Students meet alumni at Career Connections Reception event

By: Anna Delwiche,  A&S Career Development Center
October 12, 2016

The Career Connections Committee in the College of Arts & Sciences and the A&S Career Development Center held its annual Career Connections Reception on September 7.

The event gave students the opportunity to speak to employers and alumni in a networking setting, as the Career Fair was coming to an end.

The ability to speak to employers gave Denny Lee ’20 “an idea of what field I want to work on in my future.” In his own internship search, he noted that “you just see majors and not what people are actually doing in their jobs.”

“Talking about jobs specifically makes you realize it’s more about skills than exactly what your major is. No major is a job,” Lee said.

Employers at the event represented various career fields, including finance, education, media, and government. All employers, however, stressed the value their industry places on a strong liberal arts education.

Sarah Sterling, American Eagle Outfitters, described her company’s emphasis on hiring those with a liberal arts background, elaborating that students, particularly those majoring in STEM fields, “are able to analyze and strategically thinking about the data in front of [them].”

In addition to analytical aspect of a liberal arts education, Sterling highlighted the secondary component to this education, which she explained as “the ability to communicate and to be able to present and sell and influence.” The diversity of courses taken as a student in Arts & Sciences grants students the ability “to be able to look at things outside the box,” she said.

Andrea Remec, Tortoise Investment Management LLC, reinforced these sentiments, saying that her company believes “a liberal arts education really causes you to have to think and we found that liberal arts students are really hard-working and are really willing to learn.”

“We do value a liberal arts education and we think there’s a reason why we want to recruit liberal arts students,” Remec said. “We think that we can teach them all the skills they need to know to be successful for a career in wealth management.”

Many employers at the event were recent alumni, some even remembering attending the event when they were undergraduates, including Stephanie Van Overberghe ’15, a biological sciences analyst at Cornell.

Overberghe chose to attend the event as an employer representing Cornell because “if there was that one student who was interested, I should be here.”

Remembering her experiences as an undergraduate and as a student attendee of the event, Overberghe recalled “I did learn a lot the night I came here my senior year and had the opportunity to network with a lot of very different people because I had no idea what I wanted to do.”

“This was kind of my way of giving back and the opportunity to get to meet new people,” Overberghe said.

Students and employers enjoyed the conversational environment established at the event, an environment more relaxed than the professional Career Fair in the week prior.

“It’s a good in-between of a real happy hour networking event and the formalness of the Career Fair,” said Erik Rasmussen, Cornerstone Research. “The Career Fair is higher pressure with everyone trying to get their questions in. This is definitely more relaxed.”

Victoria Schneller ’20, agreed that the settling “makes everyone more approachable. You can just talk to [employers] more one-on-one, person to person, not employer to employee.”

“It’s really great that Arts & Sciences is helping put on this event,” said Adam ElShaer ’18. “I think that a lot of schools have school-specific events, so I think it’s great to see Arts & Sciences-specific events--our outreach to our students.”

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