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Q&A with Uri

Student Stories

Background: Uri grew up in Lakewood New Jersey and completed his undergraduate studies in business management at Fairleigh Dickenson University. After graduating, he worked in ecommerce, setting up the Amazon Marketplace for B&H Photo and Video. Subsequently, Uri completed a post-bacc in Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology at Columbia University. Currently, he is a co-founder at Deeper Signals, and an adjunct professor at New York University.

Q: Why did you decide to do a post-bacc? What did that process look like for you?
A: Coming out of school, I fell into e-commerce, but I didn’t see it as a long-term career path. I felt like being in school would help me explore what I to do next. I always had an interest in psychology, so it made sense to start there.

Q: What was your post-bacc experience like?
A: I really enjoyed my time in the program. Classes were structured around specific subjects within a typical psychology track. You needed to satisfy each requirement in order to eligible for the psychology certificate. In addition, there were lab requirements and field requirements. Our program was excellent on the advisory side as well. There was lots of focus on getting us into good labs, networking with other professors and on helping us get to the next step.

Q: What were the benefits of your post-bacc experience? / What did you gain from your post-bacc experience? / Was it worthwhile? If so, why?
A: It was definitely worthwhile. First, there was value in what I learned – the actual material was helpful. Second, I learned about the field, received guidance from professors who worked in the field and made a decision about the area within psychology that I wanted to pursue. Finally, having a degree from a better school helped me gain admittance to a Masters program at Columbia, which otherwise might have been more challenging.

Q: When you started the post-bacc program, did you know what you wanted to do after the program? If so, what was it? How did it evolve?
A: I knew I wanted to do something in Psychology, but I thought it would be oriented toward clinical applications. My experience in class and labs helped me realize that I enjoyed the business side of things more and so I ultimately opted for an organizational application.

Q: What about your classmates? What did they want to do after they graduated? How did this evolve for them?
A: I think most of our original plans evolved from when we first started the certificate program. Everyone did different things. One of my friends did her Phd in early childhood education. Another one decided to leave psychology all together and a third went into psychiatry. I think the post-bacc affords students the opportunity to explore a career change or advancement without making a commitment.

Q: Did you consider other post-bacc programs? If so, how did you select Columbia?
A: I was in New York and I had friends at Columbia. I was also looking for a school that would boost my resume just by name recognition, so I’d have some ROI on my investment even if I chose not to do psychology. So Columbia was an obvious choice for me.

Q: What aspects of Colombia’s post-bacc program were most important to you? Why?
A: Many of my professors were leaders in their field. They often taught out of the text books that they wrote. This was quite a change when compared to my undergrad studies that I really appreciated. Simply being back in school was great, and building a network in a new field was also really important.

Q: What did you wish you knew going into a postbacc? What surprised you most after you started the program?
A: Fulfilling the requirements for the certificate is the least important part of the program. For most people, next steps will not have an arbitrary requirement for a post-bacc certificate. So I would focus on fulfilling course work requirements for next steps (for example, medical school might require specific courses) and broadening your horizons by taking new and interesting courses.

Q: How has the program influenced your career today? (what did this program unlock for you that was out of reach before)?
A: Everything. It unlocked the opportunity to do my Master’s in my field of interest. It helped me gain admittance to Columbia for my masters, since I had already taken graduate level classes through the post-bacc. Finally, throughout my career it has helped to have the extra coursework on my resume as well as simply having a school.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to students considering a post-bacc program?
A: Be clear on what your high-level goals are – even if you don’t know specifics. Are you trying to improve your knowledge in your current field or to explore new career opportunities. These programs tend to be expensive, so having a high-level plan on how you will have a career ROI is important.
As well, look for a school and a program that are significantly different from your previous educational experiences. Look for a different field of study, a different city or a better school. This way, you’ll expand your network and reputation even if you ultimately do not choose to continue pursuing a career change.

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