By Doug McPherson
When Holly Moynahan ’16 was a first-year student at CC, she gave herself a homework assignment — one that has ended up lasting years. But she’s fine with that. The effort, she’ll tell you, has been worth every minute.
It started with a talk she had with her dad not long after she arrived at CC. “We were talking about finding jobs. He’s a banker and he was able to get leads for my brother because he was looking in that field,” Moynahan says. “But my dad told me he didn’t know anyone in my sector [environmental science] and that I would need to create my own network.”
Dad, if you’re reading this, she listened. Her self-imposed homework? Learn to network.
“I really started networking and by my sophomore year I was talking with everyone, friends, people on planes, professors — getting my name out there and looking for leads to any opportunity — maybe an internship,” she says. “It became one of my weird hobbies.”
It was a hobby she honed well enough to help her land her dream job in May at one of the world’s most respected consulting firms, Ernst & Young, in Boston, Massachusetts.
It happened like this: Last November she saw a post on CC’s Career Center Instagram about CC executive in residence Scott Jarrell ’99, a partner at EY. “I had no good reason to talk to him, but he had an interesting background, and I like connecting with ambitious alumni,” she says.
She introduced herself and wrote that she’d like to stay connected. “He said, ‘Here’s my information, let me know how I can help.’ He’s a genuinely nice guy.”
Then, just three months later in February 2019, a recruiter from EY suggested she apply for a position in corporate sustainability. Right after she applied, she reconnected with Jarrell to ask about the hiring process. “He gave me some tips on interviewing and a few things to think about, and then he generously sent a note to the hiring director that I think made me stand out and gave me a competitive edge,” she says.
Today she’s a senior consultant on EY’s climate change and sustainability services team, helping corporations improve their environmental and social impact. “I love it. It’s faster pace than my last job and lot more opportunity to … engage with many different experts who are pushing the needle on sustainability.”
Jarrell was both glad to hear the news and to help her. “It’s the right thing to do; and as a partner, I want to bring in the best talent to the firm,” he says. “Since she had expressed interest and was enthusiastic, I wanted to help.”
Much of Jarrell’s networking advice reflects Moynahan’s strategies.
“Focus on making quality connections, not necessarily the most senior person in the room,” Jarrell says. “Don’t be intimidated by people’s positions. Don’t be afraid to follow up and don’t get bashful. Don’t feel beaten down if you don’t get responses. Ask two times and if you don’t get a response, move on.”
He also recommends students not wait for their senior year to begin networking or applying for jobs. “We tend to recruit with internships between the junior and senior years, and upon graduation, they’re offered a job,” he says. “So, if you’re a senior applying for the first time, you’re getting the leftovers. There’s fierce competition for talent, and most blue-chip companies tend to be in an arms race for talent.”
Jarrell adds he’s known many CC alumni who’ve networked successfully through CC channels.
So has Director of Regional Engagement Michael McNamee, who says, “The CC experience doesn’t end at graduation. Tiger Link is a great example of that and how the supportive spirit of campus lives on in the relationships we build with each other.” CC has a wide variety of opportunities for alumni and parents to volunteer. Visit www.coloradocollege.edu/alumnivolunteer to learn about the various options or contact McNamee directly to discuss them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tiger Link is CC’s online tool for networking and mentoring similar to LinkedIn. In fact, Tiger Link integrated with LinkedIn, but includes CC-specific tools for easier connection with the CC community. It also includes a job board and a directory of 4,000-plus alumni who’ve volunteered to connect with others and share career advice, interview tips, or industry information. And it’s free to anyone affiliated with CC.
To learn more or sign up, visit https://cctigerlink.com/. McNamee says the easiest way is to sign in is with a LinkedIn account.
One of those 4,000-plus alumni is Moynahan, who gives advice, posts job openings, and shares useful tidbits for students. “I’m hearing from students on Tiger Link, and I hear from alumni and people in general who are trying to transition to sustainability careers,” she says.
She also serves as a remote volunteer for CC’s Career Center and for the Office of Admission, meeting with high school students in the Boston area considering CC.
“I’m trying to give back,” Moynahan says.