October 4, 2013 by texasbbacareerservices
Grad year: Spring 2014
Applying for the BBA Career Services Career Shadowing Program is a great step among others to getting your proverbial feet wet with influential companies in a casual setting. The program provides the opportunity to gain insight on future career path directions.
Altria was this opportunity for me. After applying and being hand selected by their head recruitment staff I attended a BBA Career Services info session where I was prepped on the schedule for the day, dress code, company information, and proper behavior. Bright and early on the day of the shadowing we met at McCombs where we mingled with the recruiting staff and other Career Shadowing students. We were then introduced to the company by the unit manager via PowerPoint presentation and assigned our mentor for the day. Soon after, my mentor/territory sales manager and I were off on the day’s tasks.
Altria has many sites around Austin and the surrounding area that territory sales managers manage. For example, my mentor and I drove to multiple 7 Elevens around San Marcos. All of the day’s tasks took place outside a traditional office mostly learning in the car on the way to a location and observing while on-site. I was technically tagging along while the sales manager conducted her normal day. The learning was very hands-on and interactive. My mentor even allowed me to practice what I had learned with a real retailer. We broke for a complementary lunch at Chipotle and then continued our rounds. Amongst learning what a day was like for an Altria territory sales manager I was able to ask more personal questions; such questions as why she chose to work for the company, what her career path was and if it had changed, etc.
My mentor was very candid and helpful. At the end of the day, I was able to look at store data and assess weaknesses and strengths using specific calculations, review overall look of displays and adjust if necessary, manage inventory, and strategically interact with retailers. After the daily duties were complete we headed back to campus to close out the program and discuss what we learned. It was during this time that the group was told of further opportunities with Altria such as the Student Leadership Development Program. My mentor expressed to me that I would be a good candidate and to apply.
The program proved to be invaluable to my leadership development and recruitment power. For example, over the 3 sessions I was educated on personal branding such as how to create, communicate, and live my brand. Additionally, I had the opportunity to interact with company executives and recruiters to gain a better understanding of what employers are seeking, and how to best prepare. Overall, I would recommend to any forward-looking student to participate in a Career Shadowing Day to build your network of contacts, practice and gain exposure to professional environments and expectations, and to provide yourself with guidance for a future career.