UPOP alum Frederick Daso ’17 has a new take on an old saying: It’s all about communication, communication, communication.
Daso, a rising senior majoring in aerospace engineering with a minor in political science, has abundant opportunities to put this into practice as LinkedIn’s MIT Campus Editor—and at least one of his posts has had more than 100,000 views.
Now in his fourth consecutive internship with The Boeing Company (yes, straight out of high school), Daso has some useful observations for those considering UPOP:
“From what I’ve learned in the workplace, those who are able to communicate are the ones who are able to help organize everybody to get things done—and this is where the strength of UPOP lies: in communication.
“UPOP is a great opportunity not only to meet other students with similar drive and career ambition as you, but to start contacting companies and getting a well-researched idea of what you want your career to be.”
His advice to students heading to internships: There are three things they should do, and three things they should ask.
“In terms of what they should do: One, they should create a track record of working hard throughout the summer. Two, try to get to know every one you are working with—there’s always an opportunity to learn from everybody in the office. Three, take the time to get to know the younger individuals in the office. They have a lot of different insights from the older individuals.
“In terms of what they should ask: One, how does their role and project fit into the overwork workflow? How does their work affect the next person in line? Two, what form of mentorships are in the workplace? Informal? Formal? Seek to find a mentor and stick with that person as much as possible throughout your internship. Three, ask what the process is for future opportunities at this workplace—another internship? A coop? A full-time position?
“The earlier you ask these questions, the better your idea of the workplace itself and whether you would fit in there for the short and long term.”
Using LinkedIn as a publishing platform is a natural extension of the communication skills that UPOP teaches, he says. “The goal of UPOP, plainly put, is to help students get hired more efficiently and to be able to navigate the career process at their early stages, to connect with employers and be able to demonstrate they have the skills to be successful in the workplace.”
Posting thoughtful pieces on LinkedIn, he says, offers students a place to showcase themselves and their passion, to show what they care about. “Employers will notice,” he says, and that leads to discussion, to interaction, to interviews.
“I was surprised by what a big impact my posts had, and how quickly I could engage with a large audience. You’ll be establishing a network that will help you in one, two or five years’ time, in order to make your career progression as smooth as possible.”
Daso remembers dropping into the UPOP office frequently, to discuss his career prospects. “I thank UPOP for helping establish and setting the foundation for those communication skills.”
He wishes UPOP could be offered to freshmen, not just to MIT sophomores. “The earlier they get started building up the skills to succeed, the better off they will be, the closer to their ten-year goals.”
Speaking of goals, Daso has a plan, of course: graduation, then a master’s, and 10 years out? “Perhaps to start my own company.”