Friday, May 25, 2018

Business and art trek allowed students to explore career options

KRISTINA XIE ’16

ARTS EDITOR

During Trinity Days, the Career and Service Development Center organized a trip to New York City for two groups of students interested in the business and art world. During this overnight trip, students got the opportunity to understand the culture of the different workplaces and network with alumni. Severn Sandt, the Assistant Director of the Career Service Development Center, developed the program working closely with the Alumni Affairs Office. Through this network, she contacted alumni and parents of current students, all who expressed a willingness to share their career stories and daily responsibilities. “No one said no to helping a fellow Bantam!” she stated. This was great news for students who had a jammed packed day visiting businesses and art institutions in the city.

Students on the business trek arrived in Blackrock’s corporate office and were greeted by Matt Mara ’95. He advised students that the first couple of years in finance was hard and meant dedicating long hours to the job. Bill Ryckman ’91 painted a tougher picture of what it takes to become an investment banker. Students also got the chance to sit in on a morning teleconference with staff at offices in San Francisco, London, and New York. The next stop was a visit from J.P. Morgan’s Private Banking team, which consisted of Miguel Hennessey P’15, David Rooney ’03, and Nicole Lustig ’12. They stressed the importance of contacting Trinity alumni working in fields of interest. Alumni “have a soft spot for fellow Bants” stated Lustig.

Students were excited to meet Josh Gruss ’96, founder and CEO of Round Hill Music and a Trustee of the College. After leaving his job at a hedge fund, he pioneered a business combining his passion in music and finance background. This became the birth of Round Hill Music, a music publishing and licensing company, who owns the rights to contemporary songs like “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors and classic Beatles songs.  The last stop was a meeting with John Simons ’83 of Corporate Fuel Partners, a business-consulting firm. Students were in for a treat as Simons generously ordered must-have cookies and coffee from a legendary city bakery. Simons, who has an undergraduate degree in philosophy, spoke passionately about his love for learning about new industries and finding the best solutions for companies.  

“Each firm gave extremely useful information necessary to achieve career goals,” exclaimed Brian Nixon Jr. ’15. They all encouraged students to utilize the Trinity alumni network to search for internships and jobs. Current students should make appointments with the Career and Service Development Center to update resumes and connect with alumni in fields of interests. Along with connections, alumni also stated the importance of having passion as the driving force behind your career.

The second group of students explored careers in the art industry. The art trek featured organizations such as La MaMa, an alternative performance space on the Lower East Side, and Christie’s, the renowned art auction house. At La MaMa, students met with Michael Burke ’00, a performance artist and director of the Trinity La MaMa Performing Arts Semester, Peter Sciscioli, a choreographer and arts administrator, and Tamara Greenfield, executive director of Fourth Arts Block, a Lower East Side cultural and community organization. Later in the afternoon, Jennifer Hall ’91, a vice president for client development at Christie’s, discussed how to get your foot in the door of the art world. She advised students to take any jobs available, and then begin building a strong network. Recent graduates must show their bosses their strong work ethnic and willingness to learn about the art industry.

Michael Countryman ‘80, a working actor who is currently starring in an off-Broadway play, also made an insightful comment. He noted that careers in the arts were dependent on the level of passion and your artistic creativity and motivation to consistently refine your talent. Along with passion, Peter Hay Halpert ’80, a private art dealer specializing in contemporary photography, noted the importance of solidifying meaningful relationships while other speakers explained how personal connections opened the doors to new job opportunities in their field.

Both the art and business trek provided students with vital knowledge about their desired profession. Student were able to witness first-handedly what their future career may look like and what kinds of steps they can take now to ensure that they have the job of their dreams after graduation. The Career and Service Development Center organizes exploratory career trips at least two to three times a semester. They plan on expanding the kinds of treks offered to include journalism, entertainment and the medical field. Through the Trinity Days Externships Program, students shadow Trinity alumni and parents at their jobs. This gives students another opportunity to experience a “day in the life” in a diverse array of occupations. These numerous opportunities ensure that students are getting an early start to career planning and life after Trinity.

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