Every Month Series: Nonprofits Job Simulation

September 25, 2020
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

This program is for UCSF students and postdocs at any level. To receive the Zoom link, register through Eventbrite.

Register through Eventbrite


Career opportunities in the non-profit world allow PhDs to use their knowledge toward a wide variety of pursuits, often toward a cause in which they believe. Individuals with these positions must be very organized and are often required to manage multiple projects or programs at a time. Therefore, these positions usually require expertise in event planning and program management, complemented by communication, time management, and marketing skills. Project management involves the initiation, organization, and conclusion of work that is achieved by a group. Event planning is essentially project management where the specific end product for a team of individuals is an event. Accordingly, the event planner is in charge of all communications between all parties involved (stakeholders) and people skills are crucial to manage both external and internal partnerships. These partnerships usually include individuals grouped in one or more of the following categories: sponsors, educators, scientists, administrators, and volunteers. 


In this job simulation, you’ll take on the role of a program manager whose task it is to set the agenda for and to organize a professional meeting, including communicating with and bringing together content experts from a variety of disciplines, setting budgets, and planning the logistics for the event.

Why do a job simulation?

Often, trainees tell us that they read or hear about a career path and think, “That sounds interesting – but how would I know if I’d actually like it?” There are a variety of ways to answer that question; some (such as internships or additional training) are highly effective but require significant investments of time and effort. 


Before you make that investment, try a job simulation! In just two hours, you’ll gain lots of insight into the field, and your own preferences. Whether you love the experience and want to explore the field further, or simply learn that tasks like this aren’t something you want to do regularly, you will have made progress in your career exploration and practiced a new skill.


By completing job simulations, you can consider which careers are of interest to you and utilize provided resources to explore future courses of action by following up with professionals in the career field. 


  • This will be a supportive environment with an emphasis on self-reflection. We will not be evaluating you, and no prior experience is required.
  • Participating in the job simulation requires a small amount of pre-work (30 minutes).
  • The workshop will be engaging and interactive. For part of the time, you will be working with a small team of 1-2 other participants to complete the task.

Prior to the workshop:

  • You’ll receive a brief description of the scenario and the task. You’ll read through the scenario and prepare answers to brief reflection questions. (This will take you about 30 minutes.)

At the workshop:

  • Guest experts (PhD-trained professionals working in the nonprofit field) will discuss why tasks like this are central to their work, and what the main challenges are.
  • After a preliminary group discussion of the task, you'll work on it for about 20 minutes with one or two other workshop participants.
  • You'll have the opportunity to discuss your work product (and any questions or challenges that arose) with the guest experts, and they will share how they would have approached the task.

After the workshop:

  • Determine next steps for your career exploration. We will provide suggestions for how to do this at the workshop.


This program is part of the Every Month Series.

A note about our virtual events: We would like to welcome you, as and where you are, to our virtual events. If there are times you just don’t want to be on camera, feel free to attend this event with your camera and mic off. If you prefer to switch on your camera and participate that’s great too. And if this event just won’t work for you please remember you can always make an appointment with us at any time. 

UCSF is committed to making its facilities, activities and events accessible. To request accommodations for this event, please contact Trish McGrath ([email protected]) at the Office of Career and Professional Development at least one week before the event.