Nabila Sheikh (MS ’09) has always looked at organizations strategically and found ways to improve efficiency and talent. Find out how her MS from Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences helps her in her career at PepsiCo and why she volunteers to give back.
What were the most important lessons you learned in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program?
Attending Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences (WSAS) – where I obtained my MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology – was very valuable. The program did a great job laying out the different areas within I/O and what each of those disciplines were about, especially the research and grounding of the theories and models and how they applied to the workplace. I also realize the importance of the networks I formed with my professors and cohort, many of whom are important leaders in the field.
Where has your career taken you?
I am currently the Senior Manager, Organizational Development, Industrial & Organization Psychologist at PepsiCo. Throughout my career, I have had similar Center of Excellence roles (COE), which are a large part of the HR function. In a COE role, you are able to have ownership over strategic thinking, talent, and organizational programs. I have progressively taken on strategic thinking roles, allowing me to apply theories and models to create programs and initiatives that benefit the organization and its employees.
Also important to me is my work with the United Nations/SIOP Committee (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology). As a graduate student I attended the SIOP annual conference and asked a mentor how I could get more involved, and they suggested volunteering for a SIOP committee. The United Nations/SIOP committees’ mission resonated with me, where I can use my I/O background in a humanitarian setting. I didn’t know there could be a connection between I/O and humanitarian work, and I am now passionate about spreading the word among I/O graduate programs so they can learn about the internships and jobs available at the UN.
Why do you volunteer with Baruch College’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences?
When I was attending Baruch College, the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences’ Graduate Studies did not have a dedicated career services office as it currently does. I didn’t have the same access to I/O jobs when I was attending, so I wanted to make sure that career opportunities would be provided to I/O students in the future. I now work closely with Weissman Graduate Career Services, where I have recruited at career fairs, identified talent, presented on panels, and served as guest speaker for the I/O Psychology Student/Alumni Networking event. With the WSAS Career Office, I have been able to stay connected with the student base, and help provide a better sense of how students can carve-out their careers in the I/O field. There is much more support now and I am happy to contribute to I/O Psychology students!