Where They Are Today, You Might Be Tomorrow

Kogod checks in with 2020 graduates one full year after our world shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Left to Right: Gabrielle Williams, Kishori Turner, and Frederick Zaegel

At the end of our spring 2020 semester–when we were in only our second month of life with the novel coronavirus–we spoke with three former Kogod students about how their plans shifted due to the pandemic and where they were headed in the world as newly graduated adults. Now, we’re back, one full trip around the sun later, and we caught up with three more 2020 alums.

As we continue to cope with COVID-19 safety measures, some things have become routine. Zoom meetings are the “local” hangout and meeting space, biodegradable face masks are the hottest new accessories, and most of our 2020 graduates have been navigating the field of business entirely online–many haven’t even met their coworkers in person!

Kogod alums Gabrielle Williams, Kishori Turner, and Frederick Zaegel shared their own post-graduate experiences and some of their plans for the future.

“I secured a job with Fannie Mae back in October 2019 after finishing a summer internship with them,” says Turner, a May 2020 graduate with a degree in business administration and a specialization in marketing and information systems and technology. “I was onboarded remotely in July to the enterprise marketing team as a marketing strategy associate. They’ve made such an incredible effort to make me feel like a valued member of the team, given we are not in person. I did have the opportunity to meet three of my coworkers for a socially-distanced picnic, which was super nice!”

Until Turner and her colleagues are able to safely head back to work at the Fannie Mae DC headquarters, she’ll be living at home in Maryland.

Zaegel also transitioned to his position in July following a summer 2019 internship with the United Bank of Switzerland (UBS). He graduated from Kogod in May 2020 with a degree in finance. “Since starting with UBS, I’ve passed my Series 7 and Series 66 exams, and I’ve been promoted to a full financial advising position,” he says. “My job will be based in New York, New York, once we’re no longer remote. Until then, I’ll be saving money living at home in Missouri.”

Williams graduated in March 2020 with an MBA. She’s currently in Chicago, working as a technical sourcer at Facebook. Unlike Zaegel and Turner, Williams began her position in 2019 and was able to meet and foster relationships with her officemates before the Facebook offices transitioned online. “I’m an extrovert, so some days are more challenging than others,” she says. “I miss being able to bounce ideas off my colleagues in person, and the WiFi is much better in the office!”

Students graduating in the next two months might take notes from Williams, Turner, and Zaegel and utilize Kogod resources to ensure a smooth transition from class to career.

“The Kogod Office of Career Engagement helped me create and format my resume,” says Williams. “The online hub also enhanced my networking skills. Network as much as possible–there are so many brilliant professors, staff, and students at Kogod. You never know who could be referring you to your next role or be your newest colleague.”

Zaegel credits his campus connections and the location of Kogod for the opportunities that gave him the experience necessary to excel in his current role with UBS. “The professor of my first accounting class offered to help students with applications for an internship at the Securities Exchange Commission. I took her up on the offer, and I got the job,” he says. “I had great relationships with my professors, and I was in a city where I was really able to build an impressive resume with unique experiences that I couldn’t have had anywhere else.”

In the future, these three alums each have their eyes set on even more career and character-building goals.

“I plan to head back to school to get a master’s in marketing in the next two-to-three years,” says Turner.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to my travels!” says Williams. “I’m an avid globe-trotter and really miss experiencing new cultures and exploring new places. It’s a big part of my life that affects my productivity and creativity professionally.”

The lease on Zaegel’s New York apartment begins at the end of this month, so he’ll be headed to the big city and into the office soon, sans pajamas.

Best of luck to all of our soon-to-be Kogod graduates, and remember–you’re always a part of the Kogod network. “Keep in touch with your professors, and reach out to alums on LinkedIn!” advises Turner. “Don’t underestimate the power of networking.”