Alumni of the Week: Craig Dennin ’13

me2When I first got to Whitman, I had no clue what I wanted to do and just figured business school was a good start. I joined the business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, my first semester freshman year and made some great friends and received some great career advice from older peers. I decided to apply for the dual major with Newhouse and started the program when I came back to campus my sophomore year. Getting involved in Whitman early and asking advice from mentors was the best decision I made at Syracuse and really helped jumpstart my career search.

I realized early that networking is key, and I immediately started going to career fairs, getting my resume out there and looking for internship experience. I applied to probably 50-60 agencies in the Philly area where I grew up for my first internship and only got about 10 responses that included a bunch of rejections and two interviews. After completing my first digital advertising internship, I started networking with as many recruiters and alumni as possible; asking advice over email, offering to meet them in the city, walking them to their cars when they came to visit campus and showing my intense desire to land a great job.

After a couple more internships and a serious job hunt my senior year, I landed a job at Google. Through the whole process, I realized that experience, preparation and opportunity are the keys to success and, while you may not have control over the opportunity part, Syracuse is a fantastic place to network and gain experience as well as prepare yourself for the job hunt. Then, when the right opportunity comes, you’re in position to take full advantage.

Getting my first job working as a strategist for small-to-medium business at Google in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was just the beginning, and while I could not have had a better start to my career, I’ve still been determined to succeed and move up. The digital advertising world has been intense, challenging, rewarding and fun, and my recent move to a new, more demanding role at Google in New York City (my favorite city in the world) has been awesome. Working in this industry can be stressful. Between the industry and my company, getting ahead and rising up is incredibly competitive. Working with immensely smart and talented people has been intimidating, but having great mentors and confidence in my abilities has been crucial to progressing in my career.

However, I won’t lie and say I have it all figured out. I’m still trying to find out what I’d really like to do and could be in a drastically different role or industry even five years from now. I love film and entertainment and would love to explore that industry. I’m looking into local film classes in the city as well as expanding my network into those areas. I may take a big, risky leap into that space. I might want to explore getting an MBA or going back to the agency side of advertising. I’ve thought about moving abroad to Asia. The great thing is, the experience I gained from Whitman and Newhouse has allowed me to start my career off in a sweet spot while still discovering my passions and figuring out where I really want to be in five to ten years.


Craig Dennin
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