Name: Jeffrey Chang ‘08
Major: History & Political Science Minor: Economics
Current Job Title: Attorney
Employer: Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Tell us a bit about your life and career since graduation. How did you get your first job? How did you navigate to where you are now? Where do you live?
I attended the University of Virginia School of Law after graduating Rutgers. I sort of always knew I wanted to head back to New Jersey and be close to my family. I was fortunately offered a position to clerk for Judge Lawson, A.J.S.C., in Monmouth County, NJ and decided to take a job at Heilbrunn Pape, LLC for a combination of reasons: I grew up in the area, I was interested in transactional law, and it is a sophisticated boutique law firm which handled large transactions. I currently reside in Robbinsville, NJ
Why did you choose your major and minor?
I was interested in history and political science when I graduated high school. The intense writing and critical thinking associated with the classes challenged me. The ability to have discussions and debates honed my skill set which has helped me in my current career.
How would you describe your greatest personal or professional accomplishment since graduating from Rutgers?
I am proud to be an attorney that actually enjoys practicing law. I am fortunate to find an office that provides me the following: challenging legal issues that affect most people (land use/real estate), access to excellent mentors who have enabled me to develop and grow as an attorney, had extensive client exposure and lead roles in transactional matters. Even more importantly, I am able to balance my work with my personal life and spending time with my family who I cherish greatly.
How has your arts and sciences education at Rutgers benefited you?
Is there a particular course, professor, or experience that was most meaningful? Please describe. I found the smaller, advanced seminars to be very helpful for improving my communication and critical thinking skill set. These classes challenged me to interact with my professor and other equally motivated individuals to explore the subject material. I was not able to "sit in the back", instead I was forced to meaningfully participate in the course material.
What advice can you offer to School of Arts and Sciences undergraduates about how to successfully connect their education in arts and sciences to their lives and careers after college?
As trite as the phrase "find a career you are passionate about and you will be successful", I have found this to be incredibly true. It is important to find an area of educational interest you are interested in and think how that can translate to a career. If you are interested in a topic, you will more likely than not be willing to invest the time and effort to truly understand, and hopefully master said topic.
In the world we live in today, it is unlikely traditional career paths will continue to be followed. It is difficult to know what you "want to do with your life" when you are in college. However, it is valuable to find skills which can translate across different career paths. Obviously, having technical knowledge is very important, but in terms of a School of Arts and Sciences background, you can improve your communication skills (written and oral), interpersonal skills (small group seminars, debating), and critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
I have found that these skills are universally necessary and in high demand regardless of what career field you are interested in. One of the primary goals of your time at Rutgers is to build upon these skills so that you can market yourself to employers upon graduation. Do not forget internship opportunities and working with professors who may have connections for you to utilize upon graduation.