For the past few months, I’ve been a part of the fall 2020 Bessel Origin cohort. Bessel Origin is a real-world career development program that gives emerging professionals the chance to contribute to real business projects while working under the guidance of experienced mentors.
If you’re interested in the program, here’s a quick rundown of what Bessel Origin participants do, who should apply, and answers to FAQs about the program.
What Do Bessel Origin Participants Do?
Each Bessel Origin participant works on a project team. During our cohort, one team developed business responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a website for mask-makers to earn revenue. The other team worked with a cordless electrosurgery company to map the user experience journey and design early prototypes of a medical device.
Career Skills Development
And while those project outputs are impressive, the most exciting parts of the program have been what happens behind the scenes. We’ve learned how to work remotely with a team, how to manage our time (and balance our other jobs and classes), and how to talk about our work. We learned about human-centered design and agile teamwork, and we practiced those skills in our projects.
Personally, I’ve also gotten practice managing a brand’s social media presence, as I took on social media management for Bessel this fall. I’ve been profiling our cohort’s participants and mentors on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Coaching and Workshops
We’ve also gotten coaching about how to use this experience to build a career. I learned a lot from two memorable workshops this fall.
First, we each took the Blackhawke Entrepreneurship Value Profile (EVP) assessment before joining the program. It’s a pyschological assessment that helped determine our strengths and weaknesses and get the most out of the team. Then, I-O psychologist and Blackhawke co-founder Nikki Blacksmith explained the assessment and helped us understand our personal results.
The other workshop that helped me was with marketing consultant Lee Price. She led a Linkedin workshop and gave us tips on building a strong LinkedIn presence to reach our professional goals.
Who Should Apply to Bessel Origin?
While I’m sad to be wrapping up the fall cohort, there’s a silver lining. The next cohort is starting in early 2021, and applications are open now.
I recommend the Bessel Origin program to recent college graduates who are looking for real-world work experience and mentorship from seasoned professionals.
Quick Facts About Bessel Origin
Here’s what you need to know about the program:
You’ll work with a team of other Bessel Origin participants across the country.
The time commitment is 10 hours per week. At the beginning of your cohort, you’ll agree with your team on your weekly schedule. In my cohort, we met for two hours on Tuesday nights, plus daily 15-minute check-in meetings Monday through Friday. We used those daily sessions to plan and update each other. We each did part of the work on our own time. I found the commitment to be very manageable, even with a job.
You’ll be mentored by Bessel founder Chris Danek, Pete Siu, and Nandini Venkatesh.
There is a small co-pay to participate. Most of the costs are sponsored by Bessel and our partner companies, but we ask each participant to pay $100 to enroll. Financial support is available for those who need it.
At the end of the 10-week program, you’ll receive digital badges to promote your experience on your LinkedIn profile and other social media.
If you have any questions, I’d love to answer from my perspective as a recent participant. You can reach me at email@example.com.