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Young graduates share advice at ‘5 Under 25’

Candid advice flowed freely at the Student Alumni Association’s first 5 Under 25 event of the year, in which recent graduates answered questions posed by current students.

Last Thursday evening’s event in the Alumni Center featured five graduates of the newly renamed D’Amore-McKim School of Business, all of whom stressed the importance of taking leadership roles and embracing co-op as an opportunity to learn about future careers and develop a powerful personal network.

One of the five graduates was Jason Morris, B’11, who now works as a corporate compliance associate at Biogen Idec. After switching majors from computer science to business, he considered becoming a hotelier, a goal that led him to take a co-op at an upscale Boston restaurant.

That co-op, however, taught Morris that the service industry wasn’t for him.

“I kept hearing, ‘If you hate it, it’s only six months,’” Morris said. “I thought it was just something people said, but it’s definitely true. I probably got more out of that co-op because it showed me what I didn’t want to do and that’s incredibly valuable.”

The hour-long panel discussion also featured School of Business alumni Jason Donovan, Kevin Holub, Jeremy Klein and Greg Skloot, all of whom graduated in 2012. Jil Rinne, the vice president of alumni relations for the Student Alumni Association, moderated the event.

Skloot, now the chief operating officer of Boston-based marketing company influencers@, stressed the importance of taking leadership roles with student groups. He shared his experience running the Northeastern Entrepreneurs Club.

“So much of what I do now in a real business I did first in the e-club,” Skloot said. “I learned how to manage people, I learned how to get money, I learned how to run events. And I do all of that now every day running a company.”

Donovan, whose co-op with EMC Corp. led him to a full-time job after graduation, said the relationships forged through co-op are as important as the skills learned on the job.

“Co-op is a six-month job interview,” Donovan said. “Every day you’re working with the managers and co-workers who will still be there when you come back looking for a job. And it’s amazing the difference a good co-op experience can make.”

The Student Alumni Association is hosting 5 Under 25 events for the remainder of the academic year. Graduates from the Bouvé College of Health Sciences will discuss their experiences on Oct. 18. For the full schedule please visit the event’s website.