Aastha from India studied at Utah Global, the first-year program for international students at the University of Utah, then pursued a double major in finance and information systems. After graduation, she was hired for a full-time position at one of the world’s leading investment banking firms, Goldman Sachs.
Read on to learn more about Aastha’s experience at the University of Utah and her journey to employment at Goldman Sachs.
Aastha’s Journey to Utah Global
Aastha always wanted to study abroad and applied to many universities in Australia, Canada, and the US. While she was in the process of applying, Shorelight helped Aastha obtain a partial scholarship for her first year at Utah Global, which was a big deciding factor in which university she would choose. As an international student, she said that the process of applying for a scholarship was usually quite challenging, but the Utah Global team supported her through it. Later in her academic journey, she would get the opportunity for a full scholarship.
The University of Utah is ranked #105 in National Universities by U.S. News & World Report and provides top-ranked accounting and finance courses — two tracks that Aastha was specifically hoping to pursue. At the time she was applying, Aastha was just out of high school, and still undecided on the specific course she wanted to take. Seeing what the University of Utah’s School of Business offered made her feel she would get all the academic support and resources she needed to complete her degree successfully.
“I was happy the business school was providing those courses to [me],” she said.
Utah Global Supports International Students
Aastha was very grateful for the support the Utah Global team provided, especially in completing her university application. While she was still in India, they offered assistance with administrative tasks, such as scholarship application, visa documentation, and visa payments. They connected her with a visa counselor who prepped her for the visa interview, guided her in filling out paperwork, and kept her well-informed about the next steps.
I’ve never done [the applications] before, and it was kind of an overwhelming process, [but] the counselors made it easy. I don’t know if I would have been able to do that alone. These are counselors who were a really big help to me.” — Aastha, University of Utah alum, now at Goldman Sachs
Once Aastha arrived in the US, Utah Global made sure she was picked up at the airport, her dorm was ready for move-in, and that she had essential items like a toothbrush, shampoo, and blankets upon arriving. During her time on campus as an international student with no family nearby, Aastha leaned on the Utah Global team for support. She kept in close contact, even after finishing the first-year program.
“[Because] I come from a different education system, and the US education system is completely different, they were a great help to figure out my classes,” she said. The Utah Global team guided her in determining which classes she needed to take, figuring out her schedule, how to use CIS (Campus Information System), registering for classes, paying her tuition, and more.
Aastha specifically credited her academic advisor, Lauren, for her support throughout her journey at the University of Utah. “[From] day one until I graduated, she was always there for me,” she said. Lauren guided Aastha in filling out her international student paperwork, kept her informed about how many classes she needed to take, and ensured Aastha had all the academic resources and support she needed in order to maintain her grade point average (GPA).
Finding Her Way to Goldman Sachs
Aastha started as an intern before beginning her full-time position at Goldman Sachs. She credits the advice, application assistance, and preparation tips offered at the David Eccles School of Business career center, where she could communicate with career coaches about her future plans, as instrumental to her getting that initial internship.
Career advisers begin with a basic evaluation of your interests, the major you are studying, preferred jobs, and the industries where you may want to pursue a career.
“The process was basically you meet your career coach, they ask basic questions, try to understand your interests, and then give you a roadmap,” Aastha said.
For example, a career coach suggests some internships to apply for, helps students build their resume and CV, and advises them on building a LinkedIn profile. Aastha recalled how they would go over her documents and profile repeatedly, peer reviewing them, and working through small details like punctuation.
“[The career coach] was amazing. [She] gave me great feedback, and I was able to make a professional resume, and I was accepted by Goldman Sachs,” Aastha said. “[A standout resume] is required when you apply for internships at big companies like JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, [and] Blackrock.”
Aastha’s Advice for International Students
For the first few months at the University of Utah, Aastha was very homesick. “I am an only child and I have been pampered my whole life by my parents, and now I’m like in this different world, doing everything for myself,” she said.
She advises international students to take their time in the first year to relax and get used to their new environment. “It can be overwhelming to a lot of people, or it could be a new excitement. But I would just [say], the first year is so chill [so] just be out there, meet new people, [and] make great friends.” She also recommends getting involved on campus. “That will help you build your personality, get you opportunities, and help you in your resume,” she said.
Speaking about her professional career at Goldman Sachs so far, Aastha said the biggest skill she was able to bring from her University of Utah experience was networking.
“Just be open to interacting with new people and open to learning, and showcase that you’re there and you bring something to the table,” she said.
Thanks to the skills and support she gained during her time at the University of Utah, Aastha was able to land her dream job at Goldman Sachs. With Shorelight’s student support, you, too, can work towards achieving academic and professional success in the US.
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