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Meet The Summer '16 Buenos Aires Cohort

It's Sage Corps' Summer 2016 Pre-Season and we're excited to kick it off by introducing to you 1 out of 8 Sage Corps Cohorts going global in less than 2 months: The Summer '16 Buenos Aires Cohort!

This army of ambitious Fellows is made up of 13 top college students from around the world including the United States, Russia, Trinidad, Nicaragua and Mexico! With an average GPA of 3.5 and a majority all speaking more than 2 languages, this diverse Cohort is more than just "smarts." All 13 Fellows share something very important in common:

They are all hungry to experience the world and are not afraid to take calculated risk. Without further adieu, here they are!

(P.S. Tune in next week to meet the Summer '16 Hong Kong Cohort!)

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Fellow-Follow-Up: Buenos Aires, Winter 2016 Cohort

Can you believe it? Sage Corps’ Winter 2016 Cohort is more than half way through their global internship experience in Buenos Aires (BA)! As a part of Sage Corps' Team back in Chicago, I got the incredible opportunity to lead a 2-day orientation in BA and spend 3 additional weeks with our 7 Fellows at asados (BBQ), networking events and exploring this amazing city. Through my experience I got to witness, first-hand, what it means to become a Sage Corps Fellow. I recently checked in with our Fellows to get their take on living the Sage Corps life. Below you'll find their responses to these three questions:

WHAT IS IT LIKE SO FAR TO WORK AT A STARTUP IN BUENOS AIRES?

WHAT TWO TRAITS ARE NECESSARY TO LIVE & WORK ABROAD?

WHY HAS THIS COHORT CREATED SUCH A STRONG BOND?


You're more than 1/2 way through your internship abroad experience with Sage Corps. What's your take on working at a startup in Buenos Aires thus far? More specifically, what is it like to work at the startup we matched you with?

Omead Sinai (second to last on right side) sitting down to lunch with his team 

Omead Sinai (second to last on right side) sitting down to lunch with his team 

Omead Sinai (University of Michigan Fellow/GoodMeal Intern): "Wow! I still can't believe we're more than half-way though our time here. Working at GoodMeal has taught me so much already. Everyday I'm working on something that I've never done before; analyzing data, contacting customers for feedback, meeting about how to change the product accordingly. It's all so relevant to what I will be doing in consulting and it's honestly surprising that I never learned this in college. The GoodMeal team has been amazing in helping to make my experience great and ensuring that I'm doing work that is valuable to both myself and the company."

 
Olivia Rosen working alongside Wayra AR Business Manager, Karen Mirkin

Olivia Rosen working alongside Wayra AR Business Manager, Karen Mirkin

Olivia Rosen (Dartmouth College/Wayra AR Intern): "From teams taking hour-long lunch breaks on a regular basis, women wearing bright floral rompers, and each and every coworker giving you a kiss and asking you how you are each day - my experience working at Wayra has quickly taught me so much about what “successful office culture” truly means. Far from the traditional, business casual environment I've come to expect, Wayra preaches creativity, no rules, and above all, strong relationships with those around you. While at first I concluded that such an environment would likely result in a less efficient or effective work ethic, I’ve quickly realized that here there exists different paths and metrics of success that are not at all worse, just different."

 

Dylan Jew (WashU/Auth0 Intern): "Working at Auth0 is at the same time both challenging and inspiring. Whether it involves uptime, security best practices, or thorough testing before pushing changes to production, all the work done here is held to the highest standard. Being in this type of environment makes me want to push myself to learn as much as possible and make the most of my time here."

Dylan Jew going over a new project with his team at Auth0

Dylan Jew going over a new project with his team at Auth0


What are 1-2 traits you think are necessary to do what you're doing (i.e. living abroad AND working at a startup)?

Josh Katlin takes in the gorgeous view during a weekend trip to Cajon Del Maipo, Chile

Josh Katlin takes in the gorgeous view during a weekend trip to Cajon Del Maipo, Chile

Tolerance with adaptability - you can’t let the small things bother you and you need to be able to adapt quickly to thrive in uncomfortable situations.
— Adi Makaram (Rice University, Technorides Intern)
Adi Makaram working on Stanford's d.school Design Thinking course during orientation

Adi Makaram working on Stanford's d.school Design Thinking course during orientation

Flexibility - This one is pretty obvious. Be prepared for anything and learn to adjust - the faster you can adjust, the better. The US Embassy emailed you this morning saying there’s a large protest and public transportation may not be working? Find another way to get to work or work from home. Frequent power outages across the city interrupting your work? Learn to save your work, find something you can do without internet, embrace sweating. Things won’t always go your way, but if you’re flexible you’ll become comfortable with uncertainty and you’ll be able to make the best out of your given situation.

Humility - You’re going to make A LOT of mistakes. Maybe you forgot to take out a customer segment from the analysis or you moved the bombilla when you were passed the mate. I feel terribly stupid when I try to speak Spanish and I worry about how I’m perceived, but without practicing I will never learn. By understanding that you won’t always be right, you’ll be more comfortable asking questions or correcting your mistakes.
— Omead Sinai, (University of Michigan, GoodMeals Intern)
Confidence: You will make A TON of mistakes and be oftentimes VERY confused, but where real growth and progress takes place is when you ask for help, try to rephrase that sentence again, and laugh it off. I think not being embarrassed or afraid of the constant flow of unexpected challenges requires continuously practicing and building confidence - which is much much easier said than done.
— Olivia Rosen (Dartmouth College, Wayra AR Intern)
Intellectual curiosity! It would be easy to get in a nice routine here of going to work, sitting at my computer, and coming home. But having “intellectual curiosity” has made the experience so much better for all of us because we are sure to plan events, hang out with locals that we have met etc. Constantly trying to learn new things and take on new experiences has been a key to making the most of my time here.
— Josh Katlin (UTexas at Austin/GoodPeople Intern)
Open mindedness: Trying new things to broaden your experiences. I think it’s this willingness to try new things that all 7 of us seem to have that will prove to be useful in so many situations throughout our lives. It allows us to gain new perspectives. It allows us to try things that we think we might like. I see it as a win-win type of deal because if you try something new and you like it, you can continue to pursue it as your heart desires. Otherwise, you can say for sure that you tried something different and you were able to deduce that it wasn’t for you.
— Paul An (UC Irvine/Technorides Intern)
Josh Katlin & Sierra Lash pose during a Polo match in Argentina

Josh Katlin & Sierra Lash pose during a Polo match in Argentina


I got to witness the fast and strong bond you created with the other 6 Fellows when I was there leading orientation. What do you think it was/is that makes this cohort so close? 

Sierra Lash (University of Michigan/Wideo Intern): "I say this almost every day, but I can't believe how close our cohort is to one another after such a short amount of time. I think that even though a lot of us are in different places in our lives and in our education, being abroad levels the playing field and brings a vulnerability that none of us could avoid that completely brought us together. Being out of our comfort zones and having to explore a new city with each other made our bonds so much stronger. Additionally, I have to give the credit to Sage Corps because I can't believe how like-minded we all are. Everyone is very smart, driven, passionate, and excited to be here and doing this work, but beyond that, we all get along so well outside the networking events. I think these will be friends I will have for a long time, thanks to Sage Corps."

Josh Katlin (UofTexas at Austin, GoodPeople Intern): Our cohort is so close because we all truly have a passion for seeking out new experiences. We all come from different backgrounds, schools, majors - but we all came to Buenos Aires with the same mindset of being adventurous, putting ourselves out there to meet tons of interesting people, and really immersing ourselves in the culture professionally and socially. It's been amazing because we all have different ideas for activities/travels and it has allowed everyone to open up and experience things that we may not have even considered if it wasn't for others in the cohort expressing interest.

Olivia Rosen (Dartmouth College, Wayra AR Intern): While all of the fellows have different academic focuses, geographic backgrounds, and professional experiences, I think what makes us such a close and cohesive group is our like-mindedness when it comes to taking advantage of our experience in Buenos Aires. All of us want to get the most that we can out of our work, the city around us, and unique opportunities, while also enjoying the relaxed, go-with-the-flow energy of BA. Being driven and ambitious, while up for anything, characterizes our group hangouts – on Saturday we found ourselves talking about venture opportunities in LATAM with some Argentine friends while cheering for horses at a derby we accidentally stumbled upon.

Omead Sinai (University of Michigan, GoodMeal Intern): "I love our group! I don't think it's a coincidence that we all get along though. We ended up here because of our similar interests in startups and traveling along with our rigorous academic backgrounds. Therefore, we relate well with each other. I think the Asado at Juan's house made us all really excited to be here and it was so natural to break the ice. We immediately found similarities like mutual friends, hobbies, or experiences that we could bond over. Day two I already knew I had made a great decision by coming to Buenos Aires and joining and Sage Corps."

(APPLICATION DEADLINE: 3/31)

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#SageCorpsFjallraven Photo Contest: WIN A FJALLRAVEN BACKPACK! (Contest End Date: 3/31)

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We love the Swedish outdoor apparel company, Fjallraven’s vision: “making adventure happen since 1960.” Why? Because, like their Founder’s brilliant idea to create a revolutionary backpack frame for long-lasting exploration, Sage Corps was born from one man’s passion to marry innovation and adventure and offer global internship experiences at startups.

Fast forward 56 years, and who knew these two companies would cross paths in Chicago and work together to inspire others to go on adventures around the world?

Starting today (yes, like right now) Sage Corps will be running a unique photo contest on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where you will be entered in to win one of Fjallraven’s timeless backpacks!

P.S. All who participate will receive 10% discount that can ONLY be redeemed at the Chicago based Fjallravel store located in Wicker Park! (This 10% cannot be combined with another promo code or sale item).

Photo Contest Guidelines:

1st PLACE PRIZE: Rucksack No.21 Large Backpack

1st PLACE PRIZE: Rucksack No.21 Large Backpack

CONTEST END DATE: Monday, March 31st

On Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram share a picture of you on your greatest adventure. In 1 sentence (or 140 characters on Twitter) answer the question, “what is one life changing thing you learned along the way?”

To be entered into the contest, you will need to:

  • Use #SageCorpsFjallraven in the post
  • Follow/like Sage Corps on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram
  • Tag 1 friend who you think would want to enter in on the fun!

Here’s a little inside scoop. When we choose the winner, we will be looking for three things:

  1. Creativity. (Is your picture/response unique and well, awesome?)
  2. Inspiration. (WWMPD, i.e. “What would Marco Polo Do?” if he saw your post?)
  3. LIKES & SHARES! (The more friends that like/share your post the better - we'll be keeping track).

 

 

 

 

2nd PLACE PRIZE: A CLASSIC FJALLRAVEN KANKEN BACKPACK

*Everyone who participates in the contest will receive a 10% discount off of any full priced item at Chicago's Fjallraven store, located in Whicker Park! Just show them your post and go to town!**

** The 10% discount cannot be combined with another promo code/sale item and can only be redeemed at the Chicago location!

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#SageCorpsGoals Sheet + 4 Tips To Get You Started

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You’ve seen it before (perhaps it’s even written on your living room pillow): “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” The Sage Corps Team’s translation: It’s time you hold your dreams accountable. To step away from 2015’s “I should have’s” and mark 2016 as a platform for what you can accomplish over the next 5 years.

In this free downloadable goal-sheet we’ve created, you’ll find a place to write down 2 personal and 2 career goals you have for yourself, with an “accomplishment date” for 1, 3 and 5 years from now. Here are some tips that our team at Sage Corps put together to get you started:

1.    Think big.

Whether you consider yourself the next Sheryl Sandberg/Elon Musk or not, adopt “an entrepreneurial mindset” and think big when creating your personal and career goals. Transform “launch my own startup in 2021” into “grow my startup to over 10 people and to over a million dollars in revenue by November 2021.”

  • Get detailed (imagine money and time are just numbers).
  • Create a Google Calendar alert for each “goal deadline.”
  • And remember, you are the risks you take so why not go big?

2. Each goal should inform the next.

Give yourself the permission to think big BUT do so strategically. When you create a career goal 5 years from now, create a goal for next year and in three years that will support it. For example, if one of your personal goals in 5 years is to “become fluent in Spanish by December 2021” than your 1st year goal could be “enroll in Spanish courses at Instituto Cervantes in Chicago by February 2017” and your 3rd year goal could be “book a plane ticket to live abroad in Buenos Aires for 2-5 months by June 2019.”

3. Use active language.

Write this down. [Action verb] + [what/where] + [when] = Goal

Your goals will become more concise and powerful when you start each one with an active verb and end it with a concrete “due date.” Become a surgeon with your words and cut the fat, like “I want to” or “I am going to.” Command your own future.

4. Share. Share. SHARE.

This is probably the most important tip of them all. Share your goals with your micro and macro communities – parents, friends, co-workers, baristas, Facebook friends, Mark Zuckerberg, The Muse! (Seriously, don’t be afraid to tweet at your role-models/favorite publications – you might get a tweet back). By sharing your goals, you are giving each one a breathing pulse and this will make you feel more accountable to achieve them. Lastly, inspire others to do the same. Get vulnerable and share one/two goals or (hell) the entire goal sheet! Also, feel free to share this post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/email/your blog, tag others and use the hashtag #SageCorpsGoals. Ready to get started? Download your free goal-sheet below!

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Share your goals using #SageCorpsGoals!

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Sage Spotlight: President of Intelligentsia Coffee, James McLaughlin

A lot of people thought I was crazy but if you take calculated risks, you can have really rich experiences and those experiences will open doors that you didn’t know existed.
— James McLaughlin, President of Intelligentsia Coffee

Rewind to 2009 and put yourself in James McLaughlin’s "silk-stockings." He was four years into his white shoe firm gig at one of America’s top law firms, Kirkland & Ellis. His wallet was healthy amidst the stock market crash and things were going “as planned.” Only problem - he wasn’t excited about the future. “I worked with great people but was worried, long-term, that this wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

So what filled his void? Trips down to his wife's native home in Taquaritinga do Norte, Brazil where they would spend their time working on her family's coffee farm, Varzea da Onça. "We always talked about making the family farm more than a vacation spot." Now was their chance.

(Minor detail - Besides really enjoying a nice cup of joe, James knew next to nothing about coffee production, let alone running an entire farm...in another country.)

Below, James shares his greatest takeaways from living abroad, advice to his 25-year-old self, and how he approaches the unknown as he embarks on his newest journey as President of Intelligentsia Coffee.

What were your 3 “biggest takeaways” while living abroad?

1. “If you want something, you have to make it happen.”

While running a coffee farm in a developing country, James quickly developed a sense of persistence. “If you’re not motivated, not determined, nothing is going to get done.” This golden nugget of advice is not just for millennials, he says. "It is important for anyone, in any stage of their life.”

2. Take calculated risks.

James' advice to his 25-year-old self? Take more calculated risk earlier in life. "It's easy to get on the ‘hamster wheel of life.’ Take time to explore what else exists in the world. Eventually you may wake up, make a change, and love that you did."

Leaving financial and professional stability in Chicago for a Brazilian coffee farm was, well, risky. “A lot of people thought I was crazy but if you take calculated risks, you can have really rich experiences and those experiences will open doors that you didn't know existed.” In other words, James didn’t cross his fingers and hope for the best. He saved up money, found a place to store his suit and tie and came up with a “worst-case-scenario” plan. And after pulling off the red tape, could he say -

“Had I not said ‘F it’ none of this would have happened.”

3. Master the art of waiting.

You’ve heard it before - “patience is a virtue.” Fleeting words when you’re waiting impatiently for your daily dose of coffee at your favorite shop. For James, life in Brazil meant replacing synchronized google alerts with twiddling his thumbs. “Life is completely different in Brazil - the people and the spirit of the country are beautiful, but it’s amazing how hard it is to get stuff done.” But by slowing down, James created authentic and trusted relationships with the farmers, developed a business plan, and created a high-end roasted coffee brand that sold nationwide!

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When his daughter was born, James and his wife knew it was time to go back to the States. “Faced with the choice to return to law, I knew I wanted to continue to work with coffee so I sent a cold letter to the CEO of Intelligentsia.” Yes folks, he picked up an old-fashioned pen and asked the CEO of Intelligentsia for his dream job. A few weeks later, he got a call back and the rest is “whole bean” history.

It’s easy to feel inspired by James’ story but much harder to take this “blind leap.” Shamelessly, I had to ask him - "How do you handle the unknown?”

"By understanding that there will always be things that are changing and to live in the moment." James' "current moment?" Sharing Intelligentsia's conscious ideals and award-winning cups of coffee steeped in quality, education and commitment to their customers and coffee farmers from around the world.

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#FellowFriday: Your Biggest Obstacles (Living Abroad) Are Your Greatest Teachers

Sage Corps' Summer 2015, Buenos Aires Cohort

Sage Corps' Summer 2015, Buenos Aires Cohort

You've heard it before - "Nothing worth doing is ever easy." Like:  

In his final #FellowFriday post (for now), graduating Rice Senior and Sage Corps Alum, Giray Ozseker, shares how his biggest challenges living abroad last summer in Buenos Aires were actually his best memories. Take it away, Giray!


What was the best part about living abroad & what was the hardest part?

Both questions can be answered with the same response: Doing something you’ve never done, going somewhere you’ve never been and in a language you’ve never spoken.

Now that I think about it, I am low-key jealous of the incoming cohort who will get to do these things next year.
— Sage Corps Alum, Giray

Although I had been taking Spanish for a year and a half at that point, I had never been to a Spanish-speaking country, and I had little experience in speaking. The first week was simply frustrating. The work was challenging, I was trying to work the basics of the city, and my Spanish was slippery. The fact that all of this was happening at the same time wasn’t helping much either. My mind was constantly overwhelmed, and I didn’t know if I was liking it.

Yet, learning is a painful and fun process at the same time. After I started getting used to everything, I was thoroughly enjoying all of these things I was dreading. Going out, asking people the directions to somewhere in the city, talking to coworkers, coding, all became my favorite things. (Now that I think about it, I am low-key jealous of the incoming cohort who will get to do these things next year.)

It’s like diving from a high cliff or bungee jumping. It seems very intimidating at first, and you feel very uncomfortable during the process, but once you are done and you look back, you realize that it has become your favorite memory. My summer in Buenos Aires with Sage Corps was indeed one of the hardest things I’ve done. It’s also my favorite.


Looking for more advice from Sage Corps Alum, Giray? Check out his previous #FellowFriday posts: 

Interested in becoming a Sage Corps Fellow? Leave your name and email and we'll send you a free brochure!

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Sage Spotlight: Founding Chicago Director of Startup Institute, Jenn Yee

Meet one of our Sages - Jenn Yee: founding Chicago Director of the Startup Institute, current Career Coach and Innovation & Growth Strategy consultant, featured hustler on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio and TastyTrade Network, featured panelist at Chicago Ideas Week, AND bad-ass mom.

You'd think her BA at Williams College and MBA at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management was what solely paved her successful path. On the contrary, Jenn attributes her professional achievements to going abroad and working at a startup.

What are 3 of the biggest lessons you learned living abroad?

1. Putting down that you “worked or lived abroad” on your resumé is a game changer.

When Jenn arrived back in the United States to look for jobs, interviewers were more interested in her two-year experience abroad than the years she spent at a university or what she studied there.

“The time I spent in Hong Kong piqued people’s interest - “You went half-way around the world?! Tell me about THAT!”

(Jenn’s shameless plug: “Sage Corps is a brilliant idea because it’s a way to easily access experiences to talk about in a job interview. Hiring managers are really interested in your story, and how you can extract value from your experiences. Bottom line - ‘gaining more experience is key.’”)

2. Learn to laugh at yourself.

While in Hong Kong, Jenn made a huge effort to learn Cantonese. “As a young adult,” Jenn said, “learning another language instilled a lot of humility and taught me how to laugh at myself.” She said that the skills she picked up while learning to translate a word and turn it into something others could understand helped her tremendously in her career - i.e. it set the foundation for her to feel more confident to speak about different computer science languages or to be able to facilitate a conversation between the CTO and COO of a company. (Talk about humility!)

3. Be “startup-y.”

“The jobs I had abroad - working at a university and being a travel writer - were very ‘startup-y.’” In other words, Jenn didn’t have a syllabus to follow when she was working in Hong Kong. She learned how to (a.) operate in an unstructured environment and (b.) take initiative and ownership of her projects. She sums up her biggest takeaway into two words: SOFT. SKILLS.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to millennials who are looking for a change and/or to transition careers?

"NETWORKING IS NOT A BAD WORD." Jenn was so passionate about this piece of advice that while talking to her, she proposed changing the word “networking” to something else so people would be more open to it (perhaps “mingling” instead? Just a thought). But really - why was she so fervent? Because in her experience, the act of networking was what made every one of her career transitions successful.

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.
— Vincent Van Gogh (Jenn's favorite quote)

“I kept my network warm and robust by simply helping people out of good will, especially when I didn't need anything back.” When it came time for Jenn to change trajectories or even build Startup Institute’s brand and partnerships in Chicago, she said the process of asking her network for support was much more authentic and made everything easier. I’m sure you’re thinking - “But how did she even get this network to begin with?”

 

Lucky for you - she provides an awesome “Networking Tip:"

“After you grab a coffee with someone, follow up by sending them a link to an event, website, or resource you mentioned while chatting.” She goes on to say that “this will add a little brightness” to your growing network and establishes an organic connection.

So what's Jenn’s next big journey?

She says she’s currently living it by moving recently to Boulder, Colorado while she raises a new baby with her husband amidst the Rocky Mountains. She hopes to one day live abroad again to give her son the opportunity to gain that experience and the “gift of becoming bilingual.”


Interested in becoming a Sage Corps Fellow? Choose one of the button's below to learn more!

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#FELLOWFRIDAY: Why Any Major Can Work At A Startup

It's the day after Thanksgiving and your belly's just now recovering from an amazing meal and the many laughs you had when your "crazy Uncle Bill" hid the "Tofurky" from your "vegan Aunt Janet." Life feels full but something's missing: Your summer internship plans.

In Sage Corps Alum, Giray Ozseker's first #FellowFriday post, he answered "why you should intern at a startup rather than a corporation" (i.e. "more responsibility, more opportunity, your work will be recognized, you'll work in an awesome environment" etc.). In this short but sweet #FellowFriday, Giray takes this topic a step further and argues why you don't need to know coding or how to create a business plan in order to work at a startup.


My major is not really a “startup major” like Computer Science or Business. How can I work for a startup, and how would that even help me?

 

This immensely rapid learning experience was something I never found in any course I took at college.
— Sage Corps Alum, Giray Ozseker

"This is what's most fun about working at a startup. Even though many people don’t know, anyone can do anything with proper preparation. I had some experience in data analysis, yet I had never coded. I was expected to code in two programming languages that I didn’t know, so I sat down and taught myself how to do it. The learning curve was really high, and before going into work, I was very intimidated by the lack of knowledge I had. My co-workers were amazingly helpful, and that was what changed the game. They told me, “OK, just learn SQL, some basics of data analytics, and we’ll work from there.” So did I. I tried to pick up all the basics before my internship started, and the first day I was there, they had me start on a project. Pablo, who was a computer scientist by training, spent a day walking me through the essential things that I needed, and let me take it from there. For the first few weeks, I bothered him many times with my questions (maybe, in fact, too many), yet by the end of my internship I was coding on SQL and R, taking the assignment from scratch and delivering within a week. This immensely rapid learning experience was something I never found in any course I took at college. This is why, if you want to learn something, you will learn it very quickly and very well, working for a startup."

(P.S. Next week, Giray wraps up his series of #FellowFriday by answering these two questions: "What was your favorite part living abroad? What was the hardest part?")

                       View from the top of Argentina's mountains (Photo Cred: Giray)

                       View from the top of Argentina's mountains (Photo Cred: Giray)


       ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Hailing from Istanbul, Giray Ozseker aspires to be a global professional. He is finishing up his Economics degree at Rice University in Houston, while getting ready for his career as a public accountant. As a wannabe data scientist on the side, Giray is a Sage Corps alum who has done his internship at Auth0 in Buenos Aires as a Data Intern in 2015.

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#FELLOWFRIDAY: Why You Should Intern Abroad With Sage Corps

                                           A few Fellows from the Buenos Aires Sage Corps Cohort, Summer 2015

                                           A few Fellows from the Buenos Aires Sage Corps Cohort, Summer 2015

In the last two weeks, Sage Corps Alum, Giray Ozseker, has given you a VIP tour of what it's like to choose an internship. In week one, he answered "why you should do your internship at a startup instead of a corporation" and last week he tackled "why you should do your internship abroad rather than in the United States." This week, he holds nothing back and, well...it gets real.

Giray provides honest insight into why you should make the decision to choose Sage Corps and what the process is like once you're accepted into the program. In other words, you'll want to read this.


"Ok, now that you know you want to work for a startup abroad, you think you can find it yourself. Why would you want to do it through Sage Corps?"

Al Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookshop (converted from a theater)

Al Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookshop (converted from a theater)

Upon getting accepted to Sage Corps' cohort for a geographic location, Sage Corps will match you with a startup. They do not only take your skills into account, but they also consider what you want to get out of this experience. That’s the first step where Sage Corps' amazing network proves to be helpful. With a background in economics and statistics, I knew I wanted to get experience in data analytics, so they considered me for several startups who were looking for a data intern, and ultimately I was matched with Auth0. When I was first matched, I did not quite understand what I would do, but after my first Skype chat with my soon-to-be-coworkers, I knew what I would do, and began preparing. During the preparation stage, Sage Corps helped me with the essentials: They established a knowledge base of startups, gave tips and tricks on how to be a proactive intern and make the most out of this experience. Without this help, I would have done this by myself, but probably would get confused with the dump of information out there. Having been there and done that, mentors at Sage Corps play a crucial role in showing the way to the new members of the cohort.

With all the other Sage Corps Fellows around me, I enjoyed my experience even more. Meeting up with friends after work, talking about our days and exploring.
— Giray Ozseker

The network that Sage Corps unlocks is not only on the employer side. With all the other Sage Corps Fellows around me, I enjoyed my experience even more. Meeting up with friends after work, talking about our days and exploring Buenos Aires together were a few of the most enjoyable parts of the experience. After a long week, going out, having a delicious Argentine dinner (They eat late! If you are eating before 8 pm in Argentina, you’re doing it wrong) and grabbing some drinks completes the picture very well. Furthermore, you have a large group of people who will want to go on trips with you, and with those, the more is always the merrier. In fact, it turns out that staying in an AirBnB with 9 people instead of a ski hotel makes your costs come down to very little. It isn’t over yet. Even after you’re done with your internship and back on the grind with schoolwork, you’re an integral part of the Sage Corps community. Within the first few weeks of returning home, you are matched with a Sage (hence where the name comes from), who has substantial experience in their respective field. The variety is wide: Entrepreneurs (lots of them), lawyers, consultants, marketers, engineers, salespeople, accountants etc. The purpose of this match is to introduce us, the students, who want to go into their careers with the help of a network, to experts who can guide us along the way. In many cases, you will find your next opportunity through them. In my case, my Sage’s endorsement was a huge contribution to my way into my relationship with a firm. Although I’m still in the process and do not know the result yet, hopefully in a month or so, I will be able to say that she was of crucial help at a turning point in my life!

P.S. HERE'S A SKEAN-PEAK AT NEXT WEEK'S #FELLOWFRIDAY, WHERE GIRAY PERSONALLY ANSWERS THE QUESTION: "My major is not really a “startup major” like Computer Science or Business. How can I work for a startup, and how would that even help me?"

Mountain peaks of Bariloche in Argentina's Patagonia 

Mountain peaks of Bariloche in Argentina's Patagonia 


 ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Hailing from Istanbul, Giray aspires to be a global professional. He is finishing up his Economics degree at Rice University in Houston, while getting ready for his career as a public accountant. As a wannabe data scientist on the side, Giray is a Sage Corps alum who has done his internship at Auth0 in Buenos Aires as a Data Intern in 2015.


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#FELLOWFRIDAY: Why You Should Intern Abroad Rather Than In The United States

Last Friday, Sage Corps Alum, Giray, took on the important question: "Why should I do my internship at a startup rather than a corporation?" Here are the 3 biggest take-aways from his post:

  1. You get to participate a lot more with your co-workers when you intern at a startup.
  2. The nature of the projects you get to work on at a startup are much more impactful. 
  3. You learn how to adapt to change and push your creative mind to its limits. 

Giray's advice above makes it easy to choose an internship at a startup over an internship at a corporation. But before you pack your bags for Silicon Valley, take less than 3 minutes to hear Giray's argument for why you need to intern in another country. Take it away, Giray!

(P.S. Here's a sneak-peak at next week's #FellowFriday. Giray tackles the question: "OK, now that I know I want to work for a startup abroad, I think I can find it myself. Why would I want to do it through Sage Corps?")


YOU'RE CONVINCED THAT YOU WANT TO DO A "STARTUP INTERNSHIP," BUT WHY WOULD YOU DO IT ABROAD INSTEAD OF IN THE U.S.?

The startup ecosystem is very global, and even if you are set for working at a Silicon Valley or Chicago startup, the abroad experience can enhance your view drastically.
— Giray Ozseker

An internship at a startup abroad is stepping out of your comfort zone at its finest. College advisors will always stress the importance of doing a semester abroad to expand one’s horizons and get a prime learning experience. An internship doubles the fun. Not only will the intern learn the intricacies of working at a startup, they will learn it somewhere they have never been. That is a grand idea. The startup ecosystem is very global, and even if you are set for working at a Silicon Valley/Chicago-based startup, the abroad experience can enhance your view drastically.

 Google's Headquarters in Buenos Aires

 Google's Headquarters in Buenos Aires

Giray with other Fellows from the Buenos Aires Cohort

Giray with other Fellows from the Buenos Aires Cohort

The startup dream is universally applicable, so not only will you get the same startup experience, but you will also see how you can bring a global impact, rather than a local impact. Learning from others’ mistakes will prove to be useful. Why can a certain startup not succeed in a different environment? How will an Argentine startup apply the idea of a successful U.S. startup? Thinking about these questions will provoke global thinking and ultimately inspire your entrepreneurial mind.

Incredible landscapes taken form Giray while exploring Argentina 

Incredible landscapes taken form Giray while exploring Argentina 

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#FELLOWFRIDAY: Why you should do your internship at a startup rather than a corporation

Throughout the next few weeks, Sage Corps Alum/Rice University Senior, Giray Ozseker, will be taking over our blog with incredible insight on the Sage Corps experience. Giray took part in Sage Corps' Buenos Aires Program this past summer and worked as a Data and Business Analytics Intern at the (extremely) innovative startup, Auth0.

This week he focuses on one of the most popular questions asked by students (like you) looking for an internship:

"Why should I do my internship at a startup rather than a corporation?"  

(P.S. Tune in next week to read Giray's blog, answering the question: "I am convinced that I want to do a startup internship, but why would I do it abroad instead of the US?")

Take it away, Giray!

Sage Corps/Rice University Alums, Giray Ozseker & Maggie Edmunds explore the magnificent streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sage Corps/Rice University Alums, Giray Ozseker & Maggie Edmunds explore the magnificent streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina


Given this level of individual effort, a 2-month internship becomes a turning point for your career projection.
— Giray Ozseker

The internships at startups are not necessarily your “leadership/professional development” programs, they become what you craft them to be. Number one difference comes in the form of participation. Working in an office with (probably) less than 50 coworkers, an intern can expect to join a Board of Directors meeting and hear the entire agenda without feeling out of space. During my time at Auth0, I was able to talk to the whole team online when I needed, joined the online hangouts of various teams and the board, connecting to coworkers around the globe.

The nature of the projects is another great opportunity that only a startup internship can provide. Most of the time, the interns will be expected to join new projects and chime in. At Auth0, the data team met together to set goals and design analysis projects, and I felt very comfortable providing input in the planning phase. Moreover, I was never given dull chores, but instead, I was asked to take on analyses from the scratch and plan the whole procedure on my own. This autonomy is not something you would expect at a corporate internship. Given this level of individual effort, a 2-month internship becomes a turning point for your career projection. In order to develop good work discipline, adapt to changes quickly, being flexible and pushing the creative mind to its limits, a startup internship is a highly desirable learning experience.


#Fellowgram: All of these photos were taken by Giray while abroad


         ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hailing from Istanbul, Giray aspires to be a global professional. He is finishing up his Economics degree at Rice University in Houston, while getting ready for his career as a public accountant. As a wannabe data scientist on the side, Giray is a Sage Corps alum who has done his internship at Auth0 in Buenos Aires as a Data Intern in 2015.

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Twitter #FellowTakeover: TEDx Hong Kong

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For those who suffer from "FOMO" (A Fear of Missing Out) ...brace yourself.

While you were fast asleep a few weeks ago, Sage Corps Fellow and Experience Institute Student, Sami Ahmed, was meeting with some of the world's greatest innovators at TEDx Hong Kong. How? Our host incubator/co-working space, CoCoon, where he currently interns, invited him. (Talk about having the right connections.)

Bad news: You missed out by not being there with him. Good news: Sami took over Sage Corps' Twitter with live tweets from the event and wrote a blog post of his experience so you could still get a taste of his time at TEDxHK. (Thanks Sami!)

Without further adieu, let's dive right in.

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If I’ve learned anything so far it’s this: don’t be afraid to be the underdog, you aren’t alone.
— Sami Ahmed

In his blog titled, "The Underdog," Sami reflected on a conversation he had with three young entrepreneurs from Hong Kong. They disscussed the contrast between the U.S.'s and Hong Kong's relationships with entrepreneurship - i.e. while it is romanticized in the U.S., entrepreneurs can be seen as the underdog in Hong Kong.

He goes on to say, "We weren’t just talking about startups in Hong Kong, we were talking about a stifling societal pressure. --- We were all underdogs around this table, united by our own internal struggles to do what we believe in."

His closing remarks are powerful beyond measure. Take notes:

"As the conversation came to an end, I jumped on the subway and realized how grateful I am that I took a stand to come to Hong Kong. Too often, we give ourselves reasons why we can’t do what we believe in. My plane ticket, my rent in Chicago, fearing I won’t learn enough – any one of those could’ve been the obstacle to keep me from where I am now: Sitting on an orange couch about to go and be briefed by the Investment Director for a seed capital fund in Hong Kong. If I’ve learned anything so far it’s this: don’t be afraid to be the underdog, you aren’t alone."

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How To Set Yourself Apart When Interning Abroad In London<br/><p style="font-size:5">Interview With Sage Corps Fellow, Laura Walker (London, 2015)</p>

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How To Set Yourself Apart When Interning Abroad In London

Interview With Sage Corps Fellow, Laura Walker (London, 2015)

If you've done your homework on where to intern abroad, you've noticed “London” is at the top of every list. Why? Because this dynamic city is full of opportunity on both a cultural and professional level. When thousands of students (and post-grads) aren’t waltzing down the infamous "Oxford Street," they’re clocking in at reputable corporate firms. The problem, however, lies when everyone (and their Yorkie) is putting “London Internship - Summer Analyst” on their resume and posting pictures of themselves with the Queen’s Guards on Instagram.

The solution? Intern somewhere in London that is unconventional. Somewhere you will stand out amongst thousands of applicants. Intern at a startup.

Hopkins rising senior and Sage Corps Fellow, Laura Walker, is one of 46 Sage Corps Fellows who chose the “(internship) road less traveled” this summer. Below, Laura shares her experience writing blog posts for the London startup, Reedsy, along with her biggest "ex-pat takeaways" and global advice to future Sage Corps Fellows.

(View a sample of the Sage Corps London itinerary here.)


What's it like interning at a startup in London in general and/or Reedsy, more specifically?

laura brainstorms new marketing ideas with her team at reedsy

laura brainstorms new marketing ideas with her team at reedsy

Interning with Reedsy has been an amazing experience both "work-wise" and the people I work with. Working at a startup has been vastly different from what I imagined... in a good way. I wasn't limited to just my specific field because at a startup you have to be willing to work on different tasks with your team to have the best growth rate possible. Also, the other employees are more open to my ideas and insights because they want other opinions.

London is what sets this adventure on another level, though. It's a bit overwhelming living here, but I've had such a freeing feeling exploring London on my own and with friends as well as working with my startup.

(Check out Laura's most recent blog post, Infographic: 5 Actionable Social Media Tips for Authors!)


What's your biggest take-away from the experience living and working abroad- both personally and professionally?

Professionally, I was able to build more of a portfolio with writing sample for future job applications.

To be honest, I had very limited professional goals before venturing to London in the beginning of the summer because I still have another year of school to define them. However, now that I'm in my last week here, I've had time to think and reflect on what I want professionally as I move into my senior year at Hopkins.

Professionally, I was able to build more of a portfolio with writing sample for future job applications and I think I'll consider the content marketing field for potential jobs in the future. 

I decided against going abroad in college, so this was really my first time this far from home and completely on my own. In London, everyone moves fast. It reminds me of New York, really. It was challenging having to adapt quickly to the environment surrounding this city, but also remain proactive at work as well.

But it's those sort of adaptations that will make my next challenging adventure that much easier.

My biggest take-away, though, is just being able to have an abroad experience different from anything I could've had through my university. It would've been just as exciting, but not nearly as rewarding professionally.


Do you have any advice for future Sage Corps Fellows interning in London? Places to visit, foods to eat, events to attend, etc.?

The most important advice I can give is to just constantly explore. Even if you just feel like staying in, you only have so much free time. Some of my favorite days were just exploring new sections of the city after work with the friends. I had the chance to go to Edinburgh and Lisbon (and I highly recommend doing some weekend travel), but I would say the things I'm going to remember most from this trip in 5+ years are the little moments that didn't seem so significant at the time but really defined the experience, like: brunch with friends in Granary Square in Kings Cross or looking through the Regent's Canal bookstore. Anyone can buy a travelers guide to the city and have a great time, but it's what you do in between each tourist destination that makes it your own unique experience.


Ready to become a Sage Corps Fellow and work at a startup in London? Get started here.

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Sage Corps Fellow, Maryama Diaw, "Leans In" - Here's How

Ever since the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, released her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, millions have been “leaning in” and encouraging women to pursue their ambitions. Sandberg’s “female manifesto” quickly evolved into a global community on the site LeanIn.Org, where women around the world can join a supportive community, gain practical skills, and connect with Lean In Circles (small peer groups).

In the last two years, LeanIn.org has housed 22,000 circles in 160 countries and has created a network of over 500 corporate and non-profit partners. Here’s the best part – Sage Corps has joined the movement as an official LeanIn.Org Partner!

So how is Sage Corps leaning in? By introducing top-tier female college students to global entrepreneurship and technology through internships with international startups. To date, 43% of our Sage Corps Fellows are driven women who are choosing to lean in and achieve their goals.

We recently caught up with one of Sage Corps' Women Alumni, Maryama Diaw - a rising senior at Dartmouth College, who's majoring in Geography modified with Arabic and minoring in Government. Her experience interning at the Hong Kong startup, The Cloudminer LTD, left Maryama with incredible insight and advice for those looking to take the same "global next step." Check out the interview below!

Set goals for yourself and own them.
— Sage Corps Alum, Maryama Diaw

Q: How has Sage Corps impacted you on a personal and professional level? Sage Corps really helped me realize how many cool and unconventional areas startups help disrupt. It's important to me that this continues to happen. Sage Corps has helped me realize that, on a professional level, I want to ultimately use startup ecosystems in order to provide job opportunities for people across the sub-Saharan African region. On a personal level, I learned that I can survive in another country completely by myself. I learned a lot about areas in my life that need improvement and what I need to continue being awesome at so that I can be a positive and contributing global citizen.

Q: Has your experience accelerated your career prospects? If so, how? Yes, it has definitely opened up a lot of different possibilities that I may not have considered before. It's made me a little bit less afraid of stepping foot into non-profits/the business world but I still have some ways to go.

Q: What is your biggest take-away from the Sage Corps experience and what do you recommend to future Fellows? My main take-away is that life is what you make of it. Curve balls and challenges are bound to arise but it's important to keep a positive outlook and not sit idly by. I recommend giving all you've got to the startup and remembering that Sage Corps is an experience where you should aim to grow both professionally and personally! Set goals for yourself and own them!


Want to intern in Hong Kong? Check out a sample itinerary of the Semester Program here.

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"Sage Corps Storyboard" - Singapore

Evil Twin Part I

We kick off the "Sage Corps Storyboard" with one of the "[Evil Twin]1" startup ecosystems in Southeast Asia - Singapore.

Seedcamp Singapore. The Co-Foundry. Impact Hub. Wavemaker Labs. Golden Gate Ventures. These are just a few accelerators and venture capital funds out of hundreds, hoping to pump "beaucoup bucks" into Singapore's startup ecosystem. According to a 2015 TechinAsia report, "$120 million (US$96 million) worth of government and private sector money [was] plowed into innovative young technology companies." Here's the best part: One of these rising companies, a Wavemaker Labs startup called "PayrollHero," has taken two Sage Corps Fellows under its wing.

When you intern at a company that "optimizes work productivity with happiness" you expect to see happy employees.
Take a look below to see how Sage Corps Fellows Sisi Liu and Leonardo (Leo) De Lucca Silva spend their summer in Singapore: all smiles.

We look forward to seeing what doors this experience opens for Sisi and Leo in the future!

Speaking of the future, do you have trouble falling asleep thinking about what to do after college? Well, while you are tossing and turning in bed at night, Sage Corps Fellows, Callan George, Sharon Lee and Oscar Granados-Martinez are developing a solution at Singapore startup, Nana, a mobile app that helps you sleep better. Currently, our Fellows are designing an app that can be marketed to adults for personal sleep monitoring.

We caught up with Callan earlier this week to hear more about her Nana experience:

“The last couple of weeks have been jam packed, that's for sure. Having zero experience working with app design or coding, the whole assignment was a little daunting at first, but we put the pedal to the metal and managed to crank out the app demo in a week and a half."

Building "sleep apps" and creating lasting bonds at work are not the only activities Sage Corps Fellows have put on their global agendas. When they’re not at work, the Sage Corps Singapore Cohort is taking advantage of startup “hacking events” and weekend excursions around Singapore and beyond.

Just a few weekends ago, five of our Singapore Sage Corps Fellows took part in Impact Hub’s “Youthhack Singapore Startup Challenge". While at the event, the "Sage Corps Team" heard from top entrepreneurs and captial investors, created a product and presented to a panel of judges. Their hard work paid off, and they made it to the finals!

It goes without saying that interning abroad in Singapore is more than just something you check off "the list." When you make the decision to travel thousands of miles to work abroad, you open doors to unparalleled professional opportunities.

So before you go back to aimlessly browsing the web for answers, remember to check out the latest "Sage Corps Storyboard"....or just apply here.

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The Costs....And Benefits of International Internships

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The Costs....And Benefits of International Internships

Yesterday's NY Times article entitled "Internships Abroad: Unpaid, With a $10,000 Price Tag" highlighted some of the arguments for and against international internship opportunities available to college students. As the founder of a program in this space, I think it is important to highlight a few key points that the article missed. When you weigh the "bells and whistles" offered by work abroad providers against those of similarly-priced study abroad programs (yep, see below), the argument for global internship experience is stronger.

"The Bells and Whistles"

The best work abroad programs charge students for bundled services that are tied to hard costs: housing, in-country emergency support, insurance, and professional/social events. And some connect students to a robust professional network and career mentors. The vast majority charge less than $7,000 for a summer program.

Few people notice that university study abroad programs may charge similar fees to provide some, but not all, of these bundled services. They also parse out tuition as a separate cost. As examples, I picked one public and one private university mentioned in the NYT article:

Georgia Tech 9 Week Summer Program Yale 10 Week Summer Program
$3,000 Tuition (9 credits) $7,500 Tuition (4 credits)
$2,700 room/board fee $5,691 room/board fee
$3,801 admin/miscellaneous fees + "mandatory fee" $1,000-1,512 "study abroad fee" + application/insurance fees

Private programs are in line with these university services. And when you factor in the career preparation and development, the "bells and whistles" sound much better.

The Investment

Students at Georgia Tech and Yale have a choice this summer: do I spend $6-7,000 PLUS tuition to live and study abroad, or do I spend $5-7,000 to live and work abroad? The better question is: Do I want to study Latin American history, or develop a LatAm market entry strategy for a company? Each student may have a different answer. I actually tried both. I studied in Spain and later interned in Argentina. Eleven years later, I founded an experiential learning program…not a study abroad program.

The ROI

The broader paid vs. unpaid internship debate is a red herring here, and better left for another day. Living abroad, whether for work or study, often comes with higher costs. Students should analyze the costs and focus on the outcomes.

According to NAFSA.org, less than 10% of U.S. college students study abroad. Far less graduate with global work experience. Amongst a sea of resumes that highlight near-perfect GPAs and maybe a couple run-of-the-mill finance or marketing internships, a global perspective may be the difference-maker.

As an interested party, I do not expect anyone to take my word for it. Ask any of our students. Working with entrepreneurs abroad, our students build web platforms and hardware devices, develop market entry strategies, and analyze customer data to inform digital marketing campaigns. With guidance from their assigned "Sage" (career mentor), these students later land jobs at powerhouse companies such as McKinsey, Deutsche Bank, Accenture, and Deloitte, while others pursue entrepreneurship (at home and abroad).

If done right, the work abroad model works. More students want to gain international experience, and few universities have the resources and the network to provide such opportunities. More universities, in addition to foundations and government agencies, should listen to students and fund work abroad opportunities (whether university or vetted private providers). Study abroad programs will continue to offer enriching academic and cultural opportunities, but we should embrace global work experience, systemically, as a legitimate complement to students' coursework.

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Startup Spotlight: GoodPeople

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Startup Spotlight: GoodPeople

GoodPeople are Really Cool People!

Licking envelopes, sorting spreadsheets, and reporting to a young associate...sound like your past internship experience?  Not here.  Sage Corps Fellows are not only given incredible responsibilities at their host startups, they work alongside the co-founders! One of our awesome partner startups, GoodPeople, has teamed up with Sage Corps for two years....and they've seen fantastic results from our Fellows.  

“Go Big, Do Good”

In 2009, four entrepreneurs on two continents founded a global startup with the motto: “Go Big, Do Good.” And we love their style! CEO Pablo Orlando and his co-founders harnassed their passion for extreme sports (think: ski, skate, and surf) to launch GoodPeople. Funded by investors in Argentina and Silicon Valley, GoodPeople has built a powerful niche brand in North and South America. They also landed partnerships with ESPN and its famed X Games. Badass.

Why is GoodPeople, Good People?

GoodPeople’s mission is to provide an online experience where sports enthusiasts around the world can have fun shopping while making new friends, building networks and supporting the community.  Website users can shop their favorite brands, sell their own awesome gear or connect with others who share similar sporting, business, or life passions.  Additionally, GoodPeople’s online community gives back by supporting sustainable businesses, nonprofits, and a healthy environment.

Sage Corps and GoodPeople

Our love affair with GoodPeople began in 2013 when we parachuted Sage Corps Fellow Andrew Hausdorf into Buenos Aires to work with Pablo and his team. Andrew was able to experience the “many hats and all hands-on-deck aspects of startups.”

“At GoodPeople, I worked and talked with everyone in the Buenos Aires and San Francisco offices.  This made it easy to grow professionally because I was able to hop around different departments,” Andrew explains, “I could be learning about company structure and general startup topics with [the CEO] one day, then work with the developers on user sign-up strategies, then design sponsorship brochures and look for leads with the sales team in SF.”

What stuck out to Andrew? The team's passion for extreme sports and the "Go Big Do Good" mantra. “It was inspiring to be around that kind of energy and made it easy to work during hectic times because I knew how much GoodPeople meant to everyone who worked there,” Andrew continues.

Two years later, Sage Corps and GoodPeople continue to offer unique opportunities for top U.S. university students to work with a global startup. “Our Sage Corps Fellows have been a great help to our success,” explains Pablo Orlando, GoodPeople CEO. And we look forward to future Sage Corps Fellows doing big things with GoodPeople!

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Sage Spotlight: Adam Greenberg

“A College Grad’s One Way Ticket to Google….via Spain”

When we first met one of our Sages, Adam Greenberg, he was working at a seemingly random suburban startup in Chicago. He had graduated from the University of Iowa with a journalism degree….and now he runs business development for Google’s Payments and Commerce division. So how did he do it? He bought a one-way ticket to Spain.

“I knew that after graduation from college, I wanted to spend time working abroad. I thought international work experience would connect me with a community and set of experiences that mere traveling would not afford.”

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Adam landed a consulting role with the Government of Spain (as a 22 year old!), working in Andalucia for its grammar school system….and as a bare-bones Spanish speaker. “Working abroad was the best decision I could have made. I spent time in teachers' lounges, with city officials, other teachers from around the world, and students between the ages of 10 and 18, all in a language I spoke only proficiently. In Spain, I built many things - most notably, a bilingual program for a school district. Surviving...and eventually excelling in that foreign environment gave me a boost of confidence - it made the projects I undertook once I returned to the U.S. far less daunting.”

Sweet home Chicago

“A year later, I landed a job with a Chicago startup called Ifbyphone, which had 8 people working in a small suburban office. I had a classic early stage startup role: I handled customer support, wrote blog posts, created marketing materials, edited presentations for the CEO - whatever was needed.”

How did he leverage his international experience into a job at a local tech startup?

“My time abroad was key to feeling capable in this ‘jack-of-all-trades’ role at Ifbyphone. In Spain, I had no choice but to dive into what I didn't yet understand. Back home, I just carried on with that mentality.” Ifbyphone grew - quickly, from those 8 employees in the suburbs to an Inc 500 company with almost 100 employees by the time Adam left 4 years later.

And then Google called

“Google wanted me to help build out a local daily deals business. Three years later, I still love building things - from the daily deal model to my current role doing business development for new payments and commerce products.”

So all college grads should buy one-way tickets abroad?

“A global perspective was critical for my career. It made the world smaller and more understandable. It made me curious about everyone and everything. It taught me to appreciate cultural differences amongst people. Now, I feel excitement (and not fear) about the opportunities afforded by a new environment. Building a business is a lot easier now.”

-Adam Greenberg, Google - Strategic Partnerships for Google Payments & Commerce

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Fellow Spotlight: Michael Justus

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Fellow Spotlight: Michael Justus

Challenge Your Comfort Zone

When you step outside your comfort zone, great things happen. Two months in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Michael Justus embarked on an unforgettable experience. An aspiring entrepreneur and current senior at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Michael participated in Sage Corps’ 2014 summer programMichael joined Sage Corps hoping to combine an abroad experience with entrepreneurship. A bold idea, he thought,...and a scary one.   

Take a Safe Risk: “The thought of going across the world for two months to work for a startup with a group of 15 other students from various universities was terrifying,” explained Michael. “Even on the flight down, I still was unsure what I was getting myself into.”

Explore: In Buenos Aires, Michael worked for Cookapp, a NXTP Labs portfolio startup that connects those who love to cook with those who love to eat. Everyone loves food, and CookApp loved Michael. In two months, Michael made impactful contributions to the startup as a business intelligence analyst. He helped the team understand their mass of consumer data to improve user experience, customer acquisition/retention, and to target new markets. 

At Cookapp, Michael quickly adopted his team’s enthusiasm for this dining experience app. “Entrepreneurs like Tom, Diego, and Male were so passionate about their product. It was like nothing I had experienced before,” explained Michael. Working in a foreign culture, Michael developed quick and valued decision-making skills for a real company.

In his free time, he cheered on Argentina in the FIFA World Cup, and attended professional events organized by Sage Corps: a speaker series at Google Argentina, a local venture capital fund, and a demo day for the NXTP Labs accelerator.  

Grow: As a graduating senior, Michael sees the value in carving his own career path. “The Sage Corps program showed me that we must challenge our comfort zone to achieve what we really want,” explains Michael. “There are times to live comfortably when thinking about internships or any abroad program but this one will push you and make you realize what it is you really strive for. Maybe it is something entrepreneurial,” continued Michael, “maybe it isn’t; regardless, the skills, experiences, and personal values I gained participating in Sage Corps impacted me like nothing else at my disposal.”  

What’s Next? After graduating in May, Michael will join Accenture in Chicago as a Strategy Analyst. “Eventually, I want to start my own business. Once the idea becomes viable, I want to take the challenge head on. With Sage Corps, I saw firsthand the opportunities that entrepreneurs identified in the Latin American market. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I know that I can one day do the same thing.”

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