Alumni Advice for Success at "SEAS Your Network"
February 10, 2014
To help you prepare for the upcoming “SEAS” Your Network event we’ve asked Engineering alumni to share their advice on how to navigate and make the most of a networking event. See below for tips that they’ve shared through email and video! CCE will also host a Networking 101 session just prior to the event in Lerner Hall.
1. How should students prepare for a networking event?
- “Students should have a solid 15-30 second 'elevator pitch' to quickly tell me who you are, what you're interested in, and how I can help you. The content doesn't have to be extremely specific (i.e., it's OK to say you're interested in broadly learning more about my industry or my company), but you should not be flustered if I ask you to tell me about yourself.” - Rob Weniger, Financial Services Risk Management, Ernst & Young
- Research the organizations in attendance…(video), P.J. Louis, President, pJ Louis LLC
2. What advice do you have for someone who is unsure of how to navigate a networking event?
- Approach it like you would NSOP…(video), Zak Accuardi, Masters Candidate at MIT Technology and Policy Program
- When you first get there, take a look around the venue and get a sense of the event - are people having formal, 1-on-1 discussions or are there informal group conversations? If it's a structured space with different areas, browse the different tables to see where you want to start and plan out the areas you hope to visit during the event. - Rob Weniger, Financial Services Risk Management, Ernst & Young
- Be the first to break the ice…(video), P.J. Louis, President, pJ Louis LLC
3. What’s the biggest mistake a student can make at a networking event?
- Don't come across as disinterested or bored. We recognize that not everyone is interested in our specific profession, and that's fine; if you realize this is the case, try changing the subject towards topics you are interested in (general advice on career planning, adjusting to life after college, activities at Columbia, etc.) or otherwise politely excuse yourself from the conversation. - Rob Weniger, Financial Services Risk Management, Ernst & Young
- Not talking to people…(video), Zak Accuardi, Masters Candidate at MIT Technology and Policy Program
4. How should students follow up with you after a networking event?
- Ask the alum their preference…(video), Zak Accuardi, Masters Candidate at MIT Technology and Policy Program
- I've had a number of great conversations with students who ask for my contact details and say they'll reach out, but who never follow up with me again. If you're going to ask for my card, it's appropriate to expect some outreach in the next few days; even if just a quick thank you for taking the time to meet. - Rob Weniger, Financial Services Risk Management, Ernst & Young
- Don’t be afraid to leave a voicemail…(video), P.J. Louis, President, pJ Louis LLC
For more tips and advice, review our Making the Most of a Networking Event tipsheet or speak with a CCE counselor in a Quick Question session (Mon-Fri 1-4pm) or a 30 minute appointment.