During their time at Clark University, student-athletes develop a variety of skills that make them highly marketable to future employers. But between coursework, practices, and games, they are often left with limited time to focus on career development.
Recognizing this challenge, Clark Athletics and the Career Connections Center co-hosted the third annual Student-Alumni Athlete Career Development Program, at which former Clark athletes shared career-preparation mentorship and networking with current student-athletes. More than 20 alumni attended the Sunday afternoon event in the Shaich Family Alumni and Student Engagement Center.
“Practice Your Pitch 2.0” gave student-athletes an opportunity to meet with alumni who were once in their shoes, and sneakers. Through a combination of mock interviews and workshops, they learned valuable tips for impressing potential employers and identified short- and long-term networking goals.
“The alumni are excited to give back in a meaningful way, and the students know that this is a safe place for them,” said Donna Curry, senior executive director of the Career Connections Center. “It’s a training session — these are skills they need to develop just like they develop skills for their sports.”
This year’s alumni volunteers came from a variety of companies, including Staples, University of Massachusetts Medical School, City Year, and State Street Corporation. They included an assistant attorney general, IT professional, an athletic director, among many others.
“These folks are here because they want to help you get better; they want to help you find jobs and internships,” Michelle Flint, career development director, told the student-athletes who attended the event.
Throughout the afternoon, student-athletes sat with alumni volunteers to participate in mock interviews. At the end of the sessions, they were given feedback on their etiquette and appearance, interview answers, and delivery and language. The event also included a networking workshop that helped the student-athletes identify strategies for making meaningful connections.
Cindy Michael-Wolpert ’90, P ’18, vice president of coaching and assessments at Fidelity Investments and a member of Clark’s Board of Trustees, developed the program with Curry and Director of Athletics Trish Cronin.
“I thought it was excellent,” Michael-Wolpert said. “The structure was perfect for the students to reflect on how they can relate what they do as athletes in a job interview, and the skills that they bring.” Attendees discussed how participation in athletics has helped them with time management, prioritization, and developing a voice.
Joe Figler ’00, senior director of national corporate development for State Street Corporation, was among the alumni at the weekend event. He said his own Clark experience has helped him in countless ways — most notably, through networking.
“It was through the referral of one of my former (lacrosse) teammates that I was hired for my first job out of college and I have worked there ever since,” he said. “Every position I have had over my close to 20-year career was based on knowing people within the teams I was moving to, so I can’t stress enough how important it is to network.”
“It was great to be walked through the apps and networking opportunities Clark offers to help prep us for life during and after Clark,” Bulman said. “I’m very thankful for the opportunities to connect with Clark alumni, especially fellow athletes, to make some meaningful and lifelong connections.”
Join ClarkCONNECT to network with fellow alumni and mentor current students. #ClarkConnectsYou