The Sophomore Shadow Program at UNH’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics is in its first year of existence, but I already know that this is the first of many more successful years to come. In the fall semester, those who chose to participate in the program were assigned case studies based on the academic option they desired most. I was on an Information Systems and Business Analytics (ISBA) team that studied Harley-Davidson. We were tasked with choosing which provider the company should use to design and implement a program that would increase automation and efficiency for Harley-Davidson’s order processing system. This culminated in a case study competition in December in which each option presented their cases to a panel of judges. I am proud to say that my team was selected to move onto the final round of presentations where we represented the ISBA team among Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and other options in the final round. We did not win the competition, but nevertheless, it was a great experience.
Fast Forward to March 31st in the spring semester, and the time had come for my first job shadow at Raytheon’s Corporate Headquarters in Waltham, MA. On the ride there, I could hardly contain my excitement for what I knew would be a very educational experience. We were greeted by Jim Singer, our host for the day who works in the Investor Relations department. As a UNH alum, he gathered several employees at the company who were also alumni to talk to us throughout the day. It was great to hear from fellow Wildcats and see just how successful their careers have been! It was a pleasure to shadow at Raytheon.
For my second shadow experience, there were four of us who visited HubSpot on Friday April 7th. We met Holly Peterson, a recruiter for the company who was our host for the day. We were also accompanied by Chris, a 2016 UNH grad who had been working in Support at HubSpot since graduation. That day was filled with many introductions and conversations with different employees in various roles within the company, and it was great to see how everyone contributed to creating such a unique culture at HubSpot.
I am so thankful that I had two shadow experiences at very different companies. HubSpot showed me what a modern office can be like and how traditional office settings can be built upon and changed to make workers feel as comfortable as possible. Raytheon, even though the office was very traditional, did have a program that I found to be great for its employees. Their “9/80” program gives employees every other Friday off if they work 80 hours over the course of nine days. They also underscored the importance of being mobile at the company and encouraging employees to try different jobs at various Raytheon locations.
HubSpot took comfort to a whole new level that I did not even know was possible for an office to achieve. They had a kitchen stocked full of food, complete with candy and snack dispensers. There was a TV with video games for employees to play as they wished. The office was completely open, with desks that could be electronically lifted to become standing desks if desired. Everyone was wearing casual clothing, and the office had a very positive vibe. To me, it seemed more like a hangout place rather than an office. But that day I learned that you can be extremely comfortable and relaxed at work while maintaining a high level of productivity.
Both job shadows opened my eyes to just how much a professional setting can vary. Every company is different, and going forward, my shadow experiences taught me the importance of getting to know a company’s culture when considering employment. In addition, when submitting resumes and cover letters, it is prudent to know the company’s culture and goals and understand how the criteria each one looks for will vary. I learned so much from spending a day at each company, and reflecting upon it, I find it similar to a college tour. I could do all the research I wanted about a particular university, but until I go there and experience the campus, I would not have the full appreciation and understanding of what life is like in that environment.
I am thankful for these opportunities that I have had through the Sophomore Shadow Program, and while each shadow experience was different in many aspects, they were both highly informative and enjoyable. I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to Jim Singer and Holly Peterson who were excellent hosts on each shadow day, and to Kim Doucette who has led this program through a wildly successful pilot year. Thank you.
About Ryan Anastasi, ‘19:
Ryan Anastasi is a Sophomore from Bedford, NH pursuing a degree in Business Administration with options in Finance and ISBA. He is proud to serve as the President of the UNH French Club and as Business Manager of UNH’s all-male a cappella group Not Too Sharp. He has enjoyed giving advice and helping promote the Sophomore Shadow Program as a member of its Student Leadership Committee. He currently works as a Teacher’s Assistant for Professor Kristian Olsen in an Ethics and Society class. Ryan is ecstatic to be studying abroad in Ascoli Piceno, Italy through the UNH-in-Italy Program this upcoming fall 2017 semester. He loves to be involved on campus, and once he returns in Spring 2018 he will surely continue to be an active part of the UNH community.