Students obtain career advice at networking night

More than 75 alumni and students shared good conversation, refreshments and career advice at the Villanova Networking Night with Maggie Mistal hosted by the Villanova University Alumni Association, Career Services and the Student Alumni Relations Team at Villanova’s Conference Center on Oct. 17.

As part of Homecoming festivities, the VUAA enlisted the services of Maggie Mistal, a ’95 VU alumna, certified career coach, speaker and host of “Career Talk with Maggie” on Martha Stewart Living Radio, SIRIUS 112 to promote career development among its members and students.

Mistal was on hand to help facilitate networking among the group and offer advice on how to network effectively, develop career satisfaction and find a job.

The Networking Night was just one of many events and services the Alumni Association offers to students before they become alumni.

“The Alumni Association can play an active role with assisting students in career development and exploration,” said Gary Olsen ’74, executive director of the Villanova University Alumni Association. “We want students to know the VUAA is for them not only when they leave Villanova, but now as undergraduates. Alumni are a great resource and eager to help students in whatever way we can.”

Some students in attendance hoped to make contacts for internships or jobs and learn about how to network, while others had never been to a networking event before. “I really had no idea what networking entailed,” said Brian Ziemer, a senior economics and finance major. “I learned a little about how to network.”

Ziemer also accomplished some career exploration.

“I’m not exactly sure what I want to do, but this event gave me the opportunity to talk with alum in different careers and make contacts,” he said. “I’m hoping I’ll come closer to discovering what I want.”

Senior Elizabeth Schirmer, an international business and marketing major who wants a medical sales career, came to make contacts.

She met two alumni in the field and spoke with an international tour agent. Now she’s not so sure sales is her desired career path.

“I’m going to talk to her more,” Schirmer said. “Most positions are filled through internal hires or personal recommendation. That’s what makes events like this and alumni contact so valuable. It’s an opportunity to make a personal connection that may lead to something in the future.”

Senior Vanessa Brochin aspires to a legal or political career and hoped to meet alumni who could offer advice or provide a job connection.

“I also thought the event was a way to hone my interview skills with professionals in a non-threatening environment,” she said.

Brochin feels it’s “great” that the Alumni Association does events like this for students. She sees the VUAA as a student resource.

“VU alumni have knowledge and experience to share in a multitude of careers that can help students reach their career goals,” she said. “They’re potential mentors who have connections to make your career happen.”

For Emily Dutch, a senior communications major and business minor, the night was time well spent. She left with a contact from Lincoln Financial, a firm with whom she has a scheduled interview.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m going to call her after my interview to talk some more about opportunities. If this is all I walk away with tonight, I’m pleased.”

The VUAA and START are planning more events and services for students, including an evening with Maggie Mistal in New York City on Jan. 10.

For more information, visit