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Sundays with Alumni

Madeleine Baldwin ’10, Samuel Hopkins ’98 and Dana Cialfi ’02. 
March 14, 2012

When it comes to today’s competitive job market, it is important to do everything you can to ensure that you stand out from the crowd.

And part of that is being passionate about what you do.

That is the advice students received from Samuel Hopkins ’98, Dana Cialfi ’02 and Madeleine Baldwin ’10 during a “Sundays with Alumni” event March 4. The series, sponsored by the Office of College Advancement, brings alumni in related fields to campus to share their experiences and career paths with current students.

In “Beyond the Playing Field: Careers in Sports,” Sam, Dana and Madeleine chatted with more than 30 students about how they launched successful careers on the business and marketing side of athletics.

“Network,” Madeleine, an economics and theater double major, advised. A marketing specialist for team marketing and business operations for the National Basketball Association, Madeleine credits Connecticut College with helping her develop her networking skills. She advised students to practice networking on campus and to start building connections as early as possible with alumni whose expertise you can draw upon for career guidance.

In particular, she encouraged students to use the resources available to them.

“Reach out to the alumni community,” she said. “Learning about other people’s journeys can help you on your own.”

Sam Hopkins, the associate athletic director for external relations at Dartmouth College, agrees. “Communication is key in this business,” he said. And communication must extend beyond  social media, he added.

“Often, it comes down to meeting people. Social media does not replace personal connections.”

A sociology-based human relations major, Sam encouraged students not to stress about what lies ahead. “I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I graduated,” he said. “Having the degree is the first step, but it doesn’t mean that you immediately know what to do and that’s OK.”

Dana Cialfi, a government major, credits her position as the tournament manager and marketing director for the New Haven Open at Yale (formerly the Pilot Pen) to the many career-enhancing opportunities provided by the College.

“Building relationships is so important. You never know where those are going to take you,” she said.

And, while she urged students to look at every chance meeting as an opportunity to expand their networks, she also encouraged students to be proactive.

“Use the resources around you, particularly internships, to explore fields that may be of interest,” she advised.

Throughout the afternoon, the three alumni continued to emphasize the importance of loving the work that you do.

“Make it known that this is your passion,” Madeleine recommended. “That alone will set you apart.”

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