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Four Lessons from Business Leaders

Students visited local Central New York companies to learn about career paths from industry professionals.
Group photo of students, posed in front of pieces of art hung on the wall.

Students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts spent a day gaining insight into opportunities and receiving advice from professionals at four Syracuse-based companies.

  • Career service offices at Syracuse University provide students with professional assistance and access to opportunities, such as immersion experiences, that are customized to their areas of study.
  • In-person professional experiences create opportunities for connection and inspiration.
  • The Syracuse University network ensures that from day one, students are plugged into a global alumni network that connects them to opportunities at leading organizations.

It was surprising to learn that there are opportunities to wear multiple hats in companies. After this Industry Immersion Day, I’m confident in my future because I know that it is OK to pivot. We don’t have to have all the answers—we have a community and limitless resources to guide us along our journey.

Yesmine Chikha ’25
Photo of students sitting on a trolley chatting with one another.

On a beautiful fall day, a group of College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) students boarded a Syracuse University trolley and embarked on a tour of four local businesses. At each stop the students experienced an in-depth view into a range of careers and professional roles, which their education is preparing them for. They also received advice and encouragement from successful professionals in their areas of interest.

While insight into the professional world is valuable at any point during the student experience, this Industry Immersion Day was planned specifically for students at the start of their college journey, says Jackie Flores, the assistant director of career development with VPA. “For students to start their college careers with a sense of the diversity of paths they can take with any given major, and the range of roles that are relevant in any given industry, is very helpful as they navigate choices like incorporating additional majors or minors, or deciding on internships,” she says.

Lesson #1: Learn from every opportunity

Portrait of a student listening intently to a presentation.

At their first stop, The Lab Creative, students learned what it was like to start and run a small graphic, web and creative agency. Students got advice about building relationships, taking advantage of opportunities to learn and collaborate, and never being afraid to ask questions.

Lesson #2: Teamwork makes the dream work

Landscape photo of students taking pictures of something off screen.

At ChaseDesign, a long-standing design agency with offices and affiliates around the world, students got a tour of the facility, including the fabrication labs. They also learned about how teams worked together and how a sense of shared values—such as empathy and curiosity—among the employees was key to the company’s success.

One piece of advice I took away was to diversify and learn as much as you can because you never know what can be useful. It oriented my mind to think more about what it means to be a businesswoman in the world.

Xanthe Kakaras ’26

Lesson #3: Culture and community matter

Photo of students sitting around a conference room table listening to a presentation.

Students also visited the corporate office of Terakeet, a search engine technology company. There, they met Samantha Lewis G’18, a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and gained insight into the range of factors that contribute to workplace culture and why it is so important.

A common message delivered by all the companies was that it’s not just your talent that matters, but also your values.

Jonah Kaminsky ’26

Lesson #4: It takes a variety of skill sets to make an organization thrive

Photo of students gathering around a worktable, surrounded by clothing racks, wigs and other costuming.

Their last stop was the Redhouse Arts Center, a community-oriented theater and educational space where the students gained a sense of the wide range of roles that contribute to the success of the programming and theater.

After being around so many creative people, I feel inspired and eager to begin creatively contributing to the world I inhabit.

Abigail Galrao ’26
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