Features - Alum of the Month
August 2007 Intake
What and where did you study before your Mountbatten internship?
I graduated from Arizona State University in May 2006 with a BA in Justice Studies and a minor in English Literature.
What made you apply for the Mountbatten programme?
I moved to San Diego after I graduated from ASU and started a paralegal program at the University of San Diego. I quickly realized this wasn’t a profession I wanted to pursue, so I started looking into other opportunities. I studied abroad in Greece and Leicester, England, and simply loved those experiences. I decided I wanted to go back abroad but desired something that wasn’t strictly academic and wasn’t a backpacking Europe trip. I talked to my friend Meghan Warner, whom I went to high school and college with and happened to also study abroad with. She had participated in Mountbatten the year before and absolutely loved it. I looked into it and soon realized this was just the kind of resume building experience I craved.
Describe your sponsor company and your role within it.
Fragomen LLP is recognized as the world's leading global immigration law firm with offices across the US as well as in China, Japan, Africa, Brazil, France and the UAE to name a few. I worked in the London office, on the client services team exclusively within the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region for a fortune 500 company. The main service of my team was to oversee the immigration processes for their employees as well as ensure that their cases were being handled efficiently and Service Level Agreements were being met on both sides.
What was the highlight/most memorable moment of your working experience during this year?
I don't know that I can pinpoint a single experience but more the general opportunity to interact with the client and various co-councils from different countries. Getting to talk to people in Israel and Germany, on a daily basis really established that international factor and flare that I loved about working in London.
I was also extremely fortunate to have two women: Kristen Riley and Diane O’Connell as my managers over the course of the year. They were amazing mentors professionally but also on a personal level. Working in an international setting for the first time can be overwhelming, but the lessons I learned from having a boss that trusts you and allows you to grow through experiences and, having responsibility, was extremely valuable during my earlier work experience. It set the groundwork for being confident and able to express and deliver my opinions in a professional setting.
What was the social highlight/most memorable moment during this year?
By far the relationships I created with the people that I met while on the program. My roommate, Dana Brobrowski, and fellow Ability Tower dwellers Stephanie Zhu, Elizabeth McWhirt (Kurz) and Agata Kopacz (Craig) became some of my closest friends and remain that way to this day. Even though we’re in different cities now we continue to stay in touch and have been bridesmaids in weddings and celebrated so many memories over the past 7 years! (Gosh, has it been that long?!) The experiences we all shared during Mountbatten, both in London and traveling to places like ancient baths in Budapest, the Opera in Salzburg, the pyramids in Egypt, countless bowls of pasta while looking at the coliseum in Rome and dancing until the sun comes up in Barcelona, Spain can never be experienced again with anybody else. Those opportunities created memories that will last a lifetime and some we still laugh over today!
Please share a little wisdom/philosophy that you acquired during your internship
The year you spend as a Mountbatten intern will be one of the best of your life if you allow it. You will never get another opportunity like that to experience new people, countries, cuisines, cultures and employment all at your fingertips, so enjoy it! The year goes by fast, do as much as you can and try not to hold on to what you left behind. It’s important to continue to experience new chapters and live outside your comfort zone.
If you could change anything about your internship, what would it be?
The visa! I would have loved to stay at my job after Mountbatten ended. It may also have been interesting to be offered placements that were not just restricted to my degree and experience, so that I could have explored another area during my internship year.
What happened after completing the year - what did you do next?
It was an extremely hard decision! I debated taking job opportunities from other offices in Singapore, Chicago and New Jersey but after much deliberation decided to move back home to New York with some of my close alumni friends. My Mountbatten manger was based in NYC and took a job at Paul Hastings, LLP to start up their immigration department, and basically took me with her. We worked together for 5 months before our department was transferred to Atlanta. We both declined the move down South and that gave me the motivation to change careers and start to explore my interests/passion in communications, public relations and events. I landed a job as a Marketing Associate a few weeks later at a Business Improvement District in Union Square, where I stayed for 3 years working my way up to Deputy Director of Marketing.
Where are you now in your working life and what do you do?
I’m the Director of Communications for Benchmarc Restaurants by Marc Murphy and Benchmarc Events by Marc Murphy. It’s a NYC based restaurant group headed up by celebrity chef, Marc Murphy. Some of you may know him as one of the judges on Food Network’s hit show Chopped. My role consists of managing Marc and the restaurants’ public events, communications and public relations projects as well as social media for each one. We have 5 restaurants in total Landmarc (Tribeca + Time Warner Center), Ditch Plains (West Village + Upper West Side), Kingside at Viceroy New York as well as the catering arm of the business.
Do you have any future plans that you would like to realise & what are they (career & social)?
I feel lucky that I’ve taken my appetite for the culinary world and my varied background and created a perfect match combining both my expertise and my passion. It’s a great feeling to wake up everyday and really love what you do and who you’re doing it with. Both Marc and his wife Pam, who I work with on the branding + marketing side, as well as our leadership team are some of the most generous people I’ve ever met. That’s what’s great about the food and wine industry people do what they do because it’s a lifestyle to them not just a job. If I wasn’t working in this field, I’d be living it anyway so why not get to do what you love and make a career of it!
My future goal would be to break out my passport again and get us some international projects abroad! A castle in Tuscany perhaps? Or a wine tasting at a villa in France? Sounds good to me!
Is there any other information that you would like to be included?
One of the major projects I’ve worked on is re-vamping our websites (marc-murphy.com) across all brands. For the leadership team, instead of your typical bios we created lists of 25 things you might not know about that person. It was by far one of the funniest and interesting undertakings! I learned we have a lot of talented people in our company. Go ahead and take a look! I might even give a special shout out in mine!
Let’s get social!
Connect with me on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilykarpin
Connect with me on Twitter! @foodie0502