business marketing major
Outstanding business student
Sahila Shah

Major: Business Administration, Marketing
Graduation Year: 2023
Hometown: Stockton, CA
Activities: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Student Council Founder and President; ASUOP Arts & Entertainment Programmer; Delta Sigma Pi Webmaster; Community Involvement Program Scholar; Muslim Students Association; on-campus job with Admissions
Internships: Wells Fargo Wealth Management; Empowering Marginalized Asian Communities (EMAC)

What drew you to marketing?

Sahila: Marketing is so universal. All of us in some shape or form are swayed by marketers. When it comes to any basic concepts, marketing is the main thing that gets your attention. And that's what I like: being competitive. I like thinking, “OK, I have 10 competitors. How can I be better and how can I get your attention?” Competition just really excites me and motivates me to be better.

Tell us about your summer internship with Wells Fargo.

Sahila: My position was very different than my current major. I'm a marketing student, but I was a wealth management intern. It was a virtual internship. I worked with the Seattle firm.  

In one of my favorite projects, I incorporated my marketing background in my position. I presented on how [Wells Fargo] can target different segmentations — for example, how they can target a specific ethnicity or specific income for their services, since the advisers were looking for higher income clients. 

I gave them social media coverage and how they could do that. I also give them tips on how to stand out with their messaging and how to be very authentic when it comes to promoting their services. So, for example, with LinkedIn or newspaper outlets, how they can be more than just numbers and money and be authentic. I think that was my favorite one, since they really needed a lot of marketing assistance. 

How did Pacific prepare you for this opportunity?

Sahila: My marketing classes prepared me a lot. When I was doing my segmentation project, thankfully, beforehand, I had taken a class called International Marketing. And in that class, we learned how to attract different markets around the world, or cultural backgrounds you can touch on. That helped a lot because Seattle is a very diverse city. But internally, within the firm, there wasn't much diversity. So that's one thing that I really targeted: if you're going to attract a diverse clientele, you want to make sure that you reach them appropriately and authentically. That's why the class really helped me. 

I was also contacting my professor during the summer, asking her for help. And she really helped me a lot. She gave me resources, books and podcasts to look into to really put the finishing touch on my presentation. My professors really helped a lot. 

What did you learn through this experience that you're going to take with you in your career?

Sahila: Internally, I learned to not let fears or concerns get to me. I had a lot of anxiety getting into this position, especially the week leading up to it. It was my first corporate internship. I wasn't sure what I was getting into: how the advisers were going to treat me or how I was going to have a place in such a big company. So, one thing I learned from this experience is having more confidence in my abilities and understanding that I matter, and not letting imposter syndrome get to me. 

Something else I learned is companies are always looking for newer Ideas. As a marketing student, I can bring such a diverse perspective to the companies and give them a newer insight of how they can do better, which is crazy, because I'm still in college! But that's one thing I learned a lot in the [Wells Fargo] Seattle firm. They valued the perspectives I provided as a marketing student coming from a mid-size city in the Central Valley.

What is your favorite thing about Pacific?

Sahila: I think for sure, the faculty. And the privilege that comes with being a private school student. All my classes are very small, and that really enhances my connection with my professors. In my marketing classes, even virtually, I was connecting with them, talking to them, asking them so many questions and getting to know them. And that also improved my GPA a lot, because instead of being in a lecture hall with 500 students, it's much more one-on-one interactions that I'm getting from my professor.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Sahila: I like talking about my identities, because if there's one thing I realized, it’s that as first-gen students who've never gone to college, we feel like we can't do these big things. One thing I really want to say to anybody who is looking into college is, in order for you to break that down, you have to be the first one to step up and get a taste of these experiences. Because now that I've had such great positions, I feel comfortable going for big positions with big companies and knowing I can do it. So that’s just a little motivation for anybody who feels discouraged.