As a Freshman coming into his first iSchool road trip, I was not exactly sure what to expect. I had only received positive feedback from students who had attended prior road trips and went in with high hopes. The financial and consulting industries always interested me, but I was not quite sure if they were the fields I could see myself going into.
While waking up for a 5am bus was not the most pleasant start to the trip, for anyone who that is their biggest dilemma with not attending a future road trip, it is more than worth it! Yes, that early start does set you up for two days of non stop on the go adventure which will absolutely wear you out by the time you get on the bus to head back to Syracuse. That being said, as I sit here in my dorm room the morning after returning a little later from NYC than expected and still having much exhaustion recovery to occur, it was 100% worth it. I personally gained countless knowledge on fields I previously thought I knew well, connections I never would have been able to gain without the trip, especially at this age (and grew my Linked In network!), and met others in the iSchool of all ages I never knew were there while having them become good friends. All of the older kids I met were not only extremely nice and supportive of me and the other freshman coming on the trip, but gave me priceless advice on how to take complete advantage of my time at SU, the iSchool, and how to start combing through the job market. The trip leaders were sensational. Everything from bringing snacks so we didn’t go hungry on the bus, reminding us to introduce our selves when asking a question (shout out to Julie), making sure we were getting everywhere (almost) on time, encouraging us to network with as many people as we possibly could at the alumni event (another shout out to Julie), scheduling some of the top firms in the financial and consulting industries in NYC while also having some of the top executives at those firms speak with us, to simply providing us with a great experience and making sure we had a phenomenal time, maybe that even included some snapchat shenanigans (SNAP ME BACK JEFF!).
As far as highlights of the trip, there were quite a few. J.P. Morgan and Chase was our first sit down with a panel of iSchool alumni and others from the firm and they did not disappoint. It was our first big time stop, and they knew just how to get our attention, free lunch. They gave us a great view of what a big time banking company (the biggest in America to be exact) looks like from the inside and how our background from the iSchool would prepare us for different roles within and outside their firm. Bank of America was one of those experiences that was an honor to be a part of. As we reached the 51st floor at One Bryant Park we stepped off the elevator and our jaws dropped to a spectacular panoramic view above the entire city. However, that was only the start. We had the privilege to have the Global Wholesale Banking CTO of the entire organization Rosa Ramos-Kwok, teach us some important lessons on how to achieve what ever we strive to in life as well as give us the rundown on BOA while inspiring most of us in the process. While every firm we visited was a unique and an awesome experience, my personal favorite part of the trip was without a doubt the iSchool alumni networking event. My Linked In network grew by not only a solid quantity but by phenomenal quality. I met some very energetic alumni excited to speak with us, give us advice, and connect! There were some whom had just graduated this past semester and others a little more seasoned but who were still excited to share their experience and advice with us. It was a great atmosphere with even better people. The rain couldn’t slow us down on that rooftop! I have since been in contact with some of the alumni I connected with and already have plans to meet up with one of them when they come visit ‘Cuse later this month. After the alumni event we hoped on the bus and headed to our hotel in Jersey, but the fun didn’t end with us getting on the bus. Jeff made sure we were entertained by some of our not so talented classmates getting on the microphone to sing a little karaoke which was definitely interesting. Once we made it back to our hotel near MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, we had a town hall style debrief which most of us found as a helpful way to take in everything we had just been opened to and was a great way to end the day. Friday was another jammed packed day with lots going on. We visited Ernst & Young, Deloitte, and Goldman Sachs, but the firm that stuck out the most to me had to be EY. Ernst & Young came out and really sold us. They walked us through everything we wanted to know about consulting and the different sectors inside the consulting world. They pitched us more than solid reasons why EY was the place to start a career, and even brought in a high level executive to come speak directly with our group (her daughter is in the iSchool) which was a very unique and cool experience. The exec who met with us, Ms. Fitzmaurice, was even nice enough to leave us some business cards in case we wanted to connect.
One thing that we were all able to take away from our various visits over the course of the trip is that, almost every big firm has now become and is forced to become a technology company focused in the financial, consulting, or any other industry they are in. This is the reason we as iSchool students are so very sought after by large corporations and have among the highest job placement among our peers. At the conclusion of this trip after seeing what life in these industries is like, I could see myself deciding to become part of the financial or consulting worlds. I believe these road trips are extremely important, because they expose students to an inside look at industries we may consider going into for lifelong careers, help us decide whether or not a specific field is for us, and see just how information and technology is used at all different levels in different industries.