In our new “Behind the CSE Scenes” blog series, we take a closer look at the people, projects and events that make the CSE special. First up, we chat with Associate Director and MSBA Career Coach Sonia Liang to learn more about her background, motivation and advice for students!
1.) How did you get your start in Career Services?
When I graduated from college with a degree in English, a family friend reached out to me and asked for my help to prepare for a bilingual interview with a firm in Singapore. He was interviewing for a senior engineer position. Despite being perfectly qualified, he was terrified and felt intimidated by the interview process. I helped him to do some research on the job, coached him to present himself with confidence, and shared some tips on how to cope with nervous energy. Without experience interviewing for a single job, I was able to help a senior professional score a position at one of the top manufacturers in the industry.
That experience showed me the power of professional communication. Since then, I’ve had multiple roles that involve helping others in effectively communicating themselves. From preparing students for graduate school applications as a study abroad advisor and coaching staff to work with diverse clients as a business development manager to helping aspiring professionals succeed in interviews, I always find myself using creativity and empathy to bring out the best in people.
2.) What motivates and inspires your work?
My students! Everyone has an interesting story. Everyone brings in unique skillsets and perspectives of the world. Seeing the world through others’ experiences, and being able to support students to fulfill their career goals, is the most rewarding part of the job to me.
3.) If you could give students one important piece of advice, what would it be?
Most of the time, your barrier is yourself. Whether you struggle to manage a busy schedule, feel intimidated by the idea of networking, or limit yourself to restricted career options…you are not getting an interview or a job offer because you stand in the way of your own career development. Don’t fixate on what others are doing. Focus on your own challenges. Change your mindset and you will see many possibilities ahead.
4.) What is your favorite CSE resource?
Too many! I am the biggest fan of our weekly newsletters. Our CSE team creates the most engaging and helpful content and delivers it to our students consistently every week. I can’t wait to read through it every Thursday and check out the latest events, resources and career opportunities.
5.) If you could take a class at the International Business School, what would you take?
It would have to be Professor Andy Molinsky’s Global Dexterity class. I enjoyed his book Reach and the content is most relevant to my role as a career coach. It would help me to expand my understanding of professional identities, cultural comfort zones and talent mobility in organizations.
6.) And lastly, what is one thing we should know about you that wouldn’t be on your resume?
I have had so many jobs that would never get on my resume. Many of them are short-term gigs, but they allow me to gain interesting life experience and perspectives. One time, I helped a French chain store to handle its annual business license renewal process. On another occasion, I was a makeup artist for an outdoor photo shoot for a bean bag company based in Australia. The most fun one was when I translated subtitles for a Disney movie and I learned many interjection words for the first time, in both English and Chinese.
Sonia Liang is an Associate Director and MSBA Career Coach at Brandeis International Business School’s Career Strategies and Engagement Center (CSE). To learn more about Sonia and schedule an appointment, visit our Meet the Team page!