Freeman Days: A Weekend of Networking, Connections For a Lifetime

By Tommy Milburn, Master of Finance 2014

If you’ve ever sought a job, then somebody has probably told you, “it’s not what you know; rather, it’s who you know.” There is no doubt that the Freeman School of Business’s Master of Finance candidates (MFIN) are developing a deep understanding of the subject of finance, but in order to find a job, this dedication in the classroom must also be met with a dedication to developing meaningful professional connections. Tulane has an extensive and responsive alumni network with whom students are encouraged to connect. The Freeman School’s Career Management Center puts students in a great position to leverage these connections at the annual “Freeman Days” networking events in New York City, Chicago, Houston and New Orleans. Master of Finance students recently had the chance to participate in the Freeman Days event in the biggest finance job market in the world, New York City.

Instead of throwing students into the high pressure situation of a traditional career fair, Tulane recognizes the importance of building meaningful, lasting links between students and the professionals that could be potential employers. Many of the alumni acknowledge that they are much more likely to hire somebody or recommend somebody for a position if they have an established relationship. Hong “Albert” Chang recalls his interaction with an alumnus that works at Morgan Stanley: “They did not provide any hiring information, but shared a lot of valuable personal experience with us.” Gaining insight from professionals is a valuable part of the job-hunting equation. In an environment like Freeman Days, companies are not selling themselves to candidates and students are seeking information about companies and career paths as opposed to individual jobs, so the interaction becomes much more honest. Morgan Kinsey remarked that, “Alumni and industry professionals can provide a great deal of insight into what it is like to actually work in these industries–something that you simply cannot get in the classroom.”

In addition to the networking sessions, Tulane offered development sessions to help develop students’ networking skills. Claire Ganey said her participation in the LinkedIn tutorial session was very beneficial because, “I’m new to the website and it can be overwhelming at times. The alumni who were conducting the session knew LinkedIn very well and helped us learn how to connect and network efficiently. I also learned some new features on LinkedIn that I didn’t even know existed for connecting to Tulane alum.” Tulane also offered focused networking sessions for Finance, Marketing and Energy. These focused sessions highlighted how to network effectively within these industries. When asked about the Finance focused networking, Jean Faggianelli said that, “Meeting all these people working in very different companies was really interesting. It allowed me to learn a lot and to discover new companies that I could see myself applying to.” Moreover, exposure to different companies can be extremely beneficial because smaller, more specialized firms often times provide a great developmental opportunity, yet see far fewer applications than bulge bracket firms, giving the individual with the inside connection a significant advantage.

In the end, a job hunt is about seeking out opportunities and capitalizing upon said opportunities when they present themselves. Tulane’s Freeman Days events allow students to build the connections within an industry that are necessary for networking effectively. My major take away from the Freeman Days experience is that students are rarely “handed” a job. Even CEOs of major firms were once baby-faced college students, waiting in line to have somebody take a glimpse of their resume. Even though every attempt at networking with somebody may not be successful, Tulane alumni are open and willing to help students because they’ve previously been in the same position. Thanks to the efforts of the Career Management Center and Tulane’s administration, students can leverage connections and insight to find a job, which is a formula for success. No matter the field, expertise or geographic location, Tulane students always “know somebody”.

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