Approximately 560 students took time away from winter break relaxation to network with Georgetown alumni at the Georgetown University Alumni Association Career Services and Cawley Career Center’s seventh Winter Break Career Tour from Jan. 2 to 4.
The events partnered university clubs, such as the 1634 Society, with alumni clubs in 13 cities including Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. Tampa, Seattle and Dallas-Fort Worth were added as new locations this year.
“[Location] is based on who has the capacity and who thinks that they can actually find alumni and students to get together over break,” Assistant Director of Career Services Sarah Hay said.
While planning was generally centralized around Career Services, each club planned its own distinct format.
“People mainly decide to either have an open networking reception or a speaker or a panelist and an open networking section, so everyone had a different format,” Hay said.
Scott Goldstein (SFS ’16) was disappointed by the set-up of the event he attended in Washington, D.C.
“I think they could have organized it better, at least in D.C. where it was organized in a round-robin kind of way,” Goldstein said. “I wish they could have told us what people were working there and given us more personal autonomy to go to the tables we saw suited us.”
Alumni selection also differed between cities, but Hay speculated that there were approximately 20 to 30 alumni at each event.
Most students who attended were sophomores and juniors.
“Juniors were definitely more eager to talk to [the alums] afterward, but the event helps get people in the mindset,” 1634 Society member and New York Career Fair Volunteer Bailey Holtz (COL ’14) said.
Hay agreed that the events were most relevant to juniors.
“It’s probably for people who are beginning the job-hunting process,” Hay said. “I think it’s something that people really enjoy because it gives students the chance to participate with the university while they’re over break, but it can also be a challenge because some people are travelling.”
Holtz noted the connection between Georgetown students and alumni that draws both groups to these fairs..
“I know that Hoyas like to hire students from Georgetown, which is nice to hear,” Holtz said.
Goldstein, who had hoped to learn about the Foreign Service but ended up spending most of his time talking to alumni involved in marketing, thought that the event in D.C. could have provided more in-depth information about specific industries.
“A bit more breadth would have been good, but you didn’t get that because you just had to follow your group around,” he said.
Lily Ham (COL ’16) attended the event in Boston and used the event as a learning opportunity rather than a networking effort.
“I think it was more educational,” Ham said. “Older students would have gotten something out of it, but I think even just for me, just going there and seeing what people were doing in their profession was nice.”
Hay agreed, emphasizing that the events were not actual career fairs.
“I think it is really more to educate,” Hay said. “You’ll get a couple cities that say that they have an alum who is looking to hire, but we really try to say up front that this is not a career fair. But you do certainly gain contacts.”
Even without the pressure to find a job, Ham found the experience and advice reassuring.
“It was really nice to see that everyone who is in their specific field didn’t start off knowing what they wanted to do, and for me that’s where I am,” Ham said. “They gave us tips on how that helped them in interviewing, how it helped them to stand out and how you can put all of your different experiences together toward what you want to do.”