E2 Talk – Interview E2 Alumni: How to maximize your chances of success?

The meaning of success varies from person to person.  For high school students who are going to study abroad, success often means getting accepted into their dream universities, especially those that patch a pathway to their future careers.  

In this video, Johnny, a student from Northwestern University, will have a short discussion with Tony, our CEO, about how to enhance chances of success in college application process and job opportunities.  The conversation highlights the following questions:

  • What was the strategy in the college application process?
  • What are the secrets to enhancing chances of getting recruited after graduation?

Below is the transcript of our interview that has been edited for clarity.


Tony:  How did your parents support you in making decisions?

Johnny: My parents took me to the U.S. to go on college tours.  It was very important for us to understand the culture and the personality of each school.  I tried really hard to convince my parents to let me apply to my favorite school – Northwestern.  Particularly, I had to persuade them that the social aspect matters just as much as the academic aspect does.  However, it was a smart strategy that I decided to enroll in Northwestern – a very good school which not a lot of Vietnamese applicants know.

Tony:  It was very clever of you to intentionally avoid schools that lots of Vietnamese students applied.  Instead, you chose a school that is great but underrepresented to enhance the chances of success. Are there other schools that you think should be on that list?

Johnny:  I can only recommend the business-related schools.  I believe Boston College should be on that list.  It not only has a very different environment but also opens up a lot of opportunities.  Besides, the University of Southern California (USC) is another example.

Tony:  Did your parents recognize the school name – Northwestern, and what were their opinions about the school?

Johnny:  They knew that Northwestern is one of the top institutions in the U.S.  However, at Northwestern, the social life plays a much bigger role than the academic life.  Although there was a lot of disagreement, everything turned out to be fine as they knew that I was heading to a very good school.  Besides, the fact that I’m happy is all that matters.

Tony:  I believe that the quality of the environment is universally getting better across the top 50 schools in the U.S.  In particular, USC is a shining example as they have done a really good job to upgrade their academic standing over the 10 to 20 years.  I think Northeastern is another example of that as well. Northeastern is really good at creating real-world work experience. They have cooperated with a lot of companies to provide students with real-world experience very early on.  It really helps set them apart as one of the best places to prepare for the student’s future career while going to college.

As a matter of fact, the big companies all come to top schools in any specific field to find new recruits for their jobs.  And it’s so much easier when you’re already there. However, I have a small tip: If you’re not going to one of the top recruiting schools, you can still make yourself stand out by going to these schools’ career fairs.  It’s necessary that you find out when they are to show up and drop your résumé there. But you have to be extra proactive. I have some friends who are from smaller schools but did exactly what I just said. The recruiters were so impressed when a specific student from the small school down the street went through that effort to join the career fair.  It showed a lot of organizations.

Johnny:  I have something to add to that.  When I went to recruitment events, the recruiters talked a lot about the types of students who really stood out.  A very common example was students from the smaller schools who took the extra steps to get their names known.

I understand that going to big schools opens up a lot of opportunities.  However, you should bear in mind that it’s not the end of the world if you can’t get into somewhere you really want to.  Just think of it as an opportunity for you to learn and acquire experience.

To be continued…

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