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Alumni Career Conversations

Calling all Cornell Engineering Alumni! Looking for a way to give back? Host a career conversation with current students to share your career path, industry knowledge, and expertise. These conversations are a great opportunity for students to learn about potential career fields of interest and to hear first-hand how our alumni are using their degrees.

Logistics

Format

Career conversations are intended to be an informal discussion (not a structured presentation) with 10-20 students about your career path and industry experience. We recommend the alumnus/a provide a brief introduction, and then open up the session to student questions. Below are examples of questions students asked in previous career conversations: 

  • How did you decide on an academic major when there are so many options?
  • What does a typical day look like?
  • What experiences did you have in undergrad that prepared you for working in industry?
  • What trends do you foresee in your field?
  • What traits/skills/qualities does your organization seek in interns and full-time hires?
  • What technical skills do you recommend students develop if they are interested in securing an internship or job with your organization, or in your industry?
  • What are the main values at work at your organization?
  • How did your educational background prepare you for your current role?
  • What advice/suggestions do you have for someone who wants to gain experience in your field?
  • How did you navigate the job search process for your first...second...third job?
  • What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were in school? 

Length

1 hour

Scheduling 

While we are open to scheduling career conversations at various times through the day and semester, we tend to have the greatest student turnout when we host sessions over the lunch hour or after classes, and during the first half of the semester.

12 pm (lunch hour) or 4:30/4:45 (after classes)
Fall Semester: September/early October
Spring Semester: January, February, early March

Content

There are three topics we ask all speakers to consider and integrate into the discussion:

  • Identify three skills developed through your engineering education and discuss how these apply to your employment.
  • What is the most valuable thing you did in college to prepare for your career?
  • If you work with interns or recent grads at your organization, what qualities do you most look for and appreciate?

We also ask students to submit questions for the alumnus/a in advance of the session, which we will provide to you the week of the event.

Employer Information Sessions

The alumni career conversations are not intended to be an employer information session where you market and brand your organization. You can certainly talk about your current organization and the role you perform there, but these sessions are meant to be educational for the students. If you would also like to schedule an Employer Information Session while you are on-campus, please visit our Industry Partners page.

Hosting a Career Conversation

If you are interested in hosting a career conversation, please complete this brief Qualtrics survey, and Helen Chandler, Associate Director, will follow-up with you.

If you have additional questions, please email Helen Chandler.