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New Graduate Begins Career at Facebook

By Sam Kauffmann

Spencer Swan and Laura Iaffaldano

Spencer Swan, BSBA '15, and one of his Unfused co-founders, Laura Iaffaldano, BSBA '15.

Nearly every undergraduate student utilizes the popular social media website, Facebook, whether to post photos, share experiences, or keep in touch with peers. However, one graduate will soon be paid to look at Facebook every day.

Spencer Swan, BSBA '15, has accepted a job at Facebook in Austin, Texas as a graph integrity specialist in the community operations department.

A Young Entrepreneur

Swan always knew he wanted to pursue business.

In middle school, he started trading items in his packed lunch for chocolate milk from other kids in the lunch line. He also learned to make profit from trading cards and various other side businesses.

"[Business] was something I expected that I might have talent for, so I decided to go for it," Swan said.

His hunch was right. Swan graduated this spring with a BSBA specializing in marketing and entertainment management with a minor in cello performance.

Since his days of trading chocolate milk and specialty cards, his taste and experience has evolved, leading to a marketing strategy and data driven job that he claims, "combines every element of my education."

Although he'll be joining a prestigious company right after college, he remains humble calling himself very lucky to be on the path he is.

Swan found the Facebook job description online and applied. Soon after, he received an email from a recruiter and soared past the in-depth application process, including multiple rounds of interviews and a mock pitch presentation.

Through his recent job search, he realized that his "favorite thing in the world is getting resources and optimizing strategy with those things in mind towards achieving that goal."

"That's what I want to do with my existence," he said. "Business school tickl[ed] that itch for me, because you are given a case and have to make the best of what you have to work with."

Business in the Capital

Swan credits both American University's location in Washington, D.C., and Kogod for encouraging students to get real work experience as early as possible.

"It's a drive that's instilled, but its also an expectation," he said. "All of your peers are going to have multiple internships so get on it. I think Kogod has encouraged that and I've always appreciated it."

Directly after his freshman year, Swan started interning for the Virginia Arts Festival, before going on to intern at local music venue, the 9:30 Club.

"To work at a venue that major, for a [young] student, that was amazing for me," he said. "There's no place I could have done that besides Washington."

Swan also worked at the Kogod Center for Business Communications [KCBC] all four years while in college, which he found to be invaluable for building his skills in professional communication and peer mentoring.

He joined his coworkers from the KCBC to work on their start-up venture Unfused, a video tutoring service for underprivileged kids in the inner city. As vice president of marketing, he created initial branding and marketing campaigns for the start up.

Unfused was one of the first small businesses to take advantage of Kogods and American University's new Entrepreneurship Incubator.

"The incubator space has been really incredible," Swan said. "A lot of people don't think of physical space and mentorship when starting a company, but it has been invaluable."

Unfused is currently transitioning to new leadership, but Swan will move on the advisory council and is excited to see the new young talent stepping up.

Swan's biggest advice to students is to say yes to as many things that you can.

"Take advantage of every opportunity that is offered to you," said Swan. "Even if you only go to one meeting, you can always say that you have tasted it intellectually. Do not judge things based on how they sound, but on the experience."