Written by: Malavika Sujir. Edited by: Peer Career Coach Zahra Khuwaja

Malavika Sujir- Business Intelligence Data Visualization Developer, Coyote Logistic; Master of Computer Science, Data Analytics- Illinois Tech Class of 2019

As someone whose life underwent a seamless transition from school to undergrad and finally postgrad, I knew I was getting somewhere – but didn’t know where. There is no ‘one size fits all’ formula to this job search situation that we all go through. Never give up on diligence and perseverance. Moving on from the philosophy, my career path has been a pretty interesting journey.

Professionally, I had a 6-month internship experience in my home country and no full-time work experience before I got to the U.S. I kept myself involved with volunteering and actively participated in a couple of organizations that were of interest to me. Prior to pursuing my masters in the U.S, I had attended one semester at UW-Milwaukee as a part of my ‘semester abroad program’ through my undergrad university. Little did I realize then, that the aforesaid snippets would take me a long way. Moving a few steps ahead – after coming to the U.S, I found myself leaving very little to develop myself holistically. Here is where comes the next metric to succeed – ‘be a self-starter and grab every opportunity that comes your way’. I pursued all my courses with full diligence and worked as a community desk assistant in the residence halls. As simple as this may sound, I found some latent development in me.

After two years of toil, fun and interesting discoveries, the time finally came for the Job Hunt. I started applying 10 months before I officially graduated from Illinois Tech. The initial 7 months felt like I was walking in ghost town. I found myself applying, calling and reaching out to people and not getting a response. Aside from that I had a hundred people telling me how tough this process is and particularly for me – because I had minimum full-time experience. Much as all this was disheartening, I heard the sound of two things (1) My mind (2) My heart. I kept calm. I applied to as many places as I could, reached out to as many people as I could and went to as many career fairs as I could. This indeed resulted in one thing – INTERVIEW CALLS!

The next phase was even more challenging – getting through the rounds of interview and proving self-worth. If I were have to represent this as a graph (as a Comp Sci student, I learnt nothing is right until you have your graphs right). This was a sinusoidal wave with flat plateaus here and there. Need I say more?

After each interview, I always did a SWOT analysis on the takeaways of the interview – (1) Scope for improvement (2) My Strengths (3) My weaknesses. This helped me prep for subsequent interviews. As rocky as this path was, it led me to have a series of interviews lined up after I graduated.
I engaged myself in learning something new every day professionally and applied for as many jobs as I could. I took good refreshing breaks in the middle – went for long walks and ensured I was happy. By keeping tabs on my to- do lists, finishing up my online courses, studying for the interviews in line and attending multiple interviews, I found a force (by force – I mean diligence, push, having the right frame of mind) pushing me until the final round of interviews for a couple of companies. After all this, I was offered a full-time job from a couple of companies and I took up the one that I felt matched my interest.

I am 7 months into my job now. I love what I am doing, and I am blessed to be working amongst a set of talented people. I do recall my struggles at some points and tell myself – ‘You have come a long way and you are far better than who you think you are’. I would encourage everyone treading on this path to tell yourselves the same thing. Bask on your past glories, be determined to go behind what you are aiming to be. Push yourself more than you can. Over everything – Believe in yourself.

Alumni Spotlight: Malavika Sujir