As a nontraditional student, Basher Ahmad Atayi went through an adjustment period when he transferred to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln from Southeast Community College. Now as he finishes the final semester of his undergraduate career, he feels prepared to take the next step in his professional career after graduation.
“When I transferred from SCC, that first year was quite a transition due to class size and difficulty of classes. This year it's been easier because I'm not going through that transition and I've adjusted to the way of teaching and exams,” said Atayi, a senior accounting major from Afghanistan.
Since joining the College of Business, Atayi constantly found ways to apply what he learned in the classroom directly to the real world in his current role at Kawasaki Rail Car as a team leader.
“There are a lot of things I have learned from school that helped me during my job, like knowing how to write an email and approach a problem. My supply chain classes helped me in finding bottlenecks on the production lines and help the timing and pace of the line as well,” he said.
Now Atayi prepares to begin his Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) at Nebraska immediately after graduation this fall. He plans to intern at Lutz this spring and has a job secured once he completes his MPA. He attests to how well the Professional Enhancement Program (PrEP) at the college helped him secure that job offer.
“Some people may take the PrEP classes for granted, but they helped me a lot in getting my internship and full-time job offer. Before those classes, even though I already had experience, I wasn’t able to present that in a great way on my résumé. Even if I did get an interview, I did not have the skills to get through the interview process to successfully land a job,” said Atayi.
Through PrEP, business students undergo four one-credit-hour courses (BSAD 111; 222; 333; 444) based around career and professional development. Celeste Spier, associate director for career and professional development, notes how while other schools may not require this, the College of Business implements the courses into the curriculum for the benefit of students’ professional futures.
“With the time constrains most college students experience, career development and planning can easily fall to the bottom of the priority list. The fact that the College of Business requires this content for all business students demonstrates how much the college values the career success of its students,” said Spier.
Currently in BSAD 444, the final PrEP course, Atayi believes the classes seem perfectly timed to the job search process.
“One of the modules we went through was about how to break down a job offer and look over the benefits. We went through that process literally a week before I received my job offer. The timing of the courses are perfect when preparing your résumé and practicing for when you have an actual interview,” he said.
Spier pointed out how the sequence of the BSAD courses is intentionally set up to line up with the job search process.
“The sequence of the PrEP courses was designed to align with the career development of a typical college student. For example, BSAD 333 is taught during the first eight-weeks of a semester to strategically align with the recruitment cycles of most organizations. This means students will be researching employers, creating a LinkedIn profile, and attending the career fair, at the exact same time as organizations are recruiting interns and employees. Many students report landing internships or jobs with the materials they created and the connections they made during BSAD 333,” explained Spier.
With a job already in place for after he finishes his master’s program, Atayi leaves the college feeling more confident about his future. His time at the college as an accounting student went beyond just learning about numbers.
“I already have a job offer, and I have a better understanding of how I can be successful in the future. Going to the College of Business isn’t just learning how to crunch numbers – every one of the classes helps you in some way so by the time you are in a position you want, you have the skills you need,” he said.
To learn more about the Professional Enhancement Program, visit: https://business.unl.edu/prep.