Middlebury Institute graduates discuss where they are working today, how the Institute helped them get there, and what advice they’d give to current and future MIIS students.
My name is Gaya Saghatelyan and I graduated with an MA in Translation and Localization Management from the Middlebury Institute in 2017. My language of study was French, and I also speak Armenian, German, and Russian. I interned with Autodesk and Lionbridge in the San Francisco Bay Area and am now manager of Globalization Enablement with HubSpot, working remotely from Hamburg, Germany.
Interning at Lionbridge
I began my journey at Lionbridge in 2017 as a sales and marketing intern on the IT/High-Tech team. I first learned about the opportunity through an employer information session organized by the Center for Advising and Career Services (CACS). When I found out that the internship would give me the opportunity to work with Institute alumna Allison McDougall MBA ’92, VP of Emerging Business, I knew it would be a great learning experience.
Coincidentally, I had met Allison the year before when she presented on an employer panel organized by Career Advisor Winnie Heh. At the time, I was helping Winnie organize the event and had the opportunity to network with the panelists. Through getting to know Allison and her work at Lionbridge, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
As an intern, I learned about the industry and Lionbridge’s business and met interesting people. I eventually wanted to transition into a role in operations, and Allison was extremely supportive in helping me explore opportunities at Lionbridge, introducing me to key people and encouraging me to share what I had learned at MIIS with the management team. This was a valuable experience, as I got to apply what I had learned and see how this knowledge played into the company’s strategy.
From Lionbridge to HubSpot
Upon graduation, I was offered a full-time position on the project management team. I am immensely grateful to CACS for establishing this key partnership with Lionbridge and to Allison for spearheading it.
After a year on staff at Lionbridge, I found a remote position at HubSpot as a localization project manager. A year later HubSpot supported my relocation to Germany, which was a dream of mine. After three promotions in the next three years, I am now manager of Globalization Enablement for HubSpot, reporting to the VP of Localization.
Connecting with people played a key role in my career. CACS team members Winnie Heh, Lee Desser, Bryce Craft, and Emily Weidner all put a tremendous amount of effort into organizing useful career events that helped Translation and Localization Management students connect with industry representatives. In addition, Professors Max Troyer and Adam Wooten encouraged us to attend industry events such as IMUG and Women in Localization. These events were a great way to enhance the classroom experience, and I continue to attend them as a working professional. This is something I would absolutely recommend taking advantage of, as it will make transitioning into the working world much easier.
I was also delighted to see that the knowledge we gained in our program is highly applicable to the real world. For example, I often use the documentation and file management best practices we learned in Max Troyer’s Project Management class, as well the marketing tools covered in Adam Wooten’s International Marketing class. I even had the chance to present some of my class projects to my colleagues at Lionbridge.
Keep Learning, Explore Roles, and Network
The best advice I can offer current students:
1. Keep learning. Learn as much as possible about your industry while you’re at MIIS. It may seem overwhelming or theoretical, but you will take that knowledge with you and make yourself an invaluable asset.
2. Explore different roles. Don’t limit yourself to only one specialization, because there are so many opportunities out there. Be open-minded about taking on new roles.
3. Connect with people. It’s a small industry; make genuine connections with people and help your colleagues. Networking is not about pushing your agenda; it’s about learning from others.
Finally, always remember, you are in one of the best programs in the country, if not the world. Your skills are in demand.
Translation student Frances Chang explains how courses and advising sessions with the Center for Advising and Career Services helped her get out of her comfort zone when launching a career in the field.