The bi-annual Drew Community Networking Reception, hosted by the Center for Mentoring and Professional Networks, gave students an opportunity to mingle with faculty and alumni in Mead Hall and obtain valuable career advice and contact information. At the event, hosted on Wednesday, March 22, Drew students could hone their networking skills and connect with alumni in industries of interest.
According to Carol Bassie, the director of the Center for Mentoring and Professional Networks, the main purpose of the event was to allow Drew students to practice networking, or forming relationships with professionals in a particular industry, by chatting with alumni in a relaxed atmosphere.
“Networking is super important because 85 percent of all jobs in the aggregate are now found through networking opportunities, and 70 percent of all jobs are not even posted publicly on job sites,” Bassie said. “To build the connections from first-year on up is super critical, because you want to be able to have someone in your corner at an organization in which you’re interested who can maybe push your resume forward in a way that the computer algorithms will not allow.”
During the reception, students interacted with alumni from a wide range of industries, including affordable housing and community development, commercial real estate, environmental agriculture, life sciences consulting, and luxury retail. Alumni shared career advice and highlighted research and internship opportunities in their industries. While networking, attendees enjoyed refreshments such as flatbreads, chocolate-covered strawberries and alcoholic drinks.
One Drew alum present at the event was Jessica Bruno-Raiz (C ’99), the vice president of Program Management and Clinical Operations at Timber Pharmaceuticals. Bruno-Raiz, who has experience at both large pharmaceutical companies and start-ups like Timber Pharmaceuticals, currently runs clinical trials for drugs to treat rare diseases.
“You have to be open to just being yourself, asking questions and being an active listener, even if it is something you think potentially might not be an area of interest. There’s sometimes opportunities that are adjacent or similar to what your interests are right now,” Bruno-Raiz said.
Speaking specifically about the pharmaceutical industry, Bruno-Raiz said there are a wealth of opportunities for students with varying interests, and the field is not just limited to sales. She also encouraged Drew students to utilize the Career Center and talk to professors about their career interests.
Halfway through the event, Bassie, Drew Society Chair Forrest Shue (C ’87) and two other alums addressed all attendees and reflected on the importance of networking in their own professional journeys. They advised students to talk to individuals in industries that may not currently be of interest, stay in touch with people and look for jobs in unconventional places such as Instagram posts. They also emphasized that alumni attended the reception because they wanted to talk to Drew students.
Nevaeh Warren (‘23) appreciated the networking opportunities that the reception provided. “It feels really nice to be around alumni who’ve been really successful in their careers, especially as a senior who’s about to graduate. I’m excited to be a part of [these events] after I graduate,” said Warren.
Overall, the Drew Community Networking Reception emphasized that networking is an asset in the professional world. By building relationships with alumni at this event, students formed professional connections, received career advice and learned about opportunities in fields of interest, all of which they can utilize to gain a foothold in their respective industries after graduation and beyond.Make sure to follow the Center for Mentoring and Professional Networks @drewumentoringcenter on Instagram to learn more about networking and career opportunities.
Abigail Goldman is a first-year majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology.