Iris Jong | Economics | English
From: Arcadia, CA; Current: Bay Area
Pomona Days: Class of 2012 | Economics Major / English Minor
Current Employment: Founding Academic Lead @ Concourse Education
- Strategic Projects Specialist @ Year Up
- New Sector Fellow; Senior Analyst, Strategy & Innovation @ Sony Pictures Entertainment
- Business Analyst @ Deloitte Consulting
Intern, Asian American Resource Center
Mentor, Asian American Mentor Program
Design Editor, Extravaganza International Magazine
Communications Assistant, Career Development Center
Strategic Projects Intern, Southern California Edison
Community Organizing Intern, API Equality-LA
My interest in business began in middle school, and while working at the CDO my sophomore year, I came to understand management consulting as a viable post-grad option. It seemed to be the perfect job to launch my career after graduation. Not even my affiliation with the social justice and nonprofit worlds distracted me from my ambitions. I spent the summer prior to my senior year, as well as much of the first two months, studying up on case and behavioral interviews, and managed to land a job at Deloitte Consulting. My plan was to work there for two years, then defect to the social impact sector with my hard-earned business acumen.
1.5 years in, I ended up leaving Deloitte for Sony Pictures. Another 1.5 years after that, I made good on my promise and traded in my socially sanctioned, prestigious seat in corporate (and accompanying hefty salary) for a nonprofit fellowship that pays pittances.
It was the right choice. I liked neither the culture nor lifestyle of my private sector gigs, and ending each day knowing that my labor went toward supplementing the coffers of a giant corporation left me listless and apathetic.
Still, this nonprofit fellowship ends after a year, and for the first time since middle school, I can’t confidently say where I’ll head next. Stay in nonprofit management? Spur on a startup? Get into illustration and comics? Journalism? I’m no longer on a defined path. This uncertainty is novel.
As a seasoned alumni with three whole years of professional experience under my belt, I would say that, when trying to find a career, think about what you might be happy doing for the next, say, 50 years of your life. Other people— and, y’know, society— will love telling you how you ought to spend those 50 years. Maybe their advice is sound. Maybe not. Pay attention to what you actually want.
So here’s what I think I can advise you on with a reasonable degree of authority: whether to go into the private sector when your passion is in social impact; how to reconcile the practicality of a corporate position with a more creative or less lucrative path; how to deal with being in the corporate world when your heart isn’t necessarily in the game. And also, yes, how to get into management consulting. But that advice will come with a healthy spate of disclaimers.