Students gain access and experience through the FCB Executive Job Shadow Program

Posted: Wednesday, April 8th 2015 at 3:28 AM

By Robinli Uber, Student Writer

For the spring 2015 semester, 23 NAU students were chosen to shadow executives from around the country through The W.A. Franke College of Business (FCB) Executive Job Shadow Program. This program allows students to experience two days in the life of an executive, giving them perspective on their desired fields of work.

The program involves a variety of executives, giving students many options about who to shadow.

“We have bankers, real estate [agencies], small business owners, accounting partners, insurance [agencies] – a variety. If you’re a business major, you’re pretty much a good match with any of them,” said Ron Smith, director of the Career Development Office at FCB. “They’re all great executives, and it’s more about shadowing the executive and seeing how they work than being matched with someone who does the exact thing you’re interested in.”

Each student chosen was paired with one of 16 executives. (Some of the executives take on more than one student.) The pairs were decided in an application process including student interviews with FCB faculty. Decisions were based on the student’s interests and the executives’ availability. With the amount of talent in the FCB, decisions were tough.

Some of the students are scheduled to meet their assigned executives in May just after the semester ends, while others embarked on their shadowing journeys over this past spring break. 

“Shadowing at Donley Service Center was eye-opening in that it gave me insight about how small businesses can be successful,” said economics major Cyrus Guccione who shadowed executive Mike Donley (’87 HRM) [photo, right].

Students are not limited to shadowing only the executives with whom they were assigned. Some executives decide to split the shadow up between multiple staff members in order to increase the students’ exposure to the business.

“I particularly enjoyed the one-on-one contact I had with the supervisors and staff, learning about how the business was run from their point of view,” said Guccione.

Accounting major Luka Radjenovich shadowed Nicole Simpson of Regier Carr & Monroe, LLP. “Ms. Simpson introduced me to a number of staff at the office over the course of both days and arranged for me to spend time shadowing at least 11 other accountants who worked at the office,” he said. “It allowed me to sit in on meetings with clients, multiple tax preparation jobs, and the audit of a local manufacturing firm.”

Not only did students gain insight into the inner-workings of their possible future careers, they were able to form personal relationships with the executives that could lead to beneficial networking opportunities in the future.

Computer information systems major Megan Barnes shadowed Kathy Thomas (’78 MGT) of Stowebridge Promotions, Inc. “Kathy showed me a lot of resources that I will use in my career search. Sometimes I felt less like I was shadowing and more like she was mentoring me,” she said. “Kathy also urged me to keep in touch with my future endeavors. I am glad to have a network contact [beyond my] professors.”

Students who have gone through the Executive Job Shadow Program are grateful for this experience and understand how unique of an opportunity it is.

“I could not obtain any of this firsthand experience inside an academic setting, so I considered it a special treat to be granted this type of opportunity to observe real accounting work from inside the scene of the action,” Radjenovich said.

“I feel like I gained very practical knowledge in the workplace that I can apply to both my studies here at NAU and my future career as well,” Guccione said.

The second group of students will set off to shadow their matched executives just after the semester ends, undoubtedly beginning their summers in a productive and enlightening way.



Categories: fbn april issue 2015 fbn nbn flagstaff business news nau business news students gain access and experience through the fcb executive job shadow program mike donley donley service center cyrus guccione spring 2015 2015 robinli uber executive job shadow program career development office cdo ron smith luka radjenovich nicole simpson regier carr & monroe, llp megan barnes kathy thomas stowebridge promotions, inc