Business professionals networked with and offered advice to current students at the Second Annual Business Networking Event last Saturday in Levering Hall. The event was co-hosted by the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi) and the student entrepreneur group StartUp Hopkins.
Of the 14 professionals who attended the event, which was co-sponsored by Students Consulting for Non-Profit Organizations (SCNO) and the campus chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), nine were Hopkins alumni, including five members of the Class of 2013. Four others had earned masters degrees here.
The visiting professionals, who represented nine different companies in the fields of consulting, law, finance, marketing and entrepreneurship, gave students tips for landing jobs and internships.
“I personally just like to see how interactive all the alums and execs are with the students,” Liz Bagdorf, vice president of programming for the AMA, said.
Many students who attended the event shared this sentiment, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to network with representatives from major companies without leaving campus.
“I’m deciding between going to grad school or the [workforce], so it was great talking to representatives from the companies I’m interested in working with,” senior Yunuscan Sevimli said.
Students also appreciated hearing from recent graduates.
“It was really exciting to see how they went from being here at Hopkins to living the dream and getting a job after college,” sophomore Mellora Ansbro said.
For junior Kaushik Rao, the event was useful in terms of learning about the challenges of getting a job in the market today.
“Hearing from people who actually work in the field and recently got hired helped me figure out what I need to do to really be competitive in the tough atmosphere,” Rao said.
But students were not the only ones who enjoyed the event. Many of the professionals also enjoyed talking with current students.
“I enjoy being able to impart my own wisdom about finding a job and the interview process because it’s very daunting, and I know when I was [an underclassman] I didn’t have much guidance,” Zachary Goldstein, a 2013 graduate of the School of Engineering who now works as an accounting valuation and analytics consultant for Deloitte, said.
Since the majority of the professionals attended Hopkins, they were able to provide insight to current students on how their experience at Homewood prepared them for the workforce. Many noted that the work ethic they picked up as undergraduate students eased their transition into their careers.
“Students at Hopkins have a really good ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality,” Laurin Wolf, a 2012 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences who now works as a communications coordinator for Under Armour, said. “I think I have been able to transfer that mentality into having a work-life balance into my post-grad life. I do work really hard, but I enjoy my job and I am willing to give it one hundred percent.”
Furthermore, for some of the professionals, the event was a way for them to give back to the Hopkins community.
“I want to get anyone that wants a job a job or an internship just to help people out, because I was helped out along the way,” 2013 graduate of the School of Engineering David Carasiti, who was the AMA’s vice president of programming, said.
Carasiti is now an associate account executive for IMRE.
Many of the visiting professionals were active in business-oriented student groups during their time at Hopkins, including Julie Ufford, a 2013 graduate of the School of Engineering who founded the campus chapter of SCNO.
“It’s fun because I’m seeing a lot of people that I knew [as a student],” Ufford, a functional analyst at Accenture, said. “It helps remind me that I have this huge network that I can work with for the rest of my life.”
Leslie Kendrick, a senior lecturer in the Center for Leadership Education (CLE) and the advisor for AKPsi and the AMA, said that she was excited to see two of her former students — Wolf and Carasiti — return for the event.
“Watching students that I’ve mentored landing the internships and the jobs and then coming back to pay it forward is rewarding and very special,” Kendrick said.
“I talked to a lot of people about consulting [and] marketing, and those are industries that I’m possibly interested about going into,” sophomore Sage Reisner said.
StartUp Hopkins President Chris Alvarez, who also helped plan the event last year, said that the goal of the event was to expose students to a variety of professions.
“We wanted to make sure that we had a mixture of people in different industries,” Alvarez said. “This allows students to learn more about career options so when they’re seniors and they’re trying to figure out what to do, they’re not lost.”
The event organizers also wanted to show students that they could pursue careers in business without holding a pre-professional degree. While Hopkins does not offer an undergraduate business major, the CLE offers a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management as well as courses on a variety of business-related topics, including marketing and accounting.
“Hopkins is very focused on education [and] very focused on classes, which is good, but there isn’t enough emphasis on career development overall,” Alvarez said. “The [Entrepreneurship and Management] minor is sufficient, but I think extracurricular activities like this could improve overall to give people more exposure to the business world.”
For attendees, the focus on business meant a lot.
“Hopkins is mostly known for medicine and engineering, so seeing [alumni] succeed on the business side makes me very happy,” freshman Seal-Bin Han said.
Although the event was open to all students, most of the students who attended were affiliated with the groups that planned the event.
“We want everybody who has a business interest who wants to network and get out of the Hopkins bubble [to attend],” Jenna Pak, the vice president of programming for AKPsi, said.