Over spring break, students will have the opportunity to participate in Yale Treks, a new job-shadowing program sponsored by the Office of Career Strategy.
This year’s pilot program will mainly consist of shadowing opportunities in New York, New Haven and Boston — three of the five most popular cities for Yale graduates, OCS Associate Director Denise Byrnes said. She added that there will be eight to 10 “treks” in each city, with each “trek” being led by a different company. Students will be able to apply to these programs via Symplicity. Byrnes said Priceline and Procter and Gamble have already agreed to host students, but there will also be treks in the advertising, consulting, finance and education industries as well.
“We talk to students a lot about networking, and we have peer-networking lists and an alumni database online, but this is a way to do it in person by going to the actual site [of the company],” Byrnes said. “This kind of experience can be very eye-opening, because you can see the corporate culture and gain exposure to different industries by spending a day, or half a day, at a certain organization.”
Byrnes said that, in addition to shadowing an employee, participants in Yale Treks will go on site tours, listen to presentations and learn about a variety of roles within each firm. The program will be open to students of all grade levels, she added, but employers may have to limit the number of shadowing students for logistical purposes.
OCS Director Jeanine Dames said older versions of this shadowing program have been offered in the past, but that former opportunities spanned one or two weeks. Students typically have other obligations during spring break, she said, so the office is trying to offer shorter-term experiences — anywhere from a half-day to three days.
“This is something that we’ve been building up for the last few years and are finally putting some structure behind,” Dames said. “The idea is for students to get short-term experiences over break periods, just to understand what a day in the life is like.”
Isiah Cruz ’17 said one of the most attractive aspects of Yale Treks is that the program is a relatively short time commitment, which allows students to gain valuable experience while also having the freedom to make other plans for the break.
While employers may offer breakfast or lunch to students, Byrnes said, additional costs such as travel or housing will not be funded by OCS or participating organizations.
She added that the program gives students living in New York and Boston, or staying on campus in New Haven, an opportunity to shadow over spring break. But Christopher Rim ’17 said that because many students do not go home for spring break, the timing of Yale Treks is not ideal.
“It sounds like a program that I know many people would be interested in, but the timing is inconvenient,” Rim said. “Spring break is one of the few breaks that students use to go on service trips or vacation. I think a job shadowing program offered over the summer, or even over winter break, would be better, because students are more likely to actually be at home.”
However, both Byrnes and Dames said OCS plans to expand the program in future years to address such concerns. Dames said it is likely that shadowing opportunities will eventually become available over winter break, in West Coast locations such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In addition to experiencing the inner workings of a company firsthand, students who embark on the treks will also be able to form valuable connections with alumni and future employers, Byrnes said. A day of job shadowing could eventually lead to an internship or longer-term opportunity, she added.
“Firms are very excited about this opportunity to bring in students,” Byrnes said. “A lot of them do make trips to Yale, but it’s a whole different ball game when you can go to [a firm’s] site and pick up on the culture of that organization, as well as see what different functions and roles within the organization look like.”
Although a handful of treks are already listed on the Symplicity website, all opportunities will become viewable early this week.