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  • Writer's pictureJessica Yuan

Turning Adversity Into Opportunity

Authors: Lubna Naqvi, Binbin Xia, Jessica Yuan, Agrima Saran (Aug.28, 2020)

The year 2020 has been full of challenges, especially for international students. Covid-19 has drastically changed the educational landscape for millions of international students around the world. They are facing a unique set of challenges like the many sudden changes, along with the chronic stress of the pandemic. As we continue to assess and reflect on this new reality, self-management and staying positive are a valuable tool for international students to reflect on new opportunities. No one ever got anything extraordinary done without initiating or accepting a challenge.

Students' needs are calling! As a newly founded student club at Santa Clara University, LSBISA (Leavey School of Business International Student Association) finds the necessity to deliver the positive energies and provide the opportunity for sharing and learning.

Our Speakers and Moderators

On August 5th, 2020, four distinguished speakers from top companies in the Bay Area came together for a virtual event to share their experience and personal stories about how they got through difficult times and motivated themselves to make an impact as international students. Our panelists delivered an inspiring and insightful session about “Turning Adversity Into Opportunity”. We are so grateful for our panelists' generous support and kind help:

Vasu Kadambi: Sr. IT Executive, Dean’s Executive Professor, at Santa Clara University

Indhu Venkatesh: Project Manager, Audit & Analytics at Atlassian

Ankita Jain: Senior Treasury Analyst at Lam Research

Joe He: Product Manager at Google, Founder of “Big Joe in Silicon valley” (Youtube Channel)

How to Prepare - Networking and Resources Utilization

There are ample resources available for students to apply for jobs like LinkedIn, University’s job portal, alumni referrals, etc. Ankita Jain, Sr Treasury Analyst at Lam Research, recommended focusing on one portal a day for applying to the listed jobs. When applying for a job on LinkedIn, she suggested not just send emails with the job links; one should look for connections who work at the company, take a look at their educational background, where they come from, find something in common and initiate a conversation. Even when sending emails to referrals, the best practice is to include a cover letter in addition to a brief summary of yourself highlighting your skill sets and the reason to apply for the job.

A few other tips shared by Joe Ho, Product Manager at Google, Founder of “Big Joe in Silicon valley” (Youtube Channel), was to find common connections, be amongst the early 25 job applicants, reach out to many people - it's all about the law of averages!

Tips for Job Search with CPT, OPT, and H1B Visa

One should be in close contact with the University’s International Student body to understand how the process works, and most importantly how the timelines translate for CPT and OPT. During the internship, it's imperative to have open communication with the employer and express interest for a full-time position.

Indhu Venkatesh, a recent graduate and a current Project Manager at Atlassian shared her personal experience about how she managed to secure two job offers during the pandemic situation. She emphasized on not getting too worked up about the H1-B process as F-1 Visa gives students three years of OPT. She highlighted that it's more important to concentrate on getting one’s foot in the US workspace and then things will fall into place.

Self-management and Multitasking

According to Prof. Vasu Kadambi, Sr. IT Executive, Dean’s Executive Professor at Santa Clara University, planning and having a regular schedule is a key to multitasking. Students could divide their time with a part-time internship in the first half of the day and the rest of the day could be dedicated to coursework and assignments.

Taking breaks is equally important. For instance, having a day off in the week and ensuring it's spent on leisure activities.

How to Have Fun and Stay Positive

“We are able to do much better things if we are relaxed”, said Joe. From his experience, he shared that one thing that helped him stay motivated was reminding himself of the small progressions he made along the way. Oftentimes, we lose sight of how far we’ve come; how much we’ve improved and achieved. Thus, it's important to look back and give a pat on your back for the progress so far. He added, no doubt, we are in a tough situation, however, we are not the only ones.

An important thing to realize is that every succeeding or every generation before us has experienced the same thing and have eventually come out of it and have succeeded.

So the key point is, yes, it may be difficult now, but one can find a way to get over it and thus be successful, just like everyone else did before us.

Towards the end, our panelists shared some great thoughts to sail us through this challenging phase. Being a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, Indhu stated that it can help you to create an image in your head of everything you want out of life. Plus, it tells the universe what it is you would like to attract in your life. She highly encouraged us to incorporate it into our lives. While success also requires consistent work and definitive action, it's empowering to realize that every positive thought is actually moving you forward.

Ankita recalled a moment where at the start of her job search process, she was given this advice which she still stands by is to not lose hope, put your best foot forward and see where it takes you, embrace the process and just walk through it.

Finally, Prof. Kadambi concluded the session by stating that the best thing is to tell yourself - these difficulties will pass, and it is just a temporary phase. We all are going through it, and we will get over it. Know that we will have the light at the end of the tunnel, and will succeed.

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