Career Day 2021: Virtually Exploring Careers in Egypt
On February 16, 2021, the AUC Career Center hosted its annual Career Day virtually for the first time. The event is a unique opportunity for students to meet with seasoned professionals from 25 career fields in online roundtable discussions. Students get to ask questions about different careers, how to prepare for them, challenges they might face, etc. This helps the students to make informed decisions about their chosen career track, and focus on their career goals and academics. This year 460 students attended the event, getting the chance to connect with 33 professionals from over 20 organizations in four career tracks; business and commercial; creative, media and design; engineering, technology and health sciences; and public and human service.
The opening speech was very encouraging to all attendees especially the students. Francis Ricciardone, AUC President, talked about how the past year was challenging for everyone around the world, students, employees and professionals included. He also mentioned that all work fields were bombarded with brand-new obstacles that affected current industries, emerging industries, in addition, to the hiring process and different career paths. Nevertheless, it was a special achievement for the Career Center to be able to still organize the Career Day virtually and create an environment that encouraged students to ask questions and allow them to actively pursue their career passions. Maha Guindi, associate vice president for advancement and employability, also emphasized "The Career Day is more important now than ever because students need to be prepared and informed about things pertaining to different fields, with all the changes that students have probably never expected happening."
The event gave students an amazing opportunity to get advice about exploring different options, and perhaps even going for a career shift if that’s what they’re truly passionate about. Kareem Monem, public policy and government affairs manager at PepsiCo spoke about how he was headhunted from LinkedIn. Despite that this job was extremely out of his comfort zone, he went for the interview and decided to take on the new experience and didn’t regret it. He explained that he never feels bored at his job because every day there’s something exciting and challenging. He advised students to always go for new opportunities as they come up.
Ramy George, managing director at BNI, told students a similar personal story, "I was very focused on what I wanted and that wasn’t necessarily right, because I wasn’t interested in sales and I was only interested in web design and wouldn’t look outside of that." He went on to explain that right now the key to success is not just knowing one field alone, but exploring and being open to new experiments and ideas. "It will all add up at the end and you might not see it now, but you will later."
Other professionals were more practical and hands-on during their zoom discussions. Mohamed Zain ElAbideen, cyber prevent senior supervisor at Vodafone Egypt discussed a case study with the students to explain the different domains of cybersecurity and to give them a glimpse into the era of cyberwarfare. Moreover, explaining how the cosmetics market in Egypt had a lot of potentials and how L’Oreal has grown a lot over the past years, Emad Fickri, marketing manager at L’Oreal also created a small marketing plan with students that a typical brand manager at the company would do. He talked about the functions and tasks of the jobs. "Being a brand manager means you are responsible for the entire scope of the product, you need to understand where we are, where we want to be and how to get there."
It was evident that all the attendees enjoyed and benefited from this special event, especially that it was from the comfort of their own homes. Aya Zahran, business administration graduating senior, really appreciated the fact that the event was still held during a global pandemic. “Career day has been very insightful and has opened my eyes to several careers. It was very useful, given the unusual circumstances we are in, to know what the future job market will look like.”
While this is considered a steady service offered by the Career Center, it is incredibly important for students and professionals to exchange experience and knowledge with each other. The event allowed participants to not only gain insight on different career paths, but also to discuss current challenges in different industries and learn how to imagine and prepare for their future careers in this new era, where different markets and industries have been severely impacted by the pandemic.