January 29, 2018
Professional Writing Alum Communicates for International Law Firm
By Shilo Rea
Professional Writing major Sarah Gutekunst (’17) spent the last semester of her Carnegie Mellon University career finishing her coursework, writing for the Tartan, working on her Senior Honors Program thesis and interning for the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Gutekunst has spent the past seven months working as a communications assistant for international law firm Fried Frank in their New York City office. She recently talked to us about her experiences.
What has been the most exciting part of starting your professional career? Most challenging?
The most exciting and challenging parts of starting my professional career are actually one and the same. My whole life leading up to this point has been spent preparing for this. Now it’s time to test whether I have prepared myself well enough to make it in a high-stakes career in a big city. It’s been a challenge, but I know I’ll always look back on this transition as one of the most exciting times in my life.
How did your coursework prepare you?
Because I had no experience with law before I started, lessons from the style course helped me to cut through the jargon, identify the characters and actions and produce a clear and concise message that makes sense to a large audience. I also still remember the instructional writing unit from Intro to Professional and Technical Writing which has been useful as I’ve created how-to guides for processes I’m responsible for, including a 20-page instructional guide to our internal communications platform.