The Point of Connection
St. Lawrence alumni are eager to help current students launch meaningful careers. This program makes it happen.
“SLU Connect looks to help St. Lawrence students understand and navigate the various work environments and cities where, after graduation, these Laurentians can express themselves and their professional interests.”
Obi Nwaigwe ’14 is describing SLU Connect. For three years now, he’s been a volunteer with the program, which brings students to some of the most competitive job markets across the country. SLU Connect – Boston, where Nwaigwe works, was one of the first. These networking events are also held in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Big Sky, MT, Burlington, VT and, this fall, New York City.
As part of the program, Nwaigwe advises St. Lawrence students about careers and helps them acclimate to the complex social norms of modern workplaces. Many of these interactions are one-on-one and each meeting gives students more of a competitive edge in the job market and, as the name suggests, more connections to launch the career they want.
“St. Lawrence provided me with great educational tools to put to good use,” Nwaigwe says. “The University helped me develop intellectual skills and identify my professional goals and aspirations. I feel like I have to pay it forward.”
He says he wants St. Lawrence graduates to have the resources they need to build a thriving career.
Formerly at Bain Capital, Nwaigwe is now an analyst with IEX Group. Through SLU Connect, he recently sat down with three St. Lawrence students who were interested in following a path similar to his.
“We met in Boston for lunch,” he says. “We talked about working in financial services and I noticed they were siloing themselves, focusing only on a narrow niche within the industry. I advised them to think more broadly, use their
St. Lawrence liberal arts education, and consider additional options. They didn’t have to abandon their plans, but add to them. There are FinTech [Financial Technology companies] and other startups that can also offer meaningful paths to the careers they want.”
He added that he gets a lot from these meetings as well.
“These St. Lawrence students are hungry,” he says, “and they’re excited to become successful professionals. So they ask great questions: ‘Should I focus on making money or gaining experience?’ ‘Should I intern where I want to work or someplace very different?’ These were questions similar to those I wrestled with after graduating from business school.”
He’s impressed, he adds, with their initiative and attention to detail.
“Their Laurentian character — their curiosity and drive, their sense of purpose — will take them far. By taking part in SLU Connect, and taking it seriously, they are actively launching their own careers. And you can tell this is a great program, because one connection leads to many more.”
As Laurentian alumni have taken note of the SLU Connect program’s success, some, like Martha MacCallum ’86, have come forward to provide vital financial support through The Campaign for Every Laurentian.
MacCallum anchors “The Story” on Fox News and she’s impressed by the networking program and its results.
“I think it’s important to make sure we’re giving St. Lawrence students opportunities to experience a taste of life after graduation,” she says. “When they make the effort to explore the cities and job markets they’ll inhabit, alumni can help them realize careers that are a good fit. SLU Connect does this, so it’s a great program to support.”
MacCallum says she’s looking forward to SLU Connect – NYC, which will bring students to New York City later this year.
“It’s no secret that St. Lawrence has really great networks and that alumni love to reach back and help students. I think there’s something about the Laurentian spirit that just bonds people together. It makes them want to help each other, before and after they graduate. I don’t know what the secret sauce is, but it’s working. And I absolutely want to be part of helping students continue to build that because it really is special.”
Every Laurentian is part of a community that can help each individual student, parent, faculty, staff, alumna, or alumnus. We are a network connecting one another to internships, graduate schools, jobs, and opportunities of all kinds. The Campaign for Every Laurentian will help our students realize their unique potential and empower them to contribute to our community and our world.
For more information on the St. Lawrence Power of Connections, click here.