Beyond the Gates: Emma Murphy '15

Photo courtesy of Emma Murphy ’15 Murphy ’15 stands in front of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.

Photo courtesy of Emma Murphy ’15
Murphy ’15 stands in front of the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.


Like a handful of other students, Emma Murphy ’15 succeeded both her mother and grandmother as an alumna of Mount Holyoke. She attended her first Laurel Parade before she could even read. “I grew up with Mount Holyoke on my radar,” Murphy told me. “As I got older, I realized Mount Holyoke was the right fit for me for a whole host of other reasons — from its strong international student presence to its ingrained history of traditions.” While she spent the majority of her childhood living outside of Washington, D.C., Murphy also spent five years living in Tokyo while her father was serving in the Navy. Her unique upbringing abroad inspired Murphy to pursue a major in East Asian Studies, which she later paired with Politics. “By the time I graduated, I found that my academic passions tended more towards the Politics side,” revealed Murphy. Murphy’s passion has led her to pursue a master’s degree in international relations and politics at Cambridge University this coming fall.

At an MIT career fair that she found through the Career Development Center, Murphy was encouraged to apply for a job at Discovery Reports Group, Ltd., where she currently works as an international sales correspondent. “I’m essentially assigned to a new project every 3-4 months to produce a sponsored business report for a Hong Kong-based newspaper,” Murphy said of her job. “Every day is different, which is what drew me to the position initially, but I spend most of my time going to meetings, interviewing CEOs and selling advertising space in our reports.” Over the course of the last two years, Murphy has lived in Tokyo, Taipei, Amsterdam, Manila and Singapore, with brief stints in Bangkok and New York. “The unpredictability of the position is both the best and the worst feature,” Murphy admits. “I have to say, I’m rarely bored.”

Murphy asserted that the international exposure she received at Mount Holyoke, both from her year studying abroad in Kyoto and her experiences interacting with the diverse student body, instilled in her the flexibility and adaptability to successfully perform in a variety of cultures and settings. “While my current position differs with what I imagine my ultimate career path will lean towards, the experience has been invaluable nonetheless. The best advice I can pass along is to spend time between undergraduate and graduate school getting to know what exactly it is you want,” Murphy advises. “I’ve found that trying out a different career line has shown me where I’m truly meant to be — and that’s much more in line with what I studied at Mount Holyoke.” As for students interested in a career in international sales, Murphy recommended scouting out firms that have a strong corporate culture of respect and development. “I learned later on how important it is to work with a company that values you as an employee and not just a revenue generator,” Murphy said.

Upon her matriculation in Cambridge University in the fall, Murphy intends to study transitional justice, a field she discovered during her time at Mount Holyoke. While she claims that it’s a difficult area of academia to break into, Murphy says it was a seminar at Mount Holyoke that piqued her academic interest and propelled her towards more comprehensive study. According to Murphy, her staff mentors and faculty advisors at Mount Holyoke were instrumental in helping to clarify her post-graduate plans and define her career objectives.