Name: Brittany Leventhal ‘08

Title: Senior Product Support Manager

Employer: DailyPay Inc. 

Major: Economics 




What were you expecting or hoping to do after graduation as an undergraduate?

I was expecting to work in finance as soon as I graduated. I had interned at Smith Barney and moved to New York to start working there full-time. This was in 2008. 

What actually happened?

That job fell through, so I set up interviews and I networked, but no one was hiring. I found one contingency job at Goldman Sachs, but it wasn’t a finance position. I was coordinating events, setting up conferences, making copies, etc. One of my co-workers set me up for a permanent position… and then there was a hiring freeze. I actually got to the final round at Oppenheimer for an entry level position but they hired someone who already had 10 years of experience. I wasn’t expecting to compete with someone in the field for that kind of position, but that was common back then. People who had been laid off work willing to take entry-level positions and someone who had just graduated couldn’t compete with that.

I had my information on LinkedIn and Ross Stores contacted me for a location planning analyst position. I didn’t even know that a position like that existed! My data analysis skills that I learned at Maryland caught their eye and Ross Stores, which sold discount clothing, thrived during the last recession. I ended up working there, learning about a completely different industry, and discovering that I enjoyed a client-facing position.

How long did it take you to get your first full-time job?

It took me 6 months to get my job at Ross. It felt much longer!

What did you do to support yourself after graduation and before your first job?

I did a lot of contingency (temporary) work. That actually helped me make some connections and gave me some job leads, but it wasn’t until I started thinking beyond financial institutions that I was able to get some traction. I did get other job offers besides my job at Ross, but I focused on jobs that could use my economics and data analysis skills. 

What job search strategies did you use?

I kept my LinkedIn profile up-to-date, I made a lot of connections through my friends and network, and I worked with a head-hunter. They were all useful in helping me find both temporary and permanent positions.

What helped you to actually land your first job?

It helped that I listed all my technical and data analysis skills on LinkedIn. Recruiters will search for what they are looking for and I was a match. Being open and curious about a new industry was also helpful. Plus, I had a lot of experience interviewing at that point so I knew how to talk about my transferable skills and what I could contribute.

What's your current job title?

I actually just got a promotion! I am now the Senior Manager of Product Support at Daily Pay, Inc. They are a rapid growth Fintech start-up and I joined them when there were just 70 employees.

Do you have any other advice for students looking for jobs during this economic downturn?

This is a different kind of recession than what I went through and a lot of the typical econ jobs haven’t been affected like they were in 2008-10. I recommend that you work with a head-hunter, network, especially with ECON alumni, and to apply for jobs that you really want. A lot of my friends found jobs as admin assistants and then got stuck in jobs that they didn’t like. Everyone who graduates with an ECON degree at Maryland has valuable skills! Don’t take a job just to have a job. You can always support yourself with contingency jobs while you look for what you really want.