At the ‘Gate … And They’re Off!

Olivia Cranin

Colgate seniors headed back to school early this semester, looking ahead to life after graduation.

“Real World” is a two-day event offering students opportunities to learn about career paths and connect with alumni. It consists of informational panels, networking receptions and mock interview sessions.

For students pursuing their dream careers, feeling lost and dreading the fast approaching real world, “Real World” had something substantial to offer.

Friday’s “Issues Panels” covered general topics on life after Colgate. These included “Taking the Road Less Traveled” and “Living and Working Abroad,” the latter of which included alumni panelists who had lived in various countries: South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia working in a wide range of capacities.

Saturday’s “Career Field Panels” addressed specific areas of work, ranging from retail and fashion to nonprofit to law.

The Senior Class Council as well as the Office for Alumni Affairs and the Center for Career Services worked to organize this event by contacting alumni and inviting them to participate and design panels based on student interest surveys.

The excitement from both alumni and current seniors was evident from the number of people involved. Over one hundred alumni and four hundred students participated.

“I think it says a lot about Colgate’s spirit that so many alumni came back,” senior Natasha McGregor said.

The events of the weekend began with a welcome luncheon at the Edge Caf?e with speeches from President Rebecca Chopp and keynote speaker Chase Carey ’76. Carey is the current President and Chief Executive Officer of DirecTV, Inc.

“Carey candidly shared his post-collegiate experience. [He] is an active member of the Colgate alumni community, and we were lucky to hear him speak,” senior Alexis Hernandez said.

Other distinguished guests included WNBC reporter Jonathan Dienst, Vice President of Aon Consulting, Inc. Cyndi Dietzel and Biff Jones, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery of Cornell University Medical Center.

Several recent graduates attended as well. These participants included Chase Bodine ’03, senior publicist at HarperCollins Publishers, Katie Finnegan ’05, an assistant merchant at JCrew, and Dane Fraser ’01, AVP Investments at Citigroup Fund of Hedge Funds.

The wide range of careers represented by graduates from the last sixty years illustrates that Colgate students can and do succeed in all arenas of the real world.

Many students took advantage of “Real World” not only to learn about various career choices, but also to make contacts with alumni.

In question and answer sessions at the end of the panels and in networking receptions, students were able to have informal conversations with alumni about their career goals.

“I think the networking receptions were especially beneficial,” Senior Class Councilwoman Allie Grimes said. “They provided a great opportunity for students to talk to alumni in the career fields which they were interested in.”

Certainly, in years past, Colgate seniors have taken advantage of the opportunity to forge relations with alumni. Paige Kendig ’04 was committed to working in broadcast media. Three years ago, when she was attending “Real World,” she met Jeff Fager, Executive Producer of 60 Minutes on CBS.

“To me, he was a rock star,” Kendig said.

She later met with Fager in New York and began working at CBS after graduation. She is now working as a producer on the Early Show.

Paige shared this story at the Publishing and Broadcast Media Career Field Panel last Saturday.

“Real World” opens doors for students who have the drive to use the powerful Colgate connections available to them.

“One factor that I felt was evident this weekend was the Colgate alumni and student connection. Students asked many questions that they had and alumni gladly responded. In this way, ‘Real World’ was a success,” McGregor said.