MU Alumni Encourage Students to Look Beyond their Degree

A panel discussion, presented by Career Services, consisting of six speakers spoke to students and faculty on college graduates pursuing careers unrelated to their degrees on Wednesday, Oct. 2.

Karl Gordinier, Career Services Consultant, has hosted career-networking events previously on campus and found the events were not as beneficial to students as he had hoped. As a result, Gordinier and other members of the Student Leadership Committee decided to host a new program for students that would instead emphasize career discovery.

“Being a waiter, I have to tell you that you have to deal with difficult people,” said Glen LeBoeuf, a speaker from the panel and Financial Advisor at Freedom Capital. “You deal with difficult people, you have to multi-task, you have a lot of pressure, you have to be customer focused, and timing matters when it comes to food. You don’t think employers want you to know that stuff coming to work for them?”

LeBoeuf encourages students to not “chain” themselves to their degree. Like many students that believe their degree is what they must pursue after graduation, these six panelists felt limited by that view at some point. The professionals in this speaker series spoke to the students in that they were also once unsure of their intended career path. However, they explained how they were able to find success in fields irrelevant to their college degrees, which they feel is okay.

LeBoeuf’s waiter metaphor suggests that the skills needed to be a successful waiter are much similar to those required to become successful in any profession. Like most careers, you will have to deal with difficult people in difficult situations. You will also have to multi-task under a lot of pressure and in most professions be very customer focused. Lastly, he said “timing matters” and managing time is an essential skill not only in a career but also in most life situations. Gordinier held this event to help students apply that same perspective while anticipating their first full-time job.

Patricia Phelan Clapp was another event speaker who helped to market and brand companies and other professionals. Her advice to students was to take all of the different professions they were interested in, package them into one title, and sell it to employers. While of course, a college degree gets your resume placed in the potential interviewee pile, she says that the ability to express your acquired professional skills is what places you within the company.

“They all had the same idea,” says Thomas Fitzgerald, a University graduate student studying English. “If you broaden your horizons you can do whatever you want, really. It might not be the career you planned on, but you might certainly still enjoy it.”

The six professionals who participated as panelists at the Humanities and Social Sciences Career Event were each University Alumni who received degrees in liberal arts. Among the six panelists were Patricia Phelan Clapp, a social media marketing consultant of Patricia Phelan Clapp MA LLC, Phil Dunn, a senior account manager at AON corporation, Steve Daley, human resources at Chubb and Son, Glenn LeBoeuf, a financial advisor at Freedom Capital, Katie Meeker, a customer marketing manager at iCIMS; and Marti Egger, a senior account manager at IMS Health.

These six panelists all shared one view in common, the understanding that with the right personality and ability to apply acquired skills professionally, you can open the door to a variety of career fields. And that is what this series of career development events hopes to encourage to the future professionals at the University.

Gordinier’s philosophy of the 2013 Fall Career Discovery Series was to express to students the importance of networking no matter what profession somebody may be in. As one of the other panelists said, “It isn’t what somebody knows, it is who somebody knows.”

Along with Gordinier of Career Services, the Student Leadership Committee members that attended were William Hill, Jeffrey Mass, Nancy Gallo and Barbara McGill of Career Services, Marilyn Ward from the Center of Student Success, Tom Bieber from the Athletics Department, Judy Ramos of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Liz Esten and Lauren Embri in the Monmouth Alumni Committee.