Through extensive conversations, intricate chains of connections, and determination, a Virginia Tech senior used networking to land a job of a lifetime.
Ashvin Sinnathamby, senior majoring in finance, earned a job on Wall Street by networking and informing professionals of his dedication.
Sinnathamby grew up searching for ways to make money to support extracurricular activities. In middle school, he bought and sold sneakers and eventually, in high school, learned how to build a computer and sell parts.
After an internship with a bank, Sinnathamby began to build an interest for finance. To pursue a career in the field, he spoke with friends, with the same interests, and bought a LinkedIn account, a professional networking site.
“I tried to find anyone that had any commonalities with myself and I got pretty much no responses. I kept on going, kept on going because I knew that the current internship I had the summer before was so boring, I knew I wanted something a lot more fast paced,” Sinnathamby said.
In addition to the LinkedIn account, Sinnathamby used some of the several websites Tech offers for students searching for internships and jobs. These sites connect students to alumni in the region and around the world.
While continuing to build his profile, Sinnathamby met with Michael Kender, an associate professor of practice in finance, insurance and business law, as a suggestion by a friend. While professor Kender was referring him to people, Sinnathamby was getting responses from the LinkedIn account.
In a two day trip to New York, Sinnathamby met with eight people, four from referrals and four others from the networking site.
The trip sparked several more trips throughout the year, which built Sinnathamby large network of contacts. Eventually, Sinnathamby received an internship with Morgan Stanley.
“People really, for the most part, like helping other people. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help and don’t be shortsighted. There’s all kinds of people that you may not think of in your network who might be able to connect you to somebody else that could help you,” said Claire Childress, senior assistant director of career services.
Building connections extends from networking sites to the classroom as well. Last semester, Courtney Thomas, visiting assistant professor of political science, invited 2008 alumma Jennifer Nuss to Thomas’s global economics and world politics class to speak to students. One of Thomas’s students talked to Nuss after the discussion and they shared contact information. Nuss was able to give her advice and recommendations and, eventually, assist the student in finding a job and getting hired.
“She’s in a different company, which is even more interesting to a certain extent because it means that somebody from one firm can really give advice to really anyone that’s entering that kind of a market,” Thomas said.
For most of these students, it all started with one conversation that led to many others.
“Don’t be afraid to go up and introduce yourself to someone. I think what I’ve noticed coming back is that people are afraid to talk or tell their story and open up to new people. And you just have to realize that everyone has their own story and is their own person and is a human being when it comes down to it,” Sinnathamby said.
Sinnathamby also emphasized the importance of not being discouraged by attending a university that may not be a specialty school for a student’s major.
“Kids from these non-target school, they come in with a lot of passion and a fire within them to do well. If we can continue to instill that in people, we make our school look a lot better. I think there are a lot of talented kids here,” Sinnathamby