Career Choices Explained at Manhattan Campus

Around 50 students came out for the Career Services Conference at the Manhattan campus Feb. 11 for panel discussions led by University alumni
and other professionals.

Representatives from the fields of politics, law, communications, public relations, business, finance and risk management were present.

The event, organized by the Manhattan campus’s Student Government Association, was meant to serve as a learning experience as well as a networking opportunity for those who attended. Panelists shared their success stories, gave advice, participated in Q-and-A sessions and met with students individually afterward.

“St. John’s puts networking at our fingertips,” said Bashek Grimes, a junior. “Sometimes you have to come out on Saturdays and take advantage of the opportunities at hand.”

University alumnus Boris Uribe spoke about how he became a senior project manager at New York City’s Department of Finance. He spent part of his career in the private sector at companies like UPS and Verizon, but said he found the long workdays strenuous and unfulfilling. Eventually he took a job at the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, where he led an initiative to make it harder to forge licenses for yellow cabs to cut down on fraudulent car services.

“Don’t necessarily prioritize on earnings,” Uribe said. “[Government] salaries aren’t the same as in the private sector, but you’ll never have to work an 18 hour day.”

Former Torch reporter Katie Beckmann, who graduated from the University last year, spoke on the communications and public relations panel. She talked about how internships can both help students in their career paths, as well as help them determine what is not for them. After an unfavorable internship experience dissuaded her from her original choice to be a journalist, she eventually found her calling at J&L Marketing, where she currently works as a social media coordinator.

Abbie Gael Hollins, vice president public relations firm Edelman, emphasized the value of internships for the way they teach students what will be expected of them when they enter the job market.

“You don’t have to come out of college knowing everything,” Hollins said. “There’s time to learn.”

Isaiah Chabala, former ambassador of Zambia to the United Nations and Eropean Union, and founder of Visionary Consulting Associates and Visionary Empowerment, Inc. spoke on the politics and law panel. He said it was important to view government and the private sector as equal and how necessary it is to have qualified human capital.

“This is where you come in to assist and facilitate effect,” Chabala said.

He also stressed the importance of maintaining ethics in whatever field students choose to go into and praised the University for having a “strong ethical dimension.”

Senior and President of the Manhattan campus’s Student Government Association Stephanie Lima was pleased with the event’s turnout as well.

“Everything went the way I envisioned,” she said. “I’d like for this to be a major priority for years to come.”