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Chris Jenkins Shares how his Career Began at ILR

May 2022 marks seven years since I graduated from Cornell’s ILR School. Looking back, it’s incredible to think of how much my plans changed during my four years.

Similar to many other ILRies, I came to Cornell with a purpose – to learn a lot, meet incredibly smart people, and to set myself up for success in the future. I had it all mapped out, or so I thought. I planned to complete ILR and go work for a prestigious company, but every year I learned new things and realized there are so many paths I could take.

As I began to execute my long-term plan, I was fortunate to receive opportunities like externships with JP Morgan and Capital One and internships with the MTA, Morgan Stanley, and Ernst & Young (EY). I am thankful for each of these opportunities because they provided exposure to three different career paths.

By junior year, my long-term plan had completely shifted and I now sought opportunities within finance and consulting. The internship with EY’s financial services consulting division helped me realize that consulting was my thing. I loved solving problems, serving clients, and I enjoyed the constant challenge. When I returned to campus as a senior with a full-time offer, I took courses that would help me thrive in the field, like Business Strategy and Essential Desktop Applications.

My three years at EY provided me with skills to problem-solve, but I wanted a different experience. I joined General Assembly as a Client Success Manager to gain new consulting skills. For two years, I worked with a number of clients including Adobe and P&G. Given all of the knowledge I gained about this field, I was offered a position at Amazon Web Services to be a Program Manager and I started here in the summer of 2021.

Reflecting over the past 7 years post-graduation has been insightful. My ILR journey taught me that my plans can be fluid and that I can try new things. It also highlighted my strengths that are with me to this day: problem-solving, intellectual curiosity and my love for interacting with people.

ILR is a special place for so many reasons and I encourage you to explore all of your interests while you’re on the hill. Your “plans” may change during your four years, but your time there will show you that who you can become and the impact you can have on the world are limitless.