Ricci Wang

Students who pursue graduate school abroad face an additional set of challenges unrelated to their school work. However, our international students flourish—here's Ricci Wang's story in her own words!

My name is Ruixin Wang, and I go by Ricci. I grew up in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province. After high school, I went to Nanjing Audit University for a brief period before I decided to study abroad. Then I transferred to Penn State and did my undergrad for three years, majoring in Hospitality Management.

Why did you choose the school's graduate program?

My choice was driven by my career ambition. When I was studying Hospitality Management, I had the opportunity to work in various parts of the service industry. I've worked in hotels, food services, and banquets both in China and the U.S. I realized there is only this much I could do in customer service, but I wanted to actually make a bigger and more long-lasting impact. That led me to have a bold thought—maybe I could someday work at the United Nations where I would be able to serve and help those in need all around the globe.

Through my study of Hospitality Management, I was exposed to various topics like law, HR, accounting, etc. I developed a keen interest in Human Resources Management, which I realized would also be the perfect subject to study to prepare myself for a career with the UN. As I always dedicate myself to helping others, being a Human Resources Officer at the UN will enable me to serve our internal clients who will then serve our international community in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

What was the most difficult part of being an international student?

Looking back, I do find a lot of moments when I came across problems that were challenging as an international student. But luckily most of them got solved in the end!

I guess the most challenging part was figuring out where to find information and resources that I needed. There were a lot of resources I didn't realize that our school provides until late in my studies. For example, the accessibility of academic journals on Google Scholar if you sign in with your PSU account, the resume review and mock interview service provided by Bank of America career center, some scholarships or assistantships opportunities, or even where to go during weekends with friends for a picnic or to go hiking.

I guess it was hard for me to find all those resources because the whole environment was something new for me, plus English is not my mother tongue. So it's very easy to get lost and not know what to do in a new environment.

Tell us about your current position.

I started out as an HR Intern at the Policy and Strategy team at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) based in New York, then was promoted to an HR Consultant role after my internship.

I've been in this position for over a year and a half now. I'm mainly responsible for drafting and preparing HR-related policies and SOPs, such as guidance on reference verification, work-life balance, and outside employment. I also work with numbers and statistics. I've produced a lot of reports like the quarterly gender and geographic diversity report as well as an exit interview survey report.

Meanwhile, I've also been designated by my supervisor as the internship coordinator for our New York-based interns. I help them better transition to the work environment when they first come on board. It's a lot of fun and gives me a sense of achievement especially anytime I finish with a long report, meeting summary, or detailed guidance note. But of course, sometimes there is a lot of pressure too, like tight deadlines, or large roundtable meetings where I have to speak.

I am actually in a transition period now—I got a job opportunity for an HR Assistant role at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, and I will actually be starting that in September. For this role, I will be working on more functional HR aspects such as training, performance management, benefits and entitlement, and recruitment. I'm excited about this new opportunity and I'm sure I will learn a lot of different things from this position.

What advice would you give to students interested in the program?

One piece of advice I'd give is to learn as much about the program as possible before you decide this is the program for you. You can visit the school's website and attend events such as the Open House, talk to professors, learn about the curriculum structure, and scholarships.

During those events, you'll also often have the opportunity to talk to current students and ask them about their experience, what are the things they like the most, and things they found to be very challenging.

Applying for a grad program is like a mutual selection process, and I really encourage students to learn more about our school and our program so you know what to expect if accepted by the program.

If you do get the offer from the HRER program and come to Penn State, make every minute count! Take advantage of the academic resources offered by the school. And take time to explore the campus and the beautiful town of State College. I really miss my years at Penn State and I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do!

International Student Testimonial

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