Overlooking New York City’s Times Square from the Condé Nast Building on Oct. 19, 37 students and 19 alumni gathered for the Career Center’s latest “Career Explo” program. On the 39th floor in the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP office, keynote speaker Michael Stone ’72, president and CEO of Beanstalk, addressed the group before the attendees split for the two career topics of the day: one panel focused on film and television, and the other on education.
Stone emphasized the importance of networking in his keynote address. Regardless of the profession, he affirmed that human interaction is still key and may propel any career in the right direction.
Stone’s message foreshadowed the experience of the individuals involved in the education panel. After a panel discussion, the students and alumni put his advice into action as they participated in a “speed networking” exercise. Each student had six minutes to give the alumni an informational interview. Virginia Savage ’14 said she “enjoyed the opportunity to have an individual conversation with each alum,” even though time was limited.
Career Center Associate Director Leslie Bell, who advises students for careers in education, noted that the alumni who participated presented a “rich range of career options in the [education] field.” Students saw the many facets of education employment, from teachers in private, public and charter schools, as well as administrators. The wide span of alumni positions gave students like Bianca Buonaguoro ’14 a new outlook on her possible field. “It was really fascinating to learn about their varying perspectives on education related issues, but also to learn about their shared ideologies ... [it was clear] that the alums who took part in this event are incredibly passionate about what they do.”
While the education students were networking, the other students listened to the experiences of five alumni involved in the media industry: two in film, and three in television. The panel, moderated by John Hadity ’83, discussed their successes and failures in the course of their careers.
Career Center Associate Director Heather Wixson said her goal for the panel was to “connect students to alumni directly in the field.” This goal was met for Danielle Feigin '14, who was able to meet Eileen Starrett ’07 of Lorne Michaels’ company, Broadway Video — a specific area of interest for Feigin as she writes her communications thesis on comedic techniques used in “Saturday Night Live.”
The successes of both panels show the abundant connections fostered by the Career Center through their “Career Explo” programs. Abby Taylor, director of employer relations for the Career Center, explains that the new series is designed for students to “learn about specific industries from Hamilton people working in those fields who care about their future success.” The New York event follows the success of the career center’s previous Career Explo event on finance that took place in September; the next networking event for publishing, writing, and communications in the spring.
Many college graduates-to-be acknowledge their intimidation at entering the workforce, but as Feigin said, “When you have a support system like the career center, it makes the whole process a lot easier.” Her go-to motivation for networking comes from filmmaker Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo: “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.” Or, a Hamilton student may argue, six minutes.