Industry Experts: Navigating Career Exploration in YU for Personalized Growth and Success
College is a place of discovery for students. It is a stepping stone that connects teenage years to adulthood — a period of curiosity, exploration, and trial and error. However, although this period consists of personal enlightenment, it is also extremely complicated and stress-inducing for students. According to a survey done by Ellucian, 51% of students lack confidence in their professional paths when enrolling in college. 68% of Gen Z and 63% of Millennials, the current and most recent generations in the young adult schooling system, have found selecting a major extremely overwhelming.
When I began my first semester on campus at Sy Syms (I am now in my third semester), my focus was geared towards acclimating to life as a college student. I prioritized excelling in my classes, meeting new people and balancing healthy habits beyond my academic requirements. When I started to consider my career path after my sophomore year, little did I realize I was already behind. Lacking a functional resume, traditional work experience and a realistic vision of career opportunities that matched my skill set and interests, I struggled to identify my first steps. As I began to research different industries, I felt intimidated and besieged. According to my research, not only was I expected to already have a career path in mind, I was also expected to begin making professional connections and actively pursue an internship for the following summer.
As I tried to rectify my period of uncertainty, I realized the importance of identifying reliable professionals with whom I could confide in about the process. I consulted with my professors, alumni of Sy Syms, and members of my community to discuss career paths and learn about their experiences. I collected and assembled a list of questions that I would ask each person I spoke to, which in turn further increased my curiosity and professional network. I actively began to seek opportunities that could benefit my career journey including intentional course selection, participating in productive extracurriculars, forming relationships with professors, and overall maximizing the resources I had access to.
When I reflected on my experiences, I acknowledged that the process of learning about career opportunities does not need to be disorganized and unduly stressful; it should be a time of exploration and personal enlightenment but with structure and ease. I wanted to ensure future students did not fall into the same initial state of being overwhelmed that I had experienced.
In light of these developments, my classmate Liorah Yaghoubzar and I decided to create a club at Yeshiva University called Industry Experts. The goal of Industry Experts is to introduce students to different industries early in their college experiences so they can begin their career exploration in the most efficient and least stressful way. Each event isolates a ‘spotlighted industry’ varying from accounting, banking, consulting, law and real estate, amongst others.
Our club will invite professionals from these industries to come in and speak to topics like their career journey, obstacles in the workplace, benefits of the job itself and provide perspective on their company culture. By hearing from and connecting with professionals, students can learn whether the industry sparks an interest in them and create connections with speakers. Beyond the potential for career opportunities, Industry Experts also allows students to learn more about different industries from an information-seeking standpoint. Liorah and I expanded this club to reach both campuses, with YU students Yoni Schneider and Harrison Tassler serving as co-presidents of the Wilf Campus. Now, we are planning our first event and are thrilled to launch Industry Experts.
When it comes to the future, information and preparation is essential. By being exposed to diverse opportunities earlier rather than later students can make conscious and intentional decisions to identify mentors and work towards their desired career paths. College is not a place to be pressured into a one-size-fits-all industry; it is a place to explore and discover. Through Industry Experts, students can maximize their resources and find their unique path, tailored to their strengths and passions.
Photo Caption: Industry Experts is a newly founded club at Yeshiva University that will help students with career exploration
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University Industry Experts Club