One Wharton graduate’s career path led him from finance to Google to a trailer-run startup.
After receiving his diploma from Penn, 2012 Wharton graduate Adam Saven took a job with Credit Suisse, the banking firm where he did a summer internship. During the internship, Saven met Reilly Davis from Georgetown University, who later became his closest buddy in his career path.
While an intern, Saven worked every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. “I thought that was a lot of work, but then a month and half in we had a performance evaluation. I was asked, ‘are there any reasons why you are the first one to leave work everyday?’” he said.
For the rest of the summer, Saven resolved to work until he was the last person in the office — and he did. Saven was rewarded for his work with a full time offer from Credit Suisse, and he joined the firm along with Davis — but despite his effort, he soon realized that his true passion lay outside of finance.
“A lot of students choose finance for a lot of reasons. Some are really passionate about it, but I don’t think most students are doing it for the right reason,” Davis said. “Everyone just wants to do banking for one or two years after graduation because it is regarded as the best jobs for smart kids. I was one of them.”
A year later, Saven and Davis left Credit Suisse to join Google. “The atmosphere is very different. In banking, a newcomer would just take notes in a meeting,but at Google, the manager pushes you to contribute to the discussion. They try to teach you things,” Saven said.
To save money and commuting time, Saven and Davis bought a trailer in a parking lot across the street from the Google buildings and rode Google bicycles to the office every day.
They still live in the trailer today, but it has become much more than a residence — they also use the space as the office for their latest start-up.
During his time at Google, Saven had the opportunity to seriously think about his start-up idea and received help from his Google colleagues. He and Davis recounted the stressful and restrictive experience of searching for jobs in investment banking, so they decided to launch their first startup, a job discovery platform called Emjoyment that matched tech companies with talented college graduates.
The project occupied more and more of Saven’s time and finally one day, he sent a few text messages to his manager at Google saying that he wanted to quit his job to work on Emjoyment full time. His colleague at Google, Julius Schwerin, recalled the incident.
“I remember the manager was away from work for personal reasons, and he told Adam to wait until he came back to discuss quitting. But Adam just said, ‘No you don’t understand. I gotta quit now!’” Scherwin said. Saven eventually waited until the manager returned to formally quit his work at Google.
After leaving Google, Saven devoted his time fully to Emjoyment. Because the project did not work out as successfully as they expected due to problems with the matching process, they decided to wind down Emjoyment and work on a new start-up called CampusKudos, which aims at connecting college students with alumni who are working in tech related fields for employment opportunities.
Saven’s journey shows that banking isn’t for everyone — a trailer can offer what Wall Street can’t.
“Back at my time, everyone at Penn was told that the best job you can get is in private equity. Nowadays students have PennApps, the Dorm Room Fund, etc. Google is becoming the new Goldman Sachs and banking is not that cool anymore,” Saven said. “Penn is not pushing students into banking and consulting that much like it used to. Tides have changed.”
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