Seeking out mentors and opportunities to network are crucial for career success, according to five alumni of color who returned to campus March 1 to share career advice with students of similar backgrounds.
The panel discussion, sponsored by the PwC Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs, and Alumni and Parent Engagement, was part of the University's Black History Month series of events.
“There are so many professors here on campus that are willing to make a connection with you."
The panelists included:
- Frankie Dobbs ’12, ’13MBA, Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
- Tyler A. Joseph ’17, Logistics Operations Analyst, CVS Health
- Alexandra Ortiz ’18, Marketing Analyst, Textron Inc.
- Carol Pacheco ’11, Senior Human Resources Generalist, FHL Bank Boston
- Erick Smith ’13, Talent Acquisition Specialist, PTC.
Networking and developing relationships with mentors are critical, Dobbs noted. Even though he graduated six years ago, Dobbs still visits Professor of Finance Peter Nigro when he comes back to campus. “There are so many professors here on campus that are willing to make a connection with you,” he said. “They let you pick their brain and want to help students.”
Pacheco recommended seeking out mentors “early and often.” Mentors' advice "can really help narrow what you want to do with your career,” she said. “It’s so helpful to have someone as a thought partner who can help you gain knowledge" that you might otherwise not have access to.
“It’s so helpful to have someone as a thought partner who can help you gain knowledge."
Smith said the strength of Bryant’s network held a lot of weight in job interviews he went on. “It’s one of the best networks in the Northeast,” he said. “You never know when you’re going to run into someone in a professional setting who went to Bryant."
Ortiz told the students “not to limit themselves” when looking for jobs. “It’s OK if you apply somewhere that doesn’t exactly match your degree,” she said. “You have time after college to try something out and figure out if you’re interested in it."
Panelists also shared how they used Bryant resources to land their current positions.The Amica Center for Career Education "was so beneficial to me,” said Joseph. The staff "helped me prepare for my interviews. They connected me with alumni and I got to see the path that they took to be where they are.”
Victoria Andrade-Fonseca ’22, who was in the audience, said that, as a first-year student who is still acclimating to Bryant, she finds programs like the alumni panel helpful. “I appreciate getting to meet the alumni and having the opportunity to network,” she said.