My name is Soon Ho Kwon and I’m from South Korea, but studied business and accounting at Washington & Lee University. Now that I’m enrolled in UVA’s M.S. in Accounting (MSA) Program, I am both a Brand Ambassador and Graduate Assistant (GA) for the Graduate Marketing & Recruiting Office. I wish to share my experience working during graduate school from an international student’s perspective.
Because of my family’s financial situation, I needed a scholarship to attend graduate school to help pay for tuition. Fortunately, the University of Virginia generously provided me with a departmental scholarship and encouraged me to apply for a work-study position. Over the summer before the program started, the Graduate Marketing & Recruiting Office announced two job opportunities for MSA students to work as a Brand Ambassador or GA. Both positions were posted on Handshake (UVA’s job portal).
To assist my family as much as possible, I applied for both positions. I was fortunate to get an offer to work as a Brand Ambassador within the first two weeks of the program, but was initially rejected for the GA position. As a Brand Ambassador, my job is to help build connections with prospective students and host in-person and virtual recruiting events. I also answer questions about the program and talk about my experience so far through email and phone calls with applicants. Since the MSA Program recently received STEM designation, I have been contacted by numerous international students who are interested in the program and the recruiting process.
A few weeks into the program, I was informed that there was an opening for the GA position after all and was offered the job. I had to think about whether I could add another commitment with my course load, job search, and working as a Brand Ambassador, but in the end, I accepted the offer. As a GA, I help research and gather information about target schools and help update contact lists. The office understands how busy we are, and everyone cares about the students’ success in the program. My hours are flexible and built around my class schedule, and I am also able to take projects home and work on them over the weekend.
I am truly enjoying my Brand Ambassador and GA roles. I am honored to be a part of the talented and fantastic McIntire community and am happy to give back to the program and School and help recruit next year’s class.