Amar Bhatia is an IO MPS alum and an IT Consultant- Process Analyst on the EPCI team at the University of Maryland's Division of IT.


What made you want to pursue a career in IO? 

In undergrad, I was in between going with pre-medicine or business, and I was doing a lot of internships and shadowing opportunities. I realized that there's a lack of people in the business space that are able to understand and incorporate peoples’ needs with an awareness of the elements that affect workers outside of their actual assignments. So that led me to finding psychology. I absolutely fell in love with the field of psychology, with understanding how the brain works, how people interact, how people interact with stress, and other mechanisms that are involved with their lives. That led me to look at which field of psychology I wanted to pursue, and I found IO. I thought it was the perfect bridge of the business world with psychology. That's why I wanted to pursue it, to be able to be more holistic, and to spread my reach to more people than I could in a medical capacity. 


Why did you choose UMD for your studies? 

I chose the University of Maryland, first and foremost, due to the vicinity to my home. And it is a great institution. But, more importantly, it is an applied program, which is something that I thought was a differentiator for this program from a lot of others that I had applied to. I really wanted to be able to apply what I was learning in real time. This allowed me to do that both in class and while I work full time during the program. I am able to take bits and pieces of what I learned and apply it every day. 


Are there particular courses or projects during your time that have stood out so far? 

In terms of particular courses or projects that stand out to me, the organizational development project that we did for a local Baltimore area school was so rewarding, and a really fun experience. It was a great bonding experience for our cohort to be able to go out to school, meet together, and brainstorm different things, bounce ideas off each other. It's really what IO psychology is all about, collaborating with other professionals in that space. That is what we're doing in practicum, and it’s been amazing as far as being able to apply what we've learned and specialize it to what we want to work on specifically. For example, I'm working on more of the performance management side of things. I know a lot of other people are working on selection and talent assessments, and survey distributions, and things like that. I think that being able to apply these things in real time is super valuable. 


What skills have you learned in the program that will help you in your career? 

The first piece is effective communication. Being able to communicate to not only stakeholders, but also other individuals. Learning about interviews, capacity, or surveys, and other things of that nature that help us establish what we want to work on in the field. One of the biggest skills in this field is being able to answer the questions, and also provide an easier method of how to get to the end goal for everybody. This is one of the things that I've learned for sure in this program. Another one is time management. Being in the consulting setting, time management is very essential. Keeping yourself on track for projects and deliverables is super important in the professional setting, and this program has made us be aware of time management, especially in the practicum project. Practicum is the time when the professors have kind of let go of the reins and told us, “you’ve got to figure out your timelines, and your method of how you're going to get to the end goal.” That's been one of the more challenging pieces within practicum for me, but it’s one of the biggest skills that I'll take away from it. 


What is something no one would know about you? 

I am a twin. Most people can't guess that immediately, but I do have a twin sister. I am one minute older. Another thing that people don't really know is that I'm a foodie. I love to eat different types of food, and I'm very open to all different cultures of food. One of my favorite leisure activities is going on food tours in different places and cities, and just exploring. That's one of the things I like to do for fun. A highlight was when I was in New York, going to Queens and finding literally every single kind of food, like a different kind on every corner. I love grabbing it on the go and having amazing food on the corner of the street and just enjoying that with people.


What advice can you share with incoming or future IO students? 

I would tell future IO students to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Find what you're passionate about, what makes you happy within this setting or field, and don't get into something based on other people's job titles or what other people in the field are doing. There's a lot of different people within the IO psychology field, and it is growing at an incredibly fast pace. Don't go chasing others, chase what you want to do. This is what I have found to be valuable for myself. Because IO psychology is a very broad field, so try to find that passion or that niche that you really love, and listen to your professors. They will help. They're here to help you and guide you in the right ways. So take their advice, and listen carefully.


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