Make the most of the your Columbia experience; It has stood me in good stead not only in my professional life but carrying over to my retirement. I am actively involved in the national movement to ensure that medical technology does not exceed compassionate medical care to terminally ill elders.
-Barbara MacInnes Mailman School of Public Health 1982
Don't worry so much about getting your ideal job right out of school - learn from it! You're working towards a career.
-Ayelet Haran SIPA '11
Start early. At least two semesters before graduation, start looking for employment on campus, with seniors and alums, your professors, and even friends & family. And, always keep your eyes and ears open i.e. don't get too sucked into work. Socialize and connect with people at work and outside at all levels for an all-round development.
-Ashish Sharma SEAS '06
Try to put together enough of your own starting-out capital for a decent working wardrobe, a decent place to live, some furniture, transportation, and a cash reserve bridge until the paychecks really start coming in. I was first-generation college in my family and had no resources or family help upon graduation (not even to move!). If you can, try to plan for this sharp transition and line up as much help as you can while managing expectations all around. It will help you think and plan for the longer term and make better decisions than the short-term panic that some face.
-Ann Hewitt Worthington BUS '82
The advice given by Professor Mario Salvadori to me and others. "Figure out what you enjoy and what you are good at. If they are the same, then pursue it. The money will be there. If not, I can't help you."
-Allan Cytryn SEAS 1972, GSAAP 1975, SEAS 1979
It doesn't matter WHAT you studied; your degree coupled with your other accomplishments (internships, leadership experiences, volunteering, etc.) will communicate much about who you are and your potential once you're "out in the world."
-Alejandro J Aleman SIPA '97
There is a saying that Don Shula, Hall of Fame Coach use to say to his team: Whether you think you can or cannot, you are right!!
You have skills and education that is exemplary. Use them wisely to help mankind and strive for your own betterment. Don’t let arrogance get in the way of your success. And don’t let small-minded people detract you from greater goals. Build friendships and relationships based on trust and respect. And as a good New Yorker, say what you mean and commit to what you say.
I wish you all the best success in your careers and personal lives.
- David Friedman ‘71 MSEE
Go forth proudly with the superior credential of a Columbia degree - But always remember that you were intellectually endowed and academically privileged. Be open and inclusive and give lots back to the world-at-large. Love thy neighbor in the most holistic way.
- Jim Griffith, '48CC
Study hard and well, but become a New Yorker. Jump full force into the cultural life of one of the world’s greatest cities. Wake up early and study; attend your classes and then indulge your cultural interests late into the night. Forget a good night’s sleep; it’s a waste of your youth. Be true to yourself in private and public life.
Furthermore, always be aware that Columbia offers one of the finest educational experiences in the world and, if you dig deep, you’ll connect with some of the greatest minds anywhere to be found. Talk you way into any course that truly interests you, graduate courses can be open to everyone; don’t forget that. It served me well and I am forever grateful.
- Andrew Chase
Since you are here already you are undoubtedly talented. But Grad school is more than that - DON’T limit yourself to a coterie, be open-minded, be patient, explore the diversity of the city, and learn how to sacrifice. Meet new people (beyond intimate friends and teachers) who are able to mold your ‘talent’ into a scholarly ‘genius’ in many different ways!
Go live fully, creating value in the world without focusing solely on the value on the balance sheet. Continue to grow intellectually, emotionally and, yes, spiritually. Look to the the challenges facing humanity and apply your best efforts to solving them for a better future for those yet to come.
- Bill Crosbie '04
Community exists because the members of one establish and maintain connections. Be bold about doing both; you will find that once you have broken the ice, natural affections and inclinations to communicate nearly propagate themselves. Before you know it, you will have built something larger than and as good as friendship.
- Nick Graham '95CC
There’s plenty of time to make money. Get as much international experience as possible, see the world and make friends and contacts along your journey. Understanding the amazing diversity and global connectedness of the world will always serve you in whatever path you choose to pursue.
- Glenn Hodes
Steve Isaacs, my favorite professor in the Graduate School of Journalism, told me: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path will take you there.” Don’t freak out about your first job, your initial choices. You will remake your career plans many times over. If you’re lucky, you may be headed to jobs/places/people you can’t even imagine on your graduation day!
- Rachel Coker ‘97JRN
Quoting Oz Elliott, former dean of the J School: “Always remember — as you go out to seek your fortune, your fame, your fulfillments — always remember that it’s not who you know in this world that counts, it’s whom.”
- Sam Roe '86JRN
You have chosen to enrich your minds, bodies, souls, and characters by attending Columbia. You will carry that around with you for the rest of your life, and no-one can take that away from you. Well done!
Anne Hamilton, MFA (theatre criticism and dramaturgy), '94SOA
Don’t forget to take time for fun, for the people, places, pets and projects that make you happy. When you’re lying on your death bed, do you really think you’ll wish you had spent more time in the office? Worked harder or longer? Take time for joy. Also, don’t go into newspaper journalism.
- Sherri Hildebrandt '83JRN
1. Get some sort of graduate degree. A BA only is not enough.
2. Get someone to critique your writing and communications skills. They are critical in any job situations, particularly at higher levels.
3. Find a city or county with a high level of education; that is where job growth will occur.
4. Don’t ignore the public service, although the wages in the short term may be not competitive with the private sector in certain job categories.
5. Find a way to find out what the organizational culture is before accepting a job.
6. Never stop learning.
- Jack Underhill
Follow the wonderful advice here about open doors and open horizons, but also learn to be an part of a working community and develop a work ethic, a sense of how to be an employee and a boss, walk into the professional world prepared in every way possible. You’ll live longer and do better. Observe keenly.
- Erica Meyer Rauzin
“Work now like others won’t, so you can live later like others can’t."
Do not waste your precious time on people who do not matter. Wish them well and mean it, but let them enjoy the company of others while you focus on people who matter in your life.
- Audrey Beerman
The process of learning does not end when you graduate. You must strive to learn something new every day and pass that knowledge on to your work colleagues, children, and fellow-citizens of planet earth. Your success will be measured more by what you learn and pass on than what you earn.
- Thomas Costigan ‘79CC
Continue to be enamored by the law and the unparalleled importance it has to make our society better, even if you aren’t pursuing a public interest career. You will find a way to be a part of the hallowed halls of justice no matter what your job and in that way you will maintain the integrity of the law in our society and be part of a profession you are proud of. Best of luck to each of you!
- Amisha Mody Mehta '98
Life will pull you in many different directions after you graduate, but never give up making a difference in the world. Use all your gifts, talents, and abilities to make the world a better place. Use your degree and the honor that it confers upon you to pursue more justice, peace, wisdom, caring, and compassion in our world. Keep moving forward and leave gentle, transformative waves behind you as you do, to make others’ lives better in your wake. Good luck!!!!
- Lynn R. Schechter, Ph.D.