NYC CONNECT returns to in-person connections

Student and alumnus shaking hands in front of a sign that says "Human Resources."
Students had an opportunity to network with alumni in all career clusters at Networking Night.
In the heart of Manhattan at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, nearly 300 students and over 100 alumni came together to kick off Networking Night, part of the 2023 NYC CONNECT program. 

For the first time since 2020, the Fleishman Career Center and partner offices across campus were able to host NYC CONNECT in-person. This annual networking and job exploration program consists of Networking Night and the Employer Treks. Students travel to Manhattan over winter break to meet with Binghamton University alumni and recruiters who are eager to answer questions, give students career advice, and talk about their own experiences. 

NYC CONNECT drew students from all class years and at all points in their career path, from those who just started exploring major options to others looking to lock down an internship or job in a specific line of work. Antonia Djuric, an undeclared sophomore, jumped at the chance to participate. 

“As an international student, when I moved to America I wanted to explore my connections,” she said. “When I heard New York City, networking and Binghamton all together, I was like, ‘I have to go’.”

Student smiling and holding a padfolio while speaking with a
Students networking with employees and recruiters at the Credit Agricole Employer Trek. Image Credit: Katrina Dydzuhn.
The week began with the convergence of current and former Binghamton University students at Networking Night. Simone Sterling, a 1998 Binghamton University graduate and current Vice President and Senior Program Manager of HR Regulatory Transformation at Citibank, set the tone with a keynote speech on the importance of having a strong professional network. 

Participants like Antonia had the opportunity to connect with alumni from a wide variety of industries and job levels — people who were once in the same shoes as these students. (Check out this directory of participating alumni and the Mentor Match platform).

Over the course of the next week, students embarked on various ‘Employer Treks’. Employer Treks are an opportunity to get an inside look at the Manhattan offices of industry giants like Grant Thornton and Northwell Health, as well as smaller, growing companies. Participating businesses hailed from industries like healthcare, accounting, media, finance, and education. Each Trek begins with an introduction to the company, including open positions or future career options, and a tour of the office building.

It was an eye-opening experience for Kayla Buccellato-Singer, a sophomore majoring in business administration with a double concentration in marketing and leadership.

“They really Immersed me in every aspect of the company,” she recalled from her visits to Google, Disney/ABC and PwC. Each visit gave her a taste of a different workplace culture. Google’s office sported a game room, a Lego-themed room, and employees were able to bring their dogs to work. At Disney/ABC, Kayla got to see the film studios where management and artistry converge. “As a more creative business person, that was really interesting,” she said. “I could see how the creativity tied in with the business element, management backstage and the creativity that is seen externally. It reinforced that I want something more creative and collaborative in my career.”

Many of the Employer Treks feature panels of alumni who offer students advice on transitioning from life as a Binghamton University student to a professional career. 

Kayla noted that some of the professionals were recent grads, who revealed that their journeys were not always linear or full of internships at every turn. “It was really beneficial to hear them be so honest about their career paths,” she said.

Sam Wofse, a sophomore majoring in accounting, acknowledged that the Treks pushed him to step out of his comfort zone, but that they were also a supportive environment for growth.

An alumnus speaking with a group of students at NYC CONNECT Networking Night
The CONNECT program facilitates conversations between students and alumni that allow students to grow their networks and learn about different career paths.
“The overarching theme was that the professionals and recruiters are there for you as much as you are there for them,” he reflected. “They want to get to know you as much as you want to get to know them.”

NYC CONNECT is an unparalleled opportunity to network with recruiters for future opportunities, get an intimate look at well-established companies and explore (career) paths forward for those who are uncertain where they want to go.

“NYC CONNECT has helped me to care about school more, to put in the effort, to make a connection,” Antonia remarked. “It has shown me the light at the end of the tunnel, that there is something to work for.”

by Erin Zipman