I can still remember the first day I stepped onto campus. It was late October 2006, and there was already snow on the ground in front of Hendricks Chapel–a reminder of a storm that must have just recently passed. I remember being exhausted, as this was my last stop on an upstate New York college tour circuit with my parents. That all changed as soon as I stepped into my first reception where I heard about the many alumni connections and the opportunities that were available through Whitman.
I ended up applying early decision as a dual major at Whitman and Newhouse. A few months later, my bags were packed and I was on my way upstate. Like many other college freshmen, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do yet. My course load provided the basis of many different fields: accounting, finance, marketing and entrepreneurship. I quickly realized my niche in marketing and communications and, over the next four years, I would devote myself to this passion.
When it came time to find an internship after my junior year, I leaned heavily on the Whitman alumni database. I’ll be the first to admit, I never saw myself as someone who “networks” well. Frankly, the idea terrified me and sounded like something my parents would force me to do: reaching out to a complete stranger to ask for help and advice. However, every alumnus I emailed was eager to assist. I had various phone calls with marketing leaders and advertising executives at leading companies. The alumni connection that Whitman and Syracuse as a whole affords us is unprecedented, even compared with some of the top schools in the nation. It is one of the many things that makes our community unique.
Through all of this networking, I landed my first internship at Mediavest with a former alumnus that had a similar background as myself. She was an excellent manager and mentor and we stayed in touch after that internship ended and I had returned to school. Ultimately, she helped me land my first job the following year.
After three years at Mediavest, I again utilized the connections I made in the industry to land at Twitter, where I have now been for two years. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to work at a company that has such a real-time impact on our interconnected world. At Twitter, one of our favorite mottos is #LoveWhereYouWork. I wake up invigorated and excited every day about doing something that I am passionate about. Today, almost five years after graduating from Syracuse, I know that it was the alumni connections that I made as a student that helped me to get to where I am today.
So now, I will do the same thing that many, many alumni have done for me. I offer an open door for my fellow Orange to reach out and connect. Be sure to follow me on Twitter. @AdamSchatz