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Student Abby Zhang Reflects on How Experiential Learning Has Prepared Her for Life Post-Graduation

Abby (Jiayu) Zhang

Abby Zhang is a fourth-year Communication Studies major who embraced every experience and opportunity Northeastern had to offer. Abby was drawn to Northeastern because of the six month co-op program and the diverse community on campus. 

Abby, originally from China, explained, “being an international student is not easy; however, there are 13,000 international students and scholars from 147 different nations across the world at Northeastern. I have had lots of opportunities to meet people from different backgrounds and feel socially included.” 

Co-op panel for Business majors.

Abby had two wonderful co-op experiences that not only enriched her learning, but were instrumental in establishing positive habits for both the classroom and workplace. After the completion of both co-ops, she has a better understanding of what she wants to pursue after graduation. Her first co-op was at Wayfair as a B2B email marketing analyst where she learned analytical skills such as SQL and Excel. At Wayfair, she pushed herself out of her comfort zone to learn about new softwares and skills she had not been exposed to previously. 

As a woman, I became braver to take challenges, risks and be more able to deal with unfamiliarity and ambiguity in the workplace.

Her second co-op was at Schneider Electric working in the global marketing department. There, she learned valuable lessons about project management and marketing research, managing marketing budgets, and conducting competitive content and social media audits. At the end of her time with Schneider Electric, she was extended to be a part-time intern working under the branding team and was recognized by the Naming Team Director. 

The two coops provided me with valuable experience and most importantly enhanced my ambition, passion, and curiosity in the marketing industry. 

Abby added, “Those two experiences also helped me to set my future goal: being a Female executive in a leading company.” 

With just eight months left until graduation, Abby shared some advice she has learned during her time at Northeastern. Abby wrote, “Communication is a vital skill to obtain. In the workplace, people who have good communication skills can leverage a project more efficiently. So, focusing on developing your soft skills is more important than the hard skills.”