Sara Ko-Ada

Associate Director of Student Services & Career Coach

What do you do?

I’m so excited to wear two specific hats in our Office. I’m a career coach—meet with Kelley undergraduate students to successfully explore potential internship positions and career paths, also, as the Associate Director of Student Services, I have the privilege to collaborate with our internal team, as well as with other Kelley departments and IU-wide, and manage our Tech/Social Media team to strategize and present career-related sessions and workshops for our growing Kelley undergraduate student population.

Why do you do it?

My reasons are simple—empathy and positive impact through intercultural competence. I empathize with those who may be struggling to find their meaningful career calling for various reasons, and I’ve found joy in helping those who turn jobs into meaningful careers. Having lived and worked in diverse environments, I value creating positive impacts through intercultural competence—the ability to comfortably and properly navigate, be aware of, and appreciate various cultures and peoples. In this globalized world, whatever industry you’re in or position you hold, intercultural competence matters and is esteemed.

How did you get here?

Born in South Korea and have lived all of my formative years on the U.S. Territory island of Saipan (Never heard of it? Google it. It’s in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, by Guam), I graduated from IU back in 2009 (BA in Journalism). My first job was in PR/communications at an international development firm in Washington, D.C. Initially, my heart was set on spreading my wings as a broadcast journalist, so I made the bold move to Seoul, South Korea, to work as an English journalist. There, I worked as a news anchor and field reporter, as well as a business communications consultant for various global companies. These worthwhile experiences opened my eyes to the world of business and the importance of intercultural competence (or the lack there of)—leading me to obtain two Masters in international development and cooperation and international communication. I had an amazing graduate assistantship at American University’s Kogod School of Business, coaching and assisting undergraduate business students, and it was then when I knew I wanted to work with students to reach their optimum potential in life and career. Where else would I do this but at my beloved alma mater?

What have you learned during your career?

Two things—challenge yourself to step out of your “comfort zone” and make those connections and long-lasting relationships. “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” and “It’s not always about what you know, but it’s almost always about WHO you know.” I wholeheartedly agree—I’ve seen it, lived (living) it, and believe it. So go out there, expand your horizons and limits and see yourself grow and succeed.

What do you do away from work?

My husband and I are first-time parents to our sweet toddler boy who is our world! Any time we’re not working, we spend as much quality family time together, because he is growing up so fast! Pre-pandemic and pre-baby, we loved traveling—short and long road trips and international excursions. For now, we’ve opted for short trips to playgrounds, libraries, parks, and occasional road trips.

I strongly believe…

Our world will become a better, happier place if we all care, give, love, and understand a little more.

I wish…

I could be better at gardening and live to travel all around the world.

All Posts

Just for Our International Students – February Newsletter


February is a busy month for spring recruiting. Read on and don’t miss out on the upcoming career-related workshops and networking events this month!


By Sara Ko-Ada
Sara Ko-Ada Associate Director of Student Services & Career Coach
Read more »

Just for Our International Students – January Newsletter


New year, new events, and new opportunities! We have a full calendar of career-related events for you this spring semester. Scroll down to learn more about them!


By Sara Ko-Ada
Sara Ko-Ada Associate Director of Student Services & Career Coach
Read more »

How Will a Biden Presidency Affect International Students’ Job Search?

Should we expect normal times moving forward with President Biden? Check out this article, and let’s hope for better days.

Marcelo Barros
Founder, The International Advantage

By Sara Ko-Ada
Sara Ko-Ada Associate Director of Student Services & Career Coach
Read more »