In January, Gateway Career Center’s Career Tracks program provided students with an immersive career-exploration experience. Students gained exposure to potential careers across a variety of industries. They built their professional networks, developed practical skills, and had the opportunity to experience an urban environment that may help shape their future career path. Here are details about the Chicago Career Track experience.
Students participated in a blended track of consulting, consumer products, and technology. Some of the sites visited included consulting firms BCG, Bluestein & Associates, Deloitte, and Civic Consulting Alliance, global software technology company HERE, and consumer products company Land O’Frost and its advertising agency MERGE.
Why bring students here?
More Chicago students are attending Lafayette, says Bram Bluestein ’69, managing partner of Bluestein & Associates, who started the first iteration of Career Tracks in 2017 that became the model for the other three sites. “In addition, Chicago’s total economic output is almost $700 billion, [meaning it is] equivalent to the 21st largest economy in the world, just surpassing the total economic output of Switzerland. That means there are a lot of opportunities for careers here in Chicago.”
On the agenda
On the first day, students learned about the management consulting industry and Chicago’s economy. Food company Land O’Frost’s sales and marketing vice president Reggie Moore P’21 explained how his company launched its new shelf-staple high-protein meat chips. Students visited the city’s Amazon Go convenience store, which uses a completely automated shopping experience. Students also had the opportunity to visit with Angel Mendez ’82, EVP/chief operating officer at HERE Technologies, to learn about how their mapping technology will change the way we live, work, and interact in the future. Similar to other sites, students also received résumé help, learned how to maximize their exposure on LinkedIn, networked with alums, and sharpened their interviewing skills.
Andrew Frucht ’20, who is earning a dual degree with majors in chemical engineering and international studies, participated in the consulting track. Hailing from the Midwest, he jumped at the opportunity to network closer to home, hoping to soon leverage those connections into a job or internship. “I also wanted to learn more about the consulting at the big three firms—Bain, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey—to see if this is an industry that would be a great fit for me.” His biggest lesson from the week? “Successful people aren’t afraid to make mistakes and ask for help from those above them in the org chart,” he says.