Yup, another blog post about networking. But we keep writing about it because it works! There’s a reason the Career Development Center, our professors and our peers keep telling us to build connections: it will pay off when we’re ready to enter the job market for real. As I enter my final semester of graduate school and my last semester of school ever, I’d be lying if I said the pressure to find a job I love wasn’t weighing on my mind.
While my winter break consisted mostly of Netflix marathons (A Series of Unfortunate Events, anyone?), ill-timed afternoon naps and gorging on my mom’s cooking, I was able to take advantage of two incredible networking opportunities. One was through the Career Development Center and another one I essentially stumbled upon. I live only an hour away from Manhattan, so I practiced the commuter life, tested my knowledge of the subway maps and headed down for a few days.
My first networking day was spent at Wieden + Kennedy New York, the sister office of the Portland, Oregon ad agency perhaps best known for iconic Nike campaigns. I ended up here thanks to a girl I know from my undergraduate career Binghamton University; while I intended to just pick her brain about her career and ask for advice, she invited me to spend an afternoon in her office. This was so much more than I expected but I was so excited! I was most surprised by the open office format; No cubicles or closed off conference rooms, and a laid-back vibe that can only be summarized by the combination auditorium and basketball court. I could absolutely see myself working here, which gave me flashbacks to being a high schooler on a college tour. The best part about this unorthodox field trip? No sugar coating. I got the good, the bad, and the (very little) ugly about working here from my friend, which is more than you might get from human resources or a GlassDoor-esque website.
Later that week, I battled the untimeliness of the 6 train to spend a day at the headquarters of FanDuel — the online fantasy sports website — thanks to the Newhouse Career Development Center’s winter break alumni job shadowing program. I would ultimately like to see myself working for a professional sports team or league, so getting my foot in the door here was a big deal. Like me, our alumni host was an advertising major, held various internships before graduation, and was a huge proponent of networking. We got to meet people from various departments within the office, and I’m most excited about one staff member who hosts monthly meetups for professionals in the sports industry. Although I’m not sure I want to venture into the technology or startup world after graduation, there is something to be said for having that experience in your arsenal. After all, you never know where that stepping stone may lead.
-Laurie Silverstein is a graduate student studying advertising