2016 MBS Alumni-Student Mixer
Spring break may place a temporary pause on the influx of coursework, but it cannot break the flow of networking. On Tuesday, March 15th, MBS students proved this concept by making their way back to campus to attend an Alumni Student Mixer. The event began at 6:00 pm with a dinner buffet and eventually transitioned into an industry panel. When the panel came to a close at approximately 8:00 pm, the students were encouraged to mingle with the six alumni panelists and attendees from the MBS Industry Advisory Board. Because of the immense turnout—the headcount exceeded 140 people—the mixer was held in the Busch Campus Center.
The panel was moderated by MBS alumnus Ryan Escolin. Panelists included:
- James Andahazy, a 2016 MBS graduate who works in R&D at BMS,
- Rohit Yerneri, an MBS alumnus from India who works as a business analyst at a consulting company,
- Steven Le, who graduated with an MBS in Biotech in 2013 and now works at a boutique healthcare consulting company in NYC,
- Anuja Kumar, an investment banker with an MBS in Analytics and a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering,
- Nadine Goldman, who holds an MBS in Personal Care and manages regulatory product development for a small beauty brand, and
- Ronald Jay Gervacio, a 2014 graduate who holds an MBS in User Experience Design and is now employed by a background check company.
After introductions, Escolin began the panel by asking the speakers what they considered to be their biggest takeaway from the MBS program. Several of the panelists cited the program’s emphasis on cultivating well-rounded individuals: T-shaped students with both science expertise and business knowhow. Despite the general T-shaped structure, Kumar noted that the program is still highly designable, allowing students to tailor their own unique degree.
The focus shifted to the audience as Escolin opened up the panel to questions from attendees. Several Analytics students inquired about industry-specific opportunities inside and outside of the classroom. According to Kumar and Escolin, the Regression Analysis and Mobile App Development courses would have helped them in their career. Kumar also encouraged Analytics students to attend the TA group discussions held at Alexander Library to learn new SAS tools. An audience member chimed in with the recommendation that students participate in the Analytics meet-ups that take place in Princeton and NYC. (Hint, there is also one this Saturday March 26 at the South Brunswick Library, organized by an MBS student. See: http://www.meetup.com/Central-NJ-Data-Science-Meetup/)
The event then gave way to more general discussion. One student asked how to get hired in a field outside his specific industry and another asked how to get hired for a non-entry level job without work experience. In both cases, the panelists stressed the importance of networking and crafting a unique personal brand. Since the MBS teaches transferable skills such as communication and leadership, students have the opportunity to tailor their resumes to fit a specific position. According to Kumar, “The way you tell your story is half the battle.” Yerneri and Le reiterated this sentiment, claiming that “It’s an employee’s world—not an employer’s world.” In other words, it’s the applicant’s responsibility to “showcase [his or her] relevance.”
As the evening concluded, the panelists offered some parting words of wisdom for the audience at large. Despite the panelists’ different work experiences, they all agreed on the importance of remaining open. People grow both professionally and personally when they open their networks to new connections, their minds to new ideas, and their hearts to new opportunities. And with openness in mind, the panel came to a close, opening the floor to new connections, ideas, and opportunities.