Hi everyone! My name is Allison, and I’m a rising senior majoring in economics and minoring in marketing. I’m always hesitant to say where I’m from because I never know what to say but I have lived in Seoul, South Korea for the first 7 years of my life, in Orange County, California for the next 4, back to Korea, and then moved to Massachusetts for boarding school and have been here ever since. I like to think that I’m a combination of all those three places.
One of my very costly passions is traveling, which is one of the reasons I’m so excited to be a part of Tech Trek West. I spent last summer in Paris to do a research class and then studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa for a semester last year. Talk about an interesting city. If world countries were people, South Africa would be an adolescent growing through the confusing but crucial development stages. As a BRICS country, its economy and technology is industrializing and growing so rapidly yet in such a fragmented way. You could visit a store on the street that had no cashier or credit card machine or digital tracking system for their data and then next door would be a store that accepted Bitcoin.
I spent this summer here in Boston, interning in risk management strategy and analytics at Citizens Bank. (Sorry, no interesting pictures to insert this time around–it’s just mainly me sitting at my desk for the whole day) It has certainly been an interesting and revealing experience, pretty different from what I expected. The upsides were that I really improved my Excel, SAS, SQL, and R abilities because about 80% of my job is data analysis. I got to meet a lot of new people and learn exactly how the bank operates. I learned how to communicate well. That last one might sound vague, but the ways you express yourself and talk to people matter way more than one would think. Knowing how to explain difficult concepts or the steps to a huge project to someone on a different team or knowing even how to writing emails efficiently have all been crucial learning lessons for me. The downside: I don’t know if I’m super passionate about the work I’m doing or the team I’m on. Still searching for that elusive dream job. But, if I’ve learned anything, it’s that that is never going to be a simplistic process that you can plan.
If you had told me two years ago that I would be enrolled in a course that would study and visit major tech companies, I would not have believed it. I came into college with a full-fledged plan to study political science and philosophy and go straight to law school. I didn’t even know that BC had an undergraduate business school. However, after two years, my desires and goals in what I wanted to do and how I wanted to impact the world switched. I’ve always been fascinated by tech just because of its disruptive reach in everything. It’ll shift how human capital is allocated and affect marketing schemes and it’ll also be really interesting to see how laws or morality/ethics apply behind these technological transformations as well. I’m particularly interested in how the tech industry is changing landscapes for healthcare, retail, and the public sector. I mean, I honestly think the government kind of needs it—when I interned at the MA state house, everything in that office was so bureaucratic and outdated. I oversaw the small business development department and for anyone who wanted to apply for a small business, you had to literally fill out paper applications for some of the administrative agencies that were involved. Paper applications and data also got lost or mishandled a lot, which just meant that there was nothing we could do about it.
I have heard a great deal of praise for Tech Trek. I currently work with three people who went on the trip in the spring and they have said that it has been absolutely life-changing. It feels like the academic version of Kairos, where people go and they come back as transformed, enlightened people. So, my expectations can only be high for this opportunity, but I can’t really say exactly what they are. I expect to be learning at all times, I expect to be humbled, amazed, thrown out of my comfort zone. I expect to form a few meaningful relationships and have memorable conversations. But honestly, I really do expect to have fun with it. It’s my last year of college (cue panic excitement and emotions) and there is no time to be wasting my sliver of time left on joyless or meaningless experiences!