Connecticut College News
Seminar on Success connects students to a global alumni network02/9/2011
Juniors and seniors have a unique resource when it comes to planning their professional lives after college: a network of Camel alumni connections.
The fifth annual Seminar on Success, on campus on Saturday, Jan. 29, helped them capitalize on that network.
The College's career office also helps students connect with alumni, and dozens of events through the year provide opportunities for students to network with graduates who have similar professional interests.
"Our alumni have a wealth of experience and they have great advice about career options," said Beth Poole '00, associate director of Alumni Relations. "They're more than willing to share that advice - and their stories about how a liberal arts degree provided the skills they needed to succeed."
President Lee Higdon opened the at-capacity Seminar on Success by describing how his own liberal arts education and post-college endeavors and experiences shaped him. He encouraged students to be open to opportunities because things can come together in unexpected ways.
Greg Fleischmann '90, of Deloitte's Health Sciences and Government Industry Practice, and James Gellert '90, chair and CEO of Rapid Ratings International, spoke about how their Connecticut College education influenced their career paths. Amelia Gary Simpson '95, who has 15 years of experience in financial services and executive search, and Emily Goldberg James '05, a human resources professional with Bain Capital in Boston, offered advice on interview do's and don'ts.
Fleischmann said his love for Japanese, which he learned at Connecticut College, helped focus his career decisions.
“It is important to find direction in your career, follow the things you love. Move along this path with intent and with purpose because you love it,” he said. Fleischmann followed his interest in Japanese culture with jobs that used his knowledge of the langauge.
Simpson, an economics major, said her semester abroad in Spain gave her invaluable skills relevant to the workplace and life beyond college.
James, who majored in psychology, said her campus activities helped her define the type of work she was interested in. Working in the admission office and Office of College Advancement helped James realize she enjoyed aspects of fundraising, interviewing and human resources.
Gellert, an East Asian studies major, told students that he found many valuable experiences and skills from his liberal arts education at Connecticut College. “When working at my first jobs, I had Conn on my mind a lot,” said Gillert. “I’m extremely thankful and lucky to have had those experiences at Conn. Every experience is a stepping stone and a building block to your story."
Simpson encouraged students to use LinkedIn and other sites to network with others with similar career interests. Many employers used LinkedIn to view and verify an applicant's credentials, she said. Both she and James warned students not to post anything online -- anywhere -- that they wouldn't want an employer to see. Google searches can turn up surprising content, they said.
James urged students to be true to themselves in a job interview. “If your personality is not a fit for the company, you might not want to be there. It is important to make sure the company is the right match for you,” she said.
Afterward, students spoke with the alumni over refreshments in Cro’s Nest. “It’s nice to hear that you can’t plan out your whole life right away,” said Karlee Keyser ’11. Asia Bento ’11 added, “I feel more at ease with the job search and interview process." She said she feels more prepared, knowing it's good to have goals -- but that they don't need to be hard and fast.
View photos from the Seminar on Success and other recent events.
-- Casey Lum '11 contributed to this story.