Alumni Career Resources
Angela Meng '12
Graduate Student at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania
Angela Meng was a double major in Sociology/Anthropology and Economics. She left Swarthmore eager to pursue a career in the private sector. After meeting with a few economic consulting companies that came to recruit on campus, she decided on Cornerstone Research in New York City, which she described as “the perfect intersection of academic, law, and business, which gave me the breadth, exposure, and exit opportunities to pursue any career.” After two years at Cornerstone, she began working at Anthropologie doing customer analytics and marketing in Philadelphia. However, Angela soon learned that she was more interested in executing the strategy behind the data she was analyzing so she switched gears and is now back in school pursuing a Masters of Business Administration at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. This summer, she interned at General Mills in Minneapolis doing marketing and brand management for Progresso soup.
What’s something you wish you’d known while you were looking for employment?
Don't be afraid to fail. In high school and college, we all have dealt with rejection, but it feels different when you're applying for jobs. For me, it was stressful crafting the perfect resume and cover letter for these jobs that I was unsure I qualified for. I would often consider not applying because I was concerned I'd be rejected immediately. Applying for jobs is tough because oftentimes, your sense of confidence and self-worth can be tied to whether you get the interview or job. However, my boyfriend, James Mao '12, constantly reiterated that I would have 0% chance if I didn't apply at all. Make sure you're open to any opportunity and don't take yourself out of the running before you even start.
How did your Swarthmore network or experience help you in your transition out of college?
At Swarthmore, I was heavily involved in the Swarthmore Asian Organization and Intercultural community where I was surrounded by smart, passionate people who cared deeply about social justice issues. After graduating, it was difficult not having that immediate support group when I worked at Cornerstone and experienced things such as microaggressions and subtle sexism. However, my friend Vivienne Layne '11 mentioned connecting with NAPAWF, an APIA women's group devoted to social justice issues and after attending a meeting with Vivienne, I felt instantly plugged in. Even though much of my Swarthmore community wasn't in NYC with me, Vivienne helped me find a different like-minded one. When I moved to Philadelphia, I even started the Philly NAPAWF chapter with a couple of NAPAWF sisters.
Additionally, Swarthmore has equipped me with incredible organizational skills to be able to manage my time well and prioritize the right responsibilities at work. As co-president of SAO and director of the Social Affairs Committee, I had to lead groups of people in accomplishing task, juggle different points of view, and manage my time well. Those skills were really important in workplace and if you can prove your competence and reliability from early on in your new job, it only reaps benefits. People want to work with you, they admire you, and give you the right tasks and visibility that help get you promoted.
In terms of how my Swarthmore experienced helped me, we talk a lot about our "critical thinking" skills at Swarthmore and I cannot emphasize more how important they are in the workplace. In your first year of your career, you are expected to learn a lot and do things. However, once you become more senior, you are evaluated on your ideas and bigger, strategic contributions to the team. Swarthmore taught me a lot about questioning assumptions, thinking at a higher level, and being critical and creative about approaching problems. Throughout my years at Cornerstone, Anthropologie, and even in my General Mills internship, those skills are crucial for being successful. Bringing that fresh perspective and thinking beyond the nitty-gritty task at hand is critical for succeeding in the workplace and I attribute that to Swarthmore and my liberal arts education.
Resources for the career-focused
Career Services doesn't stop assisting you in your job search once you graduate! They offer 30-minute telephone appointments to help you kick-off your career exploration. Additionally, they provide resume and cover letter tips, LinkedIn tips, on-file letters of recommendation, and networking tricks.
There are so many fellow alumni out there looking to hire a fellow Swarthmorean. Use the SwatCareers database to look for other professionally-minded alumni and employers looking for someone with your skill set. Call the Career Services office for a login. You could also do it the new old-fashioned way on LinkedIn, or the old-old fashioned way by using the Alumni Directory.
Update your information
Once you land your next job, be sure to update your information! We're always looking for mentors, speakers at the Lax Conference, and experts in a variety of fields. Create a profile on SwatCareers to connect with other career-focused alumni, and continue growing your network. Don't forget to notify your Class Secretary to submit a class note.