From Finance to Film
Maggie Yan is a ’22 CSOM student double majoring in Finance & Business Analytics with a minor in Film Studies. She has experience interning as a Biopharma Operations Intern at Pfizer Inc. and as a Marketing, Production and Design Intern with Wheelhouse Creative. Learn more about Maggie’s experience, and how her studies have prepared her for a variety of opportunities from the arts to business.
Some students might be surprised that someone studying finance and business analytics would pursue a creative internship. How did you come to be interested in a Marketing, Production, and Design internship at Wheelhouse Creative in NYC?
In my freshmen year, I was incredibly lost and unsure of what I wanted to do with my interest in the business world and a passion for creativity. Having gone to a film high school in New York City, I knew that I wouldn’t mind continuing my film education. I reached out to Professor Michalczyk, the department chair of Film Studies, for a discussion about my split interests. At the end of our conversation, he put me in touch with a BC alumna, Marilyn Smith, who also pursued a similar path. Marilyn referred me to the internship she did her sophomore year and through her help, I got the internship and went into Manhattan weekly!
What did you learn about working in production, marketing, advertising that you think would be helpful for other interested students to know?
As an intern, one of the hardest things is doing the laborious tedious work. One of the projects I did again and again was writing transcripts for videos so that editors would be able to glance at my write-up and have an easier time slicing up recordings. Some videos, like snippets from Lily Topples of the World, which was featured at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival, were fun to write up transcripts for… while others not as much.
There were also plenty of times I didn’t have a project to work on. Instead of sitting on my phone, I dove through archives and watched past projects completed by Wheelhouse Creative. This initiative really stuck with me during my sophomore year internship with Pfizer, and during the little spare time I had at that internship I’d look through the team’s shared drive and see how past documents and spreadsheets were set up. This helped me to feel prepared when setting up spreadsheets for new projects. Taking this initiative not only helped me learn so much more about the teams I was on at both Wheelhouse and Pfizer, but also allowed me to gain more background knowledge on what my mentors worked on full-time. Equally important, it made me consider more in-depth if it was something I was interested in pursuing too.
What resources at BC helped to shape your interests and career path?
The Shea Center has really defined my career interests. I took Tech Trek East, a 3-credit course with a field study trip to New York City, in the fall of my sophomore year thinking it would be a fun class with insight into really cool big tech and small startup companies thriving in NYC. I didn’t expect to learn so much about my passions, the importance of having basic coding skills, and gained a ton of life advice from BC alumni that we met on the trip. The course not only dove into trending topics in the tech industry such as the impacts of social media, venture capitalism, and blockchain technology, but it also highlighted the future of tech in every industry.
The Shea Center also has many other resources I have taken advantage of, such as attending their Zoom with Entrepreneurs. Over time, I learned how inclusive the Shea Center is to all industries and majors as they focused on shining a light on the entrepreneurial mindset in all of us. I took this approach and adopted it to search for jobs and my career path. I became more comfortable with not being on the traditional finance or film path, but was rather looking to merge the two. Through hearing the testimonies of so many amazing entrepreneurs and accomplished professionals, I was really moved by how different everyone’s paths of success are and learned how their entrepreneurial mindset motivated them to keep pursuing what they knew was right for them.
What advice do you have for students who are considering an internship or career that is outside of the “traditional” opportunities in their major?
In my Organizational Behavior class, taught by Professor Beth Schinoff, I listened to an episode of a TED podcast, “WorkLife with Adam Grant.” The episode titled, “The Perils of Following Your Career Passion” from March of 2019 discussed the differences of following your passions versus pursuing what you’re good at and what “passion” even means. What stood out to me the most was the idea of “dating jobs.” As someone who still barely knows what specific career path I would like to pursue, what has really helped me learn my likes and dislikes was trying out different part-time opportunities in different industries. Most students will pursue opportunities in their career path to only end up closing themselves off to other ways their interests and skills can be applied while trying to fit a mold. Instead I have found great enjoyment trying out different roles in different industries and growing my network in different ways as a result.
Part-time opportunities throughout the year, paid, unpaid, or student club involvement, will bring a ton of unexpected understandings about your passions and interests. Since college I have worked multiple roles across the film, news, education, biopharmaceutics, sports analytics, social media, and even higher-education industries. Each and every experience allowed me to see what I really loved doing and what I wanted to avoid in my career. Through these really varied experiences, I learned that merging critical thinking and creative analysis is my greatest interest and I plan to explore this passion more in-depth as I choose classes and pursue jobs. Get to know yourself more by dating jobs at school and during breaks — even a 4-week internship can teach you a lot about who you are. Make your career path yours.
If you’re looking for ways to try out different part-time opportunities like Maggie suggests, consider exploring opportunities in Handshake or scheduling an appointment with a career coach to discuss your search.