A More Personal Connection

Coming to UVA, I had a relatively concrete idea of what it was I wanted to do with my life. Sure, I had a few potential career paths in mind, but at least I had controlled my uncertainty relative to my high school days. However, halfway into my second year, things started to become unclear again. For some reason, I felt as though I was making a mistake. At the time, I was intending on majoring in Systems Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. Throughout high school, I always thought that Computer Science would be somewhere in my degree. However, as the semester progressed, I accepted the fact that I was better in other fields, where my mind worked more naturally, more analytically.

Rapidly, I started researching alternatives to take over the newly vacated spot on my schedule. Naturally, when facing any mild discomfort in my life, I called my mother for advice. And so we talked about my recent aspiration to do what I was good at, not what I thought I would be good at. Eventually, she reminded me of my sister’s friend, Carli Sapir, UVA class of ‘15. She graduated with a Civil and Environmental Engineering degree and now works as an analyst for John Laing. My mom went on to tell me how choosing a major does not necessarily define my career path.

Due to yet another lifesaving phone call to mom, I was able to broaden my scope. I began looking at a larger range of career paths that integrates the skills developed as a Systems Engineer. Eventually, I discovered investment banking and venture capital. Typically, the McIntire School of Commerce would yield students in this field, however, further research suggests that there is a high demand for engineering students emerging in the industry. Shortly, after consideration and a meeting with my adviser, I was set on a double major in Economics.

Coming into this project, I was very excited to reach out to people of various fields including Investment Bankers, Venture Capitalists, and Data Scientists. With each, I was curious to see how the addition of an Economics major would be beneficial in their respective industry. After waiting several days with no responses, I remembered a more personal connection. I decided to get in touch with Carli Sapir, somebody who has been in my position before.

Talking with Carli, I realized that there is nothing that can shape my career as well as my own self. Sure, a major will help guide us towards our aspirations, but at the end of the day, it is our own selves that call the shots. Carli explained her time as an intern and how valuable her experience was in deciding what she wanted to do. She spoke to her math background and how it has helped her in her business endeavors. More impressively, she explained how although she was content with each of her jobs, she was constantly in the market, looking for that next step up. Now, working steadily for the 3 years since graduation, she will continue to carve her own path in the work force.