For international students, winning a coveted US internship or job offer is a challenge that sometimes seems impossible.
Recent MS in Information Systems graduate Parag Ravka is just one example of how it is possible to solidify that elusive full-time job offer. His determination along with the opportunities available at the CU Denver Business School were his keys to success.
Hailing from the central part of India, Ravka came to the Business School with a computer science undergraduate degree and three years of experience in working in the business intelligence and information technology fields.
“I decided a master’s degree from the US would be a perfect career move for me,” Ravka reflected. “I chose CU Denver because of its course curriculum and the overall reputation of the university.”
Arriving in the ‘next Silicon Valley’
When Ravka moved 8,000 miles away from home, he knew exactly where he wanted to land. “Denver is becoming a prime location for jobs in the tech industry. It’s even been said that Denver might be the next Silicon Valley,” he said.
“Denver is becoming a prime location for jobs in the tech industry.”- Parag Ravka
As one of the nation’s top public urban research institutions with a coveted location in the heart of downtown, CU Denver has easy access to top companies. That proximity was high on Ravka’s list of reasons why he chose CU Denver. He knew he would have a way to start making important connections. “There isn’t a better combination available. I can pursue my passion and have close access to opportunities in my industry.”
“There isn’t a better combination available. I can pursue my passion and have close access to opportunities in my industry.”– Parag Ravka
Honing new skills and leveraging tools
The MS in Information Systems curriculum sharpened Ravka’s skill set, particularly in data warehousing, computing, and statistics for business analytics.
“I enjoyed my classes here, and learned new skills including R programming and statistical concepts,” he said. “I talked about these skills during interviews for my internships and full-time positions.”
The faculty and Business Career Connections (BCC) office also provided valuable insight. “My professor had immense knowledge and really helped me understand the subject,” he shared.
Stephanie Sindt, BCC career advisor, also played a pivotal role. She strategized his career plan, including updating his resume, working with him on interviewing, explaining best practices for networking events, and teaching him how to navigate career fairs.
His hard work and planning paid off when Ravka not only received an internship offer last summer at Newmont Mining, a Fortune 500 company, but also a full-time job offer as a data analyst with Computershare before graduation.
How it all came together: dedication to the plan
For most students, a networking plan might be as simple as a Facebook list of events to attend. Ravka, on the other hand, went above and beyond when planning his networking events.
He maintained an excel spreadsheet regarding his plan for each month, complete with details for companies to research, list of skills to learn, meetings to attend, informational interviews to schedule, and people he want to connect with.
Ravka built a strategy and worked hard to stick to it. He focused on attending as many technical events as he could find, as well as the career fairs hosted by the BCC. While international students aren’t permitted to work off campus because of visa restrictions, Ravka was allowed to intern at Newmont because he was receiving credit towards his degree for the job.
Flash forward to fall semester where Ravka met a member of his current Computershare team at an event. There, he learned of the job he now holds and was quick to apply. He took advantage of having only one class in his final semester, which allowed him to accept the job offer and work full-time before graduating in May.
Advice from one international student to another
Ravka’s biggest piece of advice for international students would be to step out of their comfort zones. There’s an incredible amount of diversity in Denver, and sometimes students are reluctant to interact with others of different backgrounds.
“Go out of your way and start interacting with local communities, so you can better understand the American work culture. These challenges and hurdles move you out of your comfort zone and bring out the best in you,” he advised.
“Go out of your way and start interacting with local communities, so you can better understand the American work culture.”- Parag Ravka
For all students, broadening their personal network is invaluable. “Find people ready to guide you, or just go out and make friends,” he commented. “Enjoying the process is just as important as the process itself.”
A bright future ahead
“I am really excited about moving forward from this stage of my life,” Ravka said. “The Business School has been very welcoming right from day one, and I will miss being a student here. It has definitely made me a better person.”
In his data analyst role at Computershare, he is responsible for data mining, cleaning, and manipulation through R programming, developing and testing predictive models, and writing SQL and PL/SQL queries based on business requirements.
Excited about his next chapter, Ravka looks forward to continuing to grow in his industry and share what he’s learned with the community. He hopes to move from analyst to senior engineer to management, with an ultimate goal of becoming a chief technology officer.
“The Business School has been very welcoming right from day one, and I will miss being a student here. It has definitely made me a better person.”- Parag Ravka