In our next installment on what history alumni do with their careers, we checked in Regina Wen. Wen graduated with her AB in 2019 and works at SeatGeek.
What did you do after graduation, and where are you now?
After graduation, I took time to go back home, spend time with my family, and look for a full-time job. That summer was definitely a time of growth for me as I figured out what I wanted to do after college. I think the beauty of a History degree is that it is extremely flexible, and the skills you learn in History can be applied to so many different fields. I knew that I loved finding patterns in human behavior, so I looked for jobs that applied that mindset to business. I am now in New York working as a Junior Growth Marketing Analyst at SeatGeek.
What are your most vivid memories of studying history at UChicago?
My BA Thesis was definitely one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences I've ever had. I remember a lot of moments where I felt defeated by the sources in front of me because I didn't think they were telling me what I needed to hear. But those moments of weakness were also huge learning experiences for me because it taught me how to approach problems from different angles in order to find a solution. Handing in the final draft of my thesis was so exciting, and I immediately sent it to my close family because I was so proud of the work I had put in over the past year.
The classes in the History department are also the most interesting classes at UChicago. Histories of Violence in the United States, 19th Century American Mass Entertainment, and my junior colloquium class, Migration and Citizenship, were some of the most memorable courses I took, but honestly all of them were great. It is really cool to start seeing familiar faces after you've taken a few History classes because History peers are so intelligent in such diverse ways.
One of my favorite things about going through the major is getting to engage in class with other people who are so passionate about history. In my fourth year, I started the Undergraduate History Club with a few other History majors because we wanted a place for history-lovers to meet each other outside of class. Our trivia nights were definitely some of the most memorable moments in my college career because they were really fun, unexpectedly hard to coordinate, and extremely satisfying to execute
How do you use your history degree in your professional life? How did it shape your job search process?
History is all about uncovering answers to questions. The process of uncovering those answer requires a lot of problem solving, flexibility, and creativity. I think those skills can be applied to almost any job. More practically, research skills are important because it shows that you can follow a plan, work with different types of sources, and think analytically. I think marketing is interesting because, just like with historical research, you are given lots of different data from different sources. Sometimes it's quantitative data and sometimes it's qualitative data. You have to be able to integrate all that information into your analysis and understand how these sources work together as one big picture. Marketing problem solving is really interesting too because it requires thinking more creatively about human behavior and why people act the way they do. I think this is very similar to how you would approach historical research questions.
Do you have any advice to provide to current history students?
My biggest piece of advice is to study what interests you. Don't abandon your passions because it might be easier to do something else. You just need to think a little creatively about how what you want to do or study can be applied in different ways. In studying history, definitely be bold and think critically about what you're learning. When applying to jobs, don't shy away from your history background. Passion definitely shines through to employers.