According to Claudia Moreno, students often take for granted how accessible and humble the MIT Sloan alumni community is.
“Now is the time to reach out and establish a relationship without the stress of an interview environment,” she says.
Last year, Moreno, a current student in the dual-degree program at MIT Sloan and the Harvard Kennedy School, served as the emcee for “Sloanies Helping Sloanies: Enabling Career Connections,” which returns to the Samberg Conference Center on Tuesday, February 28. The annual networking event brings together local alumni and students from all degree programs to strengthen personal and professional ties across the MIT Sloan community.
“Keep an open mind,” says Moreno, who also recommends that her fellow students relax. These conversations can be without the pressures of making a good impression or ensuring specific next steps.
“Life takes many turns,” she adds, “and you never know how you can help each other out—whether it’s a year or 10 years down the line.”
The importance (and fun) of forging connections
At the MIT Sloan Career Development Office (CDO), which provides networking and career services to current students, alumni, and industry partners, the importance of hosting events like Sloanies Helping Sloanies is significant.
“Connection is one of our core values, and facilitating connections between our dynamic talent community of alumni and students supports their career advancement and fulfillment,” says Susan Brennan (Assistant Dean, Career Development Office). “In these turbulent times, Sloanies Helping Sloanies is even more than an event—it is our north star.”
Hence why the CDO has partnered with the MIT Sloan Office of External Relations, the MIT Sloan Student Senate, and the MIT Sloan Boston Alumni Association (MITSBAA) to sponsor the annual networking event. It is, as Brennan explains, a “true model of collaboration” between student leaders, local alumni, several MIT Sloan offices, and affiliated local organizations.
Of course, an evening of building new connections would not be complete without hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and a little bit of fun. As Moreno and many other past participants are quick to note, students, alumni, and staff planning to attend on Tuesday should come ready to meet, greet, and have a good time.
“Sloanies Helping Sloanies is one of my favorite community events of the year,” says Shauna LaFauci Barry (Alumni Career Coach; Senior Associate Director, Career Development Office). “I love the opportunity to step away from the computer screen and reconnect through organic and authentic conversations with amazing Sloanies. I always leave feeling energized by their aspirations and what we can achieve together as a community.”
Barry’s emphasis on community is key to how the CDO and its fellow co-sponsors see events like Sloanies Helping Sloanies. As Sahil Joshi, MBA ’20, a member of this year’s planning committee, puts it, “MIT Sloan is more than the experience you have while on campus. It is a community that stays with you.”
Providing such opportunities to students, alumni, and industry partners is integral to the mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management, explains Joshi, who is a member of the MIT Sloan Alumni and the MITSBAA boards. By utilizing these opportunities to build and support the MIT Sloan community, it can continue to grow.
“Attending [Sloanies Helping Sloanies] helps keep connections strong between the classes, and that strength is what makes the MIT community so powerful,” says Courtney Jacobovits, MBA ’22, a private wealth advisor at Goldman Sachs.
A former MIT Sloan Student Senate co-president who attended last year’s event before her graduation, Jacobovits highlights the power of the MIT Sloan community and its accessibility to students and alumni—especially when it comes to gatherings like Sloanies Helping Sloanies.
“Alumni understand the experience of current students and are often well-positioned to assist with professional development, but a sometimes overlooked element is that students can also provide value to alumni, as they are often close to newer technologies and pedagogies,” she says. “You never know who you will meet or who they may be willing to connect you with.”
And do not forget to have fun while seeking help and being helpful, adds Jacobovits. “Networking is not a four-letter word. It’s community building!”