Budding Business Connections

By Alex Kabat '24, July 13, 2022

Business school students take part in Meet the Firms trip to New York City.

During the spring semester, 15 students in Ithaca College’s School of Business had a chance to connect with alumni and learn more about their careers during the “Meet the Firms” trip to New York City.

Students were given the opportunity to meet with alumni and discuss the work they do for their companies, which included the Maven Clinic, the Times Square Alliance, Bloomberg L.P., and Consolidated Flooring.

“This trip is a great way for students to see companies up close and personal, and a way for alumni to get involved with students,” said instructor of management Ed Catto, who, along with assistant professor of finance Xinxin Li and assistant professor of finance and international business Chee Ng, supervised the trip, which was being held for the first time since 2019.

Business administration major Denielle Newman ’22 was excited to have the opportunity to learn about the different career paths firsthand.

“Being a senior, I really wanted to take the opportunity,” she said. “The companies were very interesting to me.”

Students also visited the Times Square Alliance, which is responsible for behind the scenes work in Times Square, ensuring the environment is clean. The company also makes exhibits and monitors the real estate around the area.

Newman appreciated the chance to learn more about these different types of opportunities.

“I never really thought about what you see in Times Square,” she said. “Even with an event like the New Year’s Eve ball drop, there’s so much work behind the scenes.”

That was where the group connected with Taylor Varga ’17 senior manager of production and operations, who relished connecting with the students and potentially opening doors for them.

“A lot of times, when you’re looking for jobs, it's not necessarily the resume or experience you have, but it’s the people that you know,” he said. “To be able to connect face to face, have conversations, and establish relationships is critical.

“It’s equally as important for students to figure out what they don’t want to do,” he said. “They could come to Times Square Alliance and realize they never want to work there. At least they figure that out now rather than later.”

Another stop was Consolidated Flooring, where the students met with CEO David Meberg ’85, parent ’23, who is also a Board of Trustees member. He spoke about the impact that family businesses have on our economy, as well as his time at Ithaca College and how beneficial it was to his career.

David Meberg standing with a student

Consolidated Flooring CEO and Board of Trustees member David Meberg ’85, parent ’23 shared how his time at Ithaca College was beneficial to his career. (Photo submitted)

That alumni connection is a critical part of the trip, Catto said.

“All of the alumni who spoke and organized these events were very pro-IC, and they connected with students,” he said. “They have busy schedules and problems to solve. You think that they wouldn’t have time to spend with students, but they made available their contact information and time to follow up afterwards. It was all very sincere—they wanted to help students and give back to the IC community at large. It was an amazing thing to see and be a part of.”

Overall, the trip was a hit with both students and alumni.

“Beyond the experience of going to these firms and meeting influential people, the experience being in New York City in a business environment was inspiring to me,” said Newman. “It solidified my passion for being in the business realm, and to be around other students who shared that passion with me was not an experience you normally get in a classroom setting.”

“Taking part in this makes me feel like I am connected to IC,” Varga said. “Just doing this one hour out of my entire year brings back memories of when I was a student.”

Taylor Varga ’17

“Taking part in this makes me feel like I am connected to IC,” Varga said. “Just doing this one hour out of my entire year brings back memories of when I was a student. They're getting something out of it by coming here, but I also get something out of it. I get to live vicariously through them and remember what it was like to be them.” 

And experiences like that ensure that the trip will continue to be fruitful, Catto believes.

“The students were so professional and asked great questions,” he said. “They knew they were representing our school and took it seriously. And those who attended this time will become the ambassadors for the future and become advocates for the program.”