You can stroll through the lobby, browse the official website or ask around. But to truly understand the culture of a workplace, you have to experience it for yourself.
That's the innovative idea behind the Bucknell externship program, which debuted in 2006.
An externship is a one- to two-day job-shadowing experience for college students that's hosted by a business in partnership with the University.
Every winter break, Bucknell's Center for Career Advancement connects sophomore students with employers for these externships, which involve way more than back-office busywork. Students get to meet CEOs, have lunch with high-ranking executives and even work on real projects.
By getting a taste of life on the job, students can reinforce their existing career plan or — just as important — pivot to a different path if they realize their original career plan wasn't the right fit.
"For students, it's getting exposure to an industry, a company, a job role early in their college career," says Rachel Redmond, who leads the program. "Having that experience early on helps them select classes and decide on a major."
Each externship is hosted by a Bucknell graduate, parent or friend of the University. These hosts open the doors to their workplaces so that students can immerse themselves in day-to-day office life, try their hand at a project or two, and meet people in an industry that fascinates them.
"The more opportunities that students can take to see what's out there in the world of work, the better," Redmond says.
Here's a look at five recent externship experiences — each delivering a high-impact experience in a short amount of time.
Emma Cashwell ’22
About Emma: Undeclared management major from Garden City, N.Y.
Externship location: Morgan Stanley, a financial services company in New York City
What Emma did: Had in-depth meetings with several members of Morgan Stanley's cybersecurity and wealth management teams, learning about the technology and human-powered effort needed to fight fraud and security threats.
What Emma learned: "It was valuable to experience a real workday and see how much a positive, collaborative work culture can impact a job. I loved the diversity of people and stimulating atmosphere at Morgan Stanley. It was a great learning experience in a hands-on environment, and I came to understand many of the factors that help make a job enjoyable and rewarding."
Joey D’Angelo ’22
About Joey: Economics major from Mountainside, N.J.
Externship location: Pastore & Dailey LLC, a law firm in Stamford, Conn.
What Joey did: Examined legal documents, learned about securities and transactional law, attended court to hear from a company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and met with Joseph M. Pastore III, the firm's founder.
What Joey learned: "Attending bankruptcy court was absolutely amazing. Hearing the severity of the issues surrounding the case made my understanding of federal court develop, and it even pushed me to potentially pursue bankruptcy law as a career down the line. I hope to be an attorney after college, and this gave me really good insight."
Olivia DeNicola ’22
About Olivia: Undeclared management major from Rumson, N.J.
Externship location: Michael Kors, a fashion company in New York City
What Olivia did: Met employees across nine different departments, learned about digital marketing, explored the company's showrooms and went to lunch with Clare Lawler '15, who works as a planner at Michael Kors.
What Olivia learned: "From Clare I learned about organizational skills and hard work, which led her to a high position at such a young age. All of the meetings Clare set up provided me with meaningful connections I am grateful to have as I begin to enter the job world. Clare also set up a meeting with a recruiter, so I got to experience what an interview would be like."
Wutt Kyi ’22
About Wutt: Biomedical engineering major from Yangon, Myanmar
Externship location: Shockwave Medical, a medical equipment manufacturer in Santa Clara, Calif.
What Wutt did: Learned about the company's intravascular lithotripsy technology that helps treat artery blockages, met with various teams and the CEO, and explored the company's high-tech clean room.
What Wutt learned: "Bucknell's liberal arts-based curriculum always encourages us to be curious and know more than just the engineering field. The research that I have worked on and the courses I took are the foundation. This externship allowed me to think of various ways I can apply the concepts and knowledge I gained at Bucknell in the real world."
Allie Neugeboren ’22
About Allie: Undeclared arts & sciences major from New Canaan, Conn.
Externship location: Epsilon, a digital marketing firm in New York City
What Allie did: Met with department heads, attended lunch meetings, completed an email marketing project and presented the campaign's results to an entire room of Epsilon workers.
What Allie learned: "I think being able to talk clearly and confidently to a room of employees made me feel very proud and respected despite only visiting and shadowing the company for two days. Every single person who met with us gave us their full attention, was ready to answer all our questions and was genuinely so kind and eager to share their work with us."