Tag Archives: mentor

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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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
World Arts Today magazine
Founder/Executive Director
College/University you attended:
San Diego State University

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.

Boost your career this summer: Join Levo League!

Levo League: A Community for Young Professional Women

If you are a Gen-Y woman looking to enter the workforce, you may want to check out the latest resource for aspiring female professionals- Levo League.  This is a social good startup designed to elevate young women in the workforce by providing  FREE career resources to achieve personal and professional success. Their goal is to create a community where young  professional woman can find support and change the future of gender equality in the workforce.

Levo League offers weekly video chat sessions with an impressive roster of well-established mentors, including big names like Warren Buffet and Sheryl Sandberg.  They offer the chance for participants to hear about the mentor’s experience and even ask their most pressing career questions- without ever having to leave their desk.

Big names aside, if you are looking for another job board to supplement the NYU Wasserman Center’s impressive selection on NYU CareerNet, Levo League has a job board to help you find opportunities to build a career in New York and other Levo locations.  Job postings include industries such as consumer packaged goods, education, energy and renewables, fashion and design, hospitality, media and entertainment, medicine and healthcare, professional services, technology, and more!

These are just a few of the basic resources you will find on the Levo League wesbite.  If you are interested in joining a community of like-minded women, students, and mentors, go to the  Levo League Website to learn more and find out how you can get involved!

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.


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.


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.”


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.


Mentor Network Spotlight: Kendra and Holley

Mentor Network Spotlight: Kendra

The Broadway League/The Tony Awards

Marketing Coordinator

College/University you attended:
NYU Gallatin

Individualized Major with a concentration in Theatre and Marketing

How did you find your job?
I had heard of the Broadway League through an internship I secured at Disney Theatrical Group. I googled the company and applied through their website. Eight months after I finished my semester-long internship with them and had graduated college, my former superviser e-mailed me saying they had an opening.

What’s the weirdest job you ever had?
I was interested in all aspects of marketing so I took a face-to-face marketing position as a promotional model for a liquor company. I gave out free samples of vodka and Bourbon in liquor stores far out in Brooklyn and Harlem. Most of my “customers” were not really interested in my marketing spiel on the brands of alcohol I was there to promote, but it was great interpersonal

What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Stay in touch! Many industries are smaller than you think and connections are immensely valuable. My social media habits and networking skills really came in handy when my current position became available and my former coworkers immediately thought of me for it.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?
The hardest interview question for me has always been “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?”. I have never had an idealistic occupational future in mind, but was fortunate enough to experience the helpful organic process of developing a path to my future through Gallatin. Fulfilling aspects of one course, job, or experience lead me to seek out those aspects in other areas. I have always answered this question with a description of my work situation or ideal industry, rather than a specific position. I let my interviewer know I want to be promoting what I love (theatre) in the most efficient environment possible, working for people I respect and aspire to be like and learn from.

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world?
The advisement I received throughout my undergraduate career was great practice for planning next steps for the rest of my life – practicing skills of communicating my individual issues and solutions was beneficial to most interactions I have in the workplace today. Additionally and of course, my internships in college taught me where real life applications for what I had learned in my courses would happen and how I could apply my personality and skill set to them.

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to ask for more help! Independence is a great quality to have, but the resource of a large and talented faculty ready and willing to help you on anything is incredibly valuable.


Mentor Network Spotlight: Holley


Thomson Reuters

Marketing Associate

College/University you attended:
College of Arts and Sciences

Double major in Economics & Social and Cultural Analysis

How did you find your job?
Thomson Reuters’ career portal. A friend had just gotten a job there (in a different division) and recommended that I apply. I applied not really thinking it would go anywhere, but here I am!

What’s the weirdest job you ever had?
For two weekends during my freshman year, I worked at a custom print T shirt stand in the flea market on Broadway and West 4th. Working a hot press
did not really play well to my skill set so I babysat instead.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?
Create your own job. I used to think that this just meant to be an entrepreneur, but what I am beginning to realize is that you can create your own job while working for someone else. All you have to do is play to your strengths and
create your own niche within your firm. In my office, I have effectively taken over our marketing automation software; not because I was assigned it, but because I enjoy working with the software and spent time learning more about it and helping others in the office. Showing others what you are good at and helping those who need extra help will open up opportunities for you to expand and effectively create your own role in the organization.

What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it?
The question that always gets me is “tell me about yourself.” I always have trouble with this; how can I explain myself in three minutes or less. I always try to tailor the answer for the job that I am looking for. If I’m interviewing for a marketing position, I’m going to talk about my communication skills, event production and promotion skills, a few of my professional triumphs, and my passion for social media. If I was applying for a project manager job, I could still talk about these things but give them a different spin; perhaps I discuss the events I have produced from a logistics point of view rather than the communications aspects I would emphasize in the marketing role. You have to look at yourself through the lens of the position – how do you fit the criteria the company is looking for?

What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world?
NYU’s emphasis on internships and deep commitment to being part of the larger New York community were two things that helped me get ready for “real” life. NYU has amazing connections with firms that very few schools have and you should take advantage of them! Furthermore, New York is unique in that it is not dominated by one industry; arts, finance, publishing, journalism, film, tech, etc. are all able to call NYC home. This malleability gives students the opportunity
to pursue their interests through many industries to find what fits. Where else can you transition industries with such ease?

If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be?
Enjoy the journey; your college experience lasts generally only four years (and it goes by so quickly). You have your entire life to work, so don’t forget to stop and enjoy where you are now. Study abroad, spend time with friends, learn, and figure out who you are and what you care about. You’ll always have time to think and readjust, but you will not have the opportunity to do it like you can in college.


Mentor Network Spotlight: Feride Yalav

The Mentor Network is an online platform via NYU CareerNet that connects you with industry professionals and alumni who want to provide guidance and advice to NYU students. Featured in this post is one of our many talented and successful mentors!

Mentor:  Feride Yalav
Company: The Guide Istanbul (magazine and website)
Position: Writer and Editor
College/University you attended: Steinhardt
Major: TESOL

  • How did you find your job? Found and applied to it online
  • What’s the weirdest job you ever had? I worked at a hotel for four months
  • What’s the best career advice you ever received? You have to love what you do, otherwise quit and keep looking
  • What is the hardest interview question you’ve ever been asked? How did you answer it? What are you political views regarding Turkey and the Middle East? (I ended up not working for this place)
  • What part of your college experience prepared you most for the real world? Working with other people, time and deadline management, and learning to survive on my own
  • If you could tell your college self one thing, what would it be? Go after what makes you happy and don’t stray

Interested in joining the Mentor Network? NYU students can get more details by talking to a career counselor during a counseling appointment or walk-ins!

Interested in becoming a mentor? Visit www.nyu.edu/careerdevelopment, and go to Become a Mentor within within the Employers tab or the Alumni Tab; Create an NYU CareerNet account by clicking “Register for the first time”.

November Spotlight: Networking!

Do your networking skills need disaster relief? Check out Wasserman’s networking resources!

October left us with a lot to clean up! We made it through the difficulty of Hurricane Sandy, and are ready to kick off Networking November! Over 80% of jobs are found through networking, so it is crucial that you have these skills mastered. Practicing networking and putting yourself in situations to practice these skills will set you apart from the massive pool of applicants many job postings will receive. Whether you are an extrovert who is extremely comfortable working the crowd, or an introvert who would prefer crafting a well thought out e-mail, putting yourself out there is imperative.

Luckily, the Wasserman Center provides you with a plethora of resources and opportunities to ensure you can master these skills!


It is great (especially for introverts) to begin the networking process online. However, keep in mind that to be the most effective it is important to go beyond the computer screen and toward speaking to contacts in real life settings.

Mentor Network: The Mentor Network is accessed through your NYU CareerNet account, and is a database of professionals who have expressed interest in supporting NYU students in their career development. Fore more information, and to gain access, come to the Wasserman Center during walk-in hours.

Wasserman Center Student and Alumni Career Connections LinkedIn Group: This group consists of over 5,000 members, and offers you the opportunity to begin discussions or network individually with NYU alumni!


When networking in any capacity you want to make sure you are being professional, and not overly aggressive.  A career counselor can help you with an individualized approach to networking in the industries and organizations you are hoping to target.

Employer Information Sessions: There’s a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive. Make sure that you let other people speak and contribute to the conversation in a reasonable manner. If you don’t feel like there’s a chance to communicate as much as you would like with an employer, get the employer’s business card and follow up with a thoughtful e-mail. You can even ask to meet for coffee to further discuss how you can make yourself a competitive applicant for his/her organization. So many employers tell us that 200 people will be at their information session, and only 2-3 people will follow up afterwards. Make sure to take the time to do so! To find out when the next Information Sessions are taking place you can go to Events > Information Sessions in your NYU CareerNet account.

Social Media and Networking for Your Job Search Seminars: This seminar is facilitated by NYU Wasserman Center staff, and give you the opportunity to learn how to professionally leverage social media for a productive job search. To find out when the next seminar is taking place, go to Events > Seminars in NYU CareerNet..

Wasserman Special Events: Events like our Boot Camp Series, and plethora of graduate student events offer numerous opportunities to meet with employers and practice your networking skills! We try our best to always have a great cross-section of employers so that there is someone who could be useful to anyone’s career interests!

Networking November has officially begun! We’ll continue to discuss networking tools and resources to help you network your way to the job of your dreams.

How to Tuesday: Ways to Improve Your Professional Confrence-Swagger!!!

How to Tuesday: Ways to improve your Professional Conference-Swagger!!!

Wondering what conferences or expos to attend? Trying to figure out how to make the most out of your conference experience? These are questions both first-time attendees and seasoned professionals still ask themselves. 

Conferences are an amazing opportunity to learn more about the best practices in your field through outstanding speakers and presentations, share innovative ideas, network with professionals, make new friends, find mentors and even job search.  Understandably conferences can also be a bit overwhelming, but it is important to remind yourself of the end goal.

“Conference-Swagger” is achieved when an individual exuberates confidence in themselves and their craft, and has the ability to effectively achieve the aforementioned aspects of attending a conference. When at a conference you are marketing yourself and representing your brand, hence you will want to be your best! In exchange to attending a conference, you often feel refreshed, motivated, and determined to share new practices with colleagues.

It is helpful and essential to map out your conference attendance and explore ways to incorporate it into your professional development.

Here is a brief outlook in preparing for your next professional conference:

1.     Planning – Decide what areas you will like to explore and learn more about. Research what conventions or conferences are taking place locally, nationally, or abroad. Realize that you should have a conversation with your colleagues and find out what type of professional development opportunities are available.

2.     Funding. Most professional conferences require a registration fee. Whether the feel is a small amount and substantially more expensive be sure to create a budget that will include all expenses (registration, travel, lodging, and meals). Consider whether your company or department has a professional development fund to support your conference expenses.  Take initiative in organizing your conference budget and demonstrate that you have done your research, you are fiscally responsible, and you are committed to your growth as a professional in the field.

3.     Travel – How will you travel to and from your conference? Ask around for best hotel rates, car rentals, and explore the restaurants in the area. Utilize technology and online resources to conduct your travel research.

4.     Dress – Be prepared for the occasion and knowing the expectations of the conference attire. Recognizing that you may have to be prepared for formal, business casual, or event casual events. Based on the type of conference you are attending you can be at a luncheon in the daytime and at an outdoors event in the evening.

5.     Attending Sessions – Read your conference schedule and guide, so you aren’t scrambling to figure out what sessions or speakers to attend. Keep in mind what you want to learn and develop from each session. Additionally, attending sessions may also include meeting venders and learning more about what other company’s and individuals have to offer. This is a great way to learn about best practices, resources, and ways to utilize services in your field.

6.     Networking and understanding the power of building strong relationships and connections. Collect business cards and always be prepared to handout yours. You never know whom you will meet or where you will build these connections. Be personable, professional, positive, and exhibit a willingness to learn!

7.     Follow up – You want to maintain and establish your relationships and network. It is essential to follow up with individuals you have met at the conference.  (It is courteous to send an email within 72 hours after receiving a business card). Be sure to keep in contact and send an email or reach out by phone every once in a while, whether it is once a month or quarterly.  This fosters the opportunity to create a friendship with people in your network and increases the possibility of finding a mentor in your field.

It may seem simple, but do not be afraid to challenge yourself and attend a conference or session that you may just be interested. Conferences do no have to be work related to share a different perspective and expand your thought process.

Being open to difference and you will continue to grow as a professional.

If you successfully follow the seven steps above at your next conference and continue to build your confidence, you can improve your professional “Conference-Swagger.”

Posted by: Shevorne Martin, NYU M.A. 2012