On a brisk Tuesday evening from 6-9 p.m., the annual COM networking presentation and reception took place at the grandiose BU Castle. This event was for College of Communication students looking to gain a little real world experience through networking.
COM seniors and graduate students were invited to the event to listen to Keynote Speaker Jodi R.R. Smith, president and owner of Mannersmith Consulting. After the presentation, a reception was held where students were able to network with BU alums and encouraged to use the new skills just learned in Smith’s presentation. The event was meant to give students working advice and experience in networking, a practice that all COM students will employ after graduation. Students were asked to treat the night as a professional networking event–to dress in professional attire and bring business cards and résumés.
Jodi founded Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting in 1996. Her lectures are designed to be educational and entertaining. Smith offered an energetic and interactive presentation on proper etiquette, and the dos and don’ts of professional networking. She addressed topics such as where to put your name tag, what to say for snippet starters, how to make a graceful exit, and how to assert your confidence.
“This is a chance for undergraduates and graduate students to practice (networking) before they get out in the real world where things really count,” said Smith. She was excited to be at BU, who was her first paying client, sharing professional wisdom and knowledge with COM students.
After the presentation, a reception was held where students were able to network with the alums and encouraged to use the new skills just learned from Smith’s presentation. The alums, ranging from recent graduates of the last few years to graduates of the past 20 years, were excited to offer academic and professional advice, as well as share experiences and give the students a chance to ask questions. Featured COM alumni from all fields included Christine Warner, Content Marketing Manager at Uber, Rachel Wasdyke, Associate Director of Publicity at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jonathan Yohannan, Director of Public Relations at Panera Bread, Edward Feather, Account Services Director of Cramer Advertising, Colleen Flynn, Media Relations Manager at WGBH, and more. Attendees were able to speak with all of these professionals in a more relaxed setting that allowed for flowing conversation.
BU M.S. in Public Relations alum, Jonathan Yohannan, also Director of Public Relations for Panera Bread, was among them. Yohannen stated, “You want to leave a university with the skills you need to find your first job, and these types of events are invaluable. To get alums to come in and practice (networking) with the students in a safe environment is invaluable, these are skills you’re going to take with you the next 10 to 20 years.”
As attendees broke up to mingle, delicious hors d’oeuvres were served, such as beef tenderloin bruschetta, pita chips with spinach and artichoke dips, sugar glazed bacon wrapped dates, and more. As these light refreshments were passed around, students and professionals mingled and discussed potential internships, jobs, and advice for future endeavors.
If you missed this COM networking event, be sure to mark down your calendar for the next one in 2016. It’s highly encouraged for students to attend to get experience in networking and start building connections that may lead to opportunities down the path.
Sandra Yoon is a senior studying public relations and sociology. Some of her passions include personal style, gleaning stamps on her passport, and dabbling in culinary arts. Follow Sandra on Instagram to accompany her on adventures.
Mary Landucci is a master’s candidate in public relations. She’s played the violin since she was eight years old. She loves animals, traveling, and eat good food with good wine. She has been to 26 states in the U.S. and is excited to explore more of the east coast during her time in Boston. Learn more about Mary on LinkedIn.