Mi Young recommends to set a career plan earlier on

Mi Young recommends to set a career plan earlier on

1. What is your major and class (year)?

Hi, my name is Mi Young Jeong and I graduated from George Mason University this Spring 2020, also known as the class of COVID-19! 😊 I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Business Analytics minor. I actually started off as a Business Management major, but decided to change my major because I not only love numbers, but also analyzing and making decisions with them.

2. Please give a brief introduction of the company that you will be working for. If applicable, please describe your current job (company/organization) and briefly explain what you do.

The short answer is, I am currently working at an accounting firm in Korea. But here's the full story. I was in Fairfax during my last semester and had an internship at a company called Sikich LLP, a mid-sized accounting firm with offices across different states. I didn't know about this company until I started working there, but I was very impressed with how professional yet considerate my colleagues were, which set the perfect environment for us to learn and grow in. I worked in the tax department and had an opportunity to continue my career there as a full-time tax accountant with visa sponsorship. I really enjoyed being there even though I had to work every Saturday during tax season. At Sikich, I gained organization skills, professional communication skills, and perhaps most importantly, I learned how to file individual tax returns by myself after being there just three months. However, when the pandemic broke out, I had to return to Korea for safety reasons. Alas, I had to discontinue my internship, continue my studies in Korea, and graduate with an online ceremony.

Fortunately, I was able to land a job at a mid-sized accounting firm in Korea. I am part of the international trade consulting department and have been learning new things again. I am so excited to continue growing as a professional!

3. How did you prepare for this job? Please describe the process of the job search and job interviews.

For those who are interested in working abroad, I highly recommend being prepared for the career fair at the Fairfax campus. Despite the differences in opportunities for international students and students with U.S. citizenship, I found that are still many opportunities for international students. The key is knowing how to sell yourself and earnestly going after those opportunities. Never be afraid to reach out for help and network. Fairfax offers several career fairs and Registered Student Organization (RSO) events, so always be alert and ready. This information is usually posted on an app called “Handshake.” Also, you can get your resume reviewed at the Career Center, so take advantage of this resource. As for preparing for job interviews, mock interviews are an option, but I actually built my interview skills by attending several job interviews. This worked for me personally because it allowed me to reflect on my shortcomings and improve.  

4. In what ways did Mason Korea and its education help you get this job or help you get adjusted to it?
- Help from professors, peers or other offices such as Career Development Center
- Experiences such as internships, or other student activities

All my experiences from my four years of university life were valuable. I loved participating in different student activities like being a member of the student council, an accounting tutor, and RSO manager. Also, I was an intern at the main office when I was a sophomore, assisting both the HR manager and professors. I also loved keeping in touch with my professors and staff members from the offices of academic affairs, student affairs, and the Career Development Center. In particular, I keep in touch with Professors Kent Zimmerman and Jenny Lee since I am an accounting major. They have both been very supportive and provided career advice based on real-life experiences.

5. What advice do you have for Mason Korea students? Feel free to share tips on how to get a job or how to spend one’s years at Mason Korea wisely.

First of all, I just want to say that I know how you feel because I was in the same boat as you. When you're a freshman, all you want to do is hang out with friends and put academics on the backburner. But, that's only good for one year! Please start considering your future and at least try to set a plan so that you won’t regret it later. Don't miss out on events that both Mason Korea and GMU Fairfax offer. You may not think much of them, but trust me, they will be worth your time in the long run. Start developing little habits that can transform your life. But, balancing school and life is important, so make wise decisions!