- All News
- Search News
- Student News
- Globalize your liberal arts education this summer in Dublin
- Intern Spotlight: Adam Seltzer
- What LSA students are saying about the ALA 325 course
- Intern Spotlight: Natalie Suh
- In-person, drop-in coaching is paused until further notice
- Our coaches are online and ready to provide virtual coaching
- April Alumni Connections
- Gain critical leadership experience as a Hub ambassador
- What can LSA students be doing right now to further their career goals?
- Virtual internships in spring and summer of 2020 are now eligible for funding
- May Virtual Alumni Connections
- Get a first look into the upcoming release of LSA’s new mentoring platform
- Why early career exploration really matters
- Alum Story: Discover how this 2009 English grad secured his first job during the housing market crash
- Alum Story: Find out how this LSA alum turned his ‘baseball’ career aspirations into a reality
- August's Employer Connections
- What’s ‘Happening’ virtually this Fall at the LSA Opportunity Hub
- Discover what LSA’s online community has been buzzing about
- RSVP for Fall's career-building workshops
- Fostering career connections from home
- A transformation from on-site and in-person to virtual and remote
- Alum Story: Hear how this LSA alum and Detroit native transformed tragedy into human achievement
- Alum Story: From schoolcraft to statecraft
- Connecting all Corners
- LSA Connect turns six months!
- Host an LSA student’s virtual internship this summer
- More than $350,000 awarded to LSA students as virtual internship support
- Are virtual internships as valuable as on-site ones? The experts weigh in with a resounding “Yes”
- 2021 Internship Forum
- Alum Story: A journey to the center of the self
- Student spotlight: Unlocking the mysteries of the human body—and demystifying the career exploration journey
- 2021 Grad School Fair
- Hub Industry Groups
- How to (net)work your way into a new career opportunity
- Graduating Hub intern shares that working at the Hub was more than just an internship experience
- More than just students: setting the Hub up for success
- In the “room” where it happens
- Applied Liberal Arts courses at the Hub
- Leveraging your LSA alum network as a recent graduate
- The road to discovery: An LSA alum looks back on how she found fulfillment in an unlikely place
- Three science alums, three very different career journeys
- Career fairs: an opportunity to explore, connect, and practice
- What is ‘career exploration’—and why does it matter?
- Three alums, three identities, three incredibly diverse career paths
- Internships: A way to trying on different careers for size
- An inside look into career coaching
- Where will your LSA degree take you?
- Waste not, want not
- 2022 LSA Internship Fair
- All Events
For liberal arts students, exploring career options earlier on in their college years (first and second year) is instrumental in not only refining academic interests and identifying basic career planning steps but it also helps students form a clearer vision of the future. Opportunities for career exploration, like those provided through the LSA Opportunity Hub, support liberal arts students by bridging the gap between classroom learning and careers in tangible ways. Examples include smart goal-setting and action planning with the support of a career coach, completing internships and job shadowing, participating in networking events, and so much more.
For recent LSA grad Erin Tolar, this was no exception. She maps out her personal journey, from first-year student to incoming securities analyst at the world’s leading investment banking and securities firm, Goldman Sachs.
“Coming into college,” she says, “I knew that I wanted to do something in the business world. But I wasn’t sure what.”
When asked to identify the experiences that had the biggest impact on her career exploration, she recalls the first ever economics course she took.
“Economics is very theory-based; there aren’t right or wrongs or room for memorization. You have to look at the world and explain why things are the way they are. It allows you to think non-linearly and draw meaningful conclusions. This is why I fell in love with economics and chose it as my major,” Erin shares.
Erin is not alone; discovering a keen interest or passion for a particular subject early on during a student’s formative years at college is salient to a lot of LSA students’ experiences. In one-on-one discussions with Opportunity Hub coaches, students have shared how they entered college with a predetermined plan to pursue the pre-med track, only to discover their love for statistics, anthropology, or a subject they hadn’t had exposure to. These moments of thoughtful discovery have often been attributed to the liberal arts and sciences; a liberal arts degree allows students a taste of diverse career possibilities and encourages them to change trajectory accordingly.
In describing the value of the liberal arts in her own words, Erin states:
The second pivotal moment in Erin’s exploratory journey was the summer accounting internship she completed after her first year. While reflecting on that experience, she remarks on what she liked and disliked about that role.
“I enjoyed the quantitative aspect of the role but the office was too quiet. I didn’t get the chance to regularly communicate with my colleagues so I started feeling a bit lonely and disconnected. Plus, the work pace was slow so the days went by slowly. Coming out of that, I knew I wanted to work somewhere more high-energy and fast-paced,” she says.
Then after her sophomore year, Erin secured a second summer internship in sales.
“I really liked working with clients and enjoyed the relationship-building aspect. But it lacked the quantitative work I had come to enjoy in my last internship. I realized I needed to find a markets-related internship that allowed me to keep up with the world and do work that was relevant to what was happening in real time,” she says.
Which led her to the third pivotal moment: networking with LSA alums in sales and trading. Through her connections, she was able to source an internship with Goldman Sachs in Manhattan, a role that helped her understand how seemingly normal happenings, like a handshake in Washington or a small-scale policy change, can impact global markets and the daily movement of financial assets.
It’s clear why internships are such powerful vehicles for not only career exploration but self exploration too. With direct access to the working world, emerging young professionals like Erin can more easily assess what they have an affinity for and how they can make inroads into a certain field or profession.
“At Goldman Sachs, I worked a ton but every hour that went by was fun and exciting. The best part about it was that everyday was different — not a day went by where I wasn’t learning something new about financial assets and making pitches or meeting new professionals to interview and job shadow. It was a mentally stimulating, team environment,” she says.
Erin also shares the high-impact opportunities she leveraged during her time at UM such as the semester she spent studying abroad in Sydney, Australia; being an active member of Greek life; the student organizations she participated in such as Relay for Life and the fundraising events she spearheaded on behalf of the American Cancer Society; and the hours she spent tutoring and mentoring low-income students in Detroit’s inner city.
“My time at LSA was a very big learning experience. I would never have thought I would have grown or matured this much. Michigan introduced me to my lifelong best friends and provided much-needed access to such a diverse student body and countless events. Coming to UM was the best decision I ever made,” she says.
When asked what specific recruiting or networking advice she would share with students interested in pursuing a role in finance, Erin attributed her career readiness to two things: internships and networking with LSA alums.
There are many lessons we can learn from Erin’s experience. For one, don’t let doubt or discomfort be a roadblock when reaching out to an alum or other professional connection, especially when the opportunity presents itself. There’s also no need to show you know absolutely everything about the role or the industry. Simply relaying your excitement, willingness to learn, and resourcefulness is adequate. If they don’t respond, don’t take it personally. Be persistent in following up, ask for advice, and keep them informed of the outcomes. There’s nothing a committed alum appreciates more than knowing their advice made an enduring impact.
Ultimately, putting in the time and effort into early career exploration such as intensifying existing bonds with LSA alums, will eventually pay off—in dividends.