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Meeting Alumni Through the Colgate Professional Networks

By Jillian Arnault on July 23, 2015

Colgate University’s Center for Career Services has an incredible ability to fill a room with some of the most brilliant Colgate minds in today’s world. Because of this, events like the discussion on Digital Media and Technology hosted in San Francisco are great opportunities for students, parents, and alumni.

Before the panel discussion, I found myself in a conversation with Colgate alumni working at Yahoo, Twitter, Airbnb, and GoPro. These alumni made it a point to give me their business cards and told me to reach out if they could do anything to advance my career. I had at least three more experiences like this throughout the night, proving that the opportunity to network at these events is second-to-none.

When the panel discussion actually began, you could have heard a pin drop. The collective experience and expertise sitting on the five chairs at the front of the room had everyone in the audience at the edge of their seats. The panel discussed the idea that our technology and ways of doing things on a day to day basis are changing so fast, there really is no way of projecting what tomorrow will bring. People used to get their information from newspapers and televisions, whereas now we have every piece of information we could ever need at the tips of our fingers (or in our pockets). Disruption seems to be the name of the game… Much to this point, Jason Rand ’07 gave a brief overview of the event and quoted Tom Goodwin of Havas Media, “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.” I walked out of this event with a pocket full of business cards, a stomach full of some of the best food I’d eaten in a while, and a mind filled with more insight into the world of technology than I ever would have expected.

Complementing my experience at the panel discussion, I was also privileged to have attended a luncheon at Airbnb earlier in the afternoon, hosted by Chris Nulty ’09. This event was much more low-key and personal, yet just as memorable. About fifteen Colgate alumni and students crowded around a single table, sharing experiences and giving advice. People asked questions about how to make one’s way into a position similar to what someone else at the table already held, how to get the most out of entry-level jobs and internships, and how to maximize a Colgate education.

When all eyes and ears at the table fell on me, I defaulted to my experiences in the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurial Institute (TIA) from the previous school year. Every time I get the opportunity to rave about TIA, I take full advantage of it. Mentors from all over the country travel to Colgate once a month to meet with student entrepreneurs to help in any way they can. The mentorship I received as a result of TIA and Yuni Sameshima ’13 is the reason my venture has come this far.

I was fortunate enough to have been selected as one of the featured student entrepreneurs that ultimately presented to a “shark tank” at the end of the celebrity panel discussion. This year’s panel featured Jessica Alba, Founder and CEO of The Honest Co., MC Hammer, Entrepreneur and Musical Artist, Greg Coleman, President of Buzzfeed, Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Warby Parker, and Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg and former COO of Yahoo. Presenting PetFed to this All-Star panel was definitely one of the most memorable experiences of my life to date, not to mention my venture received a generous amount of funding from the sharks.

I cannot wait to see what is next for the Colgate Professional Networks and Thought into Action. I strongly suggest that anyone who has the opportunity to attend a Colgate Professional Network event in the future takes full advantage of it.

Blog written by Daniel Mosko ’17.


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