New York native Eric Dobosh currently serves as a Team Leader with City Year New York at P.S./M.S. 96M in East Harlem. After graduating from Princeton University with a BA in Politics, Eric was offered an Associate Consultant position at Bain & Company. Eric was set to start his career at Bain & Company until he decided to defer his offer and spend a year doing national service with City Year and help students reach their full potential.
What were some highlights of your time at Princeton?
At Princeton, I spent a lot of my time working with a business-focused non-profit called Business Today. This opportunity really opened up my eyes to the types of companies and organizations that exist in the U.S. I also worked in Trenton as a tutor for high-achieving sixth grade students through an organization called imPACT. My absolute favorite activity at school, however, was coaching a 6th grade basketball team.
What were you interested in pursuing after graduation?
While in school, I had a number of ideas for my post-graduation plans. At first I was sure that I wanted to go work in D.C. and get right into the political world. I then thought about going to work in business. I also spent a lot of time considering teaching after school. After my junior year of college, I interned at a consulting firm in New York City. I loved the fast-paced and collaborative environment, and I realized I wanted to get additional experience working at a business before working in the public sector. This led me to applying to Bain & Company, which is where I will be working after my City Year.
How did you make the decision to defer your job offer from Bain to embark on a year of service with City Year?
During the recruiting process with Bain, I had it in the back of my mind that if at all possible, I would like to defer my offer to commit myself to a year of service. I was so excited when I got an offer to work as an Associate Consultant at Bain. I talked to a couple of people at Bain who had also deferred their offers to pursue various opportunities in the education world before starting as a consultant. Everyone that I spoke with had a positive experience and thought that it complemented and strengthened their work as a consultant. They all spoke about how the two opportunities challenged them in different ways, and how they felt even more prepared for their career in consulting after working in the classroom. These conversations helped confirm my desire to commit a year to service before starting my consulting career at Bain. As soon as I brought this interest to Bain's attention, they were extremely accommodating. Given Bain's long-standing relationship with City Year, Bain made my deferral process very easy.
Why did you choose to do your year of service with City Year?
Since I was in high school, I have always had an interest in taking some time to fully commit myself to a year of service. From a young age, I was taught the importance of education. I never thought it was fair that, while I had so many open doors and opportunities, there were countless kids who either didn’t know those doors existed or if they did, they were often locked shut. There is nothing fundamentally different than a student that grew up in my position and a student from the school in which I will be serving this year, except for the immense difference in resources that made my educational experience much easier and provided me significantly more opportunities. I am passionate about working with students to do whatever I can to create a more just system that provides opportunities to all students.
I also believe that the majority of issues we face in this country can be solved through education. I thought seriously about teaching, but during a reading assignment for a class on entrepreneurship at Princeton, I came across City Year. After doing a quick Google search that night, City Year seemed to more closely align with my interests, as I primarily wanted to serve as a mentor and connect with students as a near-peer, rather than serve as a primary teacher. I remember calling my mom that night and telling her about this cool organization I found. The next morning she texted me and said she watched every video on City Year's YouTube channel and encouraged me to consider applying.
I vividly remember a having a conversation with Emmanuel Paul Sterling, Regional Recruitment Director for the Northeast Region, that led me to apply to serve as a City Year AmeriCorps member. I spoke with Emmanuel on the phone before applying, and I think I asked him 100 questions about the program. Emmanuel's passion and commitment to City Year was inspiring and ultimately led me to apply.
How do you think your experience with City Year will prepare you for your career with Bain? What surprised you about the parallels between your work as an AmeriCorps member and the role you will ultimately have at Bain?
I can already tell that this year will be incredibly useful in preparing me for my career at Bain. My role at City Year as a Team Leader is all about communication. I am constantly communicating with my team members about ways in which we can provide the best service to our students. I will also be in frequent communication with the school administration and teachers. The ability to connect with different groups of people will undoubtedly be useful when I get to Bain, as I will be challenged to communicate with a number of different stakeholders and in various manners.
At Bain I will constantly be working with teams. A key component of my role as a Team Leader is fostering a positive team dynamic and creating a true sense of community. When one of our team members is struggling, our whole team is struggling. This is the most significant parallel I see between my work with City Year and my future career at Bain. Forming an effective team with people of different ages, strengths, and backgrounds is something that I am challenged to do at City Year, and will once again face at Bain. Moreover, working at City Year has required me to become a more reflective person. This ability to take a step back and see the bigger picture, analyze what my peers are thinking, and be more self-aware will be useful at Bain, as I will be working to analyze various situations and work towards finding solutions to business problems.
Bain and City Year have distinctive and collaborative cultures. Each organization has its unique feel that people instantly recognize. This makes the work enjoyable, and I think is a reason that I was attracted to both organizations.
What advice do you have for others wanting to pursue similar paths?
If you want to pursue multiple opportunities that at first do not seem to have a lot in common, do it! I am confident that there will be skills that you will gain that will transfer from one type of career to the next. Also, I think if everyone were to commit one year to national service, this whole country would see significant improvements. Even if you want to have a career in a field other than education, you can still pursue a year of service with City Year. This year can have a profound impact on not only your personal and professional growth, but also on our nation. One of City Year's values is "Belief in the power of young people." To me, this means that all students are incredibly knowledgeable and have the ability to change the world. It also means, that college graduates can have a meaningful impact on our society. As a collective force, our generation is extremely powerful, and I would encourage anyone considering committing a year to national service to go and do it!