Industrial/organizational psychology graduate student Neil Jacobsen’s journey to Salem State began in the helping professions. As a recent graduate of the University of Scranton, Neil was working as a mental health counselor at a psychiatric hospital. In such a high-stress work environment, he noticed how organizational challenges impacted employees in ways that often trickled down into client care. Issues like lack of engagement, absenteeism and stress in the workplace impacted both staff morale and the client experience.
As he considered next steps in his professional life, he wanted to find a role where he could have an impact on the organization as a whole. His transition to graduate study, part-time work and the remote learning model of the early pandemic helped him to build time management and prioritization skills. Having completed the foundation of his psychology work during undergrad, he found that much of his graduate work had immediate, direct connection to the workforce.
“By the time you get to graduate school, you’ve narrowed your focus, so the skills and knowledge you’re learning in the classroom apply directly to what you need in the field,” he said.
As an intern with TUV SUD, a testing, inspection and certification company, Neil is a part of the employee development team. “Our employees are our customers,” he notes, and his work is giving them the training and skills they need to be successful in their roles. He works on survey creation, onboarding, and selection projects. He particularly enjoys the development and facilitation of a training program for new managers.
Neil describes the I/O psychology master’s as a good fit for critical thinkers who enjoy solving problems. He encourages prospective students to talk to their program coordinator and current students to be prepared from the start.
“So many of the projects I completed in class have given me the skills I use in my job every day,” he said. “I was prepared to come in and contribute.”