Adam Shemesh/News Contributor Econ-nect is a platform run by Harpur Edge that connects undergraduates and graduates majoring in economics with alumni.

Students across Binghamton University are using an alumni-connecting resource to prepare for their careers.

This past Friday, undergraduate economics students heard about a BU alumnus’ career path through the “Econ-nect” series — a platform that connects alumni with current undergraduate and graduate economics students at BU. Econ-nect first became available to students in January 2020, and is hosted by Harpur Edge, an advising resource for undergraduate students in Harpur College. Brandon Suber, ‘20, a business analyst at McKinsey & Company, spoke through Zoom to current undergraduate economics students about his journey from student to member of a global management consulting company.

Megan Konstantakos, assistant director of Harpur Edge, described how Econ-nect acts as a resource for students. Econ-nect seeks to bring in alumni from various sectors, including consulting, finance and government, allowing students to see what careers they may be interested in, according to Konstantakos.

“Our goal is to bring in alumni that represent those employment clusters so that the students can learn about their journey, and to get their own inspiration to create the vision they have for their future,” Konstantakos said.

Suber graduated from BU with an bachelor’s degree in economics, before earning a master’s degree in finance at the University of Rochester — and currently works in New York City. At the virtual event, Suber discussed his experiences at BU, the application process and his current role at McKinsey & Company.

Suber spoke about several aspects of his recruitment process and focused on the importance of building connections. Suber detailed how landing a job usually requires more than submitting an application.

“Sending your resume and cover letter is [only] 1 percent of what you should do,” Suber said. “The thing that made it less difficult for me, is that I made meaningful connections with people and then tailored what I talked about to what the company valued. Once you get your foot in the door, that’s like a golden ticket. Your major doesn’t [always] matter — you just have to focus on the technical aspects of the interview.”

At the event, students asked about internships and Suber’s experience working during his undergraduate years. Suber held summer internships at two separate firms before arriving at his current role at McKinsey & Company.

Suber suggested that those experiences played a role in being able to stand out during the application process.

“The most important thing [in the job process] is your ability to tell a story,” Suber said. “Internships give you the ability to tell very inspiring stories about learning and growth. You can take what you learned in your academics, and translate that into [real-world] impact. Internships are one of the most valuable things to do in your undergraduate career. An internship doesn’t necessarily have to be in the area you’re interested in, so long as you can match the company’s values to the area that you are trying to apply to.”

Konstantakos encouraged students to pursue such opportunities, even if it might not be their first area of choice.

“Especially early on, in your sophomore or junior year, it is important to not be picky,” Konstantakos said. “With most opportunities, you will learn something — whether good or bad, you will learn something and that’s part of your story.”

Multiple students expressed positive sentiment about their careers after hearing the talk.

Jacob Bernstein, a junior majoring in economics, felt encouraged by the potential of an economics degree.

“It is always interesting to see the perspectives of former alumni,” Bernstein said. “Especially with a company like [McKinsey & Company], it is good to see other [BU] students there, and economics majors in particular. He did a really good job of explaining different aspects of his career path, from involvement on campus to the interview itself.”