Over this past semester, I got the unique opportunity to work at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, which is about 30 minutes away from campus. I was brought on as a Financial Analyst, aiding the Marketing and Advertising Finance Department to perform some data entry and analysis on high-profile movies to identify areas where the studios can explore cost-saving measures. Not only was I exposed to real data that a company was dealing with, but I worked with different levels of management – through the programs that the studio offers, I attended a talk with the CTO of Slack in discussion about the future of the tech industry. I was also invited to attend the celebration party for the opening of Black Panther, and heard from Ryan Coogler, USC alum and director of the film. Both of these experiences are examples of unique opportunities and perks you get working for great firms!
I will say that working 20 hours a week while trying to balance classes, coursework, student organizations, and social life took some getting used to, but I have definitely seen personal and professional growth from my time at Disney and having to adapt to a school-work lifestyle. You may be wondering how I was able to get this job, and my case shows how important developing a network in school is. This past summer I was interning in Taipei, Taiwan through the Global Fellows Program sponsored by the USC Career Center (it's a great program, you should definitely check it out), but one of the other Fellows will be interning at Disney in their AFRP (Accounting & Finance Rotation Program) connected me with the hiring manager for this project. If it wasn't for meeting Mounir in Taipei, I would have never gotten this opportunity, and it proves how strong the Trojan Family is! All in all, getting internships throughout your college career will not only connect what you are learning into the workplace, but you will also become a more polished professional and have more talking points in your toolkit to develop your career. A career is a series of stepping stones, so just view it as such – good or bad, experiences are experiences nonetheless, and will propel you forward to realizing what you want to do in the future.