Networking Night

Welcome to Live and Learn, a production of the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut. I am Danielle Chaloux and this week we’re hearing from students and alumni at last Fall’s networking night sponsored by the student alumni association. If you’re looking to connect with fellow students and UConn grads this semester’s networking night is on Thursday, March 1st in the Alumni center starting at 6:30pm. Visit for more information.


DC: “What made you come to the networking event tonight?”

“Oh I attended the CLAS networking night and I gained a lot of information through them as well about how to connect to other people and what networking really is.”

DC: “can you define it?”

“It’s going out and creating a connection with someone else that can help guide you further in your education or in your future.”


DC: “so as someone who has the career experience, you’ve made the next step successfully- I’m presuming- how have you been able to do that? and what would you tell students that are looking at that next step?”

“Well, part of what we discussed tonight, it’s going to be at some point in your career it will be who you know and not what you know and it doesn’t hurt to listen to an opportunity. It may be an opportunity you don’t think is right for you, but it never hurts to listen. Because sometimes the perception of what you think the opportunity is about and what the reality is can be completely different. So having every chance to listen and sit down and talk and explore it is important. So I would say that in itself is great. I remember taking away from, my brother graduated, his commencement speaker said, “in your career, it’s not until you find your fifth job until you find your career” so you’re fifth stop is not where you’ll end up, but where you’ll kind of plant roots”

DC: “put all the pieces together”


DC: “And what has uconn taught you in your career”

“I’m a people-person and I think a lot of that came from the courses I took like public speaking and acting courses and brought out different traits of mine that I can use in my career every day. So I can say I took that from UConn.”


“So my biggest recommendation is to join an activity and be actively involved. There are so many student activities, you can have leadership roles, and get experience, and meet people and immediately become engaged with a group of people.


“I think don’t worry as much as you’re probably worrying right now because I think the benefit of being a liberal arts student at UConn is the fact that you have such a broad and diverse background. And embrace that and know that that actually is what the future holds for you. Employers are looking for candidates that have certain skills and what they bring to the table and they are not going to look for that niche. You don’t have to solve for everything as a freshman and a sophomore the opportunities will be there. I think if you embrace what UConn offers, by the exposure that you have, and again all that you will learn over the course of your four years, as each year progresses it’s going to become a little more clear. And even when you graduate with that degree I think you do speak to alumni members where they started out in isn’t always where they ended up.”

DC: “So where did you start?”

“Communications was my major and after failing an accounting class and realizing perhaps business is not where I want to be but that’s where I thought when I came here as a student. But then bridged into communication and from there realized I can use that as I went into marketing because, again, I was able take al lot of the skills I used here and, again, it’s things like working in a team environment, it’s being able to juggle and prioritize projects, it’s being able to articulate, being clear in how you write and how you speak. Those are just some of the core skills the university helps you refine and gives you exposure and opportunities to learn further. That’s what really takes you further, I think when you leave here with your degree you have that opportunity, no one is rigidly looking to pigeon-hole you so don’t torture yourself and do it on your own.”


“I would tell my younger self to pay attention and be more aware of what you’re looking for. Also, my younger self figure out what you want early because then you can start building up for that moment. If you start your first year and you keep building up through your fourth year you’ll eventually get what you want and I think that’s the best thing you can do.”


“A good thing you can do when going to any networking event is having questions prepared to ask the people you are speaking with so that you’re never stuck in awkward silence. If you don’t know what to say”

DC:”What questions are on your list?”

“Oh where are you from? I know someone from that area.

have you been to bla-bla-bla near that area? What do you do at your company? How long have you been at your company? And things similar to that.”


“The only thing I can talk relative to networking is…it is such a small world out there that you will run into people over and over again in your career and if you developed those connections, you are going to run into those people again. Maybe as a competitor, or as a customer, or vender, or whatever. And, you already have a relationship developed that will help you in your job. And if you don’t and if you develop a not-so-nice relationship, that can hurt you as well but the whole issue of networking can be wonderful. And, as I said, helping you in the future, you just don’t know what the future is going to bring.”


DC: “And what are you doing for work?”

“I work in human resources”

DC: “okay and so how did you get there from where you started”

“Just networking because I met a friend from here at UConn when we first started at the West Hartford branch so when I cam back from over seas I was in contact him and he helped network me a job where he used to work.”


“It’s all about the people. Regardless of what business you’re in, it’s a people-business. You’ve got to be able to deal well with people and that will be part of your success is dealing with people”


“Whatever comes your way, grasping it and going with it.”

DC: “And what have some of those opportunities been?”

“For example, I was really interested in medicine. So I was stressing out trying to find shadowing experiences, ended up working at a baking shop over the summer and the baker’s owner, her sister was a PA, so I was able to shadow an open heart surgery done by her sister and that was something just by chance, it wasn’t anything I was seeking to happen.”

DC: “So what have you learned from networking? Kind of generally”

“From networking most importantly I learned it doesn’t matter who you’re talking to because someone knows someone who knows someone or whatever they may do, if it’s not exactly what you want them to do, once you start talking to them you can change your mind about your whole career path.”


That’s all for this week, if you’re looking for a chance to win an Honors long sleeve t-shirt visit where the code word is networking.