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Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Career Trek Recap

In December, the OPCD partnered with career offices at the University of Chicago and Stanford University to offer Career Exploration Treks to Washington, D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco. They offered students from each school the opportunity to explore a city, select industries, and network with alumni from all three schools (see this blog post from October for additional details).
We are especially excited that the treks were a valuable experience to students at different stages in their personal and career development. They provided seniors, who were actively looking for jobs, the opportunity to network in person with alumni, yet provided general information for underclassmen who are still identifying potential career fields. By all accounts these treks proved to be an enormous success, but what better way to share with you the impact of the treks than through our students own words.

“After attending the Career Trek to Washington, D.C., my eyes were opened to the professional environment in Washington, D.C. as well as the standards across the country. Each company and industry was very upfront and clear as to what they expected from a student coming from any school in the country. I have become much more aware of what research to perform and what steps are necessary to take if I am truly interested in any field we visited. Wake Forest provided the three schools that participated a fantastic way to become directly included in those various industries. This trip allowed companies to provide students the opportunity to find out what was required of an employee with their firm and what would best prepare students for this transition into the post-undergraduate world.”

– Sophomore, Undeclared Major

“I went on the CPG trek to Chicago and visited six companies, including Barilla, ACCO Brands, McDonald’s Corporation, Wrigley, SymphonyIRI Group, and The Cambridge Group. At each company a few employees gave a brief presentation about what the company did, and at the end we had Q&A. These visits were very informative as I received some great insight into the work culture of these companies and why the employees like to work for them. By the end of the trip I discovered that a career in CPG is actually not for me. However, I realized from visiting the CPG consulting firms, Symphony IRI and The Cambridge Group that consulting is a job that fits my skills and interests. This is very useful information because now I can better target my job search. Overall, the trek was a very valuable experience and I would recommend it to students of any year as it is a good opportunity to learn more about an industry and network with professionals.”

– Senior, Economics Major

Other students articulated important insights regarding their own career development knowledge, mindset and plans:

  • “The trek demonstrated to me the importance of organizational culture in my career search.”
  • “The trek showed me that business does not have to be boring! Now, I want to work in California!”
  • “Through conversations with alumni, I realized I will need an MBA for the career I want.”
  • “The trek illustrated that everyone moves from company to company – your first job certainly won’t be your last, so I don’t have worry if my first job isn’t a perfect fit.”
  • “I learned that lots of employees began their careers working for large companies to benefit from their training programs or other opportunities, but then transitioned to smaller, boutique organizations. This opened my eyes to the number of pathways available to me to reach my end destination.”

We are pleased that 45 Wake Forest students were able to benefit from these treks at various cities around the U.S.  We will conduct similar treks in the future and are committed to developing and offering other ways for students to continue to learn about the wide variety of careers in the wide open world of work.

Parents – if your student is yearning to explore and discover possible career interests and options, encourage him/her to connect with Wake Forest alumni, high/prep school alumni, your friends or acquaintances and conduct an informational interview or job shadow.  For more guidance on how to do this, direct him/her to our web page on networking and informational interviewing.

Category: Employer Events, Networking