Release Date: January 8, 2016
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo’s Office of Career Services is tapping into the power of UB alumni and sharpening its job-seeking skills with another “Road Trip New York City,” a five-day series of corporate site visits, informal coffee chats and opportunities to establish professional contacts that have led to jobs for numerous UB graduates.
“We want to leverage New York City alumni connections while also enabling UB students to attend corporate site visits with key companies in the New York City area interested in hiring or seeking interns,” says Arlene F. Kaukus, director of career services, whose office has sponsored and organized Road Trip NYC in collaboration with the Office of Alumni Engagement.
“This opportunity is offered both during the winter session and again in the late spring/early summer. It has been expanding in the number of corporate site visits and the days of programming over the past five years because more corporations and alumni wish to participate and help our students and graduates,” Kaukus says.
The latest Road Trip — which begins Jan 11 and continues through Jan. 15 — is another example of UB’s Career Services and the Office of Alumni Engagement working together to complete the connection among the vast and far-flung UB alumni network, and the undergraduates and graduates looking to find career opportunities through internships and informal relationships.
The five days will be a series of corporate site visits — including stops at Bloomberg — alumni/student networking events and coffee chats for students with accomplished UB alumni. About 140 students will gather in Manhattan and take part in as many of the week’s activities as they choose.
“The demand for such programs is high,” says Kaukus. “In fact, we have waiting lists for many of the opportunities.”
“Students often attend more than once,” Kaukus says, “because they experience the value of learning about corporations, their corporate culture, connecting with UB alumni and better understanding the importance of leveraging the power of the UB network on behalf of their career success.”
The visits often reflect the strong loyalty and camaraderie present in UB alumni, says Jenna M. Smith, coordinator of assessment and marketing for Career Services. The informal networking gatherings also make up a kind of “insiders’ view” that takes advantage of the existing and growing UB networks.
“It is about UB being there for UB,” says Kaukus.
Several of the meetings and tours are hosted by recruiters and corporate officials who have hired UB grads with positive results, or even UB grads who have gotten their jobs through career fairs or other UB connections. Some are even veterans of earlier UB “Road Trips.”
“They feel compelled to reach back and pay it forward,” says Kaukus.
Sometimes the UB connections seem as serendipitous as they are fortunate. One of the trip’s Bloomberg contacts happened to get off a company elevator last year when 15 students from UB were waiting for a tour, Kaukus says.
“I’m a UB alum,” the Bloomberg employee told the students when he found out where they were from. “What are you here for? I’d love to help.”
The alum will share his experiences next week as guest host of a coffee chat.
This year’s Road Trip also includes Leslie Veloz’s “undercover reporter” blog that will provide a narrative of the week’s activities on her Instagram account @DearLeslieatUB. Veloz attended one of Career Services’ Road Trips as a freshman, changed her major and has become one of the event’s biggest boosters.
“RoadTrip to NYC is a valuable experience to me because it's the embodiment of what Career Services is trying to accomplish with UB students,” Veloz says. “This trip gives you an experience you just can’t get from the classroom.
“Students of all landscapes are brought together to meet employers and discuss job opportunities,” she says. “Students learn the inner workings of their favorite companies, like HBO, and how they can successfully become an employee.
“This experience gives students a platform to meet with the people that have their dream jobs. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime networking experience.”
Road Trip to NYC will take place again in late spring or early summer, Kaukus notes. “A lot of our attendance is driven by word of mouth. Students return and have a great experience and then they see this as an opportunity to keep building their professional contact lists and networks.”