PC Students, Alumni Network Across the Country
Providence, R.I. – Continuing a tradition that spans nearly a decade, more than 200 Providence College alumni met with current students in three cities recently to explore career paths and opportunities at Alumni-Student Career Networking Nights.
Hosted by the College’s Office of Alumni Relations, Office of Career Services, and regional alumni clubs, graduates in the New York and Boston areas were invited to meet with students to discuss topics ranging from internships to post-graduate plans.
In addition, a group of alumni and students gathered in Southern California for a “Career Conversations” reception for the first time. Students who had traveled to Los Angeles for the PC INHOLLYWOOD program, a three-day series of meetings with entertainment industry leaders, attended that event along with students who live in the area.
In New York, the event was held at the New York Athletic Club, where the large venue accommodated a larger turnout of both alumni and students than usual, said George Catrambone`05, New York club president.
“I think that it speaks to the market conditions alumni are facing,” he said. “I think most people are looking hard for the next opportunity and trying to engage the alumni network in the process.”
Stacey Moulton, associate director/career education in the Office of Career Services, said more than 110 students attended the New York night, where Ryan Olohan ’96, Google’s head of consumer packaged goods and personal care, delivered the keynote address.
About 90 came to the Boston night at State Street Bank and Trust, where Brian Potvin ’91, a senior account executive for Proctor and Gamble, addressed the crowd.
The East Coast clubs made some subtle changes to the programming to ensure that alumni had a good opportunity to benefit from networking, too. Alumni were invited to arrive half an hour earlier than the students so they could mingle and catch up before they offered students advice.
Alumni build networks
“There really was cross-generational conversation,” said Francis X.B. Harrington ’78, president of the Providence Club of Long Island.
Catrambone said he was impressed by the students he met.
“I really thought it was our best year, in terms of students coming in asking the right questions: not being afraid to ask what they needed to do better to enter the workforce successfully,” he said.
It benefits both alumni and students to participate in events such as these, Catrambone said.
“I look at current students as soon-to-be alumni,” he said. “A college education is a pretty short time frame in the scale of one’s life. You spend the rest of your life as alumni.”
As a result, it’s smart for students to engage the alumni network as soon as possible, he said, noting that sophomores, juniors, and seniors attended the New York night.
At the same time, “We need to do more to show students we’re here, and do an even better job publicizing and holding more career-oriented events,” the club president said.
Caroline Brown ’12 (Northbridge, Mass.) attended the Boston night and was pleasantly surprised how many freshmen were in the crowd.
“It’s just nice to know they, too, set goals,” she said.
Brown, a finance major and accountancy minor, is hoping to land an investment banking or asset management position after she graduates in the spring. She has been interviewing at firms across the Northeast and said the networking night was valuable and fun.
“I personally love interacting with people, especially alums,” Brown said. “They love to hear about your experience at PC.”
Brown recommended asking about career paths, especially if they overlap with your own goals.
“It’s nice to find other people who have those dreams and aspirations and how they got there,” she said.
It also serves as an opportunity to connect with recent alumni who may be able to tell you how to get your foot in the door at a company, Brown said.
Given the smaller size of the alumni base in California, the “Career Conversations” event there was more informal than the other nights, where graduates are organized based on their industry or profession, said Patti Goff, interim director and associate director/internships of the Office of Career Services.
Admissions staff tested the value of welcoming prospective students at one of the events. Students who were accepted as “early action” applicants and their families were invited to attend the Boston networking night, said Therese Reilly ’83, assistant director of alumni relations. Inviting these future Friars helped to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the alumni network in the Boston area, Reilly said.
The next Alumni-Student Networking Night will be held in '64 Hall on March 27. Students can register for this event through the Office of Career Services Events page; alumni should check out the Alumni-Student Networking Night event registration page.
-- Liz F. Kay