From fashion corporations to food providers to financial groups, many companies took on a Bryant student for one day over winter break. The students were able to shadow a Bryant alum for one day in their professional work environments. This allowed them to gather information on career fields of interest and experience a day in the life! We were lucky enough to speak with two students, Hadleigh Lepianka and Brendan Nixon about their experiences shadowing Bryant alums over break.
Hadleigh Lepianka, a sophomore management major, was able to shadow an alum who works at Aramark. Aramark is a food provider for many colleges, including Bryant. Hadleigh spent her day at Aramark’s annual convention which was held in the UMass Lowell Conference Center. The conference consisted of different sessions that each focused on improving different areas of the company. The sessions went on throughout the day, and they were able to go through several sessions.
“Overall, I learned a lot about working with food in hospitality from a management aspect,” said Hadleigh. She noticed that each employee’s work varied from day to day because of the complexity of the organization. Most people traveled daily, and each person had their own individual responsibilities. She also learned the importance of working with food and is relationship to inventory. There is so much information that Aramark needs to know and they use large databases to store all of it.
Hadleigh enjoyed this field of work because it was not a typical desk job- there was a lot more to it.
“I could really see myself working in this industry after shadowing this alumni,” she said. “I truly enjoyed my day and appreciate that I was given this opportunity.”
Brendan Nixon felt the same way. A member of the Class of 2018, Brendan is a marketing major who shadowed an alum at the Hartford. The Hartford is a United States-based investment and insurance company that is part of the Fortune 500 list. It specializes in vehicle, home, and AARP/Retirement insurance.
Brendan started off his day by meeting up with Mariah Burgess, who is a Bryant University Class of 2014 graduate. Mariah’s official position is Operations & Technology Leadership Development, and she regularly works at any one of The Hartford’s three Connecticut locations. Brendan visited the company’s headquarters in Hartford, CT on a Friday where Mariah gave him a tour of the company’s campus. Along the way, Brendan learned about the The Hartford’s history, previous leaders, and new employee training programs. He was able to attend a professional development meeting and hear the company’s officials discuss their most famous merger. During the rest of the day, Brendan met several of Mariah’s co-workers, listen in on a conference call, and see a project Mariah had been working on for weeks.
“It was very nice to be able to discuss what is is like to lead a professional work life with people who are roughly the same age as me,” said Brendan. Most of Mariah’s co-workers had all just graduated this past May.
Brendan learned that Operations & Technology is very focused on problem solving, creating and completing projects, and is going to continue to be in demand of a younger generation of educated and capable thinkers. The field is geared towards younger people and is an excellent career path for college grads looking to work in this field.
Although Brendan learned that he would enjoy this position, his experience taught him that it wasn’t the right path for him. As a marketing major, he is looking for something more focused, but he feels that the experience was extremely helpful because it showed him other parts of the work industry he had never thought of before.
Whether students want to continue in their shadowed field or not, the Shadow Program proved to be a success in networking and real world experience.