Read about an unique opportunity to engage with industry professionals as told by the PRSSA Blog team.
By: Jessie Walker
When I entered college, I was completely unsure what I wanted to major in, let alone what I wanted to pursue as a career path. I was an Exploratory major, and my first semester or two I spent doing exactly that – exploring. I took a range of classes in areas like environmental studies, psychology, anthropology, many things that were unrelated to what I would eventually declare. I hated the feeling of being undeclared when everyone around me seemed to have some type of direction. This led me to a great opportunity offered by the Office of Career Services called Field Trips to the Real World.
Field Trips to the Real World is an opportunity for students to tour and get an inside look at different types of businesses, network with professionals at those organizations, and see how they operate. They give you information on jobs and internships and offer a Q & A session for any questions you might have regarding the company or internships. It is a chance to get advice from professionals in the industry you will eventually be in, and it really benefited my own career path. These field trips occur over Winter Break in January, and they are available from the regions in between Maine and Virginia.
The first field trip I attended was during winter break of my freshman year; I signed up to tour the headquarters of Urban Outfitters in Philadelphia, PA. The field trips are not specifically for Ithaca College students; they are offered to all college students. There were students from many different universities on my tour. We started by hearing about the history of URBN and preceded to tour the headquarters. It is located in the Navy Yard in Philly, URBN had to renovate the buildings that were previously used for the shipyard when they moved in.
The tour guide led us through different buildings designated for each of URBN’s brands – Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, BHLDN, Terrain, and Free People. Each building had a different aesthetic according to the brand. For example, the office spaces for Terrain were very green and centered around nature and the outdoors. We were able to see the spaces where the Free People designers work; there were textiles everywhere, as well as design sketches scattered all across the walls. One of my favorite parts was seeing a buyers meeting occurring, where they were working to decide which shoes to include for the Men’s Urban Outfitters spring line. After the tour, we went to a conference room where we were able to hear about the experiences of a current intern. Then we could ask questions about internship opportunities or the operations at URBN. After hearing about internships for their marketing department and listening to the intern talk about her responsibilities working with social media, I began to research the IMC major here at IC.
After I later declared an Integrated Marketing Communications major, I still wanted to explore career options. This past January I attended another Field Trip to the Real World, this time to Allen & Gerritsen. A&G is an advertising agency in Philadelphia, PA. There were only about eleven students on this tour, so most of the time was spent in the conference room where we introduced ourselves and learned about the company. They showed us some of the work they had done for their clients such as Temple University, Beats by Dr. Dre, Deitz and Watson, and more. They explained internship opportunities, and had a Q&A session with their current employees. At the end we took a quick tour of their small two floor company through all the different departments. Because this was a much smaller group of people, we also were given the opportunity to network with employees at the company.
I strongly recommend Field Trips to the Real World to any student because the experience is worthwhile. You get to see the behind the scenes of large companies, network with their employees, and hear about internship opportunities directly from them. They have certainly helped me in determining what my career path is and where I wanted to head in the future. Read more about this opportunity here!