Ninety-three SUNY Oneonta students from the School of Economics and Business traveled to the Big Apple on Oct. 25 for the college’s annual Backpacks to Briefcases alumni networking trip.
Students visited 21 well-established alumni at their Manhattan offices and heard about their experiences going from students to top executives. The event is designed to inspire students to jumpstart their careers by beginning to build their professional networks. It is funded by the Oneonta Student Association and the SUNY Oneonta Alumni Association through charitable gifts to the Fund for Oneonta.
Participating alumni included a member of the Class of ’84 who is the Vice President of Pricing and Inventory for the National Football League, a Class of ’87 graduate who’s the Technology/Security Advisor at Ernst and Young, LLP, and a Class of 2014 alumna who is in Risk Management at Morgan Stanley.
“The alumni that I met with were absolute role models,” said Nicholas Brown, a senior Business Economics major from East Moriches, NY, and one of two student liaisons for the trip. “Each individual gave me an insightful perspective on where I want to be later in my career. They emphasized the importance of tailoring your resume for each job that you apply for and to make sure your resume highlights your skills and leadership positions.”
Students heard from the alumni about their experiences, positions and industries and took tours of their offices. They were given advice and were able to ask alumni questions.
Rachel Menoutis, a fourth-year Professional Accounting major from Warwick, NY, and the other student coordinator for the trip, said it was eye-opening to see “how successful our alumni are and to see how excited they were to give us advice on how to succeed in our professional careers.”
“Some alumni gave tips, recommendations, and constructive criticism on our resumes while others shared their individual path from being a SUNY Oneonta student to becoming a top executive at their company/firm,” Menoutis said. “I found hearing their stories and advice to be the most helpful for my future in the business world.”
In order to participate in the trip, students had to submit their resume and an application, according to Assistant Professor of Economics, Finance and Accounting Charlene Foley-Deno, who coordinated the event. The day was “a huge success,” she said, and plans for next year are already in the works.
Brown said the best part of the day was the time he spent with Scott Leyton, who graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 1978 with a degree in Business Economics. Leyton is now Principal/Real Estate Developer for Ornstein-Leyton Realty.
“He enlightened us about his experience as a real estate developer and educated us on the long, grueling process, as well as the reward associated with completing a project,” said Brown, who hopes to someday work for a firm where his daily tasks would include cultivating client relationships and finalizing deals. “The hour or so I spent with his business mind is the highlight of the trip for me.”