I have just returned from the iSchool’s Retail Road Trip in NYC and as expected it was insightful, but tiring. We visited companies big and small, Microsoft, First Data, Tory Burch, and Pinterest. Of course it was great to see these multimillion dollar companies up close and personal, but that wasn’t what inspired me on this trip.

Young Entrepreneurs

On the first day we met with two student entrepreneurs from the iSchool. We huddled into a small workspace in Brooklyn and spoke with them about their current endeavors. We met Dylan, a 2011 iSchool Grad and one of the co-founding brothers of Brevite. He took his skills from the iSchool and combined it with his brothers passion for business and design to create the ultimate camera bag/backpack crossover. Their tenacity and dreams made their need for something into a one of a kind business. In that small space in Brooklyn we also met Julia Haber, a 2017 Newhouse and iSchool dual grad who worked for companies such as Spotify and Snapchat, but didn’t find what she was looking for. So she started her own company, WAYV. WAYV brings brands to college campuses and through pop-ups.

Advice From Alumni

While sitting on the floor in Brooklyn the two entrepreneurs and another 2017 graduate who works for Amazon’s retail sector told us their stories. But after they were finished they wanted us to ask them questions about anything. From Syracuse, to how to land your dream internship, to what it’s like to live in New York City. Out of all the companies we visited on the road trip, this was the only way we could get advice about our careers from people that were in our shoes not too long ago. It was reassuring to see alumni who had the same dreams and fears as many of us. For the entrepreneurs in the room, they were able to get real information about how to start their own companies, and resources from the iSchool that they can utilize.

Alumni Are a Resource

We finished our first day with an alumni networking event back in Manhattan. Alumni from all different years came to visit and talk to us. As a senior on the trip, I asked them about how I should be looking at jobs and where to start. They offered very sound advice and, of course, encouraged me to add them on LinkedIn. Having that personal conversation with alums that remember the feeling of being a student and not knowing where they were headed allowed me to take a breather. Looking around the room at all the people who were succeeding in their careers and their everyday lives gave me the reassurance I need as a soon-to-be graduate myself.