I entered Syracuse knowing that I wanted to major in business but was not sure what that looked like. Throughout high school, I was continually attempting business ventures which led me to enter Whitman with a thirst for knowledge but an uncertainty about what specific major to pursue. Great professors, advisors and classes have allowed me to navigate a change in major, land a job and learn a few lessons along the way.
I graduated from Whitman in 2015 as a finance and supply chain management double major and now work in New York City as an analyst at a private energy company that seeks to create competitive advantages by identifying and fixing inefficiencies. The energy markets are down 70 percent since Q2 of 2014 making cost savings and process improvements absolutely necessary. I credit my early success to Professor John Park’s SCM 403 Excel modeling class which, if taken seriously, will give you the skills to add immediate value to any job.
Speaking of jobs…the career fair is key! Take it seriously because it is not for show. Employers are actually looking to hire students, and students who show up prepared are actually going to get offers. Make appointments with an advisor at Whitman’s career center and be sure to follow up with emails. They will help you if you put in the time. Michael LaMarche reviewed and edited my resume at 10 p.m. on a Wednesday night. The staff will help you, so take advantage of it.
You can also maximize your time at Whitman by seeking out great professors; there are a lot of them and they make all the difference. I swapped a real estate major for one in supply chain management after being inspired by the real-world, practicality taught lessons in Professor Patrick Penfield’s class. He couples his industry experience with a passion for supply chain to make his lectures highly useful and fun. Professor Ravi Dharwadkar is another phenomenal professor who everyone should have as an instructor. He puts on a professional, no-nonsense class where he challenges students to grow by holding them to a high standard. His class will revolutionize the way you look at the world.
As you are getting ready to leave Whitman, take Capstone seriously because it is the best glimpse into what post-college work is like. For this class, there is no better professor than Ken Walsleben. Professor Walsleben invests a heroic level of one-on-one time and cares deeply about his students’ success. I would often drop into his office hours with a ‘quick’ question and it would turn into hours of idea generation and discussion. My experience is not atypical, and Professor Walsleben’s efforts helped my team secure a top-five finish. The more you invest in Capstone, the better prepared you will be for your first job.
I am eight months into my first job and am still learning every day. Because my company is small, I have learned that I like taking on large projects and working within a start-up environment. I have many interests ranging from technology, to sales, to analytics, and I remain committed to actively exploring them all as I progress through my career.
I am always happy to connect with and/or help a fellow Orange student or alum, so do not hesitate to reach out.
- Alumni of the Week: Dermott Ryan Jr. ’15 - February 7, 2016