BCLA Career Chats: Connecting Students to Opportunity

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts students attended the fifth annual Career Chats on Wednesday, Feb. 6, where they spent the evening learning from alumni how a liberal arts degree can set you up for success in a variety of ways.

The event, co-sponsored by Career and Professional Development, was designed to encourage networking and meaningful interactions between students and alumni. Roski Dining Hall was divided into five networking zones, where students and alumni congregated to discuss suggested topics such as ‘backpack to briefcase’; ‘where do I start?’; ‘beyond the B.A.’; and ‘what are you going to do with that?’.

Alumni from industries such as social services, non-profits, politics and governments, professional writing, hospitality, global and international affairs, sales, and arts, culture, and entertainment offered valuable advice to undergraduate students. Monika McKnight ’01, majored in economics and finance, and now works for the City of Los Angeles. In a conversation with Declan Tomlinson, a freshman international relations major, and Henry Kombol, an undeclared freshman, she encouraged them to build job shadowing and internships into their four-year plans.

“I am grateful to have an opportunity to meet alumni and start thinking about potential careers early,” said Tomlinson.

Recent alumna Chloe Hall ’18, economics, is just beginning her career at Clearsulting. She was talking with students in the ‘backpack to briefcase’ zone about the LMU to workforce transition.

“Expect the unexpected and approach every job with a positive attitude and patience. Patience perseveres because you never know where your next lesson is going to come from. There are hard lessons that come from first failures, but your first successes are an indescribable feeling,” Hall said.

In the ‘what are you going to do with that?’ zone, Ashley Mansour ’07 found herself talking with fellow English majors. She just finished producing the film adaptation of the New York Times bestselling novel “Back Roads,” which stars Juliette Lewis and was an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival.

“I thought Career Chats was the perfect opportunity to come back to LMU and say look what is possible as a woman and an English major. Find a community that will support your dreams,” she encouraged.

Students left the event with many great takeaways, especially the notion that their liberal arts degree can take them wherever they want to go in life. They also experienced that the career development process involves action. Learning how to introduce yourself, network, and ask the right questions are all valuable skills that enhance your career trajectory.