Freshman to First Job

Rory McDougall, NYUAD political science graduate, was hired full-time by a Dubai-based investment company where he also completed an internship during his senior year.

From my first day on campus to my last, NYU Abu Dhabi gave me a platform to take advantage of exciting career opportunities. For me, the question always was, what do I want to do exactly?

My major was political science but I quickly realized I could never work in politics for 40 years after graduation. I learned that I wanted to do something else, having interned at the US Congress as part of my studies at NYU Washington and the Conservative Middle East Council in London.

After those experiences, I was lucky enough to secure internships at various organizations in the UK and the UAE that were critical for my professional development. With a focus on marketing, risk management, and private equity, my attention shifted to venture capital and startups. I saw the industry as dynamic and youthful with opportunities all over the world, something you don't often find with more traditional career paths.

The next step was to get an introduction into the industry. I first interned at British Private Equity and the British Venture Capital Association in London, followed by Innovid in Tel Aviv, and later Placemeter, a technology startup in New York. None of this would have been possible without NYU, which supported me at the BVCA and Placemeter, and helped me secure the internship at Innovid while I was studying at NYU Tel Aviv.

While at Placemeter, I learned from a colleague about an exciting new company based in Dubai called WOMENA. Launched in my senior year, WOMENA is an angel investment platform for female investors in the Middle East that provides financial education for women and finds startups for them to invest in. By pure coincidence, I noticed on NYUAD CareerNet, a website for students to find internships and jobs, that they were looking for an intern. I applied, started working there in October 2014 and haven’t looked back since. I'm excited to see the company continue to grow and support the nascent startup ecosystem in the region. In my view, WOMENA is tackling some of the most important issues facing the UAE and the Middle East: female empowerment and youth unemployment.

My experience shows that from the very start, as a young and naïve freshman, NYU Abu Dhabi supports students in whatever way possible. Be it advice, resources, or just being there, I always felt supported while navigating the stress and anxiety that comes with figuring out what on earth you’re going to do after graduation. Even now, as an alumni, I feel supported (I recently had a Skype call with a counselor in the Career Development Center). It's a reminder that I had an amazing four years. Sometimes I wish I could repeat it.