Alex Gordon ’05

JOB TITLE: Director, Strategy & Business Development
ORGANIZATION: NBCUniversal
LOCATION: New York, New York
GRADUATE DEGREE: M.B.A., Columbia Business School ’11   

What was your first position after college? While at Trinity I initially thought I’d be a lawyer, but ended up gravitating toward journalism and media. I was an editor at The Trinity Tripod, worked at the Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life with Professor Mark Silk, and spent a summer interning at The Baltimore Sun when Bill Marimow ’69 was editor. After Trinity, I decided to go into communications and investor relations. From there I moved into digital marketing, and then went to Columbia Business School to facilitate a transition from marketing to strategy and business development, which has led me to roles at Dow Jones, Deloitte Consulting, and now NBCUniversal.

Has a liberal arts education helped you in shaping your career? I’m fascinated by the evolving ways people discover, access, and use media and information, which has been changing incredibly quickly in the last decade – I graduated when Facebook was a year old, and Twitter, Snapchat, and the iPhone didn’t exist. Because there’s so much innovation I need to be constantly learning, and I often think of something Barry Diller, a longtime media executive, said: “We’re in a world now where it’s not enough to be smart. You have to be curious.” To me, a liberal arts background is an ideal platform for a lifetime of curiosity because it gives graduates not only a firm foundation in facts and technique but also a way to exercise their curiosity by exploring a broad range of topics. My professors were great at nurturing curiosity, and I loved my experience in Guided Studies.

What advice would you give to Trinity students to prepare for a position in your field? For most industries, outside-the-classroom experience and networking has become critical: internships, volunteering, etc. Part of that could be writing your own blog or making a short film. But getting the most out of those hands-on experiences has a lot to do with work done inside the classroom, in terms of understanding the history of the media industry and the forces affecting it, especially technology and law. The combination of real-life experience, a broad base of industry understanding, and curiosity will enable you to have an informed point of view on the area you’re interested in, which is as valuable to employers as being able to research, write, and clearly present ideas. Media is a lot of fun, but also very competitive.

What is the biggest misconception about your field? There’s a lot that goes on behind the cameras and apps. The business models that pay for the news stories, TV shows, and movies that we all love must adapt as fast as new products and services emerge that allow us to read and watch in new ways. This is what I focus on, and I can’t imagine I’ll have a slow day anytime soon.