Undergrads find mentors in alumni

Barrett Cooper (MBA/13), left, give Freeman student Jason Dunleavy a tour of the Orpheum Theater, which his company is currently renovating.

Barrett Cooper (MBA ’13), left, gives Jason Dunleavy (BSM ’17) a tour of the Orpheum Theater, which his company is currently renovating.

For business school students, getting a good internship is the first step toward landing a great job, but for students without previous professional experience, that’s often easier said than done.

To help ease the transition from classes to the professional world, the Freeman School introduced a new program last fall that enables students to “shadow” an alumnus on a typical workday.

Jade O’Dell says the NOLA Professionals Job Shadowing Program can give students practical knowledge of jobs and careers while helping them to become more comfortable with networking.

“This is something to do before you start applying for internships,” says O’Dell, a counselor in the Career Management Center. “You can talk to professionals in the field, get an idea of what different professions are like and then figure out where you want to go from there.”

Jason Dunleavy (BSM ’17), a sophomore finance major, was matched with Barrett Cooper (MBA ’13), chief operating officer of ERG Enterprises, a venture capital firm whose holdings include the Windsor Court and Pontchartrain Hotels, Tipitina’s, and the Orpheum Theatre, which is currently undergoing a multimillion-dollar restoration. Dunleavy spent the day with Cooper visiting properties and learning more about how the company chooses its investments.

“I was amazed at how smart Jason was and how knowledgeable he was of the industry,” Cooper says. “ERG Enterprises believes very strongly in the importance of mentoring and networking, so we were happy to be able to help Jason get a better understanding of what the workplace is like.”

O’Dell hopes to make the program available to more students with the help of additional alumni volunteers. Any Tulane alumni interested in participating in the job shadowing program may contact O’Dell at 504-865-5417.

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