Interview with Wendy Lu '17

Interview by Howie Rhee '04, with contributions by Vivian Chung. Added August 25th, 2015

Tell us about what you studied at Duke and which program you were in?
I’m currently a junior and a statistics major and computer science minor.

Talk about your prior work experience.
Before my summer in Argentina, I worked for a micro-finance NGO in Guatemala with DukeEngage for 2 months and I worked with the operations team at Dangdang.com (one of the biggest e-commerce companies in China) for 2 months. 

What did your recruiting process look like? How many people did you reach out to?
My recruiting process for Sage Corps was quite simple. I submitted the online application and heard back from Matt (the CEO of Sage Corps) in 1-2 weeks. After getting the interview I reached out to a few previous summer fellows and asked them about their experience. They told me to focus on my previous international experience during the interview to demonstrate my ability to work and live in a different country. After getting the offer I reached out to the previous fellows again and one of the tips they gave me was really helpful: definitely look up the companies beforehand and ask to be assigned to the company if there is one that particularly interests you. I asked to go to Properati and luckily I got my first choice.

How did you come up with a list of companies to target?
I was trying to explore as many options as possible because I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do during my sophomore year. I was interested in consulting, data analysis, and spending time abroad in general, so I applied to big consulting firms, e-commerce companies, and several Duke summer programs in spring. In the end my potential choices were working for the operations team of a website under Alibaba group in China, working as a technology analyst at Deutsche Bank in Cary, NC, and working with Sage Corps in Argentina. Since I am always passionate about international experiences, I made my mind to go to Argentina and explore a place where I’ve never been before.

Talk about how you thought about location (city) as it related to recruiting. Did you know where you wanted to end up or were you exploring?
I loved my service learning experience in Guatemala, so I really want to work internationally again. My first choice was London, since I absolutely enjoyed my time studying abroad there my sophomore year. On the other hand, I always thought I would travel in Argentina after I started learning Spanish in high school, though I didn’t think I would actually work there. Matt finally convinced me to put Buenos Aires as my first choice and explore a new place. I was also informed that the start-ups in Buenos Aires have more opportunities for data analysts than those in London, so I believe I made a good choice.

Anything else you'd like to share with Duke students that are doing their own job search?
I think it’s very important to keep an open mind. I never thought I would work for a start up with a focus on real estate in Argentina, but I ended up with a fantastic experience there. As long as the job has a component that is particularly attractive to you, you shouldn’t be afraid to apply for it. I always thought that if I work internationally, I would work for a big corporate, but now I am very confident picturing myself in a startup setting.

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