The Program in International & Comparative Studies annual Alumni Career panel is an opportunity to showcase how PICS students apply their degrees post-graduation. This year, alums Louis Albertini, Brandon Bond, Alexandra Pejas and Shefali Sood spoke to university students, faculty, and alumni about their experiences.
Louis Albertini is currently working as the Global Content Lead at Firstbase, a startup based in San Francisco that helps founders launch and scale their business. Albertini graduated from the University of Michigan in 2013 with a dual major in Russian & Eastern European Studies and International Studies, with a focus on Economic Development.
Brandon Bond is a second-year graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Public Health where he is pursuing health behavior and health education and social work. He completed his undergraduate degree in 2020 where he double majored in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience, and International Studies with a focus on Global Environment & Health.
Alex Pejas is a Brand Specialist in Beauty at Amazon, based in London, England. Pejas graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020 with B.A. with a dual-major in International Studies: Political Economy and Development, and Economics.
Shefali Sood is a dual MD-MPA Candidate at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 with a dual degree in International Studies, Romance Languages and Literature, and Spanish.
Despite sharing an undergraduate degree through the PICS program, each panelist found a unique path post-graduation. For some graduates, like Brandon Bond, the uncertainty of the pandemic made for uncertain career plans. “I didn’t go into grad school knowing ‘I want to be this,’ so for me it was an opportunity to learn a lot more about what I like, and how to narrow down my interests,” Bond explained. The diverse array of opportunities and flexibility offered by PICS was perfect for a student hungry to learn and explore, Bond described. For him, a graduate program that could offer the same chance for growth was the right step.
On the other end of the spectrum, Albertini found a more stream-lined path out of college. His interest in business, which he pursued in his PICS undergraduate degree, led him to working at SteelCase, based in Chicago. Albertini credited the study abroad program and internships he completed through PICS providing him with the necessary, industry-relevant experience to land his first job. Time spent studying abroad in Russia also provided Albertini with an unexpected advantage in the tech field: language. As Albertini notes, “having language skills… [has] been a huge benefit just because I can speak in [the investors’] native language.”
PICS, too, has much to offer for even non-traditional career paths. For Pejas, the interdisciplinary nature of PICS and globally oriented education prepared her to adapt to any role or situation. While she didn’t expect to find herself working in a corporate role, her degree helped Pejas succeed even in an unfamiliar environment.
For others, like Shefali Sood, PICS provided an invaluable opportunity to grow as an individual and find out who she wants to be. “PICS really helped me figure out my values and my priorities,” Sood said, and importantly, “what kind of doctor I wanted to be.”
From future doctors, to academics, to corporate professionals and the exciting world of start-ups, the versatility of PICS makes it an ideal program for students from all backgrounds and interests. To learn more about the PICS program and alumni, check the Alumni Spotlight on the PICS website.