Program helps athletes land jobs

by Kevin Liao | 1/9/08 3:47am

1856_article_photo helps student-athletes land competitive internships. The site allows athletes to submit resumes and participate in career workshops.
by Courtesy of / The Dartmouth

So where does this leave the thousands of remaining athletes that do not make it to primetime? Ron Mitchell, founder and CEO of the website Alumni Athlete Network, has a solution.

Mitchell, a former captain and All-Ivy Selection of the Harvard basketball team, felt compelled after graduating to create, a career-networking resource for current and former athletes from colleges across the nation.

As a former student-athlete himself, Mitchell understands what college athletes go through as they near graduation.

"There is a big misperception that great support sections exist for athletes and their future careers," Mitchell said.

"For most cases, that is not true," he continued, "and is actually the exact opposite. Most regular students have the time on their hands to meet the requirements of employers when seeking jobs, but firms haven't been as accommodating for athletes and their schedules."

College athletes dedicate enormous amounts of their time at school to training and preparing for their respective sports seasons. In contrast to many college students, student-athletes often cannot find the time to go through the process of planning and applying for job opportunities and are occasionally put at a disadvantage due to strict athletic schedules that force them to miss employment-seeking opportunities, such as information sessions and networking events.

Alumni Athlete Network aims to bridge the connection between corporate partners and college athletes and identify candidates with the potential to succeed in the business world. Athletes are educated about the recruiting process, the workplace environment and the skills needed to succeed in the business world. They are also instructed to showcase the qualities that employers often seek.

"Athletes have experience in leadership, multi-tasking, performing under pressure, accepting instruction and being team players," Mitchell said. "They are focused and willing to go the extra mile. We help athletes capitalize on these skills."

A handful of Dartmouth athletes have utilized the website to search for jobs and post resums for positions that connect well with both parties.

One particular Big Green athlete, who requested to remain anonymous as he is currently awaiting responses from employers, decided to submit a resum through the site. He was also asked to submit a transcript formatted to follow the site's guidelines and respond to two essay questions. The first question asked whether he would buy a particular stock and why. The second asked him to explain his interest in investment banking.

Alumni Athlete Career Programs include many features to assist visitors to the site. In addition to conventional job and resume posting, the site offers career development workshops that help athletes with resum construction, interviewing tips and advice to help athletes bring their most marketable qualities to the forefront.

"One thing that we were successful in doing was helping with the placement of athletes," Mitchell said. "Highly qualified athletes from around the country are invited to interview for full-time positions at many major corporations. We have summer internship programs for qualified candidates...Our Wall Street Summer Internship Program has done a fantastic job providing a roadmap to success."

Alumni Athlete's Wall Street Summer Internship program provides paid internships at a number prestigious investment banking and other finance firms around the world. The program is targeted to students who have demonstrated a commitment to intercollegiate athletics and academic excellence.

Users of the site can establish relations with influential people in finance. Almost 90 percent of participants who found internships through the program received full-time job offers, according to a site statistic. Statistics pertaining to the percentage of the site's participants who found internships as a result of the program were not available.

While the site has been criticized as acting as a backdoorfor athletes to gain highly sought-after employment opportunities, Mitchell claims that Alumni Athletes' programs are just as rigorous as those encountered by students who do not use the site. Participants are required to submit writing samples, transcripts, recommendations and many will undergo a series of interviews.

The Wall Street program, for example, requires athletes to have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA as well as the maturity and drive to operate in a highly competitive environment. Successful participants have leadership experience in their sport and strong interpersonal skills.

"It doesn't benefit the company to place underqualified candidates for the job," Mitchell said. "Our company is still held ultimately accountable for the candidates we recommend. There is no doubt it is a challenge for us all."

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