Connections

Linking Students and Alumni, Face to FaceLinking Students and Alumni, Face to Face
Business Link, a student-led organization, uses social networks and media to provide students with skills and connections.

A day in Manhattan last summer taught job-hunting Ithaca College School of Business senior Jeffrey Bush what he needed to know about networking.

Bush, who attended the first Business Link IC Face to Face event, wants a job in investment banking. He says he learned about professionalism, the ability to start and carry on a conversation with a new contact, and self-confidence at the alumni event. He put those lessons to use, contacted an Ithaca alumnus, and got his resume passed along to a friend of that new contact. The result is an upcoming interview.

“No matter the outcome, this path has ingrained in me the importance of networking and persistence,” said Bush.

To forge closer relationships between current students and alumni, the School of Business recently instituted Business Link, a student-led organization that uses social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to provide students with the skills and connections necessary to secure internships and jobs. The first Business Link event drew 12 alumni and 15 students to the Dow Jones building in Manhattan August 4, 2009, for an alumni panel discussion and networking with representatives of companies such as Dow Jones, Citigroup, Ogilvy Action, and Merrill Lynch.

Host Bill Durant ’86, who manages financial services corporate accounts for Dow Jones, knows from his own experience how valuable networking is. After being laid off, he networked with the vice president of his former group. “I found out that he obtained a position with another company, and he assisted me in getting an interview and an eventual offer,” said Durant.

Today, when an IC student reaches out to him, he says he’s looking for these qualities:

“- They did their research and know what my company does and what our challenges are.

- They know what open positions are available in their interest.

- They show who they really are, as opposed to being who I think they should be, when we meet.

- They ask smart questions about what I do and why I decided to do it.

- They follow my advice and regularly follow up to let me know how their search is going and if I have any updates on opportunities or people I can refer them to.”

Jeff Bush used LinkedIn to compile a short list of IC alumni at the largest and most profitable investment banks; then he contacted James Short ’02 at Deutsche Bank Securities in Houston.

“He accepted my request to speak over the phone,” said Bush, “and although he could not offer me a job, he was impressed by my initiative and professionalism. I was able impress him with the ‘wow’ factor that was discussed by the Business Link panel. Thus, he passed my resume on to friends.”

Within a few weeks, a friend of Short was in touch with Bush, leading to his pending interview.

Senior Allison Walker used the Business Link networking tips to find panel members for a New York City Women in Business Networking event that was held January 6 at the Jumierah Essex House in Manhattan. About 350 students, alumni, and professionals attended.

Walker lined up as panelists Heidi Manheimer ’85, chief executive officer for Shiseido Cosmetics America; Tuti B. Scott ’84, president and founder of Imagine Philanthropy, international consultants; Amy Willstatter ’80, president and founder of Bridge to Hollywood & Broadway, which matches national brands with the entertainment industry; and Carol McCann ’80, director/co-owner of Grandview Island Productions, which produces corporate and commercial programs.

“I was extremely pleased with the turnout,” said Walker. “The panel was very charismatic and provided a lot of valuable and insightful advice and information.”

Business Link will continue to sponsor events that connect alumni with today’s students so they can market their strengths. Bill Durant is enthusiastic about what he sees:

“The Ithaca experience has taught them how to apply what they learn to their work experience. They are intelligent, have great communication skills, have high initiative, exude confidence, and have great energy, spirit, and enthusiasm.”

 


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