TAMID: Always Stronger
It’s easy these past few semesters to feel as if we’ve gotten the short end of the stick and have had to endure a really tough educational experience. Regrettably, we must face this unquestionable fact: Through no fault of our school or our teachers, our education during the pandemic has been subpar. I don’t think you’ll find anyone who would say that they genuinely learned more while on Zoom than they would have in an actual classroom. This dialed-down version of a college experience has bled into all aspects of the overall situation and will undoubtedly affect our retention of and enthusiasm for the information we’ve “learned.” The classes, clubs, and athletic and social departments have all taken a hit and have failed to offer the preparation for the real world that college is supposed to impart. Incredibly, though, some clubs have emerged from the experience even stronger — notably TAMID.
TAMID is an international organization with chapters at dozens of colleges including YU that “educates students about the business world through the lens of the Israeli economy,” according to its website, through various facets including education, consulting Israeli companies, participating in an investment fund program and an eight-week fellowship program to Israel.
This past semester, TAMID has been able to provide an accurate representation of a future workspace environment, perhaps more aptly than ever before. TAMID has long touted itself as the club that provides its participants with the best out-of-classroom education available. As a club member myself, I wholeheartedly believe this description to be accurate.
Last semester, after a rigorous and highly competitive interview process, I was accepted to the prestigious club and began the education portion of the TAMID experience. TAMID board members ran me through introductory terms, phrases and business concepts. We were encouraged to ask questions on anything that was presented to us, and we always received intelligent answers. We were also tasked with completing a case study for a company in part of TAMID’s national case study competition. In normal years, the process is pretty representative of a typical firm’s consulting presentation. The members of the project would meet up together in a coffee shop or common workplace and brainstorm together on how to gather data and present their findings to the firm. From what I’ve heard, this is also how the previous TAMID semesters would operate.
However, this year, as with everything else in the world, TAMID was hit with the curveball that was, and unfortunately still is, the pandemic. Along with all other classes, clubs and committees, they had to recalibrate their normal semester proceedings. For the most part, the meat and potatoes of a TAMID semester remained the same. As mentioned before, first year participants were simultaneously educated by a student member of TAMID with essential business terms and concepts, as well as tasked, in partnership with our assigned groups, with analyzing company and marketplace information and presenting a case study for a firm.
The main difference this year was that this entire process was virtual. Our team meetings and group projects were entirely over Zoom. I had to undertake the seemingly difficult task of working efficiently and cooperatively with other project members whom I had never met. On top of that, the guidelines and responsibilities for the project were exactly the same as those of years past. The project lengths and presentations were no shorter, and the judging was no easier.
Although this may seem unfair, I believe TAMID was fulfilling their promise to their members in a near prophetic fashion: to prepare us better than ever before for what our future workplace environment might look like. Companies have already stated that, going forward, Zoom and other online video conferencing services may be an integral part of their corporate cultures. Employees may work half the week in the office and the other half at home via Zoom. Other companies have even begun to hire employees without ever having met them in person, and those employees have held their jobs for almost a year now. What may have been an absolutely ridiculous idea quite recently is now our very real, present and long-term future; relationships between employer and employee, project manager and consultant and even friend and friend may all start and be sustained with video conferencing.
With this in my mind, I wasn’t deprived at all by my first semester of TAMID being virtual. I don’t feel that due to my case study project and group meetings all being behind a computer screen that I may be underprepared for a career in consulting or some other job in the business world. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Ironically, I am perhaps more prepared than TAMID members who were part of the club in normally functioning years. Those members are only familiar with working in-person, at a coffee shop or in a public setting, and with working through problems face-to-face with their peers. Those TAMID alumni who have even begun careers in consulting may now see their jobs as a downgrade from what they envisioned. Perhaps they were enlivened by their experience in TAMID at YU and were eagerly anticipating future careers in consulting because of what they experienced, only to be disheartened by the current state and trajectory of the modern workplace. They may now feel that they don’t have the proper tools to work entirely virtually with a team on complex problems.
TAMID members this year may be the most fortunate; we have had to live through the first phase of the new video conferencing world. Due to our virtual introduction to the consulting space and the minutiae of planning, coordinating, and presenting case studies over the internet with people we have never met, we won't see the future of remote work as odd or out of place. By adapting to the reality of the world as-is and not regressing to how we would have liked it to be, TAMID has prepared its participants for their future careers. I feel confident now in my ability to develop a creative and successful project with people I’ve never met. As much as we may want the workplace of the future to be a carbon copy of the workplace we remember from not too long ago, this sadly is not the case. TAMID took advantage of the situation and proceeded full steam ahead with what they do best: preparing undergraduate students for the most accurate and thorough impression possible of their future workplace environments and professional careers.
Photo Caption: TAMID Group Logo
Photo Credit: TAMID Group