About two dozen Knox College alumni recently returned to campus for a speed networking session designed to help current students build professional networks, explore career fields, and practice making a good impression on potential employers.
“When I was a student, networking was huge for me, and I made good connections that I still have to this day,” said one of the participants, Micaela Rodriguez '15, who works as a tax accountant. “I feel like I want to be there for students to answer questions or just help them out or guide them in any aspect that I can.”
Students said they appreciated the chance to benefit from the insight of alumni.
“Everyone here has had different paths,” said Benjamin Rogina '22. “Some people have gone straight into the workforce and have worked their way up to (become) senior managers. Other people have gone to grad school. Some people have started their own businesses.”
“I realize the value of building your network,” added Debora Ortiz '20. “I think that having connections with alums is a very valuable thing that’s provided by Knox. I wanted to connect with people who come from the same school that I’m going to graduate from and who are willing to help.”
The speed networking event took place on October 31 and was organized by the Office of Alumni Engagement and the Bastian Family Center for Career Success.
In introductory remarks, Scott Crawford, executive director of career development at Knox, encouraged students to make the most of the “low-pressure situation” by developing contacts and collecting information.
“This is the best place to get practice,” added Eric Johnson of the Office of Alumni Engagement. “These are all Knox alums, and they’ve been in your shoes.”
For the first hour, pairs of students moved from one table to another, meeting with individual alumni for about four minutes each. The main idea was to provide students with multiple opportunities to present their elevator pitch—a quick synopsis of their backgrounds, abilities, and aspirations.
For the second hour, students engaged in open networking, when they were encouraged to strike up conversations with any of the alumni.
“I’m always impressed by some of the combinations of (students’) majors,” said Jeffrey Gipson '94, senior manager of emerging products at PULSE. “I’m impressed by how so many students have ideas on what goals they want to shoot for.”