January 27, 2009

1,300 attend TNS

A marketer for the iPhone, a consultant for the World Bank, and a CIA intelligence analyst were among over 300 alumni at Taking the Next Step, a networking event held for second- and third-years at the Marriott on Saturday.

The event consisted of several job-specific panel discussions with alumni, as well as a lunch that seated alumni and students with similar career interests.

Nate Silver (AB ’00) gave the keynote address before students dispersed into panels. Silver, a political and baseball analyst, founded blog, which gained celebrity for accurately predicting election results.

“I started playing poker…and it convinced me to leave my job and do things I found more enjoyable,” Silver said, getting laughs from the crowd. “If your path is non-linear—that’s a characteristic of successful people, actually.”

Benjamin Monahan-Estes, assistant director of college programming, felt that the year of planning that went into the event had paid off.

“In the past it was just a third-year event, but based on student feedback this year we expanded it to a two-class event,” Monahan-Estes said. “I think it went really well—each class had their own lunch, so they got to have their own separate experiences.”

Second-year Julian Quintanilla said he particularly enjoyed talking to Rebecca Jarvis, a financial journalist for CNBC, and Scott Morris, president of his own consulting firm.

“It’s cool to hear what people from our school do when they get out of college,” Quintanilla said.

Though he enjoyed Taking the Next Step, Quintanilla said the University-provided transportation to the event caused problems. He was one of several students who waited outside for 30 minutes in below-freezing temperatures when a bus failed to arrive on schedule.

“The bus company made some decisions on their own,” said Monahan-Estes. “As soon as we heard about the problem, we called them up and tried to fix it.”