The annual Careers Connecting Cobbers event encourages participants to share their experiences, build personal connections, hear about career options and cultivate their professional networks.
It is common for students to comment on the benefit of the opportunity to speak with people who have been in their situation and have traveled the path to finding their careers. For alumni, whether they are fresh into their first career or a topical expert in their field, all have crossed the bridge from student to alumni life. Their successes and failures are learning opportunities for current Cobbers, and this event allows students to ask some of their biggest questions.
“It’s great anytime you can get this many successful people together with this many potential future successful people in a room at the same time. The energy is contagious. It’s like lighting a match!” – Alexandre Cyusa ’14, Folkways
The annual event begins with a catered lunch, where students and alumni are encouraged to strike up conversations with people they have never met before, and is followed by a panel discussion with alumni professionals.
Class of ’82 Alumnus, Director of Alumni Relations
As a Concordia employee, it was Eric Johnson’s third year attending the event. One of the main benefits he has seen each year is the opportunity for students to develop their networking skills in a nonthreatening environment.
“The people here are on your side and want things to work out for you,” he says. "It’s also a huge benefit for our alumni because they just love our students. They have a great time and get a taste of what student life is like today. Alumni get an opportunity to network with one another, too – they end up networking unintentionally or intentionally.”
Current Student, Class of 2020
Currently, Sabina Beck does not have a declared major but she is looking at global studies, business and political science. She says that she wasn’t coming to hear about a specific career path but wanted to hear about the various opportunities. Beck says she arrived early and was a little nervous, though her nervousness subsided when she struck up a conversation with a woman she saw standing on her own.
When asked about her favorite lesson from the event, Beck says, “The panel was really helpful. I think the advice that being really personable and trustworthy was a big takeaway for me. It makes total sense. I think it’s something that people don’t emphasize enough. Yes, it’s really important to build up your credentials, yet being personable, empathetic and someone that people are comfortable working with is of equal value.”
Previous Student Participant, Class of ’14 Alumnus
Alexandre Cyusa has attended Careers Connecting Cobbers a total of three times: once as a student and the past two times as an alum. This time, Cyusa was on the alumni board. Cyusa commented on his experience throughout the past years: “My first time attending as a student it was very interesting to see people who went through the same path and what they are doing now. It also showed me that whatever path you choose does not necessarily dictate what you are doing the rest of your life. On a personal level, it really humbled me to be in their presence and warmed my heart to see alumni giving of their time on a Saturday when they could be at home with their family.”
Cyusa was also one of the panel participants and he left the students with this advice: “Relationships and mentorships are key to success and growth. Reach out to people. You are one email away from anyone you want to meet. I promise you, successful people enjoy talking about themselves and helping aspiring students.”
Event coordinator Karen Carlson ’80 says, “Next year we hope to triple the number of students in attendance.”
Will you be there?
Danyel Moe '17 is a content specialist at Concordia.