Athletes benefit from career resources, alum. networks

by Laura Weiss | 10/24/13 10:00pm

Dartmouth Peak Performance has a career connections division, which works with other campus organizations like the Center for Professional Development, formerly called Career Services, to offer athlete-specific events planned around athletes' schedules, direct athletes to campus career events and urge athletes to begin career-planning early on.

Coach and team alumni connections are often in the business sector, and many athletes also rely on corporate recruiting and other standard channels in their the job search.

Recently, the targeted recruiting of collegiate athletes has gained national attention, after Bloomberg reported on a "Wall Street pipeline" for college varsity lacrosse players. Some members of the University of Virginia, Harvard University and Princeton University lacrosse teams benefit from team-specific alumni networks and increased chances at landing certain jobs, which may be a selling point for recruits.

The Dartmouth men's lacrosse team benefits from a similar connection with Morgan Stanley, where the team has "a pretty significant pipeline," co-captain Eric Clemmenson '14 said.

During his years on the team, Clemmenson said a member has interned at Morgan Stanley every summer. The team's relationship with the company stems from strong ties between the College and its employees, but Morgan Stanley employees who are former members of the lacrosse team play a role as well, Clemmenson said.

BNP Paribas, a French bank and financial services company, has ties to lacrosse as well. Clemmenson, who interned at Paribas and will work there after graduation, said he hopes his presence will start a connection between the company and Dartmouth lacrosse.

Despite advantages that membership on the lacrosse team may have, there are no companies that offer automatic internships each summer for Dartmouth players, Clemmenson said.

Peak Performance assistant athletic director Donald Brooks, who oversees the program's career connections, said that Dartmouth's football and men's and women's lacrosse coaches have been at the College for years and have cultivated relationships with alumni.

"Many of the alumni that I meet and talk to were helped out by other Dartmouth athletes before them," he said. "These relationships, combined with the bonds and memories that athletic teams foster, creates a culture of giving back to the program."

Women's lacrosse team co-captain Kara Lehman '14 said while players generally enter an array of industries, a "good chunk" generally seek jobs in consulting or finance. She said every year a few players use the lacrosse alumni network.

"I think it's kind of known in the program that the lacrosse alumni have each other to go to in terms of questions," Lehman said. "Informally the culture of this team has always been to be able to go to alums with any sort of job question."

Head coach Amy Patton spearheaded the alumni "adopt a player" program, which pairs team members with alumni, emphasizing their importance in the program's success.

Head football coach Buddy Teevens '79, who assists his players in the internship and job search, said his professional contacts are often looking for "good people" and the characteristics suggested by an Ivy League degree, such as strong academic record and athletic commitment, are qualities employers seek in interns or employees. If one athlete is hired and performs well, employers will often call back for another Dartmouth athlete.

When the football team brings recruits to campus, Teevens points to the support offered at the College as evidence of the strong community.

Football team co-captain Bronson Green '14 said Teevens's long involvement with Dartmouth football and work at other schools has gained him a great amount of respect, and a call from him on a player's behalf is a unique benefit.

While the team sends a players into various industries, the majority work in the business sector, a trend in line with the rest of the student body.

Football coach Ryan Spayde '94, who worked on Wall Street for 20 years, knows many alumni and former business associates and has helped football players make contacts.

Spayde teaches an optional information session that the team calls "Wall Street 101" every Monday to help football players learn about working in the financial sector.

"He does a great job of teaching a lot of guys what the financial industry is like," Green said.

Many players benefit from informal alumni networks, which, like those of other campus organizations, want to help their former teams.

"Former athletes are very passionate about helping Dartmouth teams and athletes," Brooks said.

Dartmouth Peak Performance maintains a database of athletic alumni in various industries. The men's basketball team, for example, has the Little Green Book program, a support system of basketball alumni interested in providing career advice to players.

Baseball team co-captain Jeff Keller '14 said most of the team alumni he could think of are working in business-related industries. He said the former players he knew generally gained employment through Dartmouth alumni or corporate recruiting with advice from former players.

He said the team's coach has been at the College for 23 years and knows many former players in various fields. Keller connected with multiple baseball alumni through his coach, he said.

Dartmouth Peak Performance career connection events include open hours with the Center for Professional Development and other campus departments, as well as seven to 10 recruiting events per term specifically for athletes.

This year, the career fair, held in the afternoon, conflicted with many athletes' schedules, so the department organized one geared at athletes at a more convenient time. Eight companies who were interested in targeting student athletes hosted an exclusive networking fair, Brooks said.

"The point is to help athletes engage in the career process early in their careers," he said.

Men's soccer team co-captain Colin Skelly '14 said Dartmouth Peak Performance has been a "big help" for the team, bringing in speakers to teach athletes how to effectively market their athletic experiences.

"It's important because athletics are such a big part of our lives to be able to translate and communicate how athletics make you employable," Skelly said.

He added that the team sends many players into finance with general Dartmouth connections.

Green said qualities like time management give student athletes an edge in job applications.

"It's not easy putting in the hours and the work that we do, and I think that's why student athletes are so sought after in the career world," he said.