Students Trek across NYC to Explore Career Landscapes

By Neiman Mocombe ’26
During spring break, Bowdoin's Office of Career Exploration and Development (CXD) led student excursions to New York City to explore career paths in marketing and communications, technology, and finance (the last trip in partnership with Bowdoin's investments office).

Around sixty students participated in the all-expenses-paid trips after applying for a spot. The students chose one of the three trips based on their interests: the Creative Trek, Tech Trek, or InvesTrek.

Over two packed days, not including travel days, students visited employers from morning to late afternoon. At each site, they met with Bowdoin alumni, gained insights into different work environments, and were invited to ask industry-related questions. Evenings featured formal networking events with Bowdoin's extensive NYC alumni community.

“It was exciting to see all the possible creative career options within marketing and communications. Strategic marketing, for example, can be very different from project management or creative marketing. It was inspiring to see the possible options I could pursue.”

—Aleena Nasruddin ’26

Creative Careers in Marketing and Communications

The Creative Trek last year focused on artistic venues like galleries and museums, and this year broadened its scope this year to introduce students to marketing, communications, and creative-strategy firms in the city. Students were given a sneak peek into upcoming advertising campaigns and a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of first-class marketing agencies.

The mission of the expedition was to deepen participants' understanding of the marketing and communications industries and to connect with key players to learn about their roles within it, according to trip leader Amy Steigbigel, CXD associate director of arts, communications, marketing, and sales. Accompanying her were two CXD colleagues: Lisa Noble, CXD senior associate director for finance and consulting, and Cole Crawford, associate director of alumni relations. CXD assistant directors Leah Hodder-Romano and Kimberly Buonaiuto organized logistics before and during the trip.

The students visited the following companies: Razorfish, Prosek Partners, The Gap, Inc., Etsy, TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, and FINN Partners. And they met with many alumni, including John Winterkorn ’08, group vice president of strategy, Razorfish; Sara Ory ’19, senior account executive, Polskin Arts, FINN Partners; Benjamin Tsujiura ’12, Gap; Mark Thorn ’09, senior director of marketing analytics and strategic finance, Etsy; and Erin Walder ’11, senior marketing manager, Etsy.

The combined networking event for the Creative and Tech Treks was hosted by Ken Cornick ’94, cofounder and president of CLEAR, at the company's headquarters in Chelsea. As the sun dipped below the horizon, students and alumni chatted against the backdrop of the Hudson River.

“InvesTrek was not only extremely helpful but also very fun, as it allowed me to make friends with other current Bowdoin students and renowned Bowdoin alumni in finance. I also had the opportunity to meet amazing people from the different businesses we visited and gain insight from recruiters at top companies. ”

—Alma Dudas ‘27

Inside Tour of Finance and Investment

InvesTrek, a joint effort between CXD and Bowdoin's Investment Office, provided first-year students with insight into New York’s finance world and the team that manages the College's endowment. Led by Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Niles Bryant, the investments team guided students on visits to leading financial firms, offering personalized advice along the way.

InvesTrek was launched in 2023 by Bryant and the College’s investment office to introduce first-year students to career opportunities in finance. “Wall Street recruiting is starting earlier than ever, so we think it is important that Bowdoin students—particularly those who do not have previous exposure to finance—are aware of the opportunities out there and understand that their liberal arts education is valuable for many finance roles,” Bryant said.

Lisa Noble, CXD senior associate director, prepared students to make the most of the trip and collaborated with colleagues in the investment office to organize it. Kristin Brennan, CXD executive director, also joined the trip.

During jam-packed days, the students visited the Morgan Stanley trading floor, sat in on the morning meeting of top Evercore executives (organized by Ed Hyman P’10), and learned about philanthropy, financial technology, and media at Bloomberg.

They heard advice from recruiters on how to navigate competitive internship and entry-level job application cycles, and they discussed early discovery programs for underrepresented groups. The itinerary also included stops at JPMorgan Chase’s commercial bank and Blackstone, which provided a crash course on private equity and real estate. 

Beyond conversations with the Bowdoin endowment’s investment team, students had the opportunity to hear from two other prominent investors: D. Ellen Shuman ’76, former chief investment officer for Carnegie Corporation of New York, cofounder of Edgehill Endowment Partners, and former Bowdoin trustee, and Sara Orr ’07, director of investments for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. 

Associate Professor of Economics Erik Nelson accompanied the trip this year to learn more about the finance industry and be a more knowledgeable advisor to the many economics majors who enter this field after graduating. “As economists, we theoretically understand the role of Wall Street, but I wanted to understand how students apply for finance positions and what the day-to-day work is like,” he said.

The trek closed with a young alumni networking dinner organized by Investment Associate Emily Shiang ’17, where over twenty NYC-based Bowdoin graduates shared advice and a meal with students who may eventually follow in their footsteps.

InvesTrek participant Nana Yaa Oduro-Manu ’27 said the experience provided a chance to explore a career in finance without any commitment. “You might find yourself drawn to a career in finance by the end of it, but the main goal was to gain insights and see where your interests could lie in a firm’s many departments," Manu said. "Bowdoin provides access to an alumni network eager to connect with you, and a free opportunity to see what could be your future self—why not explore?”

Students met with the following alumni: Rachel Nagler ’95 and Minnie Kim ’14 from Bloomberg Philanthropies; Beth Kowitt ’07 and Thomas McEvoy ’23 from Bloomberg LP; Seth Cooper ’19, Michael O'Neal ’20, and Julia Adams ’21 from Evercore; Erik Bertin ’14 and Allyson Hawkins ’22 and  from JP Morgan Chase; and Lora Cooperman ’04, Stephanie Witkin Shapiro ’07, Quinn Rhi ’15, and Owen Wolfson ’22 from Morgan Stanley.

“I saw the trek as a crucial step in gaining insight into and clarity about my future. Making a career choice, especially at a young age, can seem vague and overwhelming, but I believe that engaging with available opportunities was the first step to navigating my future career. ”

—Nana Yaa Oduro-Manu ‘27

“Through this trek, I met Bowdoin alumni in the area that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to meet. This trek was essential in building my network and giving me the chance to practice my networking skills.”

—Aleena Nasruddin ’26

Innovative Careers in Technology

The Tech Trek brought students to New York to see the wide range of careers they could pursue and the diversity of companies they could consider. From March 11-13, they visited IBM, Datadog, Etsy, and Justworks, with students opting into stops at Asana, Lifetime Value Co, Moveable Ink, Cornell Tech, Google, Flatiron Health, and LinkedIn.

They also met alumni for dinner at the Golden Unicorn, and a networking event at CLEAR headquarters, hosted by Ken Cornick '94.

The trip was organized and led by CXD's Bethany Walsh, senior associate director of skill development and programming. She had help from Associate Director of Employer Relations Cole Crawford.

Student participants had the chance to go on organized visits to companies as well as make individual stops to places that interested them. Anastazia Stallworth ’26, for instance, spent her first day at Cornell Tech, the university's graduate campus for computer science, to learn about entrepreneurship. Earlier in the day, she visited IBM to witness robotics advancements and learn about a range of roles at IBM. 

Alumni hosts included Kim Hancock ’21, IBM; Michelle Albright ’18, Datadog; Anna Bradley-Webb ’16, Etsy; Wendy Dong ’18, Justworks; Ken Cornick ’94, CLEAR; and Andrew Kantor ’10, LinkedIn.

Many other alumni engaged with the students along the way, including Charlotte Johnston ’20, Lifetime Value Company; Jacob Stein ’19, Flatiron Health; Thu-Trang Ho ’14, Moveable Inc; Tom Hazel ’05, Nicole Morin ’16, Paige O’Connor ’20, Cedric Blaise ’22, and Felix Emiliano ’15 from Google; Matthew Donnelly ’22, founder of Rising Tide VR; Maddie Bustamante ’17, Clever; Louisa Izydorczak ’20, Morgan Stanley; Henry Isaacson ’22, Genentech; Dylan Hayton-Ruffner ’20, Hubspot; Lewis Salas ’13, Microsoft; Kevin Hernandez ’18, Publicis Health Media; Tim Chu ’08, Mark Thorn ’09 and Aaron Olmstead ’96 of Etsy; and Drew Scheve ’20, Sarah Trenton ’18, and Will Bucci ’19 of Justworks.