One of my favorite parts of attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst is its strong and vast alumni network. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have met with numerous alumni throughout my time at UMass that have continuously displayed such warmth, pride, and passion towards current students.
To help current students connect with our vast network of alumni, UMass has a multitude of different programs to help spark that connection. One such program is The SBS Shadows program which provides one-day job shadowing experiences that allow students to spend time with alumni or other hosts in their place of work. Through observation and conversation, students will learn more about a profession, receive career-related advice, and see firsthand how their experience in the UMass Amherst College of Social & Behavioral Sciences can prepare them for life after college.
Over this winter break I was fortunate enough to be a part of this program. I spent a day with UMass Amherst class of '89 journalism and political science alumni Peter Lucht. Peter is currently the Senior Vice President, Head of Media Relations and CEO Communications at Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Since I had such a wonderful experience with Peter and his team at Citizens Bank, I thought it would be helpful to not only explore what it is like to shadow an alumni, but why current and prospective students should do the same during their time at UMass.
Who is Peter Lucht: Senior Vice President, Head of Media Relations and CEO Communications at Citizens Financial Group, Inc
Peter is a global corporate communications leader with extensive experience leading high-performance teams. Supporting Fortune 500 brands for 20 years, Peter has executed worldwide communications campaigns, launched social media platforms, supported multibillion-dollar transactions, and directed complex, high-profile crisis response programs. He has built a strong track record advancing and protecting global brands through integrated external, internal and digital communications, built around powerful unified narratives. This was Peter’s third time hosting UMass students, citing his love of connection and aiding UMass students as his reasoning for supporting this program over the past three years.
What the Day Was Like:
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., another junior UMass communication major and I spent the day at Citizens Bank located in Dedham, Massachusetts. Our day was jam packed with meetings, networking with various members of the marketing and communications team, a tour of the building, and a delicious lunch at Shake Shack.
I experienced crucial insight into the workings of the corporate world, and what a UMass degree can provide you. Funny enough, two other people we met during the day were also former UMass students and were eager to speak with us. The other shadow and I were also introduced to numerous internship and full-time career opportunities within Citizens Bank. Peter even mentioned that a former shadow of this program was hired at the bank shortly after their shadow experience, highlighting how life changing these programs can truly be. For myself, it was wonderful to be able to explore the financial service industry and discover firsthand the possible career paths that my degree can lead me on.
Why You Should Shadow During Your Time at UMass:
Shadow experiences are amazing opportunities that provide a unique insight into what the working world is like, straight from the perspective of a former UMass student. What I find so special about this experience is that students are able to truly envision what an education at UMass can provide them, a path into whatever career they aspire to pursue. No matter what you want out of your education here at UMass, there is bound to be alumni with similar experiences and aspirations as you.
Additionally, these shadow programs are a wonderful way to explore your desired career path without having to commit to a lengthy job or internship first. It can be difficult to narrow down your career path without exploring what It is truly like firsthand, hence the benefits of these shadow programs.
The best part of it all is that UMass alumni truly have this genuine desire to help current UMass students succeed. Whether that be by offering career and personal advice, sparking new connections, and even potential job opportunities, alumni are eager to help.
So, what are you waiting for? Reach out to alumni and participate in these programs. Nothing but success and opportunity awaits.