Tag Archives: career

What Is an MD/MPH? And Why Get One?

In our constantly evolving healthcare environment, physicians with interdisciplinary skill sets are becoming increasingly valuable. Those graduating with dual degrees such as an MD/MPH are uniquely situated to tackle some of healthcare’s most pressing challenges, which include disparities in access to care, high costs, and controversial reform.  MD/MPH programs lie at the intersection of medicine and public health, as they combine an individual patient-based approach with a wider population health perspective. Those pursuing this degree may be looking for a role beyond patient care, which could include policy-making, disease prevention, health education, or health research.

Those who pursue an MD/MPH do so for a multitude of reasons. Many utilize this additional skill set to enhance their standard, day-to-day clinical practice. According to the UNC School of Medicine, the MPH provides a broader social context, an emphasis on preventative medicine, and a focus on improving quality of care. Up to 25% of each class graduates from its well-established Health Care and Prevention MD-MPH program.

Differences in Programs

It is essential to consider your professional goals when choosing where and how to complete your dual degree, as one may be a better fit for your particular interests. For example, NYU’s MD/MPH in Global Health degree strongly emphasizes a global health perspective, and includes coursework in community and international health, epidemiology, and public health. In contrast. In contrast, BU’s curriculum is more flexible, offering areas of specialization ranging from Environmental Hazard Assessment to Health Policy and Law. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) notes that “over 80 medical schools sponsor activities to help their medical students pursue a master’s degree in public health.” As such, it is essential for prospective students to compare various programs in order to find the right one for their specific interests and goals.

When to Apply

MD/MPH programs can also differ in a number of other ways – including when you would actually apply. At some schools, prospective students apply for the dual degree as they are applying for medical school admission, while others encourage you to apply once you have already matriculated.  Still others, such as New Jersey Medical School and the Rutgers School of Public Health, offer the opportunity to add the MPH degree after extending acceptance letters for the MD degree.

Length of Program

If truly integrated, the two degrees can be achieved in four years, as is the case at the University of Miami. Yet, the majority of MD/MPH students require a fifth year to obtain this additional degree. Harvard’s combined degree program requires a leave of absence from the medical school between the third and fourth years. Thus in choosing where to pursue your MD/MPH, it is important to consider your willingness to interrupt your medical training, as well as your ability to balance the demands of an accelerated program.

Cost

Now for the all-important question: how much is this going to cost you?  This additional degree will likely come at an extra cost, yet financial assistance opportunities and discounted tuition are quite common. Tulane for example, offers both merit-based and research-based scholarships, in addition to need-based financial aid.

Is the MD/MPH Right for You?

To successfully navigate our complex healthcare environment, the AAMC cites the natural and essential overlap between medicine and public health. But despite the prevalence of MD/MPH programs, not every medical school offers one, and not every student interested in public health will pursue one. Today’s aspiring physicians will likely receive some public health education regardless of whether they are involved in an MD/MPH program or not. Many medical schools­­—often in addition to offering an MD/MPH­­—have now integrated public health concepts into their standard curriculum. Recent policy initiatives such as the Affordable Care Act, with its emphasis on preventive care and population health, further underscore the need to effectively integrate these two disciplines.

Depending on your personal interests and professional goals, an MD/MPH might very well be the right path for you. It is not only a decision about whether or not to pursue this dual degree, but also a matter of which program is the best fit.

And if you have any questions or are in need of guidance, contact Collegiate Gateway—we’re always happy to help!

Making the Most of Your Summer Break

Spring is fast approaching…which means it’s time to think ahead to summer!  For high school students, summer represents a break from an intense academic schedule, and the opportunity to pursue your own interests. You have an array of options—whether it’s immersing yourself in the culture of another country, taking courses on topics not available at your school, conducting research in a lab, participating in internships, or performing community service.  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a great fit for your interests and future goals.  Here are a variety of objectives you can fulfill through your summer activities.

Do Your Summer Experiences Really Matter?

From the perspective of college admissions, your choice of summer activity—and what you gain from the experience—can communicate volumes about your potential to enhance the college campus.  But keep in mind that there does not exist one “right” choice of summer activity; the “best” choice for you depends on a variety of factors, based on your interests, needs and goals.

Goals for Your Summer Activities

In planning your summer, it’s best to begin by identifying what you want to accomplish. Would you like to use your time to further develop an existing passion, find a new one, or take time to recharge? Here’s an overview of several different ways to approach these decisions.

Deepen an existing interest

As you make your summer plans, consider the activities you have pursued during your high school academic years and summers.  Have you enjoyed these activities? Would you like to further your involvement? Many students find that the summer enables them to continue to explore an existing interest, deepen their knowledge, and confirm their dedication to this activity.

Example: Natalie conducted science research in organic chemistry at Columbia University, and won a variety of awards at regional science competitions.  Carrying out extensive research, taking summer science courses at Columbia, and shadowing doctors confirmed her interest in pursuing medicine as a career.  She became a pre-med major at Cornell University, and currently attends New York University School of Medicine.

Students can also use the summer to test out academic interests as possible career paths.

Example: Michael loved the business courses he took in sophomore and junior year, especially those in accounting.  During the following summer, he worked at a men’s retail business in London, arranged through the Summer Discovery Program.  His budgeting work confirmed his desire to pursue a career in business, and he is now at Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics.

It may also be possible to combine a few goals during the summer.

Example: Amanda was passionate about her art.  Her goal was to attend a top art program at a university.  She also wanted to earn spending money for college.  During the summer, she worked at an ice cream shop, took art classes, and created art in a variety of genres to submit as an Art Portfolio with her college applications.  She is now attending the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan.

Explore a new interest

Other students, however, use the summer in an opposite, though equally valid, way: they pursue a new interest in order to explore this field as a potential major, minor, or even career.

Example: Adam especially enjoyed his classes in math and drawing, and wondered if architecture would allow him to combine these passions.  He decided to test this out by taking an intensive six-week “Introduction to Architecture” course at Cornell University.  He found that both the subject matter and the intensity of the all-night work sessions appealed to him. He enrolled in the Architecture School at Washington University in St. Louis and won awards for sustainability projects that incorporated his architectural knowledge.

Some students use the summer to plunge into a totally new area.

Example: Steven had excelled in a traditional high school academic curriculum dominated by the five core subjects. He decided to use the summer to branch out and take courses in entirely new areas. At Oxbridge Academic Programs, he took an interdisciplinary course in philosophy, psychology, and economics and began to read voraciously about this relatively new field. He is now committed to studying interdisciplinary areas, and is particularly interested in pursuing the Biological Basis of Behavior, and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics programs at Penn.

At the same time, a summer experience in which you realize that a particular field is not for you can be just as valuable.

Example: Kristen worked in a local retail store during the summer after junior year because she thought she would like to major in business.  While her responsibilities working with customers and helping with purchasing did not appeal to her, she loved writing fashion blogs.  She is now a Psychology major at University of Southern California, and hopes to pursue a career in social media analytics.

Take a break: re-connect and refresh

For other students, the best use of summer is to reconnect with friends socially and enjoy the continuity of deepening ongoing relationships.

Example: Stacey spent the ten months of every school year in anticipation of attending her summer sleep-away camp. Although her parents felt it might be useful for her to vary her summer activities, Stacey’s strong preference to cap off her eight years at summer camp by serving as a counselor after sophomore year prevailed.  That summer was an enormous growth opportunity for her, as she learned how to be responsible for younger campers and serve as a role model. As a result of her experiences, she decided that she wanted to work with children as a career, and is majoring in Psychology and Early Childhood Education at Tulane.

Some students use the summer to refresh themselves by exploring a totally novel environment.

Example: Li Na grew up in a suburb of Shanghai China, and was eager to attend college in the United States.  She had always been adventurous, and wanted a break after her intense junior year.  After evaluating many options of summer programs, she decided to spend a month in Montana as part of Visions Service Adventures, which combined outdoor activities such as white water rafting with community service work helping the elderly.  She was delighted to discover that she had much in common with the other international students. Her travel experience helped her decide to attend a college with a strong commitment to a diverse student body and extensive study abroad programs, and she is now a sophomore at New York University.

Fulfill academic or financial responsibilities

For some students, summer is a time to fulfill obligations. Academic responsibilities mayinclude taking additional coursework to lighten your load during the year or qualify for higher-level courses. Financial obligations vary from being responsible for the care of younger siblings to help your family save on childcare or earning money through summer work.

Rewards of Summer Activities

Summer activities offer many potential rewards, and will help develop your self-awareness in terms of your personality, preferences, strengths, and interests. As you function independently in an environment outside your home, you may have the chance to solve problems, make decisions, develop resilience and responsibility, and learn how to manage your time.  If you work with others, you can also strengthen your skills in collaboration and teamwork.

In addition, stimulating activities help your brain develop, especially through the teen years!  According to Dr. Jay Giedd, researcher at NIH:

“Use it or lose it! If a teen is doing music or sports or academics, those are the cells and connections that will be hardwired. If they’re lying on the couch or playing video games or MTV, those are the cells and connections that are going to survive.”

Finally, your summer activities may also provide you with some powerful admissions essay topics!  Deciding on the best summer activities for you involves juggling many factors.  As always at Collegiate Gateway, we’re here to help!

Making the Most of Your Summer Break

 

Spring is fast approaching…which means it’s time to think ahead to summer!  For high school students, summer represents a break from an intense academic schedule, and the opportunity to engage in a new world. You have an array of options –whether it’s immersing yourself in the culture of another country, taking courses on topics not available at your school, conducting research in a lab, participating in internships, or performing community service.  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a great fit for your interests and future goals.  Here are a variety of objectives you can fulfill through your summer activities.

Do Your Summer Experiences Really Matter?

From the perspective of college admissions, your choice of summer activity – and what you gain from the experience – can communicate volumes about your potential to enhance the college campus.  But keep in mind that there does not exist one “right” choice of summer activity; the “best” choice for you depends on a variety of factors, based on your interests, needs and goals.

Goals for Your Summer Activities

In planning your summer, it’s best to begin by identifying what you want to accomplish. Would you like to use your time to further develop an existing passion, find a new one, or take time to recharge? Here’s an overview of several different ways to approach these decisions.

Deepen an existing interest

As you make your summer plans, consider the activities you have pursued during your high school academic years and summers.  Have you enjoyed these activities? Would you like to further your involvement? Many students find that the summer enables them to continue to explore an existing interest, deepen their knowledge, and confirm their dedication to this activity.

Example:

Natalie conducted science research in organic chemistry at Columbia University, and won a variety of awards at regional science competitions.   Carrying out this extensive research, taking summer science courses at Columbia, and shadowing doctors confirmed her interest in pursuing medicine as a career.  She became a pre-med major at Cornell University, and currently attends New York University School of Medicine.

Students can also use the summer to test out academic interests as possible career paths.

Example:

Michael loved the business courses he took in sophomore and junior year, especially those in accounting.  During the following summer, he worked at a men’s retail business in London, arranged through the Summer Discovery Program.  His budgeting work confirmed his desire to pursue business, and he is now at Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics.

It may also be possible to combine a few goals during the summer.

Example:

Amanda was passionate about her art.  Her goal was to attend a top art program at a university.  She also wanted to earn spending money for college.  During the summer, she worked at an ice cream shop, took art classes, and created art in a variety of genres to submit as an Art Portfolio with her college applications.  She is now attending the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan.

Explore a new interest

Other students, however, use the summer in the opposite, though equally valid, way: they pursue a new interest in order to explore this field as a potential major, minor, or even career.

Example:

Adam especially enjoyed his classes in math and drawing, and wondered if architecture could be a way to combine these passions.  He decided to test this out by taking an intensive six-week “Introduction to Architecture” course at Cornell University.  He found that both the subject matter and the intensity of the all-night work sessions appealed to him. He enrolled in the Architecture School at Washington University in St. Louis and won awards for sustainability projects that incorporated his architectural knowledge.

Some students use the summer to plunge into a totally new area.

Example:

Steven had excelled in a traditional academic curriculum in high school dominated by the five core subjects. He decided to use the summer to branch out and take courses in entirely new areas. At Oxbridge Academic Programs, he took an interdisciplinary course on Philosophy: Of Mind and Morals that changed his life.  He was exposed to behavioral economics and began to read voraciously about this relatively new field that combined psychology and economics. He is now committed to studying interdisciplinary areas, and is particularly interested in pursuing the Biological Basis of Behavior, and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics programs at Penn.

At the same time, a summer experience in which you realize that a particular field is not for you can be just as valuable.

Example:

Kristen worked in a local retail store during the summer after junior year because she thought she would like to major in business.  While her responsibilities working with customers and helping with purchasing did not appeal to her, she loved writing blogs.  She is now a Psychology major at University of Southern California, and seeks a career in social media analytics.

Take a break: re-connect and refresh

For other students, the best use of summer is to reconnect with friends socially and enjoy the continuity of deepening ongoing relationships.

Example:

Stacey spent the ten months of every school year in anticipation of attending her summer sleep-away camp. Although her parents felt it might be useful for her to vary her summer activities, Stacey’s strong preference to cap off her eight years at summer camp by serving as a counselor after sophomore year prevailed.  That summer was an enormous growth opportunity for her, as she learned how to be responsible for younger campers and serve as a role model. As a result of her experiences, she decided that she wanted to work with children as a career, and is majoring in Psychology and Early Childhood Education at Tulane.

Some students use the summer to refresh themselves by exploring a totally novel environment.

Example:

Li Na grew up in a suburb of Shanghai China, and was eager to attend college in the United States.  She had always been adventurous, and wanted a refreshing break after her intense junior year.  After evaluating many options of summer programs, she decided to spend a month in Montana as part of Visions Service Adventures, which combined outdoor activities such as white water rafting with community service work helping the elderly.  She was delighted to discover that she had much in common with the other international students. Her travel experience helped her decide to attend a college with a strong commitment to a diverse student body and extensive study abroad programs, and is now a sophomore at New York University.

Fulfill academic or financial responsibilities

For some students, summer is a time to fulfill obligations. These can include taking additional coursework to lighten your load during the year or qualify for higher-level courses, being responsible for the care of younger siblings, or earning money.

Rewards of Summer Activities

Summer activities offer many potential rewards, and will help develop your self-awareness in terms of your personality, preferences, strengths, and interests. As you function independently in an environment outside your home, you may have the chance to solve problems, make decisions, develop resilience and responsibility, and learn how to manage your time.  If you work with others, you can also strengthen your skills in collaboration and teamwork. In addition, stimulating activities help your brain develop, especially through the teen years!  According to Dr. Jay Giedd, researcher at NIH:

“Use it or lose it! If a teen is doing music or sports or academics, those are the cells and connections that will be hardwired. If they’re lying on the couch or playing video games or MTV, those are the cells and connections that are going to survive.”

Finally, your summer activities may also provide you with some powerful admissions essay topics!  Deciding on the best summer activities for you involves juggling many factors.  As always, we’re here to help!

 

What Work Experience is Needed for an MBA?

Is my current work experience good enough? How can I get the right experience to make me an ideal applicant? How much do I need to have?

Navigating the MBA application process is complex—especially when it comes to work experience. Unlike a GMAT score or GPA, there is no number that really tells us how much (and what kind) of experience an applicant needs to be successful. In this blog, Collegiate Gateway will help clear the fog and shed some light on this enigmatic aspect of the MBA process.

How much work experience should I have?

While the amount of work experience one should have varies from school to school, students at top business schools typically matriculate with at least two to three years of full-time work experience. According to Harvard Business School, the average time between undergraduate and business school is four years, and at least 30 percent of matriculated students worked for two to three years prior to business school. However, students should be aware that quality matters more than quantity – more work experience does not necessarily equate to better chances at admission. According to Mae Jennifer Shores, Director of Admissions at UCLA/Anderson, “The depth and breadth of work experience are more important than the amount of time or number of years spent working.”

What types of work experience should I have? Do internships count?

Students at top business schools usually have work experience that is in the form of full-time, paid positions. Collegiate Gateway has spoken with top admissions offices from Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and found that full-time paid training programs, such as apprenticeships or job shadowing, have the same value as other types of paid employment.

For applicants who wish to apply to MBA programs immediately after college, internships can be a great way to show dedication towards a career path or to highlight accomplishments. However, Graham Richmond, graduate and former admissions official at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School notes that “admissions officers do look at [internships] as a part of the applicant’s profile, but given that most applicants also have full-time, paid positions to showcase, they often take a bit of a back seat.”

No matter what their experience, it is important that applicants assess their professional profile and the roles they have taken on. Were you proactive? Did you take on leadership roles? What were your contributions? What was your impact? These are all important questions to ask – a person with less experience, but more responsibilities under their belt may be considered a stronger applicant. Professional experiences are only assets if you are able to emphasize how they are relevant to your career goals.

What field of work makes me the best candidate for an MBA?

MBA applicants come from all different types of background – there is no “correct” profile that one must adopt to be qualified. No specific background is required for the degree – in fact, business schools aim for a well-rounded student body. This often means that those applying from an oversubscribed profession (such as Finance, IT, or Consulting) may have to work even harder to stand out in an applicant pool. In a survey conducted by TopMBA in 2012 on the employment background on candidates, only 16.3% of candidates came from a financial services background and 11.6% from consulting, with the other 72.1% coming from various other fields. 

Most business schools have pre-requisites, so students may be required to take general mathematics, accounting, finance or similar courses before starting their MBA program. Applicants with an undergraduate degree in a business-related field are more likely to have completed pre-requisites for the MBA program and may bypass additional course load. But for those without such a background, these classes will help student learn concepts that will adequately prepare them and ensure that they succeed in the program.

How important is work experience?

MBA admissions are a multi-faceted process, and there is no single factor that will make or break an application. When assessing an applicant, there are many aspects that are considered: GMAT scores, undergraduate GPA, caliber of undergraduate institution, coursework, degrees earned—all these factors play a part. Additionally, candidates are also evaluated based on their leadership, ability to work in teams, emotional intelligence, and other non-quantifiable characteristics. Admissions counselors are looking for a candidate who is well-prepared and ready to master challenging tasks. It is up to you to draw from your experiences and build the credentials that can show that you are ready to take on an MBA program.

Choosing to pursue an MBA is a major career decision, and there are many components of the application process to take into consideration. Collegiate Gateway is always happy to help! Please feel free to contact us.

Career Corner: A Grand Slam in Accounting

Growing up, Jackie Rottmann knew she wanted to pursue a career in accounting. Jackie’s dad is an accountant, and she felt it was in her blood to be an accountant too. In high school, she took a variety of business classes, including accounting, business law, pre-calculus, and statistics, to gain experience in many areas. Accounting was her favorite.

When Jackie Rottmann began looking at colleges during her junior year in high school, she knew that she wanted to go a school that was about five hours away from her home on Long Island. This would make her far enough away to experience independence in a new place, but close enough to go home for the weekend any time she chose.

Initially, Jackie felt that she really wanted to go to school in Boston, specifically to a business school. She says, “My dad didn’t want me to go to a business-only school. He feared that if I wanted to change and study a non-business major, I would have to change colleges as well.”

Jackie knew someone from her high school who went to Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and she ended up visiting. In looking at colleges, Catholic University seemed like a good fit; the school offered a variety of programs outside of business, and they gave Jackie a partial merit scholarship based on her grades, activities, and Roman Catholic background.

When Jackie began her freshman year at Catholic University in 1997, she entered as an accounting major in the school of Arts and Sciences. Today, Catholic University has a Business School, but at that time the school did not. Jackie took Accounting 101 during her first semester freshman year, and she found the class to be very difficult, even after taking an accounting class in high school.

Jackie was also required to take a core curriculum of arts and sciences classes. “My classes outside of business made me more well-rounded, but it was also hard to motivate myself to put the work in. So I made it my goal to try to find the most interesting classes that I could outside of my major. I took a rock poetry class and a class on death and dying. I also tried to do a minor in computer science in order to get exposure to this area.”

Upon graduating in 2001, Jackie says, “My first intention was to go to a year of grad school at Catholic University and get my accounting masters. Then, I got a job offer to work at the Department of Defense doing auditing, but it wasn’t going to pay much. Plus, I felt pressure to find a job working for a big five accounting firm.” Then, September 11th happened, and she was hesitant about whether to work in New York City. Firms stopped hiring, and the economy wasn’t doing well. It was a time of uncertainty.

Jackie got her first job on Long Island, working in Accounts Receivable for American Pie, a frozen foods manufacturer that supplies Marie Callendar’s Pies and Claim Jumper, a restaurant chain on the West Coast. Jackie worked on collections, settled invoices, and dealt with food stores.

“I worked there for two years, and finally knew I didn’t want to stay on Long Island. I wanted to move into New York City, and experience the city lifestyle.  My friends were all moving there.” Jackie found a job listed on Craigslist for MajorLeagueBaseball.com in New York City, and she applied.

Jackie says, “I was given an interview for a staff accountant position in the ticketing department at MLB.com’s corporate office, which is located on 9th Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets. The office is in an old Nabisco Factory in Chelsea Market. It was a great location and very cool to be sharing the same building with the Food Network and YouTube.” The interview went really well, and Jackie was offered the job.

MLB.com was founded in 2001, and when Jackie started working there in 2004, there were about five people working in her division. She often got experience working on outside projects in sales tax and revenue shares for outside partners. Now, her department has grown to 25 people, and these side projects have become separate jobs and departments.

Jackie says, “Six years ago, I got fed up with New York. My friends were getting married and moving out to Long Island. I had a great group of people that I worked with and we would go out during the week a lot, but weekends were not as fun in the city.”

Additionally, Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) had offered Jackie’s father a job in North Carolina, and Jackie’s family had moved to Charlotte.

Jackie decided to quit her job at MLB.com, and she told them she was going to move to North Carolina. Her boss at MLB.com, however, offered her the opportunity to work remotely as a consultant until she found a job, or until MLB.com found someone to replace her. For every ticket baseball ticket that is sold online, the buyer is charged a convenience fee for the ability to purchase a ticket via the internet. MLB.com collects this convenience fee, and Jackie works on the accounting of these fees.

Though originally conceived of as a temporary arrangement, it worked out so well that Jackie was given the job permanently. She now travels to the corporate office in New York City every 2-3 months and is very happy with this arrangement. Jackie says, “The majority of ticketing involves dealing with the clubs, and all ticketing providers, so it is outside of the office anyway.”

After Jackie moved down to Charlotte, she decided to go back to school and get her MBA. She graduated in 2011 from Northeastern University’s online program with a dual specialization in Finance and Innovation Entrepreneurship. She felt that her work experience really helped her in completing her MBA.

The MBA benefited her greatly at work as well. “Overall it did help me to be better at my job,” she said. “The benefit of an MBA is that it changed the way I was looking at my job and my responsibilities. It helped me to see past the day-to-day and focus on the bigger picture, similar to what management would do.”

Jackie likes the slower pace in North Carolina and feels much more laid back. Ironically, the majority of people she interacts with and knows are Northerners.

“Charlotte is a growing city and the banks have recruited a lot of people from the Northeast.  Many people have relocated here and they don’t have a family network so neighbors reach out to each other more. Housing developments have communal spaces, pools, and golf courses which provide an active social life.”

Working for MLB.com does have its perks. Jackie gets a baseball pass every year that will get her into any ballpark for any major or minor league game. She also receives discounts on merchandise. Jackie and her family are die-hard Mets fans. Growing up, if they weren’t watching a Mets game, they were watching a Jets game.

“It’s an office that encourages you to wear your favorite team’s hat and baseball shirt to work and display a bobble head doll on your desk. We played a yearly softball game at Shea Stadium. It’s a fun place to work, and the people are very passionate about what they do.”

Career Corner: From Races to Road Runners, Turning a Passion for Running into a Job

 When Nick Synan started running on the track team in 7th grade, he remembers, “I never really wanted to run, but I did it because my friends did it.”

At the time, Nick says, he was much more interested in playing football. In the spring of 7th grade, his choices for participating in athletics at school were either wrestling or track, and he knew he did not want to wrestle. So he chose to run, and during the first meet, he won the mile race.

Shortly after that, Nick remembers that the head coach for the high school team, Bob Brown, came to one of his practices. Bob Brown told Nick that he would be a fantastic runner and he should consider running cross-country as well. Nick was impressed by this gesture, but he decided to still play football, rather than run on the cross-country team.

Finally, when Nick was a freshman in high school, his older sister, Katy, convinced him that he should try out for cross-country team instead. He remembers that when he started running that late summer with the cross-country team, “I was excited by the social side of it all. It was nice to meet new people and talk with them while we were running.”

He first enjoyed the competitive aspect of running during his freshman year at time trials, which are used to seed runners for the varsity race the following week. Nick remembers he did so well that he placed fifth on the varsity team. In that moment, Nick discovered that he was a talented runner; it was the first time in his life that he felt really good at something.

“Growing up I didn’t necessarily excel at academics, especially standardized testing,” Nick said. “This was the first time that I saw the benefit of the hard work that I was doing.”

Nick says that he really bonded with his coach, Bob Brown, who became a kind of second father-figure to him. He remembers wanting to do well so that his coach would be proud. When Coach Brown passed away from pancreatic cancer during Nick’s junior year of high school,  Nick was deeply affected.

“Bob Brown was really a role model to me. When he passed away, that was a very hard time for me. But it did bring my team closer together and strengthened my passion for running. I wanted to do well for Bob.”

Running also helped Nick to foster leadership qualities. Every summer, he helped coach junior high students, wanting to inspire other people to enjoy running. “I loved helping kids to realize what they can actually do when they put the work in, to recognize they had talent, and to experience the joy of running.”

When Nick Synan was researching colleges in 2009, he recalls, “I really didn’t have an idea of what I wanted to study. I focused on Jesuit colleges that offered classroom sizes of 25 students or fewer, an enclosed campus, an urban vs. rural location close to family, and the opportunity to run.. I had a list of six schools; four were in the Midwest and two were on the East Coast. In the end, I knew that at Fordham I would get out of Iowa, where I grew up, but still be close to my extended family in New York.” Fordham also gave Nick a partial scholarship to run for cross-country and track.

Unfortunately, he got off to a rocky start at Fordham. During his first semester, Nick felt extremely homesick and missed his family and friends. Two weeks before Christmas, he put in a transfer application to St. Louis University, because it was closer to home, and he knew some friends from high school who were going there.

Nick’s parents, however, convinced him to stick it out at Fordham through the spring semester. Over Christmas break, Nick was telling his friends from Iowa about Fordham and their positive feedback helped him to realize all of the opportunities that he had at Fordham and in New York City. He was able to go to concerts, visit museums, attend sporting events, and roam the unique neighborhoods of New York City. Nick returned to Fordham with open eyes and was much happier in his friendships during his second semester. “I felt brave enough to get out of my comfort zone and lucky to meet all these new people.”

At Fordham, Nick didn’t want to lock himself into studying business immediately, so he chose to study in the liberal arts program his freshman year. Sophomore year, he declared his major as Psychology and minored in Business Administration. He realized that he enjoyed his business classes more than his psychology classes, so he flip-flopped the two: majoring in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing and minoring in Psychology. He found that his studies in psychology often connected to what he was learning in marketing.

Running track and cross-country took up a considerable amount of Nick’s time in college. Practice was from 8:00am to 10:30am seven days a week, and three days a week there were afternoon practices from 5:30pm to 6:30pm.

Nick says he doesn’t regret having this schedule in college at all. “It was hard at times, especially on weekends, when everyone was going out. It taught me to be disciplined and prioritize my time. I had to set aside nights to stay in and study. I was actually better at doing things in a timely manner in college than I was in high school.”

Senior year, Nick was captain of the men’s track and cross-country teams at Fordham. He found this leadership role both challenging and rewarding. “In college, there are so many great athletes competing, and it’s hard to give orders to a group of guys in their 20s, especially when you’re friends with them.”

He found his role varied from being a disciplinarian to being a mentor. He remembers one of his favorite parts of being a captain included hosting pasta dinners before meets and cooking for all of his teammates. “As a team, we were inseparable. We took a lot of classes together. We ate our meals together. We were very close, and we still keep in good touch.

As graduation was nearing, Nick began asking his professors for contacts and submitting resumes and applications for positions in sales, hospitality, and marketing. Direct Energy, the first company to respond to him, was a commercial sales company that offered a flat-rate for energy to local businesses. The position offered Nick no salary, and his pay would be entirely based on sales commission.

Nick was told he would be going door-to-door to different businesses in Sunnyside, Queens. After five days of training and five days of shadowing a co-worker, Nick was on his own making cold calls. He made no money the first two days. “I made one deal and decided to quit after a week and a half of only making 80 bucks. I blew that paycheck on one grocery trip.”

The fall after graduation, Nick was feeling the pressure to find a job. “I was moving into the city with my sister, and I knew I needed to find a job as soon as possible. I became more focused on the hospitality industry. I walked into every hotel from the Upper East Side to Midtown, but most of them didn’t get back to me for a long time.”

Finally, Nick e-mailed one of his Fordham marketing professors, and she encouraged him to use LinkedIn to make the most of his alumni connections. Through LinkedIn, Nick found he had a Fordham connection to a person that worked at New York Road Runners, a non-profit organization best known for organizing the NYC marathon. The alumni connection forwarded Nick’s resume onto an HR representative, who then contacted Nick. After speaking to the HR representative at NYRR, Nick felt strongly that this was the company – and the career –  for him.

He liked that it was a non-profit organization, encouraged kids to run, and incorporated a partnerships and business aspect that he enjoyed. When an internship opened up in NYRR’s business development and strategic partnerships division, Nick took the job, working there for four months before being offered a part-time position as a Coordinator in the Business Development and Partnerships Division. He worked part-time for two and a half months, and then was finally offered a full-time position as a Coordinator.

His work includes partnering with Snyder’s of Hanover, Phillips Healthcare (makers of defibrillators and AED machines), and the NY Apple Association to provide equipment and food for races. The New York City Marathon is the biggest race that they work on, but they also continually plan a variety of other races:  races to help raise money for different causes, races for children to participate in, and general weekly races.

Nick says that the Brooklyn half-marathon has been his favorite race to plan so far. This is the second largest half-marathon in the country, taking place every May. “Working at the finish line, the energy was incredible. I liked seeing how appreciative the runners were of the work that we do.  It’s amazing that a person who has just started running gets to participate in the same race as an Olympic athlete. These events bring all these people of different ages and levels of skill together, and somehow it makes each race that we do completely different.”

New York Road Runners also helps to fund physical education in many of the public schools in NYC. The organization sets up programs to encourage kids to run in events, and representatives from Road Runners go into the schools to help teach Physical Education. Mighty Milers, a running program for kids of all fitness levels from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, is another program that NYRR helps to organize to get kids exercising. Road Runners also has a large outreach program for senior citizens.

Nick really appreciates the friendly and charismatic colleagues that he works with at New York Road Runners. “There are people who are big runners, and others who don’t run at all. They are all a part of the team, helping runners to accomplish their goals.” Right now, Nick is training for the Chicago marathon in October. He enjoys running with people from the office after work and friends from Fordham. “I like running now even more than when I was in college. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time, but I also no longer have the pressure to perform at a certain level. I do it purely for enjoyment.”