By Margaret Koss
Midterm reading period provided students with several opportunities for off-campus excursions, one of which was a trip to Chicago, organized by Career Services, to network with Lawrence alumni. Students of all majors, including undeclared sophomore Elana Lambert, attended the trip and reaped the benefits.
“We went to six different businesses in the Chicago area: CME Group, Deloitte, Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC), Neuberger Berman, Madison Dearborn Partner and Abbott Laboratories. It was really inspiring to talk to the alumni [working there], because they really feel that their liberal arts education had a lot to do with where they are now,” Lambert said. She appreciated that she was able to talk to employees within a diverse range of positions. “It was all different parts of business. People who travel across the world and people who sit in a desk.”
In addition to talking to employees and alumni at the businesses, the group also went to a networking dinner where they could mingle with alumni.
“Networking is harder than you think because sometimes you don’t know exactly what to say. You have to ask the right questions to get what you’re looking for,” Lambert said. But she still figured out how to gain a lot from the conversations she had.
Like a lot of college students, Lambert was interested in gaining insights into how to survive in a competitive job market, which is a keen apprehension for students close to graduation. “Across the board, everybody said that if you work hard and you know what you want, you will get there, because you have the tools to get there,” she said. “You can do a lot with a Lawrence degree if you have a quantitative background.”
Going on the trip and hearing many alumni echo the same sentiments allowed her to see that all majors can benefit from meeting people in the field of business. “It definitely is tailored more to Econ majors, but I got a lot out of it just because I wanted to see what kind of jobs were out there. And we met other majors there. If you can show how you use the skills that you learned, let’s say with a history major, and apply it to the business world—like the analytical skills and research skills—you’ll be fine. We have learned how to do that in the environment here at Lawrence,” Lambert said.
Career Services hosts trips like these every term, and taking advantage of them allows students to build many relationships they otherwise wouldn’t. “It was a cool way to meet new people, both Lawrence students and alumni, as well as the people who work in Career Services,” Lambert said.