Interview with Alison Kwan: herNetwork BU Alum

by: Kaitlyn Locke

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Alison, who graduated from BU this past May with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in marketing, spent two years of her undergraduate career on the herNetwork eBoard. She worked as VP of Operations her junior year and as VP of Marketing her senior year. Now, Alison is an Account Executive at TMP Worldwide, a digital marketing agency focused on recruitment and employment marketing, where she works directly with clients and media partners to manage their advertising campaigns. We asked Alison to reflect back on her time as a Terrier and to talk about what her transition into the working world has been like.


In what ways did your time at herNetwork help give you a clearer picture of what kind of career you wanted after graduation?

Attending our monthly events, and especially our annual spring conference, definitely gave me a lot of exposure to different industries and careers. I sat in on the agency marketing panel at the spring conference of my senior year, and I loved learning about each panelist’s unique role. They all mentioned how each day was different, and that really appealed to me.


Besides herNetwork, what undergrad experience had the biggest impact on you during your time at BU, personally and/or professionally? Why?

Studying abroad in Shanghai, China had a huge impact on my undergrad experience. I got to experience a completely different culture while being pushed out of my comfort zone. Because I studied abroad during the spring semester of my junior year, I knew that finding an internship to return home to would be very important. It was difficult to interview only via phone and Skype, especially with a 12-hour time difference, but it undoubtedly helped my job search and interview skills. I sent out cold emails to many companies, and then spent a lot of time doing virtual interviews at night. When you interview via phone and Skype, you have to find ways to make your personality and confidence stand out. This experience taught me a lot about perseverance.


What was one surprise you encountered when you transitioned from being a full-time student to a full-time employee in the working world? How did you adjust to this?

Every day is different in the working world, and while you may be working on longer projects, they don’t have the same rigid start and end dates as school projects and exams. Also, the things you work on don’t just affect your grades – they affect real marketing campaigns and are being measured for their success and effectiveness. Overall, it’s great to feel like you’re really able to apply what you’ve learned and practiced in school to real-world projects.

What is the biggest piece of advice you would like to pass on to young, career-oriented women currently at BU?

Definitely think outside the box to find the internship or job that you want, and don’t give up! Don’t be afraid to reach out first to companies or your network – it shows initiative. Also, be open-minded in your job search. No job is going to be 100% perfect, but working with great people makes all the difference. Always be open-minded about what you can learn from each experience!


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