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Students Learn Business Skills at Goldman Sachs College Collaborative Event

A networking and etiquette lunch was held on February 16 as part of the Goldman Sachs College Collaborative (GSCC) program. GSCC is a unique experiential learning program where teams of 10 from four local schools including Saint Peter’s University, New Jersey City University, Hudson County Community College and Borough of Manhattan Community College are challenged to work on real-world case studies, drawing on teamwork, communications and advanced problem-solving skills. The students involved in the program are top-notch, having to go through an intense application process and are from a variety of majors and not just those relating to finance. To guide them through the application process, and establish the relationship with Goldman Sachs, which is conveniently located on the Jersey City waterfront, is the Center for Career Engagement and Experiential Learning (CEEL).

Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University, commented on the importance of prominent community partnerships in his opening remarks, “The Goldman Sachs College Collaborative brings talented students from local schools together and provides them with a unique opportunity to network with peers.”

This event was specifically focused on networking skills and etiquette. Sarah Tennyson, owner of Tennyson, LLC, a talent development consultancy, is a behavior expert who led an interactive networking “how-to.” Her tips included practice saying your name clearly, use open-ended questions and go into a networking event with an attitude of reciprocity.

“Networking is important because it builds human relationships and human connections,” said Tennyson. It also helps to build a personal brand. After networking, it is important to follow up with people in order to build a relationship. Tennyson advises sending a LinkedIn invite with a personal message or sending an email that suggests a short phone call or meeting for coffee. Tennyson encouraged students to keep track of whom they have connected with at networking events. For example, she uses a spreadsheet to record information about her contacts such as where they met, when they met and details about subsequent meetings.

The students in attendance then had a chance to practice their new networking prowess at a lunch, guided by etiquette expert Joyce Flinn, wife of Eugene Flinn ’80, and co-owner of two popular Hoboken restaurants.

“Good manners are about being considerate,” said Flinn as she coached the attendees through lunch, including how to eat soup properly, which utensil to use first and how to determine where your water glass is located. Industry professionals dined with the students and provided feedback on their behavior.

To emphasize to the students that learning manners and etiquette is important, Jim Conti ’93, senior sales leader within the Prime Brokerage Hedge Fund Demand Team at Goldman Sachs said, “Etiquette is one of those things that doesn’t matter until it matters.”

Overall, the students learned that in the business world, human interactions and connections still play an important role. This workshop, and the others held as part of GSCC, will expand student knowledge and help instill skills that are valuable in the workforce.

To learn more about CEEL, visit www.saintpeters.edu/ceel.