“I don’t expect that I’m launching any careers,” quips Michael Carri C’89. “But I can give students a spark of inspiration or help provide some framework for their decisions.” Michael has served as a career mentor to Drew students since 2008 when he was invited to participate in a panel on “Careers in Communications.” He was so energized by the students’ enthusiasm that he signed up as a volunteer and now frequently meets with undergraduates and participates in Career Center events on campus.
Michael, a psychology major and writing minor, attributes much of his successful career in advertising and marketing to the foundation that was laid at Drew. “Drew gives you so much more than knowledge of any particular fact or subject area, Drew teaches you how to think. And with that the doors are wide open.” He especially recalls how an ethics course taught by Don Jones and small group dynamics class with George-Harold Jennings helped prepare him for professional life.
Michael also learned first-hand about the value of experiential learning and career networking even before these ideas became the buzzwords they are today. During his senior year at Drew he held an internship at a small advertising agency in Madison and this opportunity for hands-on work turned into his first job after graduation.
“I got so much from Drew, and really felt the need to give something back. So, I’m giving my time and knowledge to help these students.” What kind of advice does Michael offer his eager mentees?
“First, I encourage them to get involved, which is easy at a small school like Drew. You never know what class or activity you’ve had that might be helpful later on in life.” Michael knows what he is talking about: he helped start the Ultimate Frisbee club and worked as a DJ at the radio station WMNJ, as well as doing stints with DUDS, Oak Leaves, the OC, ECAB, UC Board, and playing varsity soccer. Michael credits his experience in DUDS and at WMNJ with preparing him for public speaking, something essential in his line of work.
Caroline Kuras C’13 is just one of the students Michael has worked with. During a meeting at the Snack Bar he gave her feedback about her resume and summer internships related to her major in business studies. “He suggested that I expand my options to include finance and marketing which is something I might not have thought about,” says Caroline.
Michael also gives simple, practical advice to students, such as emphasizing skills they have that are transferable. “For instance, if they are involved in student government, they can talk about their leadership skills. If they are active with the radio station, then talk about public speaking.” He also reminds students that, even though technology has made communication quick and informal, you need to be professional when presenting yourself to a prospective employer.
Would you consider serving as a career mentor? Current students are especially interested in talking to alumni in the arts, sciences, media and communications, and the non-profit sector. For more information, contact Kim Crabbe, Director of the Center for Career Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or (973) 408-3710.