Make the Most of the Your Columbia Experience


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

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Don't Worry So Much About Getting Your Ideal Job Right Out of School


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

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Learn All the Rules


Learn all the rules, but don't feel chained to them. Don't be afraid to take a new road. It's sometimes easier to ask for forgiveness then it is to ask for permission.

Atul Kapoor SEAS '14

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Start Early


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

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Don't Expect It's Going to be Easy


Don't expect it's going to be easy, just work as hard as you can and you'll get through it....

-Arthur Michael Ambrosino SEAS '03

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Network with Alumni


network with alumni, stay involved with alumni groups and events

-Ariana Mason CC '08

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Career Services for Alumni Are Really Helpful


Career service for alumni is really helpful

-Anthony MAK BUS '14

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Have Confidence in the Education You Received


Have confidence that the education you receive from Columbia will prepare you for the real world, no matter your GPA.


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Hang in There


Hang in there. The big world can seem confusing, but a Columbia degree is a huge advantage in getting a job (and impressing people). That may not be fair, but that's the system.

-Anne Lake Prescott MA 1961; PhD 1967

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Try to Put Together Enough of Your Own Starting-Out Capital


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

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Your First Job is Not Your Last Job


Your first job is not your last job. Just get started.

-Andrea McBride Graduate School of Architecture '92

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Network as Much as Possible


Network as much as possible

-Andrea Zoso GSB '08

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Think Like Inventors


In terms of the profession I earned at Columbia, journalism, the advice I now give young people is to think like inventors, or avoid the industry that has caved in on its dwellers or inventors.

-Amotz Asa-El JRN'91

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Use the Ivy League to Your Advantage


Use the fact that you graduated from an Ivy League school to your advantage. Don't be afraid to name-drop. It's not what you learned that's important, it's where you went to school.

-Amanda Kirk SIPA 1995

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Figure Out What You Enjoy


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

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It Doesn't Matter WHAT You Studied


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

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Stay in Touch as Much as Possible


Stay in touch as much as is possible and appropriate with faculty and/or staff with whom you may have had some particular relationship or shared interest. 

-Abby Bonime Adams-Silvan, Ph.D. Barnard B.A.' 52 Columbia Ph.D. '57

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Don't Compare Yourself With Anybody Else


Don't compare yourself with anybody else. We all have our own story, interests, skills, and what matters is what you do with yours.

-Greg Emerson '09JRN

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Your Skills and Education Are Exemplary

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

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Columbia Taught Me That the Sky is Not the Limit

Columbia taught me that the sky is not the limit, and for that I will be forever grateful.

- Mike Massimino ’84SEAS

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If You Don't Risk Anything...

If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more

- Erika Jong, ’63BC, ’65GSAS

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Go Forth Proudly

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

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Follow Your Inner Moonlight

Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness

- Allen Ginsberg ’48CC

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Study Hard and Well, But Become a New Yorker

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 

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"What’s Not in Your Brains is in Your Feet"

"What’s not in your brains is in your feet” my father told me, and I have been reminded of it most every day of my career."

- Noetzel, MD

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Keep Calm and…

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes! Or of using tired cliches. Heh.

-Wale Ogundipe '06CC

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You Are Here to Explore

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!

- Rajib

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Optimism is Essential to Achievement

Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of of courage and true progress

- Nicholas Butler 1882CC

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How to Do What You Love

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Embrace All the World Has to Offer You

Embrace all the world has to offer you; and in turn, all YOU have to offer to the world. You are more prepared than you know.

- Lorraine Ortega DPT ‘13 

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You Are Not Your Degree or Your Job

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

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Break the Ice

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

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Every Job is Honorable

Now that your school work is complete, approach each assignment with humility, hard work, and humor.

- Roberto Vidal

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If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Path Will Take You There

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

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There’s Plenty of Time to Make Money

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

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Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Get married and stay married.
Show up every day.
Do yoga.

- Lawrence Nelson

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it’s Not Who You Know in This World That Counts, it’s Whom

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

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Riches are Inside Yourself

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

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Remember Columbia

Volunteer as often and in any way you can.  Like wine, your Columbia experience gets better with age and occasional tastings.

- Paul Chiu ‘85, '94

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Don’t Forget to Take Time for Fun

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

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Open Horizons and Practical Knowledge

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

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Marry Well...

Marry well, have kids early and often.

- Chuck Callan '78CC

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Get Some Sort of Graduate Degree

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

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Work Now Like Others Won’t, so You Can Live Later Like Others Can't

“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

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Life-Long Learning

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

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Look Up, Not Down

Look up, not down at your smartphone or iPad. View the world directly, not electronically. You’ll be surprised how fascinating it is.

- Peter Aczel '49CC 

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Continue To Be Enamored by the Law

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

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The Most Important Skill You Can Learn is...

The most important skill you can learn is ….recovery, because at some time almost everything goes to hell in some way and you have to fix it.

- William Smith ‘69BUS 

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Never Stop Making a Positive Difference in the World!

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.

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Open Mind

Open mind. Open heart. Open eyes.

- Jennifer Birmingham 

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