Shane Vyskocil ’19 recently returned to the Bryant campus to discuss his work as an Economics Associate at Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI) as well as his journey as an Economics and Politics and Law major at Bryant. In a presentation organized by the Politics and Law and Economics departments and hosted by Bryant's Amica Center for Career Education, Vyskocil talked about how his company assists national, state, and local entities with making informed policy decisions and offered advice to current students abut how to make themselves stand out to employers in a competitive job marketplace.
“They’re looking for people like you,” he told the students. “You just might have to help them find you.”
Preparing for the road ahead
Using examples from his own job hunt, Vyskocil discussed job search strategies, networking opportunities, and how to distinguish yourself through your resume and in interviews. He also talked one-on-one with students about their aspirations and how to go about making them into realities.
“I think one of the most important things Bryant taught me is how to keep learning and asking the right questions.”
“It’s always valuable for our students to learn from our Bryant alumni,” notes Professor of Economics and Department Chair Jongsung Kim, Ph.D. “By sharing their stories and working with younger students, they can help them prepare for the road ahead.”
Some of the advice Vyskocil offered was simple, like making sure to send a handwritten thank you note after each interview, and how to best use career sites and search engines. Other pieces were more about the big picture. “One of the toughest questions you’re always going to get in interviews is ‘tell me about yourself,’” he said. “Sometimes that can make or break your interview. You need to show them with that answer why you’re right for the job.”
Flexibility in examining opportunities
Vyskocil encouraged the students to consider their passion first while building their career. “I thought in terms about what I might like to do, and then I looked for what positions that might let me do those things,” he told them. “There is a position out there that’s perfect for you, and if you do the research you can find it.”
He also suggested that it was important for the students to be flexible as they examined opportunities. “Bryant prepares you really well for a wide range of jobs. You might think you know what you want to do now, but don’t let that limit the opportunities you’re reaching for.”
“The most important thing you can do is to try to learn at least one thing from every experience you have. Take away one piece that moves you forward.”
The important thing, he said, is to aim high. “If you’re interested and you think you’re qualified, you should apply, even if you don’t 100% match the criteria. Don’t get discouraged. No matter who you are, you’re going to get some 'nos.’
“The key is to have a strategy, do your research, and be as proactive as possible.”
The Bryant advantage
Vyskocil also spoke about his job at REMI, a firm that works to improve public policy through testing the economic effects of various decisions against high-level models. He also discussed with the students how REMI helps users understand economic impacts across a variety of fields. One of the best things about his job, he said, is how it allows him to use the mix of skills he acquired and honed in college to help others.
“I think one of the most important things Bryant taught me is how to keep learning and asking the right questions,” he noted. “A lot of what I do is trying to find new opportunities about exploring new areas and new policies and figuring out how they work together and what’s important. The research skills I acquired really prepared me to look at those big questions and adapt to new information.”
The variety of experiences he had at Bryant, including tutoring with the Academic Center for Excellence, competing with the Swim and Dive team, and serving as a research assistant, all contributed to his job search. “The most important thing you can do, though, is to try to learn at least one thing from every experience you have. Take away one piece that moves you forward.”
“It was good to talk someone who just graduated. He’s been through the same things we’re going through and he can tell us what it’s actually like out there.”
In sharing his experience, Vyskocil gave the students a look into their near future. “First-hand information is the best kind of career information that students can get,” notes Associate Director of Career Services Veronica Mansour. “Career coaches, faculty, or parents can speak to our own experiences or share other people’s success stories, but when you hear it directly from someone who’s already gone the route you want to go down, that makes a real difference.”
“It was good to talk to someone who just graduated,” agreed Finance major Cole Mitchell ’22. “He’s been through the same things we’re going through. He can tell us what it’s actually like out there.”
Economics major Armen Eghian ’21 saw the presentation as a chance to take stock. “It was really interesting to learn more about his career path, to see what he did and compare it to what I’m doing now, to see what I can adjust or think a little differently about.”
For Vyskocil, the presentation offered a chance to give back, he said, citing the mentors who had helped set him up for success. “Sometimes it can seem daunting when you’re a student and you’re trying to track down internship and career opportunities and I’m happy to do anything I can do to work with current Bryant students and share my experiences.”