On Saturday, Feb. 28, the University of Rhode Island College of Business hosted its second annual Spring Career Day, an event that brought current students and recent alumni together to discuss careers, networking and college majors.
The event began at 10 a.m. with opening remarks by Dean Kathryn Jervis, followed by a keynote address from URI graduates and LinkedIn employees Chris Keneally and Melissa Herman.
Keneally works with financial services companies to educate them on how to use LinkedIn for business development. Herman, a relationship manager in the financial services group, focuses on developing relationships for her clients by educating financial sales organizations on how to drive business results.
“Keneally and Herman really set the tone for the day by talking about face-to-face networking and the importance of an online presence,” said Kathleen Jackson, a career advisor for the College of Business.
After the keynote address, students attended two sets of breakout sessions entitled Focus on Majors and Landing the Job by Major. During the first breakout session, alumni shared stories about their own careers and discussed a typical day in their jobs. The second session shifted the focus to how current students can search for a job after graduation.
Students also had the opportunity to talk to alumni in smaller, more informal groups during lunch. Each group discussed a topic such as the benefits of a small company versus a large company, how to leverage an internship into a job, how to stand out in an interview and more.
“The whole day revolved around two ideas: the alumni talking about their job experiences and the students thinking about how they could be inspired in their own career plans,” said Jackson. “The breakout sessions reflected those ideas.”
Jackson also described the main purpose or theme of the day as learning how to build and foster business relationships.
“The whole day is about building relationships. That’s exactly what we’re doing by bringing alumni back to meet our current students,” Jackson said.
Several years ago, when members of the College of Business had the idea to host a spring career day, they wanted to differentiate it from the similar event in the fall. While students of all years attend the fall career day, the majority of students at the spring career day are juniors and seniors, as it is a requirement for the BUS 390 class.
“Although it is mainly juniors in attendance, we want to emphasize that all students are welcome,” Jackson said.
She also explained that one of the key differences between the spring career day and fall career day is the type of alumni that attend the events. While the fall career day features more seasoned alumni who are well established in their careers, the spring career day welcomes alumni who graduated less than 10 years ago.
“The alumni that we invite in the spring really know what it is like to get a job in today’s market,” Jackson said. “Their experiences and stories are just as rich as those of someone who graduated 20 years ago.”