“Success is personal, so follow your own path. It is hard to know what that looks like when you are just graduating, so try to learn as you go, and take a break between jobs to get perspective.” This was the insightful advice that Sepandar Kamvar ’99, Associate Professor, MIT Media Lab, offered to the 40 undergraduates who attended Off the Record—Ivy’s first-ever fresh take on a career networking night.

Aptly named “Off the Record,” the career-themed fall event provided an informal opportunity for undergraduate Ivy Club members to mingle with Ivy alumni recently graduated but with a few years of working-world experience to their credit.

Held on September 25th, 2016, the program began with a casual cocktail reception, followed by dinner in the Great Hall. The goal of the evening was to provide each attending undergraduate ample time for relaxed career path-related discourse with the invited graduate guests. Ten Ivy alumni attended as the program’s career advisors, each taking a turn during dinner to stand up and share frank, poignant job advice as it related to their particular field.

The undergraduate members sat at tables designated by industry and hosted by the graduate members. Ivy Bicker Chair, Natalia Perina ’17, with the support of her fellow officers, coordinated and executed the evening program with the help of two graduate members—Antony Taylor ’01 and Ryan Salvatore ’02, both Ivy board members.

The advice shared at the program was well thought out, relevant, and meaningful. Especially informative was advice architect Ryan Salvatore ’02 shared: “The next 2-3 years don’t matter. Gain experience and then take the plunge to your idea. Failure can be more informative than success.”

Furthermore, Kevin McGinnis ’11, Program Examiner, Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President of the United States, asserted that “Title doesn’t matter; it is the experience that counts.”

After the event, Perina reflected: “I think the biggest success of the night was opening communication between alumni and students and having an open forum for students to receive advice on careers, but also on life in general. It was reassuring to hear from so many alumni that, as life will take surprising directions no matter what, your first job is not necessarily the most important!”

Undergraduate attendees shared that most students don’t seek much job advice through the Ivy network, relying instead on Princeton’s Career Services, friends, or family members for guidance. It goes without saying that one of the true strengths of Ivy Club membership is the network formed between its members and the willingness of Ivy alumni to assist other members as they come up in the ranks. Liz Baker Plosser ’01, Deputy Editor of SELF Magazine, stated it perfectly when she encouraged the undergraduates to “leverage your Ivy relationships. Paths will intersect. The Princeton network is extremely valuable.”

Both members involved in the planning of the event and those who attended hope that Off the Record will become an annual fall event, repeated for years to come to benefit future Ivy members for whom graduation is on the horizon. Thank you again to the graduate members who participated! If you are interested in helping at a future program, please send us a message at [email protected].