Following three successful LMU Career Treks during the 2017-18 academic year, the Career and Professional Development initiative that connects students with alumni will expand in the coming months to a new city and additional workplaces.
In 2017-18, 56 LMU students joined three treks to businesses in Los Angeles, New York City, Orange County and Silicon Beach. More are planned in 2018-19 – including the first-ever visit to Chicago – with the goal of introducing additional students to potential careers that align with their interests and majors.
“Since offering our first trek three years ago, over 200 students have traveled to 40 companies where LMU alumni are employed, in cities such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Sacramento, and throughout Los Angeles,” said Branden Grimmett, associate provost for Career and Professional Development. “By connecting with alumni in their workplace, students gain firsthand knowledge of the skills employers seek in new hires.”
During the fall and spring, CPD staff members coordinated Career Treks to more than two dozen workplaces, in coordination with 20 alumni. The treks were organized around industry areas such as performing arts and nonprofits, business and finance, and sports, marketing and community affairs.
Students visited an array of workplaces, including the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Museum of Contemporary Art, Center Theatre Group and P.S. Arts in Los Angeles; and Spotify, CNN Money, Johnson & Johnson, Public Theater, Morgan Stanley, Richard Rodgers Theater, Hi-ARTS, Bloomberg, We Work, Amazon and the United Nations in New York.
The final trek of the academic year featured visits to the Staples Center and Los Angeles Clippers’ office in downtown Los Angeles, the Orange County Soccer Club in Irvine, the Legends marketing and hospitality firm in Playa Vista, and Los Angeles World Airports’ LAX headquarters.
For Riis Irving-Peterson, a senior communications and international relations major, the New York Career Trek was eye opening. The Lake Tahoe resident said the trip offered him a chance to gain professional experience and advice in a market outside of Los Angeles – and an opportunity to explore a wide range of fields in a short amount of time.“The most memorable site visit for me was Spotify,” Irving-Peterson said. “Not only was it a visit to my favorite and most-used music streaming app but, it was an amazing event to meet and network with LMU alumni who had moved to New York. They were able to share their stories of success with us, which showed us that it is possible to move where you love and do what you love there.”
Irving-Peterson said he is aiming for a job in brand management and/or marketing following graduation. The Career Trek “definitely brought to life the perks of working for a new age tech company” he added, and it helped him realize that he’d like to live and work in New York within the next five years.
One recent alumnus who participated in a Career Trek said he welcomed the opportunity to share experiences working for a pro-sports team in Orange County and offer advice for breaking into the industry.
“I loved my time at LMU and am very grateful for the mentors I had in college, so I’m always excited to give back,” said Ray Ferrari, ’15, who serves as director of ticket sales and service for the Orange County Soccer Club in Irvine. During his time with the LMU students, Ferrari offered a tour of Championship Soccer Stadium inside Irvine’s Great Park, held a Q&A session, and introduced the group to Chief Operating Officer Mark Entner, who graduated from LMU in 1998 with a business degree.
“It’s important for students to prepare themselves for life beyond graduation by exposing themselves to real-life experiences while in college by getting off campus,” Ferrari said. “Whether that’s through an internship with a corporation, doing service in the community, or through programs like Career Trek, it’s beneficial to meet with real people in real-world jobs and network and learn as much as possible from these people.”
Since the Career Treks initiative started in 2015-16, students have joined nine trips to a half-dozen cities.
In addition to the upcoming Chicago trip in spring 2019, which will include stops to management and HR/consulting firms and nonprofits, students will have an opportunity to visit the Bay Area in October for a trek focused on entrepreneurship, computer science and technology. A second trek planned in spring 2019 will again feature New York workplaces, with the focus on the arts and business and finance careers.