A Year After Drexel: Checking in with Class of ’16 Speaker Jordan Jobs
May 20, 2017
About a year ago, Jordan Jobs was addressing the Class of 2016 at Drexel’s 129th Commencement College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) ceremony as a magna cum laude graduate of the BS in Information Systems program with a legal studies minor. As a Drexel student, Jobs was an accomplished undergraduate research scholar in information systems, and twice earned national recognition by the prestigious National Council on Undergraduate Research. Jobs was also a Louis Stokes Alliance of Minority Participation student, a 2012 STAR Scholar, a member of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, and served as a CCI undergraduate peer mentor. Since graduating, Jobs has worked as a cybersecurity associate at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in New York City.
CCI: What has life been like after Drexel?
It's hard to sum up a major shift in life, but I can say it was similar to being a freshman in college. After graduation, I couldn't wait for the next level of independence that I was about to experience. I was leaving Philadelphia and moving to New York to start my dream job and I couldn't be more excited. But there was also the apprehension of leaving what I knew best. Starting a new life requires an adjustment period, especially after being so comfortable in a space for five years. Even acknowledging that I was at Drexel for five years rekindles my bittersweet emotions about saying goodbye to some of my best friends, and no longer having the option to sleep-in on weekdays or drive 45 minutes to hometown in South Jersey. The mixture of apprehension and initial excitement unfolded into the experience of adopting my new city, fostering new relationships, ensuring my important relationships remained intact and understanding the importance of investing into my own happiness. With any major change in life there are ups and downs, fortunately, I can say the 'ups' have peaked way above any downs I experienced this year.
CCI: Tell us a little bit about your job at PwC.
JJ: I'm a new associate in the Cybersecurity and Privacy practice within Risk Assurance. Our team works to help companies address their cyber or privacy-related needs, whether they want to assess the strength of their cyber or privacy program, become compliant with a new law or regulation, or get back on their feet after a breach. Everyday there is something new to learn and the autonomy I have in my work is the most rewarding aspect. No matter your level at the firm, if you can showcase your reliability, work quality and eagerness to improve in every occasion, then you will do well. I also enjoy the work outside of client-facing tasks such as campus recruiting, attending conferences for minorities in cybersecurity and being a mentor for our incoming interns. I recently signed up to be a mentor for the upcoming PwC Challenge Case competition at Drexel. I'm really happy with my choice to be at PwC — the support I've received here has been incredible.
CCI: What other projects/activities have you been involved in since graduating from Drexel?
JJ: I signed up with an organization called iMentor in New York. iMentor is a non-profit organization and its goal is have every high school student be college-bound. iMentor focuses primarily on Title I schools, where students come from low-income households. In many cases these students may not consider college as an option or they may be the first in their family to apply to college. iMentor pairs professionals who graduated from college with these students throughout their four years of high school. The students are guided through applying for their first jobs, internships, professional writing, and ultimately, applying to college.
Another organization I'm involved in is the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP). This non-profit association aims to improve the education and participation of minorities within the field of cybersecurity. Through PwC leadership and mentoring I was able to attend ICMCP'S second annual conference where I met many professionals and C-suite leaders who were primarily minorities. I can't begin to express how rare it is to experience something like that, but it was truly inspiring.
CCI: How did your experiences in your co-ops and internships influence your career post-graduation?
JJ: My first co-op was a Web design position at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. In addition to working on the intranet site, I had the opportunity to do some project management and lead requirements gathering discussions. My second co-op was at FMC Corporation as a procurement process analyst, where I led the creation of job aids for their SAP implementation as they were streamlining their procurement process globally.
My last co-op was with a boutique information security firm that was founded by cybersecurity leaders from Big 4 consulting. The opportunity to learn about various industries and help clients with their cyber-related problems helped me experience the cybersecurity field hands on. Whether the project was regulatory-related, helping clients determine whether to adopt a new technology or how to improve clients' governance structure, the experience revealed my interest in wearing various hats and the enjoyment I felt in being able to help companies attain their goals and protect their assets. In this last co-op, I also enjoyed the travel, getting to know the clients and ultimately the company culture of the firm. Since a majority of the team at the time had a Big 4 background and they were all intelligent people and fantastic coworkers, I was steered towards pursuing my post-graduate career at one of the Big 4. So far I can say the training, engagement experiences, and team environment at PwC have been great.
CCI: You were involved in a variety of organizations while at Drexel. How did your experiences outside the classroom assist you in your personal and professional development?
JJ: My involvement in Drexel organizations prepared me well for my professional development. After being president of my sorority, Delta Zeta, (an organization of over 120 people at the time), I learned that communication skills were key to my success. Whether in person or behind a screen writing an email, it was important to know how to articulate my thoughts. When events did not go as planned it taught me to how to handle stress, and I have channeled that into my work when things get a bit hectic. My experience with recruiting for CCI has also been helpful with my involvement through PwC's campus recruiting efforts. Being involved on campus made it much easier to assimilate into PwC's culture and find other ways to be involved in the firm.
Personally, through my involvement in organizations I was fortunate to form really strong friendships. Even though I have graduated and moved out of Philadelphia, I still have those amazing friendships. If I didn't those organizations, my experience at Drexel would have been drastically different.
CCI: What advice would you have for students hoping to break into the cybersecurity field?
JJ: If you are interested in the cybersecurity field, I think you should get a good foundation in more technical coursework such as networking, servers and programming courses. However, it is also important to understand that cybersecurity is not just about pen testing (hacking), social engineering, phishing attacks, etc. There are components of the field that deal with privacy laws, third party risk management, a company's cybersecurity maturity compared to its peers, among other issues that companies are facing. Students should consider taking business courses (e.g., legal studies, finance) because without businesses there wouldn't be any assets to protect. I think if students are interested in cybersecurity they should view it with wider lens and diversify their skills.
CCI: Any advice for graduating seniors?
If you have the time before your next step (new job, graduate school, etc.), take some time for yourself to relax because you deserve it. If you're moving away, I suggest spending as much time as possible with your close friends. It is really easy to take for granted how close you live near each other. On that note, if you're moving away and you have a favorite place to eat in Philadelphia, eat there a lot, because Philly food is the best. And just because college is over and you may think you don't want study anymore, try to stay current with what's going on in the world and what place technology has in it.