Mount Saint Mary College’s Pre-Law Society and Student Business Association recently co-hosted a Zoom panel with four Mount alumni who discussed their paths to success.
This student-developed and moderated panel featured Jake Kosack ’18, associate field producer/reporter for TMZ and Mount Board of Trustees member; Jessica Mlinar ’13, J.D., an adjunct professor with the college’s School of Business; Stefania Riccitelli ’16 MBA ’18, digital marketing coordinator at Rhinebeck Bank and founder of SNR Marketing; and Tyler Mannix ’19, a digital marketing coordinator with the HAI Group.
The panel discussed topics such as the importance of focusing on one’s career while still in college; how the Mount’s Career Center can help students prepare for the job market and life after graduation; how the panelists used internships and leadership opportunities at the college to get a leg up on the competition; how to stand out when applying to jobs; and more.
As a reporter for TMZ, Kosack has conducted hundreds of interviews with actors, musicians, politicians, athletes, and more. Kosack is also the founder of Get Better Motivation, a brand that encourages positivity and inspires everyone to be physically and mentally healthy. When he was a student at the Mount, Kosack served as junior and senior class president and spoke at the 2018 Mount Commencement. He’s now one of the youngest ever members of the Mount’s Board of Trustees.
Kosack told students that if they work hard to establish themselves as professionals in their field while they’re still in college, they will be at an advantage when they begin looking for jobs.
“If you put in the work, then there is nothing that will prevent you from achieving success,” he said. “But it is important to recognize the competition out there and that you need to do everything in your power to stand out above it.”
Mannix was president of the Student Business Association, was on the Mount’s Dean’s List multiple times, and received the Senior Class Award for Outstanding Leadership. He credits the Mount’s Career Center with helping him to forge his path into the work world through a variety of internships, he said.
For recent graduates, said Mannix, “It's okay not to know every single move.” There are many ways to use a college degree and keeping an open mind will create new possibilities. It certainly worked like that for Mannix, who had landed a full-time job with HAI Group in Cheshire, Conn., a housing insurance company, months before he graduated.
“I went to school to work in sports, and instead, I work at an insurance company, and I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to try something different.”
Mannix added that recent grads shouldn’t be deterred if they think they will be a good fit for a job but the description doesn’t entirely match their skill set.
“When you are looking for that job after college, and you see that some require two or three years of experience, apply for it anyway,” he said. “Companies will teach you everything you need to know. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because the best opportunities are the ones you don’t expect. “
Kosack reminded students that they’ll always have good college memories to look back on. However, focusing too much on the past can impede future success.
“It is okay to miss college, but you need to understand that you went to college to experience a successful and full life ahead,” he said.
Mount will always be there to help alumni with their job searches and other opportunities, Kosack added.