As Students Job Hunt, GW Enhances Support for Connections with Alumni

The upcoming Spring 2018 Career and Internship Fair and the new GW Career Connect platform will bring together students and alumni for networking, mentoring and professional advice.

GW career fair
The Spring 2018 Career and Internship Fair will be held Feb. 9 in the Smith Center.
January 22, 2018

In her senior year, alumna Sarah Mann applied for an internship in National Geographic’s communications office. With just a little extra research, she quickly found George Washington University connections, including a graduate who happened to be working in the same office.

It paid off: She got the internship.

“I think making those connections during the application process was a key reason I landed the opportunity to work at such an amazing organization,” said Ms. Mann, B.A. ’15, M.A. ’17.

Just a few years later, Ms. Mann, who is now a senior consultant for FTI Consulting, a business advisory firm, will be the alumna connection for GW students who may be interested in her firm, as she will be one of many alumni staffing their companies’ tables at the Spring 2018 Career and Internship Fair on Feb. 9 in the Smith Center.

Ms. Mann and Luke Young, B.S. ’15, of Raytheon, which also will be represented at the fair, encouraged students to be well prepared.

“Showing that you have researched the companies you are interested in can go a long way in making you stand out to recruiters,” Mr. Young said. “We want to hire people who are as excited as we are at being part of the Raytheon team.”

Roughly 100 other organizations from a variety of industries are expected at the fair, which is exclusively for GW students and alumni. More information, including a list of employers, is available on Handshake.

In addition to this year’s spring fair, GW will launch this semester another way for students and alumni to make professional connections: GW Career Connect (GWCC) will provide a platform where students can seek career advice, professional development or résumé reviews from alumni, while alumni can find students who may be a good fit for their company or offer them industry-specific mentorship and guidance. Alumni interested in mentoring students should begin by filling out the volunteer form on the alumni website.

The platform is a joint effort among the Center for Career Services, the School of Business’ F. David Fowler Career Center, the Office of Alumni Relations and the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“We consistently hear from our alumni that they want meaningful interactions with current students,” said Matt Manfra, interim vice president for development and alumni relations. “When we survey our graduates, alumni from all generations share that they’d like to mentor students and provide career advice relevant to their industries.”

Rachel Brown, assistant provost for university Career Services, added that GW is grateful that “alumni are willing to share their experience, perspective and expertise” in the spirit of “Colonials helping Colonials.”

Currently in a pilot period, only seniors will be eligible to register for GWCC between Wednesday and Feb. 9, and interested seniors must first attend a designated event (the list is available on Handshake) to be eligible to be invited to GWCC. There will be a second registration period March 27 to April 6 for juniors and any seniors who do not register by Feb. 9.

Senior James Bondi, a psychology major with a minor in sociology who will graduate in May, has helped test the platform as part of its development. Mr. Bondi said he thinks GWCC will be “very beneficial” to students because they can reach out to alumni with “questions, or simply to set up an informal meeting over coffee or lunch.”

“I would equate this platform to an exclusive LinkedIn for GW students and alumni, but less intimidating,” Mr. Bondi said. “Students will gain valuable insight into their career and professional inquiries, and they will gain invaluable life advice. The one thing I have learned throughout my GW undergraduate career is that alumni want to help.”

That observation is true for Beth Furtwangler, B.A. ’08, a member of the GW Alumni Association Board of Directors.

“For me, one of the most rewarding parts about being a GW alumna is connecting with current students to talk about their career goals and offer advice,” Ms. Furtwangler said. “I'm thrilled that GW is launching Career Connect as a way for any alumni, regardless of location, to build relationships with students and share their expertise.”


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