Alumni offer career advice to students
In today's economic environment, networking is more important than ever. Earlier this month, about 100 Binghamton University alumni gave their time to talk about their careers with current students and encouraged them to build networks.
The New York City Employer Visit Program -- a partnership between the Alumni Association, Career Development Center and School of Management -- took place the week of Jan. 11-15. Alumni hosted students at their places of employment for networking, question-and-answer sessions and site tours. Visits took place at Bloomberg, CBS, Council on Foreign Relations, Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Deloitte, Eisner LLP, Ernst & Young, ESPN, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, KPMG, Lord & Taylor, Marlin & Associates, McGladrey & Pullen, MSG Media, Morgan Stanley, NBC Universal, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Protiviti, UBS and Weiser LLP.
At McGladrey, a leading national accounting firm serving mid-sized companies, alumni met with students to answer questions about internships, workload and corporate culture. Jason Kesten '08 (left in photo at left) told students the work schedule is going to be a big change from what they're used to.
"There are no set hours during our busy season," Kesten said. "You're working on the clients' schedules often times. You're no longer going to have that six-week Christmas break. It takes time to adjust to the real world. However, there are opportunities to set work/life goals."
At KPMG, David Kaplan '89 (at right), an audit partner in the firm's real estate and construction practice, talked with students about auditing in the current environment. Afterward, a panel of alumni fielded questions. Jessica Cheng '05 emphasized the importance of building positive relationships, both within the firm and with outside clients.
"The biggest adjustment I had to make was learning how to talk to people, how to handle things professionally," Cheng said. "Probably the most important thing is to put yourself out there and break out of your comfort zone."
Putting oneself out there and building relationships was the focus of Metro Career Night, an event held on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, after a hiatus of several years. The goal was to bring students face-to-face for informational interviews with alumni working in a variety of fields. About 300 students attended. Before the open networking session, several alumni took part in a panel discussion about making the transition from campus to workplace. Panelists were Jeffrey M. Borowick, MS '75, regional vice president of Conference Associates; Lea Dematteo '06, manager of finance for A&M/Octone Records; Andrew Goldstein '84, producer of NBC's "Today", Tonya Parris '92 (at right in photo above), founder and president of the Parris Foundation; John Walker '78, director of J.W. Walker Investments LLC.
Dematteo, who describes herself as "all about networking", told students that she reached out to fellow alumni after losing her job as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. Her networking efforts paid off when she got her current job at A&M.
"I have to admit that I don't really think I took full advantage of the CDC and everything it has to offer, and I got all of my networking experience when I was unemployed and had nothing else to do, so it was as good a time as any," she said.
Borowick encouraged students to think outside the box by working for free just to get a foot in the door, or looking for jobs outside their hometowns.
"You have plenty of time to work for serious money, and you'll get your chance for sure," Borowick said. "I haven't seen an employer yet who won't take a volunteer under the guise of an internship. Take risks now while you're young, not when you have three kids, all these tuition loans and a mortgage."
The CDC welcomes volunteer assistance from alumni. Click here to find out how you can become involved. Visit the online community B-connected to tap into the Alumni Career Network, a searchable database of alumni willing to offer career advice.