I am so excited to share my experience on my “trek.” Basically, University Career Services at Northwestern started organizing these treks to expose students to different options available to them after graduation, in addition to help connect us with the alumni who work in our fields of interest. Our group was about 20 students, all of whom I really enjoyed getting to meet (and run around Manhattan with for three days). Everyone was so down to earth and excited about their futures, and it’s hard not to be when you’re touring such amazing companies! Here’s a rundown of the sites we got to visit:
Day 1: Monday
DeVries Global: Our very first company visit was DeVries Global, a marketing and PR firm. We got an overview of their company’s structure and had Q&A sessions with several employees. I loved meeting two women who were on the Pantene account and hearing about their day-to-day work lives… and they of course had perfect hair.
Colgate-Palmolive: We then headed to Colgate-Palmolive – yes, the company that is known for its toothpaste! We were incredibly lucky to be able to sit down with Justin Skala, the president of Colgate-Palmolive in North America. He gave us a rundown of the path he took to his current career, and as we found out more and more from the other people we met on the trek, it is so common for someone to bounce around in different jobs and even different industries until they find where they fit. And that doesn’t mean it’s the last job they’ll have either – careers seem so fluid nowadays that the opportunities are endless even after you’ve been in the workforce for a while.
Bloomberg: After lunch, we toured the Bloomberg office (and I learned about the terminal for the first time – I really am not connected to the world of finance at all). I loved how the building’s design mimicked the company’s values – transparency being their number one goal. The windows to the meeting rooms were all glass, and the building was curved – when glancing out the window, Bloomberg employees see other Bloomberg employees hard at work. Inspiration, perhaps?
Day 2: Tuesday
Google: The Google office was by far my favorite tour we took the entire trek, and surprise, their food made a huge impact on me. We were invited for breakfast in one of the New York office’s five (I repeat, five) cafeterias. The food was so delicious and healthy – I even got to taste a vegan blueberry smoothie (definitely an experience I hope to never have again). Each “mini-kitchen” was stocked with the healthiest snacks, and apparently were mandated to exist every 200 feet. Apparently, feeding your employees breakfast, lunch and dinner is a good way to keep them on track!
We got to sit down with a panel of Wildcat alums who answered our questions and told us about life at Google. It is such a huge company, but they told us that everyone finds their place.
People Magazine: We were so lucky with our timing at People – our group was able to sit in on their Tuesday morning meeting post-issue launch Monday night. This site was most definitely my favorite – there’s just something that draws me in about working for a magazine, specifically such a popular one as People. The people we met were such wonderful hosts and so welcoming, and I loved getting to hear what it’s like working for a weekly magazine (I’ve only ever worked on monthly publications). People is definitely a site I’m going to keep my eye on for my Journalism Residency a year from now
Food Network: Our tour at Food Network was so much fun – we got to see the kitchens where they do their amazing food photography. My favorite stop was the studio where they film shows like Chopped; although the studio was empty at the moment, it was such a cool experience.
BBDO: Remember that Betty White Snickers commercial? Yeah, that was BBDO. I’ll admit, I had never heard of the company before I heard that we’d be visiting them, but I had such a great time there. I never really thought about all of the time and effort it takes to produce even the smallest advertisement, and advertising is definitely an industry that I’m thinking about working in after I graduate.
Day 3: Wednesday
Buzzfeed: Buzzfeed was SO COOL. Their office was decorated just like their website, with giant yellow circles featuring their categories – “OMG,” “WTF,” etc. We got to have a Q&A session with a few NU alums, and it sounds like working at Buzzfeed is a dream come true. Everyone is allowed to be as creative as they’d like, and some people have Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook open all day to stay on top of the current trending topics. Everyone in the Buzzfeed office was so young as well – the atmosphere was very open and collaborative.
NBC Universal: Although I’m not interested in broadcast journalism, NBC was still such an awesome end to the trek. We got to see several different studios, my favorite of which being the SNL studio. I wonder what being a TV anchor would be like.
Jen White is a junior at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. She participated in Northwestern University Career Services’ three-day NYC Media and Marketing Career Trek in September 2014.