Colby on the Road, a Colby Career Center series that connects students with alumni and parents in a range of employment sectors, is poised to expand this semester with the first international event—in Toronto. That trip, over spring break, will link Colby and University of Chicago alumni, parents, and students, and it will build on the success of Colby on the Road events held in Boston and New York.
The most recent event, and biggest yet, took 68 students considering careers in the financial industry to Boston for the opportunity to jump-start their professional futures at the fourth annual Paving the Road to a Future in Finance event, held Oct. 13.
“The connections that are made, the friendships that are reengaged, and the mentoring opportunities that arise are priceless,” said Jay Allen ’86, P ’15, managing director of fixed-income sales for Credit Suisse and the organizing force for Paving the Road events over the years. Allen called the event “a small demonstration of how powerful the Colby community is and how everyone can succeed together.”
Paving the Road provides a forum for parents and alumni to share experience and advice with Colby sophomores and juniors interested in finance careers. This year’s Paving the Road event, held at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, saw record attendance both by students and by alumni and parent volunteers.
“A small demonstration of how powerful the Colby community is.”
Jay Allen ’86
The second annual Colby on the Road trip to New York is scheduled immediately following Jan Plan this year. The first New York event, held at the end of Jan Plan 2015, served students interested in two sectors: in finance and in marketing and communications.
In Boston this fall students participated in informational panels and presentations about specific industries within finance, sat for mock interviews, and networked with parents and alumni. The event not only focused on finding internships and learning about different careers within the financial industry, it also concentrated on building a supportive career network.
Parents and alumni who participated in Paving the Road to a Future in Finance said they were impressed by the students’ preparedness and their desire to face challenges head on. “The breadth and depth of what students have accomplished already at such a young age is mind-boggling to me,” said Ben Thorndike ’78, North America alternative investments leader for Mercer Financial Investments, who presented a talk on structuring an effective job search.
Students also gave the event high marks. Kiernan Somers ’17, participating for the second time, said he “really appreciated the opportunity to converse with candid Colby parents and alumni, because they understand that they were once in our shoes.” Somers praised the event’s programming, noting that the companies represented were very attractive to Colby students, and the various discussion panels were targeted toward very specific areas.
The daylong event concluded with an evening networking experience, after which students got on a bus to return to Colby. The Colby Career Center’s detailed explanation of the event and the agenda from the fall 2015 Paving the Road to a Future in Finance is online.
Johnson and the Career Center are eager to expand the series with the help of alumni and parents. “If we continue to get resources, the program will continue to evolve,” she said.
One key to the success of Colby on the Road is its lack of roadblocks. Ensuring that costs are nonexistent or very low for the students is critically important, Johnson said.
“It’s very alumni and parents driven,” she said, particularly praising Jay Allen, who approached the Career Center to get the ball rolling, then recruited other people in finance and helped raise funds so that students wouldn’t be deterred by fees.