How to Set Up a Job Shadow

Here in the Office of Career Management, we’re constantly telling students to set up informational interviews. “They’re so important!” we say. “Do as many as you can!” we say.

But what happens after the informational interview? What if you want to know more? What if there’s a company you’re SO excited about that you just can’t even imagine working anywhere else? But you can’t yet, because you’re a freshman or sophomore and they won’t hire you yet? This is where a job shadow can swoop in and save the day!

By definition, a job shadow is a career exploration activity that offers an opportunity to spend time with a professional currently working in a person’s career field of interest. In other words, that person has the job you want at the company you want it at. You follow?

So to learn more about this particular job (as in, what does this person actually do all day?!?), setting up a job shadow can be an excellent way to see first-hand the duties and responsibilities of this individual, get a scope of the projects they work on, and even take a tour of the company.

The easiest way to initiate a job shadow is to find a professional with whom you would like to shadow and contact them in a professional manner. We recommend first reaching out to our office (The Office of Career Management) to see if any alumni have volunteered to have conversations with students.

From there, LinkedIn is your best bet. Start with OSU alumni in your chosen industry, and try to narrow your list down to 1-3 individuals. Reaching out to professionals in your chosen industry should always be in a professional, courteous manner. A sample email message to initiate the conversation can be found below.

Hello Mr. /Ms. Last Name

My name is Name, and I am currently a [year in school] at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and I am considering [field] as a future career path. After reviewing your LinkedIn profile, I was wondering if you might be willing to let me spend a day observing you so I can learn more about [field].

I would be extremely grateful if you allowed me to quietly observe you for a half day as you go about your usual schedule. If possible, it would be helpful if we also had a short interview toward the end of the shadowing so I could ask you any questions I might have about [field] after observing your activities and actions.
Thank you for considering my request. I will follow up with you in two weeks to answer any questions you may have.
Best regards,
Your Name
See? Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
Check out our Informational Interviewing Guide for tons of other helpful tips, questions to ask, and how to prepare for future job shadowing opportunities. Now get out there and meet someone!

Our Welcome Party is today!

The Office of Career Management will host a Welcome Party on Thursday, Sept. 4 and we hope you can attend!

The fun starts in the courtyard outside of Gerlach Hall. Drop in anytime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to check out the office, meet the staff and some employer partners, and learn about how the Office of Career Management can help you! Lunch will be provided on a first come, first served basis.

Thanks to the event sponsors – EY, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, and PwC!

We hope to see you there!


Of Speed-Meeting and ICAB-Leading

One of my favorite things about interning at Marathon this summer is the opportunity to lead my intern class by serving on the Intern/Co-op Advisory Board (otherwise known as ICAB) as the Chair. I know I’ve talked a little bit about this in my previous posts, but we finally had our first official ICAB social event last week!

After a week and a half of hard planning, we were finally ready! Last Friday, we had about 70 interns gather in the auditorium for “Intern Speed-Meeting.” We sat the interns down at tables of six and gave them five minutes to introduce themselves, state what department they were working in, and answer two questions on the screen before rotating a few of them. The questions weren’t the typical “What’s your favorite movie?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” questions, but rather thoughtful invocations such as “If all 50 states went to war with each other, which state would win and why?” and “What is the most useless superpower?” to make everyone step out of their comfort zone and think outside the box.

I think the event was a success! We had a few logistical errors that popped up when we got there such as deciding where to seat everyone and figuring how to rotate the interns, but it all worked out in the end! I’ve heard some great feedback about the event and I feel like everyone had a good time getting to socialize with their fellow interns. After all, we are all future potential employees of Marathon and happy company makes a happy company!

Our next ICAB event is a “Lunch and Learn” with one of the refining experts in the company to learn more about the refining process and the backbone of Marathon. I am so proud of my board and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with them this summer! Serving as ICAB Chair is one of the highlights of my internship thus far and it really has taught me much about leading a team and the importance of staying organized and making yourself available to others. For all future interns/co-ops at Marathon, I definitely recommend applying for one of the board positions. Not only is it a great way to meet people and a nice resume-booster, it is also fun and extremely rewarding.

As a side note: I had breakfast with Donald Templin (the CFO of Marathon!), a senior VP of Corporate Planning, a VP of Finance, and the finance interns last week! Starting the day off with a talk about leadership, the importance of fully grasping every opportunity, and a delicious breakfast casserole was definitely an experience to remember. I am so thankful to have had that opportunity.

I can’t believe I’m on my fourth week of my internship. Time certainly has flown by!

Until next time, everyone!


Friends + Insurance = Friendsurance

After four weeks interning at Alecto in Berlin, Germany, I can honestly say that I am in love with this city and fascinated with my company (or is it the other way around? I don’t know, everything is pretty awesome). More commonly known as Friendsurance, the company I am interning for provides similar services of an insurance broker to customers in Germany. But Friendsurance is no ordinary insurance broker. They use a social networking model to place customers into insurance groups, saving people up to 50% on their current insurance premiums.

(As a side note, none of these pictures have anything to do with Friendsurance, but they have everything to do with Berlin.  Enjoy.)

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In one sentence, the Friendsurance topic seems pretty simple, but in reality this innovative concept has captivated me since I interviewed for the internship and it is something that the Friendsurance employees sincerely believe in. Besides the 45 people working for this startup, nobody else in the world is doing this. The passion and dedication of the Friendsurance team has given me a new perspective on working in the business world; they see the results of their work right before their eyes as the company constantly grows, further motivating them to make this company into something special.

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An international workplace that represents 13 nationalities, the office language is thankfully English. That being said, German is the first language for most people in the office, and some can only speak limited English. This represents the most valuable experience I have had in Berlin so far, which is being forced to adapt outside of my comfort zone. The only German I speak are the few phrases I have picked up (Guten Tag! Danke! Chao!), and there are cultural differences that I must adjust to both inside and out of the workplace. The key is to be polite and respectful while still being curious and outgoing, which is not always an easy balance to find. Although I cannot speak for the entire German workforce or the whole startup scene, I can easily say that Friendsurance has been extremely welcoming and open-minded towards their only American intern. In a short four weeks I have had the opportunity to take free German classes, play soccer (Fußball) with coworkers, and experience the best German food in Berlin on lunch breaks. Last night we all even got together after work to watch Germany’s first world cup game, and we had a blast as Germany romped Portugal 4-0. To top it all off Team USA pulled off a big win against Ghana after I changed out of my fresh German jersey and into my old American gear.


I seriously can’t wait to give back to this company over my final four weeks by continuing to work hard and immerse myself in the company culture. I was luckily able to root for both Germany and Team USA last night, but I promise I will be pledging allegiance to the United States of America when the two face off next week.

Prost (Cheers!)

First Week Update

Hey Everyone -
I am already a third of the way through my internship! Kind of hard to imagine that today marks the end of my third week here in Chicago. I have been very busy with work, and when I have made it out of the office, I’ve been exploring all this amazing city has to offer.
Week 1 for me started following the Memorial Day holiday, so it was an abbreviated week. This, combined with a lighter work schedule, definitely made the transition into the job a bit easier. On the first  day, my fellow interns and I (17 in total) sat through a number of presentations ranging from an intro to the firm and our groups, to HR and compliance overviews. The next few days were a bit more fast paced as we started technical training in financial modeling and accounting, as well as learning more about how to utilize all of the resources here. The last point may seem somewhat trivial, but it can be overwhelming at first to navigate all of the resources we have access to. There is even a dedicated team of research librarians to help bankers pull all kinds of information! 
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View from my bedroom

Finally, on Friday all of the summer analysts were released to their groups to begin working. I met with my staffer for the tech group early that morning to find out that I was placed onto four active projects – needless to say, I wasted no time on getting brought up to speed by each team. I was so busy getting caught up on all of my assignments and trying to learn a lot of the basics that Friday seemed to go by in the blink of an eye.
After working nearly non-stop from 9am until 6pm, a few other interns and I went out to grab food. Then we were back to the office until 9 to finish up before calling it a day. I had a few assignments with pressing deadlines, so I had to come in on Sunday for a few hours as well to make sure everything was completed in time. 
All in all, it was a pretty action packed first week. I have already learned a lot more than I expected, and I am really loving the people and work so far