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How Job Shadowing Shapes Students’ Futures

Posted by Anna Westendorf on Aug 8, 2019 10:05:56 AM
Anna Westendorf

PeopleGrove recently hosted Nafiz Budeiri, a rising sophomore majoring in economics and finance at Centre College, to job shadow here in our San Francisco office for a week. During his time here, he sat in on meetings, listened to conversations with current and prospective partners, and was encouraged to ask questions as he explored the many avenues of technology and higher education.

nafiz

Nafiz is interested in economics and finance, and currently plans to work in corporate finance and possibly attend law school. This summer, Nafiz wanted to learn about a new industry. The opportunity to shadow at a startup in the tech field was very intriguing to him, because he wanted to “see what startups are all about”.

This was Nafiz’s first shadowing experience. Being a dedicated D3 soccer player, Nafiz spends much of his time studying in school and training for the soccer season. Not able to spend the entire summer in San Francisco, Nafiz chose to expand his perspective through a shorter shadowing experience.

Throughout the week at PeopleGrove, Nafiz spent time learning about each department. From sales to product to marketing, Nafiz got a more complete picture of the work environment at the company.

Nafiz reflected, “I was blown away by the many moving parts and the constant room for improvement and innovation.” Before coming to PeopleGrove, Nafiz didn’t have a solid picture of what working at a startup looked like. In preparing for his future career, this was something he really wanted to learn more about.

Comparing a corporate setting to PeopleGrove was illuminating for Nafiz. Throughout the experience at PeopleGrove, Nafiz thought about how he could soak in the malleable environment of a startup and apply this to banking or other industries that are more “set-in-stone.”

One of the most beneficial aspects to shadowing was acquiring a better understanding of different departments and job titles. Nafiz explained, “I know what sales is… but I wouldn’t know what the actual responsibilities are for sales representatives unless I had sat down with them and talked to them.” Not only can Nafiz apply this knowledge to his current experience, but use what he learned and apply it to other industries.

Having concrete definitions of different careers is important for college students who are trying to conceptualize their career paths. A 2014 Gallup-Purdue index report found that students who had an experience, outside of school, that allowed them to apply what they were learning in the classroom, are 3 times more likely to feel engaged in their future work environments. They are also 1.5 times more likely to thrive in all areas of well-being. Experiences like job-shadowing give students a clearer understanding of what their future could look like and give them the opportunities to test different career paths before they make any definite decisions.

When asked what advice he would give to other students interested in a shadowing experience, he urges his peers to “get out of their comfort zone.” The week in San Francisco showed Nafiz how expansive the tech industry is and opened his eyes to other possible career paths.

Nafiz thinks that all college students should take the time to shadow people from various industries. Having the chance to sit in on meetings, observe an average work day, and hear how people go about accomplishing their goals is very beneficial. Nafiz left PeopleGrove with a deeper understanding of the tech industry while having expanded his network with many employees who are willing to mentor him in the future.

 

Topics: Career Readiness