by Bill Gao, COL/WH ’22
As a college student, many of us are forced to take a variety of courses to fill requirements. There is an expectation that the few semesters before declaring your major will help you decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. With little to no experience in any industry, I felt like a lost cause while first-year students were coming in confident with their career projection.
From information sessions to alumni networking, every conversation felt surface level lacking honesty and transparency. In addition, I was afraid to ask stupid questions with a hundred undergrads and successful professionals judging every word I say. Career Services provided a plethora of useful resources that fostered authentic conversations between working professionals and students, but they often end up being intimidating. I then came across Fishbowl.
Working at Fishbowl
As a growth marketing intern, it was critical for me to believe in the product that I was working to expand into student consumers. Fishbowl is a unique resource that I immediately shared with all of my peers, receiving a range of positive feedback. With direct contact with the senior executives, my voice was heard and suggestions were put into action. This tight-knit team values the student perspective and creates a mentorship between full-time employees and interns.
By working at a start-up, I was exposed to a diverse range of business tasks from partnership building to establishing an ambassador program. The Fishbowl community creates an intimate experience, allowing interns to ask questions across departments and positions. Due to Covid-19, Fishbowl has taught me the necessary remote skills to create relationships and a healthy work schedule virtually. The senior staff places immense responsibility and trust on their interns, while providing them with creative freedom and individualized experimentation. No new idea from an intern is overlooked and with a simple Slack message, I could present my thought process to one of the co-founders of Fishbowl. The inclusive work environment at Fishbowl has allowed me to grow professionally and build lasting relationships.
What is Fishbowl?
Fishbowl is a professional social network and app that lets you hear from real professionals about what it’s really like to work within an industry or company. By simply registering for a complementary student account with my Penn email, I had instant access to millions of discussions from verified professionals across various industries. From new hires to senior executives, the discussion topics were just as diverse as the professional users.
Resource Like No Other
With the ability to transition from one industry to another, I was able to get an inside look into conversations from healthcare to consulting employees. For underclassmen who are still in an exploration stage, Fishbowl answers general questions like “What is consulting?” and “What field of law should I get into?”. For college students who know their future industry, they can explore specific companies through the “Company bowls” on Fishbowl. Over 55% of MBB consulting employees are active users along with thousands of professionals in company bowls including Google and Goldman Sachs. These company-specific bowls provide insight into corporate culture and differences from competing firms.
Find Your Bowl
However, personally the most unique aspect of the Fishbowl app is the interest bowls. Users are able to join communities who share similar backgrounds and hobbies. Whether the identity is race, sexual orientation, or geography, students are able to hear the struggles and gain advice from experienced professionals. Since the platform is semi-anonymous, people feel more comfortable having candid conversations about difficult topics. Bowls like “Mental Health & Support” and “Depression/Anxiety Talk” address the difficulties of work-life balance since Fishbowl provides a safe space.
Students can receive up-to-date notifications by joining up to 15 bowls, but they are able to look into discussions from any bowl. By saving posts for the future, I can look back at threads that help with my career trajectory. With private Q&A sessions, networking, and interview opportunities in the future, I certainly will remain an active user of Fishbowl!