Before this interview, I had been informed by colleagues that had interacted with Patrick during his CareerUp experience that he was a “great guy”; a “super successful professional”; a “cool dude”— There was clearly some Patrick Stacey fandom going around. I already knew I wanted to interview Patrick, but the team’s feedback made me aware this was an alumnus who was not only smart but extremely personable.
Unsurprisingly, the combination has taken him far.
Patrick’s LinkedIn profile boasts an impressive variety of titles: IT lab consultant, marketing specialist, business development consultant, and now a sales representative at Oracle. Back in 2015, when Patrick did his internship abroad with CareerUp, he was hired as a marketing consultant for Call Levels. Three years later, he is employed by the multi-billion dollar computer technology corporation, Oracle.
Looking solely at his resume, one could easily assume that Patrick always had this career trajectory planned out, but the reality is, his road was foggy for a while.
“I was drifting, hoping I would be okay and thinking things would maybe just fall into place. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do and college was coming to an end; I thought I probably wanted to be in marketing and sales, thinking I could potentially be pretty good at it.
I was directionless, with that thought all graduates have:
Oh, College is over.. What do I do now?
I really had no professional experience except helping my friend with his DJ work and I hadn’t really traveled. I didn’t want to go and spend all that money on classes and partying, so I wasn’t interested in studying abroad. Rather, I thought I would get out of my comfort zone and get that travel and cultural experience and work.
I was hypothetically asking myself a lot of questions.
Do I have enough time to do it? Can I afford it? Is CareerUp worth the investment?
I knew the internship abroad was a big investment to make and for something that not everyone does. And, I knew I would have to borrow money and spend my own to make it happen.
I did all my research before making the decision: I looked online, spoke with professors at the university, and had someone at Penn State tell me it was a great experience. Everything tied together after my research. Eventually, I decided I’m just going to give it my all and not regret anything. I chose Singapore because international business runs through the city and it stands out on a resume. Even now I still get asked about it.
Patrick accepted a work abroad opportunity with a Fintech startup in Singapore, whose office was made up of 11 people at the time.
“My company’s office was one big room with desks around it up against windows.
On my first day, I sat down with the co-founders who gave me a lesson on the company’s history and why they had created the App. Then I jumped into the work.
My day-to-day grind was working on the marketing and PR side. I would find people writing about Fintech and try to get them to write about our app. At the same time, I was developing our social media, generating blogs, going to networking events, and pitching the product.”
We regularly have applicants express uncertainty as to whether working with a startup is valuable. Often the end goal for finance interns is an ambitious one, with sights set on working in a Big 4, performing asset management, venture capital, or financial analyst work; But this concern comes from students in almost every industry. A powerful benefit of working with smaller companies is the chance for frequent contact with the founders. This was something Patrick not only knew before applying, but an opportunity he actively pursued.
“When I was thinking about working with a startup, I had the expectation that they weren’t expecting us to do much. But, when you’re an intern, it’s about trying to help in any way you can and networking. This is how I look at it for any internship.
When I thought of Fortune 500 companies, I knew there would be times that there wouldn’t be as much to do. In a startup, you can take advantage of opportunities to pitch your ideas. I knew beforehand that this would be an environment where I could implement my ideas and I was excited for the work.
I turned down some pretty good paid internships back home. The cultural experience of going abroad and working at a startup were interesting to me. I knew it would be less structured and I would have access to the founders who I could go directly to with questions and ideas. My bosses were MBA graduates of Harvard and Stanford and both had 10+ years of finance experience.
Getting outside my comfort zone was the right choice: Everyone at Call Levels was on the tech side since it was a finance and tech application, but working with the owners gave me strength. In the work environment, it seemed day-to-day very respectful and warm. Singaporeans are very respectful of each other. They won’t talk down to you. In North America, it can be cut throat; There is a lot of money at stake and people take it very seriously so, it is understandable. Succeeding in these circumstances is about living with the approach, How far can I push myself?”
That answer led us beautifully into the other half of Patrick’s story, which is of course, what is it like to work for Oracle and how can others replicate his success in their own lives?
“When someone speaks your name, your personal brand comes to mind first.
With work- at Call Levels and now Oracle- I’m not there to necessarily have a good time. It’s about working hard. My advice is to find something that you are passionate about and good at and start working in the field. Business school can be a difficult place to teach the hard skills: You have to get in there.
I have a strong sense of what is going on in the business world from being in it. By putting myself into that environment, I have become polished in handling business transactions. The people you work for can definitely sense personal and professional development if you have that, and if you do, you’re polished and ready to engage with executives. That is going to get you the job.
If you want to make money, software sales is the place to be in. And yeah, that is difficult to break into. You need to have a good degree and professional experience including an internship. You have to have a competitive level of knowledge about what you are selling and then also battle the internal politics. You have to want it and take it, get your experience and pay your dues.
Like everyone, I had my difficulties: the real game is getting on the right teams for networking. People coming out of college don’t realize the importance of at least enjoying working with your coworkers. If people manifest finding the work hard as being miserable, it rubs off on you. You want to work on a team that has a similar mindset to yours.”
What is next for Patrick? He is open to living in other destinations, and tackling new challenges with work. The end goal is finding that elusive dream of balance.
“I am not drifting anymore; I am really focused. As a person, I am not all that different, but my eyes are opened. I think I grew in credibility. Now, I can back up what I am saying.
I want to make money, but I don’t necessarily think it’s everything. Down the line, I want to find that balance of loving every part of what I do with the amount of money I make.”
“But, everyone wants that.”