San Diego State University students have unique plans for their lives after graduation. Some attend graduate school, some move back to their hometown, and some even go to work for a former president.
Ethan Mendelson is one of very few people that fall into the final category. A 2013 graduate with a financial planning degree, Mendelson moved across the country to work as an Executive Office Intern at The Clinton Foundation's Harlem office in New York.
Mendelson first heard of this opportunity through SDSU Career Services. He knew that he wanted to work with humanitarian causes after graduation and this internship provided that chance along with experience working within a large business.
On a day-to-day basis, Mendelson works with the entire executive board at the Foundation, sometimes including President Bill Clinton.
The Clinton Foundation focuses on improving global health, increasing opportunity for women and girls, creating economic opportunity and growth and helping communities address the effects of climate change.
“Through this position I get to learn about a wide variety of career options. While working here I have been exposed to very unique opportunities that will help me figure out my career path,” Mendelson said.
From SDSU to NYC
While Mendelson misses the overall atmosphere of the SDSU campus, he is adjusting well to New York life. Eight hour work days and a hour-long subway commute are drastic changes from being on campus every day, but Mendelson and his passion for experiencing new things welcome the challenge.
Mendelson said his time at SDSU helped prepare him for the working world and his new position. He took advantage of the exceptional programs that SDSU offers and encourages current student to do the same.
“There are plenty of offerings that will help make students more well-rounded, it’s just a matter of the students taking the time to figure it out and get involved,” said Mendelson, who was involved with the Financial Planning Association and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on campus.
“Class is class, you have to do it and you’ll learn from it, but the most beneficial things are outside of class.”
Using your resources
Mendelson wants to use his time at The Clinton Foundation to explore different career routes. He sees himself going back to school to get a business or law degree and working in investments or sustainability/environmental policy.
If he could repeat his time at SDSU, Mendelson would take advantage of the inherent opportunities that come with being a student.
“When you are a student you are in a great position to try a bunch of different things,” Mendelson said. “Use your resources to spend a day doing what you think you might want to do for the rest of your life.”