Our posse of M&Ts rolled out seven deep from our midtown office around 6:00 pm to walk to the M&T NY Alumni Annual Summer Networking Event, excited, but unsure what to expect.
I say ‘posse’ and not ‘group’, because that’s really what we were. Maybe when the program was founded, or even 10 – 15 years ago, ‘group’ would have been more of an appropriate word, but not anymore. If there was one thing I got out of the summer event, it was that M&T has evolved beyond merely just a program – it’s a tight community – a posse in the truest sense of the word.
The first thing that struck me was the number of current M&T students who had come with their bosses and coworkers who were also M&Ts. One of my good friends showed up with an alum who was also the CEO of the fashion company she is working at. When I introduced myself to the busy CEO, she immediately told me how much she loves my friend and proceeded to invite all of the current students in the city to come tour her office.
Two other friends who are working at another startup also showed up with a coworker who was also an M&T alum, and also happened to be married to another M&T graduate.
However, possibly the most notable was the group of six students hired by the CEO and co-founder of the company I have spent my summer at.
These companies feel comfortable hiring M&Ts because not only do they know exactly the type of student they will be working with, but alumni also feel highly committed to the program and it is a win-win for them to give back to the community.
The second thing I noticed (as I previously mentioned) at the event was how tight the undergraduate community has become.
Speaking to alumni, it was apparent that it hasn’t always been this way. The M&T program, from what I am told, was originally founded with the sole purpose of being an educational program for students to learn to bridge the gap between engineers and business people.
However, the program is currently less of just a program and more of a network and community. When we weren’t connecting with the alumni and finding out about them, we were catching up with one another – simply because we are friends. In fact, I had seen almost every one of my fellow undergrads in attendance at different times throughout the summer.
After the event we even all went out to grab dinner together – even the kids who had to travel back home to different states that night. That is how close our community is.
The final thing that really stood out to me during the event was the eagerness of alumni to help current students out in any way they can.
A recruiter for an internship program at a large notable bank told me that just having M&T on your resume will get you put into the pile of applicants to be looked at closer – no small feat when there are thousands of students from all around the nation applying for just a few spots.
Another alum who works at a medical technology firm explained to me all of the options for everything from engineering to consulting in the field and how I could get my foot in the door if I wanted.
Yet another alumnus said he wanted to organize trips for small groups of students to come to New York during the year and visit his private equity firm along with several other offices of M&T alums to find out about the career and mentoring options available to us.
My favorite though had to be a boisterous and exciting man who turned out to be my boss’ old roommate. He gave me his card and told me to call him anytime I wanted to bounce ideas off of him – but then he told me that if I sent him an email in a few weeks, he’d help the interns come up with an epic way to prank our boss before we left. We can’t wait.