t make it past the second round as the manager needed to bring someone on with more experience in Python. However, he told me to contact him closer to my graduation date. I applied for a summer internship position at the company again after two months. The interviews went well and I made it to the final round. But I still didn’t receive an offer (again, due to lack of experience). I felt very dejected, but took it in stride.
I graduated on May 19th and traveled around the U.S. with my family to celebrate. I was all ready and mentally prepared to begin looking for other jobs after my family went back home. Then, out of the blue, I got a call from MPOWER on May 26th to do a case study and an interview on May 29th. I did well on the interview, because I had taken the feedback I had been given in my previous interview and learned Python. The next day I received a call to schedule my final round interview. I was very nervous because I had always made it up to this stage of interviewing, but had never received an offer. The final interview went well but I still wasn’t sure if I would finally receive an offer. A week passed and my family went back to India. The next day, I planned to go full swing into my job search.
It was a Monday, the 4th of June, and I got up at 8am. I went about my morning routine of going through my phone and the first email I saw was from MPOWER Financing about joining their team! I was ecstatic! I thought about all the times I applied, how I had almost convinced myself I wasn’t going to get the job but then finally it all worked out. I share my story because I know young professionals are constantly in the same boat I was in a couple of months ago. I believe that if you are persistent and talk to people about the skills required to fill a position well, you will finally get up on a regular day, check your phone and there will be an offer letter waiting for you.
Ronald Rego is a Junior Credit Analyst at MPOWER Financing. Outside of the office, he’s currently learning how to pilot a plane.
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