Franklin & Marshall College students searching for career advice recently received a helping hand from members of their extended family—the F&M family.
F&M’s Office of Career Services organized several events during the spring semester to help students make informed decisions about their futures by connecting them with F&M alumni. The office led Career Exploration Treks for students to meet alumni in New York City and Washington, D.C., and also organized two workshops titled “Financing Your Future” that brought alumni back to campus to meet with current students.
Twenty-three students traveled to Capitol Hill on April 13 to learn about government and nonprofit careers from 20 F&M alumni. The trip included a tour of the U.S. Capitol and an alumni-networking luncheon, during which the students received career advice from alumni working in government, law and nonprofit organizations.
Tanya Krieger ’13, a government major at F&M, enjoyed meeting alumni on the trip to Washington. Krieger learned a variety of helpful tips on the trip, ranging from the importance of writing thank-you notes after an interview to the value of personal connections.
“There was a shared sentiment throughout the group that F&M alumni of all ages have a long-lasting care about each other’s future,” Krieger said. “It really fits into the larger mentality of the F&M family. [The alumni] showed us that no matter how busy their schedules were, they always made time to meet with fellow ‘F&Mers’…Having this type of support from people who are experienced and knowledgeable is extremely important.”
Alana Warnke ’14 agreed, saying the trip allowed students to learn techniques and strategies that worked for alumni in their own career searches. “It was interesting to learn that alumni, almost unanimously, stated networking as the single most important skill when attempting to gain an internship or job,” said Warnke, a government major.
In a similar Career Exploration Trek on March 23, 18 F&M students traveled to New York City to learn from F&M alumni about careers in publishing and writing. The students visited Skyhorse Publishing in midtown Manhattan; attended a luncheon with eight F&M alumni who have established careers in writing, publishing and the arts; and visited with alumni at Edelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm. F&M’s Philadelphia Alumni Writers House sponsored the luncheon, which was held at P.J. Clarke’s Sidecar in Manhattan.
“Because the career treks are generally small, students have a great opportunity to ask specific questions of alumni who are generous with their time and advice,” said Stephanie Kessler, career specialist at F&M. “So many jobs today are obtained as a result of networking and relationships. Alumni know this and want to see students succeed so they can also pay it forward to future F&M students.”
Several events on the F&M campus also brought together students and alumni during the spring semester. For the fourth consecutive year, Career Services offered Financing Your Future, a series of workshops designed to provide a basic financial education to students. Mike Ruhl ’89, director of human resources for Spalding Automotive, and Jim Lemonick ’80, vice president at Morgan Stanley, led workshops on Feb. 9 and April 12, respectively, in the catering suite of F&M’s Benjamin Franklin Dining Hall.
“Financing Your Future allows students to learn about real-life financial situations that they will face during their senior year and beyond,” Kessler said. “How do you determine if one job compensation package is better than another? How and what can you negotiate in a job offer? There are so many questions, and our alumni are fantastic in addressing them in an educational and non-intimidating manner.”
Students interesting in learning more about programs offered by Career Services should visit the Career Services website. To view more photos from the Career Explorations Treks and Financing Your Future workshops, visit the Career Services Facebook page.