Alumni share career advice with students

panel discussionOswego alumni as well as current students descended upon lower Manhattan Jan. 3, for the sixth annual New York City Career Connections.

This networking event, sponsored by Oswego Alumni Association and supported by Career Services, allowed Oswego alumni to share their experiences and help current students who are looking to relocate to the New York City area after graduation.

Close to 40 alumni took part in the event, which was held at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Alumni participants represented employers such as ESPN, Merrill Lynch, the New York City Department of Education and Major League Baseball.

The evening began with a panel discussion. The panel included Jennifer Bender ‘06, account executive for Environics Communications; John Kennington ‘85, vice president of sales and trade marketing for chocolatier Ferrero USA; Kristen LoVullo ‘05, audience coordinator for Rachel Ray; and Allan Shaw ‘86, strategic advisor for S. Goldman Advisors LLC.

All of the alumni shared tips with students on how to nail an interview as well as what they did to ensure their futures when they graduated from Oswego.

“I stalked Career Services and I was able to get networking tips,” Bender said. “I was also involved at the school newspaper and that’s where I was able to work on my writing skills.”

According to LoVullo, students who will look for jobs in the near future should find what they are passionate about.

“Have fun, but get involved,” LoVullo said. “Be a part of a club and don’t just jump into a job if it’s not what you want to do. Get as much experience as you can.”

According to Shaw, students should work on presentation skills before going to an interview.

“In a way it is a character assessment,” Shaw said. “We look at internships and other things that show commitment.”

Kennington provided one last tip: Be prepared.

“Find out the background of an employer and then find a connection,” Kennington said.

Students who attended the event at FIT found it to be beneficial.

“I thought that the career connections program was a good opportunity for me to see some of the success that had come out of our very school and meet the alumni to look for advice,” said Chris Spofford ‘09, a broadcasting major. “I was able to obtain a few names and numbers that could possibly help me get an internship next summer. I think the program is nothing but a positive experience for anyone who wants to get ahead in the game. ... I now have a better idea of what’s out there in the career world.”

Prior to the event at FIT, there were a number of smaller sessions held throughout the afternoon, in which students were able to visit alumni at their places of business.

Robert Garrett presentingSteve Doran ‘82, director of global equity finance at Merrill Lynch, and Robert Garrett ‘83 (shown presenting at left), partner-in-charge at KPMG, hosted students at their firms. Two other companies hosting students were the public relations firm G.S. Schwartz & Co. Inc. and ABC Studios.

Christie Torruella ‘08, a public relations major, attended the event at G.S. Schwartz.

“I walked out having learned so much more about PR,” Torruella said. “The amount of knowledge I received from [Managing Director] Joan Reinhart Cear ‘[80] was amazing. She answered all of our questions pretty much before they were even asked. She talked a lot about the company and truly tried to help us. I would definitely recommend this event to others.”

Students interested in a career in broadcasting received a tour of ABC Studios and were able to talk one–on–one with broadcasting professionals including Oswego alumni Rich Wolf ‘76, Lou Borrelli ‘77 and Brian McKernan ‘76, as well as the Regional Vice President of Broadcast Solutions, Intelsat, Ron Rosenthal.

Among the four, there was one common theme: passion.

All urged students to find their passion and to go after it.

“It’s about pursuing what turns you on and gets in your blood,” McKernan said. “You have to be willing to do crazy things, but try and figure out what your passion is and pursue it.”

Wolf, vice president of ABC-TV, offered this piece of advice to students: “Get a little luck, a little opportunity, get your foot in the door and the rest is up to you.”

The event at ABC opened some students’ eyes to what actually goes into running a major network such as ABC.

“It showed me all the different areas ABC runs and how diverse everything is here,” said Michele Giorlando ‘08, an applied math and English/writing arts major.

Students were able to visit the graphics department, post-production, master control, the sub-basement, network control rooms and the ABC newsroom.

The afternoon left students feeling more confident about their future.

“This was a well put-together event,” said Rebecca Ganswindt ‘08, a marketing and public relations major. “I would definitely attend this again in the future.”

- END -

Written by Kelly Lake ‘08

PHOTO CAPTIONS: Top: Rich Wolf ‘76, Brian McKernan ‘76, Ron Rosenthal and Louis A. Borrelli Jr. ‘77 present a panel discussion on careers in television at ABC Studios. BOTTOM: Robert Garrett ‘83, partner-in-charge at KPMG, shares career advice with students.

(Posted: Jan 11, 2008)