Haverford alumni are committed to supporting current students by helping to prepare them for life beyond Lancaster Avenue. They host interns and externs, give on-campus career chats, and speak on panels and in workshops about their professional lives. In that spirit, Panos Panidis ‘09 has spent the last three Sundays leading data analytics workshops on campus.
Sponsored by the Center for Career and Professional Advising (CCPA) and Haverford Innovations Program (HIP), these workshops were designed to “train students on technical skills that are important for the workplace regardless of field,” said Interim Dean of Career and Professional Advising Amy Feifer. “No matter where students end up working—whether at a non-profit, a large or small company, a startup, or starting their own business someday—data analytics and presenting findings are essential professional skills, which help people make important strategic decisions.”
Vice President of Management Analytics at JP Morgan Chase, Panidis is also the founder of Aesop Academy, a group focused on educating the next generation of job seekers on marketable technological and pedagogical skills.
“My goal with the workshops is to empower students with the confidence and capabilities to be leaders from day one in their future careers, irrespective of industry,” he said. “Coming from Haverford, studying political science and economics and entering a competitive career in consulting, I found myself in a technical skills catch-up race… That feeling of studying intensively for four years and having to be in a catch-up mode from my career start is something I want to help students preemptively prepare for, and even be ahead of, by using the professional training from Aesop Academy.”
Over three sessions, students in Panidis’ workshop developed their confidence with widely applicable but technically challenging practices like advanced data modeling, automated methods, and visual data analytics. They also practiced executive presentation techniques in front of a panel of judges from multiple for-profit and nonprofit organizations. In the short term, Panidis hopes that these skills will allow Fords to excel in the job market when they graduate, and in the long term he hopes they are imbued with new confidence in their problem-solving capabilities.
“It is exciting to see students make a commitment over three Sundays to learn or enhance their professional skills, to be able to practice their new skills with encouragement from Panos and his colleagues, and to successfully present what they learn to others,” said Feifer.
During the series, Panidis facilitated a conversation with fellow Ford Ryan Frankel ’06, founder of Eduplated and Verbalizeit, to share his top tips for success in business and entrepreneurship with the students in the workshop. Featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, Frankel has experience working for both established companies like Goldman Sachs and start-ups, like his current venture, Eduplated, which is an online nutrition-coaching platform.
Panidis also had advice for students beyond the workshop series. “In between your studies,” he said. “I think it’s also important to take some time to figure out what you’re passionate about or what you want to do after college. Connect with different professionals in your fields of interest, have the conversations to learn about what they do, read about industries or company publications, then ask yourself if the material intrigues you. I would also encourage students to engage in the activities or groups the campus offers—HIP is a great platform for events—to learn what you like to do. Even learning what you’re not interested in will only help narrow your focus during your future career pursuit. That’s all part of the experience of defining your career track as a pre-professional.”