Ah, the academic twilight zone: somewhere between cramming for an A and wondering what all this studying is for – four years of late nights, exam stress, transit for days and hefty student loans? Making it to the finish line can be a little easier when you know what you’re running towards. In the context of university, this could be as simple as stepping through the actual doors of work spaces you could soon call your own.
You Get Real About Your Expectations
The fairy dust settles and you realize this isn’t all just a dream: you’re walking through the actual doors of an actual organization, with an actual front desk, and actual coworkers all doing …actual work. It’s messy: there are files piled on desks, coffee machines brewing, glass-walled conference rooms with laser-focused employees conducting PowerPoint presentations (presentations really do happen outside of university).
The truth is, the “grind” doesn’t end with your degree – actually working is hard work too. There’s nothing like seeing an office in action to get you thinking beyond the borders of your school textbooks. Seeing the action of an office allows you to put things in perspective – and to really consider if that specific career is right for you. There’s no better way to calibrate your expectations than to take a sneak peek into the future.
You Realize That the Learning Never Ends
On a company tour, you’ll have the opportunity to conduct a Q&A with employees (and sometimes the CEO). My piece of advice on how to get the most out of this golden opportunity? Be that student who asks the interviewer what their greatest challenge was to get to where they are today. Do it. You’ll most likely find that the learning never ended for them once they landed their first gig.
They’ll tell you that you continue to build your knowledge on the job – sometimes the learning curve can even be steeper than that stats final. Knowing that you’ll always be learning makes it less daunting to apply for that “unreachable” dream job. You’ve got to start somewhere, but you don’t have to know everything at the beginning of the race.
You Learn What You Don’t Like
Last semester, I went all out and attended as many office tours as I could. I was shocked to find that those environments I thought I’d like the most were less appealing. I was also shocked to discover that companies I hadn’t even considered to be a part of my post-graduation application target list might actually find a spot near the top.
Company tours are just that, tours, so you shouldn’t make too many judgments at face-value (good or bad). However, walking through those real-life doors can give you a taste of what it would be like to work within those real-life doors. If a company doesn’t quite gel with your expectations – well, that’s a good starting point to ask more questions and do a little more research into that potential role or place of work. You might find that you never wanted to be a (insert role here) after all.
You Make Connections with Driven Peers
Finally, we’ve all been taught about the power of networking throughout our business education. Many of us are under the impression that we are to network only with those who can provide us a business opportunity. Little do we know our strongest network sits alongside us in the classroom – you know, that classmate you just loved doing teamwork with?
Your peers are your biggest supporters and will continue to be when you leave school. Attending a company tour allows you to match up with other driven peers, like you, who are researching the local job market. Making connections here is a golden opportunity to solidify connections later. Who knows – the guy standing next to you could one day soon be your next big client.
All in all, company tours are an incredibly useful tool to dip your toes into your future real life. It’s important to know what’s out there and what Vancouver has to offer you.
The Beedie Career Management Center offers company tours each semester break – they’re really inexpensive (roughly $10-$15) and are guided by an educated CMC advisor.
My biggest piece of advice? Attend at least one tour of a company you wouldn’t consider working for. You might be surprised!
The Career Management Centre is offering company tours from February 13-16, 2018! Learn more about and register for them on Beedie Community.
Tynan van Wyk is a recent Marketing graduate at the Beedie School of Business. Whilst at SFU, Tynan spent time working as an Engagement Peer and taking part in various activities across campus. You’d usually find Tynan studying away at SFU’s best kept secret: The Veg Lunch in Forum chambers. Currently, Tynan is working as a freelance content marketer helping local businesses develop and refine their online presence.