Networking events help students explore career pathways

Students and alumni from the College of Arts & Sciences gathered in late June for a series of networking events, helping students explore careers in health care, finance, law, politics/government and media.

The Arts & Sciences Career Connections Committee (ASCCC) hosts events during summer and winter breaks. The summer events are in-person networking events and traditionally take place in New York City and Washington, D.C.  The winter events are virtual career panels. The ASCCC committee is made up of A&S alumni and parents with careers in the fields above who have a desire to help students plan their futures.

two people talking
Jesse Winter Mark Gambeski '24, right, meet a young alumna at the New York City event.

“Talking with alumni, seeing how many liberal arts majors are in finance, it’s encouraging and makes you realize that this field could be for anyone,” said Mark Gambeski ’24, who’s graduating in December. “They reiterated the importance of learning the critical liberal arts skills — critical reading, clear writing and the ability to do research.”

Jen Maclaughlin, director of A&S Career Development, said the events give students a chance to find out from alumni what it’s really like to work in a given field and how to apply their skills learned in the classroom to the workplace. 

"The alumni talked about how the A&S curriculum teaches you how to learn,” Gambeski said. “For them, it was more important as they started their careers to know how to learn rather than to know where things go on a spreadsheet.”

The finance event in New York City June 26 included time for informal networking, as well as structured 1:1 networking chats between students and alumni.

Amy Mulderry '96, chief development officer at Elevance Health and CFO of Carelon, has been a member of the alumni committee organizing the events since 2016.

"I was excited to join ASCCC to connect directly with Cornell undergraduate students and to meet or reconnect with fellow alumni," she said. "The ASCCC Finance Team is a particular passion of mine as I believe the critical thinking skills students develop in Arts & Sciences are underappreciated assets in developing a career in finance."

Students receive a list of expected alumni attendees beforehand, and many students, like Gambeski, do some LinkedIn research to know who they’ll be meeting.

“It’s all about building relationships,” said Gambeski, who is majoring in information science and the history of art and visual studies. “The alumni are really excited to talk to students, especially younger students who aren’t necessarily there just asking them for a job.”

Since he’s a senior and has been to several of these events before, Gambeski said one of his missions at the events is to help other students there.

“I like to be a resource for other students,” he said. “I also try to meet young alumni who have just graduated. They know the logistics of how you get that first interview and know where the open seats are on their teams.”

Laurie Johnston, director of A&S Alumni Engagement, said the college is fortunate to have so many dedicated alumni.

"We are incredibly thankful for our team members that give so generously of their time," she said. "They are not only helping our students get a deeper understanding of the varied career paths after graduation, they are also helping them get a leg up on building their own network with Cornell alumni.”

Mulderry said she wishes a simliar event had been available when she was an undergrad.

"The alumni team members are engaged and excited to connect with undergraduates at the event and in follow up conversations," she said.

For more information on the Arts & Sciences Career Connections Committee, visit the A&S Career Development website.

three women talking
Jesse Winter Alumni shared career advice with students at a June 26 networking event.

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three people talking
Jesse Winter Students and alumni met for a summer networking event June 26 in New York City.