Two groups of Trinity students spent the day in New York City on Thursday, February 27, exploring career possibilities in arts and business. The Career Development Center
’s Trinity Days Career Exploration Treks allowed students to get a more comprehensive idea of the industries they hope to work in one day.
The treks were designed so that students not only had a chance to meet alumni and parents of current students but also to visit the offices where they work, which provided an opportunity to understand the culture of the different workplaces. At the investment firm BlackRock, this included a briefing from Matthew Marra ’95 and the chance to sit in on a morning teleconference with staff at offices in San Francisco, London, and New York as they shared their insights about the market. Bill Ryckman ’91 then gave his thoughts on the more rough-and-tumble side of investment banking.
Students on the business trek visited four companies and heard from seven Trinity-connected individuals about how they arrived at their positions and received practical advice about the processes of landing a job. In addition to BlackRock, students visited J.P. Morgan, Round Hill Music, and Corporate Fuel Partners.
At each stop throughout the day, hosts emphasized the importance of networking. The J.P. Morgan Private Bank team, made up of Miguel Hennessey P’15, David Rooney ’03, and Nicole Lustig ’12, encouraged students to reach out to Trinity alumni working in fields that interested them. As Lustig put it, alumni tend to “have a soft spot for fellow Bants.”
Nearly every alumnus/a students encountered emphasized that the first job out of college would not necessarily define the direction of what will ultimately become a career. Students were excited to see this firsthand when meeting Josh Gruss ’96, founder and CEO of Round Hill Music and a Trustee of the College, who left work at a hedge fund to pioneer a business that combines music publishing and private equity, and when meeting John Simons ’83 of Corporate Fuel Partners, who left a long and successful career in banking to start his own business consulting firm. Simons spoke enthusiastically about his ability to constantly learn about new industries and to come into work every day feeling intellectually challenged.
Beau Nixon ’15, an economics major who went on the business trek, was thrilled to see the range of possibilities in the financial services industry. “It’s great! I didn’t realize how many different opportunities there are that might meet my particular interest,” he said. “Career Development did a good job showing us different-sized firms that provide all different kinds of services.”
As on the business trek, the key piece of advice students interested in the arts heard from the Trinity alumni and their colleagues was: build your network. Peter Hay Halpert ’80, a private art dealer specializing in contemporary photography, commented that his business was built on relationships he developed with artists he represents and with his clients. Other speakers described how personal connections opened the doors to new opportunities in performance and arts administration. Another common theme echoed throughout the day on the arts trek was the importance of passion. Michael Countryman ’80, a working actor currently starring in an off-Broadway play, noted that careers in the arts depend on abiding dedication and a sense of vocation.
Giving participants a taste of the wide range of career possibilities in the arts, the trek featured organizations as different as La MaMa, an alternative performance space on the Lower East Side, and Christie’s, the international art auction house. At La MaMa, students met with Michael Burke ’00, a performance artist and director of the Trinity La MaMa Performing Arts Semester; Peter Sciscioli, a choreographer and arts administrator; and Tamara Greenfield, executive director of Fourth Arts Block, a Lower East Side cultural and community organization.
Later in the afternoon, Jennifer Hall ’91, a vice president for client development at Christie’s, discussed how to get in the door in the art world. Her advice to students: take any job you can get, begin building your network, and show your employer what you can do.
Students who participated in the arts trek walked away feeling enthusiastic about the diversity of opportunity that awaited them. According to Will Morrison ’14, who is minoring in studio art, “The arts career trek gave us an eye-opening look into the vibrant art world of New York City and provided all of us with a better understanding of the different opportunities available in the arts.”
Alongside the business and arts treks, the Career Development Center offered a number of other opportunities for students to explore their career interests during Trinity Days. As part of a third Career Exploration Trek, students met with Hartford-area alumni working in a range of law-related careers. Through the Trinity Days Externships Program, 25 other students shadowed Trinity alumni and parents at their places of work. With externship opportunities available in fields from education to social service to arts administration, the program offered students a peek at a “day in the life” in a diverse array of jobs.
Written by Junius Ross-Martin ’15