Category Archives: Mentor Spotlight

Mentor Network Spotlight: Joanna Harp


Joanna Harp, a graduate from NYU with a degree in Media, Culture, and Communications talks to us today about how college helped prepare her for her career as a Vice President and Publisher of Haymarket Media, Inc.

How did you find your job? Recruiter

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? Not a weird job but attended Comic-Con during my year at DC Comics.  If you’re not a comic fan, the environment is certainly a strange one!

What’s the best career advice you ever received?  Your career is like a chess game; you need to envision where you want to be a few jobs in advance and set yourself up for the future, not just the immediate.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it? Generally being asked to address a specific skill set I may not have.  Equate it to a skill I do have and draw relevant parallels.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Balancing school, work and internships.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? Pursue what you like, the money will follow.

Mentor Network Spotlight: Ronnie Cropper

Ronnie Cropper, the Senior Account Manager of Century Business Solutions shares with us some college and career tips. After graduating from St. Johns University with a degree in finance, Ronnie was recruited to work for Century Business Solutions.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? When I was 18 I worked on a snow/melting machine which cleared the parking lot of snow at Giants Stadium.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Don’t be afraid to fail, nothing has never been accomplished without failing first.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?  One interviewer asked me to name some of the author’s of my college textbooks? I luckily remembered one.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Going away to school and being on your own is a great experience that I recommend to anyone who has an opportunity to do so. You will find resilience and resourcefulness that you never knew you had.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be?  Party less and get more involved with the school. Take school and the opportunity you have more seriously. Don’t take it for granted.

Mentor Network Spotlight: Jennifer Gore

Joining us on the Wasserman Center’s Mentor Network is Jennifer Gore, the founder and CEO of Weleet with some valuable career advice.

How did you find your job?

I applied to and was admitted to the Texas Creative program where I spent two years building a creative advertising portfolio. A week before graduation one of our professors told us that two recruiters from Y&R New York were coming to do a portfolio review for our class but not to get our hopes up because they weren’t there to hire, just to provide feedback. Three days before graduation I got a call from my professor asking me to come to the Communications Building because the recruiters wanted to meet me. When I stepped into the office and saw the two recruiters sitting there dressed in all black (how New York!) all I could manage to say was, “hi.” To which the head recruiter replied, “you’re hired.” I paused and she said, “I’m not kidding. Now sit down and ask me anything you’d like to know about your new employer.” One month later I moved to NYC site unseen. Been here ever since.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had?

The weirdest job I ever had was reading celebrity tour riders as a production assistant for the music TV show, Austin City Limits. It was fascinating to see celebrity and musician food and drink requests among other quirks. Oh Willie Nelson.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?

1) Always be prepared to make your next move. One foot firmly planted in the door; one foot ready to step out.

2) Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and do more than what you’re asked to do. Most of the time being proactive greatly outweighs any mistakes you might make along the way.

3) Fake it till you make it. For example, if in a pinch, like for some reason you’re not prepared for a meeting or presentation, be sure to dress and look great that day – but don’t make being unprepared a habit because this little tactic will only get you so far!

I know that’s three pieces of advice (refer back to #2)

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?

Q: If you were a kitchen utensil which would it be?

A: A potato peeler because I like to see what’s beneath the skin of things.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world?

Definitely the work study program I participated in to pay off my student loans.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be?

Don’t be so hard on yourself! You’ve got an amazing future ahead of you.

Mentor Network Spotlight: Michael McCaw

Michael McCaw, a graduate from NYU’s College of Arts and Science with a degree in psychology got his job as the Assistant Director of the PhD Program at NYU Silver School of Social Work through NYU CareerNet. Today Michael offers invaluable advice on getting through college and careers.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? – Repainting 1980s/90s action figures.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose; all that matters is how you play the game.”

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it? “You are in a room with your peers/colleagues/staff. If asked to describe your three best qualities, how would they respond? You are now asked to leave the room, and your peers/colleagues/staff are asked to describe your three worst qualities. What do you think they would say?” Although this is an extremely tough question to answer “correctly,” it is important to remember that you can always frame seemingly negative qualities in a positive light. Always play to your strengths.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? You’re not going to figure out your life by the time you graduate! It’s important to have a plan in place, but keep your mind open. Worry about the things you can control and use that as a solid foundation for opportunities that arise. Believe in yourself. Also, stop eating pizza 20 times a month if you don’t want heartburn later on!

Mentor Network Spotlight: Patrick Cunagin

Patrick Cunagin, the Co-Founder and COO of doUdeal, graduated from Trinity University with a degree in Accounting. This week, Patrick gives us invaluable career advice.

 

 

How did you find your job? Went to Trinity with the CEO!

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? Had to parade around NYC in a banana costume for Jamba Juice!

What’s the best career advice you ever received? If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t be good at it.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it? What Disney character would you be and why? I said Aladdin because he’s confident, humble, and goes out of his way to get what he wants. It caught me completely off-guard, so I reverted to a more cliche answer (which I try to avoid).

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Being in AKPsi, a professional, co-ed business fraternity. We interviewed or were interviewed hundreds of times, and the organization was full of like-minded people doing big things.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? It would definitely be to work my butt off to try to make something work, but if it’s clearly not working, then get out. I was injury-ridden the second half of my college soccer career, and I continued volunteering for organizations that were clearly not getting done what needed to be done.

Mentor Network Spotlight

NYU Wasserman Center is proud to provide NYU students with the resources to help students explore careers through the Mentor Network. The Mentor Network links NYU students to professionals who are interested in sharing valuable information about industries and potential careers. Stay posted for weekly features on our inspirational mentors.

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Today, we introduce you to Karen McDonough, Founder and Executive Director of World Arts Today Magazine. She talks to us about her career in journalism and what she did in college to prepare for it. Karen graduated from San Diego State University, with a degree in Journalism.

World Arts Today magazine is a non-profit organization providing arts news reporting in the public interest.  Their mission is to report on the vital and necessary role the arts play in an informed society, to improve the quality of arts journalism, to elevate the level of public appreciation of the arts, and to participate in the arts. World Arts Today helps to advance the arts in the public domain by providing independent journalism to benefit communities around the globe and the people they serve.

Name: Karen McDonough
Company:
World Arts Today magazine
Position:
Founder/Executive Director
College/University you attended:
San Diego State University
Major:
Journalism

How did you find your job?

After more than 25 years in the business, I started my own online magazine.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had?

Selling balloons at a card shop.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?

Always do your best no matter what.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?

What is one weakness? I chose one area that could be an asset or a weakness.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world?

Working as a paid intern writing for The Los Angeles Times.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be?

Spend a semester abroad.

Mentor Spotlight: Elizabeth Pimentel

Elizabeth Pimentel

Company: CUNY and Cornell Weill School of Medicine
Position: Adjunct Instructor
College/University you attended: NYU College of Arts and Science/ Univ of Colorado Program in Physical Therapy
Major: Society and the Arts/ Physical Therapy

How did you find your job? They asked me to work because they knew I had prior experience

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? Taxi Driver

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Always be aware of and open to opportunities that may present themselves in unusual ways

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I answered it that I saw myself teaching in a physical therapy program

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Everything but hospital internships and volunteering as a tutor for public school students were both eye openers

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? You can do whatever you set out to do…don’t underestimate yourself…reach for the stars.

Mentor Spotlight: Lisa and Lara

 

Lara Rosenblum

Company: Inzenka

Position: Consultant

College/University you attended: NYU

Major: Economics

How did you find your job? NYU CareerNet

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? I was a pizza delivery girl when I was 17.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Don’t apply to jobs you are not 100% interested in.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?
What are the three areas of growth you see our company heading to over the next decade, and what notable market evidence supports your claims? I improvised and made something up on the spot.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Graduate school internship

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? Specialize.

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Mentor Spotlight: Julian & Pauline

Julian Metcalf

Company: Moody’s Investor Service

Position: Associate Analyst – Public Finance Group, California Team

College/University you attended: MPA Wagner/NYU, BA SFSU

Major: Masters of Public Administration, BA of Geography

How did you find your job? Networking with alumni from Wagner. I identified a group of alumni working in the areas that interested me most. I asked them for informational interviews. During the calls I learned everything I could about their roles, their organizations and the challenges they face. One alumnus turned out to be the managing director of public finance at Moody’s. Her work seemed intellectually stimulating and very challenging. Working in public finances as an analyst seemed like a rare opportunity to learn about hundreds of government organizations and immerse myself in regional economics. After our phone call I did even more research, and followed up with thank you email and expressed my interest in working for Moody’s if an opening arose. I found even more alumni who worked at Moody’s at continued the routine of asking for informational interviews. Within weeks I had spoken with several people across the organization. Eventually it paid off, and two months later I was driving across the country to start at an opening in the San Francisco office.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? Starting a business at age 17.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Remain open to new challenges and opportunities without losing sight of your big picture goals. It’s easier said than done, but both flexibility and commitment are critical for advancement and fulfillment.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer
it? “Are you willing to do X.” The “X” being some unexpected and in my opinion negative component of the job. The problem was that besides this new twist I really wanted the job and in the middle of an interview when you’ve been unemployed for months it is easy to be very agreeable. However, I consider a job interview a two-way interview, where I am interviewing them as much as being interviewed. After a moment of honest reflection I said “no.” It was
difficult to essentially nullify my chances of the job mid-interview, but it was important for me to set limits for myself and communicate them. I wouldn’t recommend everyone react the same way, it is very situational. In many circumstances it is best to provide an affirmative answer, and spend time after the interview reflecting on your response.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Writing essays and presenting in class. In every job I’ve ever had communication has been critical in some. Even in the most technical roles it is critical to convey abstract ideas through writing or presenting to your manager or groups. All of the essays and class presentation on even the most
random topics prepared me to better articulate my ideas and get my point across.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? Relax, stop worrying about what you’ll be when you grow up because there are plenty of jobs in the world and it just takes time to find them.

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Pauline Ma

Company: Johnson & Johnson

Position: IT Analyst

College/University you attended: Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Major: Media, Culture, and Communication

How did you find your job? I completed a 6-month internship with J&J before my senior year and heard about the rotational IT Leadership Development Program which I am currently in the process of completing. The support of my manager and the network I had built within J&J definitely didn’t hurt!

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? Selling Cutco knives. I’d say it’s pretty weird when someone asks you what your job is and you respond with “I sell knives…”

What’s the best career advice you ever received? These words from Denice Torres (President of McNeil Consumer Healthcare) really resonate with me: “With your career, you have to say what you want – but make sure you want what you’re saying.”

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it? “Tell me a time you made a mistake or came across a big challenge – and what you did to overcome it; how did you remediate the situation?” I think this is one of the hardest questions to answer because as human beings we just don’t like admitting when we’re wrong, and telling others about our mistakes is not an easy thing to do either! I addressed this question by
discussing the importance of humility and transparency in both professional and personal life, along with the consequence of owning the decisions I made and learning from them. I used my J&J internship and experience as President of an on-campus club as illustrative examples.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Each and every one of my (8!) internships prepared me in different ways. Fundamentally, 3 things:

1. I got to experience “office life” in a variety of environments – large corporations vs. boutique firms, managing my career development completely on my own vs. being a part of a formal
internship program, etc.

2. I’m thankful that I was never in a position where expectations were for me to simply get coffee, answer phones, and make photocopies. Instead, I was given the opportunity to learn by being hands-on: creating press materials and writing releases, interacting with editors and bloggers, and more – tasks that my managers themselves were doing. I was lucky throughout the various internships that my managers weren’t micro-managers; they gave me the space to discover what parts of the business I liked (or not) and gave me the room to come up with solutions on my own when possible.

3. I learned early on how to navigate the office through building relationships, networking effectively, and communicating clearly to a diverse group of professionals from various functions and industries.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? I would quote Oprah Winfrey… “You can have it all. Just not all at once.”

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Mentor Spotlight Network: Derek

Derek Simon

Company: “The Americans” (coming to FX in January, 2013!)

Position: Assistant to the Executive Producer

College/University you attended: NYU Tisch

Major: Film and TV Production

How did you find your job? I was referred by a friend, who had been involved in the production of the series’ pilot.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had? I spent two years at the Howard Stern Show in various positions. Some of the weird things I had to do are definitely not appropriate for wide publication (but I’m happy to share them in private).

What’s the best career advice you ever received? It sounds silly, but you hear over and over again that it’s always “who you know.” It couldn’t be more true. Every job I’ve ever had came from a connection — be it family, a good friend, an acquaintance, or a friend of a friend of a friend’s mom’s brother’s babysitter. I used to be very awkward and uncomfortable with asking people for an opportunity, but — at least in film and TV — it’s really the only way to get the job you want, and people understand that — and are almost always willing to help.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?
While this wasn’t exactly a “weird” question, I was once told prior to an interview by the woman interviewing me: “These questions are dumb, I don’t want to ask them to you and I don’t care about your answers, but it’s company policy, so…” It made answering them really difficult, because I wasn’t sure how seriously I should take them after that — too seriously, and I’d seem really awkward in front of this woman who told me they didn’t matter, but too lightly might seem that I didn’t care at all. I’m still not entirely sure if she was just trying to throw me off.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Internships, internships, internships, internships.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? You really aren’t as busy as you think you are.

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