In a small classroom setting at Auburn, there is usually an average of 15 students. Mary Margaret Williams graduated high school in 2008, with 16 classmates in her hometown of Luverne, Ala. Williams moved to Auburn nervous about all the traffic she would have to learn to cope with and the excitement of meeting so many new people. Her freshman year, she had no idea she would graduate from Auburn four years later with a degree in finance and a job waiting for her in Birmingham, Ala.
Find more videos like this on Auburn Family
“I went to college with the intent of graduating in four years, getting a job and that’s it,” said Williams.
Before she made the big move to Birmingham, Williams travelled to London with the college of business for an eight-week intern program.
“It was my first time to leave the United States. I never thought I would go live in another country or that my parents would let me,” said Williams.
Williams gained confidence and great communication skills in addition to learning and experiencing what real financial work is like. She found these new skills beneficial during interviews and the job hunt she began shortly after returning from her trip.
“My London experience gave me something to talk about with potential employers. They were always so interested in hearing about my internship and I feel that it set me apart from others,” said Williams.
Williams thanks the Office of Professional and Career Development Center for the aid they provided during her job search and interview process. The office provides seminars, workshops and classes to help prepare students for this nerve-racking period of their college lives. According to Williams, “Finance Week” was the best opportunity provided by the office.
“OPCD gets several different companies to come set up booths in Lowder for a few days. Students can go to whichever ones they like to pass out their resumes and get a chance to talk to the employers in person,” said Williams.
Approaching and meeting complete strangers would have scared Williams her freshman year. Since she came from a little town, Williams did not know many people and had very few networks.
“You can never know too many people, and you never know who can help you one day down the road. I only knew about three or four people when I first came to Auburn as a freshman, but over the past four years I have met so many wonderful people,” said Williams.
The opportunities, challenges and experiences she took advantage of during her time at Auburn opened multitudes of doors for her. She admits that opening up and talking to strangers has never been her strong suit, but she has learned the importance and benefits of having good communication skills.
“Networking is huge and people talk, so making a good first impression on potential employers and interviewing with as many companies as you can is a great thing to do. Auburn has taught me to work hard and to keep the end goal in mind. I had wonderful professors who helped me and encouraged me to put myself out there,” said Williams.