More than 120 juniors and seniors from SUNY Oswego received advice from alumni representing a variety of careers at the annual New York City Career Connections event on Jan. 7.
Afternoon events included visits to some of the workplaces of alumni, after which students traveled to the Fashion Institute of Technology for a keynote speaker and the opportunity to network with 25 alumni who have pursued careers in the metropolitan New York region.
“This event is a ‘must’ for students who want to relocate to or work in New York City after graduation,” said Shaunna Arnold-Plank M’04, associate director of alumni and parent relations. “Our alumni who have done exactly that can be a great resource on everything from job searching, to transitioning to life in the city.”
At the evening portion of the event, keynote speaker Mark Lobel ’85 encouraged students to make impactful choices as they begin their careers.
Lobel, principal partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, is responsible for providing consulting services to major entertainment media companies on cyber security issues. He provided attendees with an overview of consulting opportunities, and how he shaped his own career at PwC following eight years in radio.
“I encourage you to assess and access your own strengths, and leverage them for success,” he said.
An Afternoon at Google
Google Accounts Strategist Cydni Williams ’13 greeted students in one of the company’s lobbies, and whisked them through hallways (each area of the building that takes up an entire Manhattan city block has a seasonal theme) to a conference room for an overview of the Google company, and what it’s like to work for it.
The Manhattan office is Google’s second largest location with approximately 5,000 employees—about half the size of the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif. The majority of employees in New York work in sales and engineering and on a variety of creative teams.
Throughout Williams’ tour of the building, employees could be found tucked away in tiny pillowed nooks and on sofas overlooking the Manhattan skyline, with laptops propped on their laps. Google has game rooms, quirky decor, and cheerful lounges and food courts—all part of its goal to provide a flexible workspace to ignite creativity and productivity.
Williams held two summer internships with Google that led to her job, which entails working with clients to optimize ad space and use of media, she told attendees.
An Afternoon at Good Morning America/ABC Studios
As they filed down a narrow hallway inside ABC Studios in Manhattan, students attending the afternoon session at ABC Studios were encouraged to speak quietly. On the other side of a hall-length plate glass window, they had a bird’s eye view into a massive studio, where World News Tonight With David Muir was being recorded.
This was one of many stops along a tour conducted by Cameron Jones ’09, who is the operations coordinator for Good Morning America. Jones, who is responsible for a variety of tasks related to production, operations and logistics, showed students the site’s studios and shared his experiences and advice for success.
“Be resourceful,” Jones told the more than 30 students who attended the event. “Be scrappy and run with a ‘yes’ before you hear a ‘no.’ Show you have pride in your work.”
Jones invited recent SUNY Oswego graduate Matthew Stone ’15 to speak with attendees. Stone was hired by ABC News after Jones received a resume for an internship about three years ago and immediately noticed it came from a student at SUNY Oswego. It was a foot in the door that Stone followed up with a lot of hustle and a willingness to work on holidays, nights and vacations.
“My advice is that when you do an internship, take what you’ve learned there back to the classroom,” Stone told students.
In fact, the value of internships is huge, Jones said. He encouraged students to pursue as many internships as possible, and introduced them to Disney program internship recruiters during their visit.
Additional participant sites for afternoon sessions were FCB Health with Lisa DuJat ’92, executive vice president/chief talent officer; Mitsubishi UFJ Securities with Keith McDermott ’81, chief financial officer; and News America with Ryan DeVoe ’93, senior vice president/regional manager of sales.
Alumni participants in the evening sessions represented Major League Baseball, Discovery Communications, Bloomberg LP, New York City Department of Education, Kellen Communications, U.S. Bank, MSNBC, Home Box Office, Tough Mudder Inc. and World Wrestling Entertainment, to name only a few.
Juniors and seniors are encouraged to sign up in fall 2016 to attend the January 2017 event. Details at http://alumni.oswego.edu/nyccareers.