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Undergrad internship leads to digital marketing position for St. Ed’s grad

Lisa Siahaan

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I’ve always been ambitious in everything I do. I believe this has to do with the strong female role models I grew up with. My grandmother took care of the last three children on her own after my grandfather passed away. They lived in a small island in Borneo where opportunities were sparse. Yet, with very little she managed to raise the three children successfully.

My mom was the first child in the family to study abroad in the U.S. She got her bachelor’s degree in geology and worked in the male-dominated oil and gas industry. Not long ago, she became the first female VP in exploration for the national oil company of my home country, Malaysia. I am very fortunate to have both my mom and dad who have been the motivation for me to work hard and do my best.

But as I approached my last few months at St. Edward’s University, I struggled to figure out the next chapter of my life. I was conflicted between going to graduate school and finding a job to build my resume. And even if I decided to work, I was uncertain as to what industry to go into or if I could ever get a job offer.

So in May 2016 I graduated from St. Edward’s with a bachelor’s degree in international business and applied to almost every job and internship program I could find online since I figured I had nothing to lose.

I had a great experience at St. Edward’s because of all the amazing professors and all the friends I made along the way. I enjoyed the small size of classes because it allowed me to get to know my professors and peers better.

Some of my professors prepared me very well for the work life. They always had high expectations of me and pushed me to do my very best. They also suggested that I do extracurriculars related to the classes I took to meet others and that I get tutoring help in classes I struggled with.

From my experience at St. Edwards, I realized that I perform best by collaborating and working with others, because I thrive in an environment where I can contribute and get different perspectives. I did not realize it then, but this was something valuable I was later able to bring to my internship. 

As I thought about what to do after graduation, I reflected on the technology that surrounded me as I was growing up. I realized then that I wanted to be part of an industry or company that allowed me not only to experience technology but also to contribute toward innovation.

I sought my mom’s advice on jobs that would offer me these opportunities. I followed up within my network of friends and family to help me in my search for the right opportunities. Within three to four weeks, I heard back from a few of the companies I applied to.

I did some quick research on the industry and the companies in question as part of my interview preparation. This effort paid off, as I landed an internship at a large healthcare company in New York as well as a marketing internship at Halliburton in Houston. I chose the latter, working a position in the software division of Halliburton that focuses on geoscience and cloud technology for oil and gas companies.

One of the reasons I chose this opportunity is its global presence and recognition. I also felt compelled to follow in my parent’s footsteps—both of whom work in the oil and gas industry. 

I interned with Halliburton from the end of May until September 2016. I was the only intern out of 30 students who was subsequently offered a contract position after the internship program, and I still continue to work with the company.

A useful tip I learned during my internship and work experience is that it is really important to grow your network. I had a great opportunity to attend an oil and gas conference that allowed me to grow my network and meet a lot of wonderful people who have been very helpful in my personal and professional development.

Another useful tip is to not be afraid to ask your seniors or bosses to be your mentors. Don’t be shy to learn from them. Figure out who and what inspires you. For instance, my mom is one of my valuable mentors.

Having a mentor is great to help boost your confidence and keep you on track in terms of your career plan, especially if you feel a bit uncertain as I initially did. Every so often, I check in with my mentors for advice and help with my personal and career growth.

I am now a digital marketing analyst for Halliburton. Thanks to my mentors, I get to take part in a big generational shift that will push exploration and production companies to quickly adapt to new technology. I am working on various projects, from creative real-time automated analytics for the company’s marketing activities to event management, as well as creating mobile apps as part of this shift.

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Undergrad internship leads to digital marketing position for St. Ed’s grad