Category Archives: Alumni

Career Conversation with Ryan Harms

Career Conversation with Ryan Harms, Director of Digital Production at Arnold Worldwide

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Ryan Harms is an extremely personable guy.  His young energy and passion for advertising and marketing made our conversation comfortable and informal, yet it was very informative.  Ryan graduated from Boston College in 2007 as an International Studies major, worked for two small advertising agencies in Boston, and is now leading a production team at Arnold Worldwide, which is one of the most well-established, well-known firms in the industry.  Ryan shared his academic and early work experiences with us to prove that marketing and advertising careers attract people from all walks of life.  It’s encouraging that some companies find you as a person more compelling and interesting than your GPA, number of past internships, and extracurricular activities.

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Our conversation progressed into a discussion about how technology is rapidly changing the advertising industry, such as with the creation of online “ad blocking” tools.  Each day certainly brings a new challenge for Ryan, who doesn’t mind the hard work and long hours that it takes to manage projects for over twenty clients simultaneously.  The “soul” of the workplace, as Ryan put it, is important for productivity in terms of coming up with ideas and building brands for companies, as well as for chemistry with colleagues and those with whom you interact on a daily basis.  There is also a significant difference between small and large agencies, both in which Ryan has experience.  For example, you get to work with a diverse group of clients at a larger ad agency, whereas a smaller agency exposes you more to different tasks and roles.  Big agencies are much more bureaucratic than smaller ones are, and small agencies lack the mentorship that many of the large firms provide.  In the end, Ryan loves what he does, and inspired many of us to consider a career in marketing and advertising.

A huge thanks to Ryan for speaking with us!

-Michelle Totino, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2013


Career Conversation with Jeffrey Davis of Epsilon

Last month’s Career Conversation, with BC alumnus Jeffrey Davis of Epsilon, was a great opportunity to learn more about careers in advertising.  If you missed Jeff on campus, check out the following blog post about his visit:

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Jeffrey Davis, a BC alumni, came to the Career Center to speak to us about his position as the Associate Account Executive at Epsilon. Epsilon is a full services marketing company. With a liberal arts background, Jeff emphasized the fact that you do not need to have a marketing degree in order to work at a marketing company. He personally believes that the liberal arts education is extremely valuable in that it teaches you how to write, analyze, and comprehend. He also went into detail on how he started off interning at Blitz and was able to learn to speak the language of the field. This unpaid internship helped him get his resume through the door at Epsilon.   After that, it’s all about your behavior and how you think, and less about what you have previously done.

Jeff also went into detail of what components make up Epsilon. It has 3 major components to it – a full scale agency, marketing technology, and third party data. As a full scale agency, Epsilon creates content and develops the information that shows up on companies’ websites and pages. It also provides analytical consulting, answering questions like “How do I format my website to get people to purchase my product?” Within its marketing technology component, Epsilon builds email and data platforms. This is what Jeff and his team do.  With third party data, Epsilon collects data from different companies for a specific client in order to get a better understanding of information such as where the target audience is spending its money.

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Overall, Jeffrey gave valuable insight on what it is like to work at a company like Epsilon. After listening to him, I felt much more relieved to know that as a Communications and Psychology major, I can provide a unique perspective to marketing companies.  It’s your mind, not your background that leads the way working in Marketing.

-Ellie Suh, College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2014

Career Conversation with Ariel Belgrave

Ariel Belgrave is a BC alumna who is currently working as an Executive Officer Senior Analyst at JP Morgan Chase.  She visited the BC Career Center to speak with students about her recent experiences, career path and choices, and to give general advice to current BC students.  In case you missed her visit, here are some take-away points:

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1)      If you’re interested in something, take a class in it.  Ariel was a Psychology major at BC, but she had an interest in working outside of the traditional Psychology career paths.  She took a tax course outside of her BC course work, and this gave her the skills she needed to pursue her current career.  Ariel recommended that students should look for other ways to gain skills and knowledge, even if it’s not within their traditional major courses.

2)      The number one aspect that Ariel has leveraged is people.  She recommends networking, joining LinkedIn groups based on interests and skills, getting in touch with alumni, and maintaining relationships with any previous supervisors or professionals.  It is useful for finding jobs in the future, as well as understanding a possible job of interest.

3)      Rotational programs give a well-rounded experience.  Ariel is currently working in a rotational program at JP Morgan Chase, and this has given her a wide variety of skills.  She stressed the importance of flexibility while starting out in a career.

4)      Use an entry-level job to sculpt yourself and gain skills. Focus on the job characteristics, skills you will gain, and work with your manager to develop your talents.  Use a first job to help guide you towards your next job and just in general in your career path.

5)      Do things outside of the general job description to gain experience.  Ariel described how she has not yet had to say “no” to a project; she views any additional tasks as a way to gain exposure to multiple areas of the company.  Additionally, Ariel has joined the board of a non-profit organization, which gives her varied professional experience outside of her company and day-to-day work.

6)      Keep good time management, and maintain your health.  Even with her busy schedule, Ariel finds time to exercise, walk around the city, and see friends.  She mentioned that time management and her calendar are very important and useful, but it’s possible to do everything you want if you use your time well.

-Megan Cain, Lynch School of Education, Class of 2013

Career Conversation with Bob Ryan

‘Globe’ writer brings experience to campus

By Mujtaba SyedMujtaba Syed

Heights Editor

Originally Published in The Heights: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

“I’ve only worked at one paper for 45 years,” said Bob Ryan, sports correspondent at The Boston Globe and BC ’68. “I promise you, you could parade in here the next 10,000 columnists in America and not one of them would say they’ve only worked at one paper.” Ryan spoke to a crowd of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students interested in sports journalism on Tuesday in Gasson Hall. He was invited back to his alma mater to be the latest speaker in the “Career Conversations” program, sponsored by the Boston College Career Center.

bob talking

Arriving at BC in 1964, Ryan began his collegiate career as an English major and a play-by-play commentator for WVBC, the original campus radio station. He joked about his initial thoughts about The Heights, indicating that he steered clear of the student newspaper because he knew he would not be able to cover his favorite sports during his freshman year. He went on to explain, however, how both his course of study and his primary extracurricular activity changed as his BC career progressed. Ryan would graduate a history major and a three-year writer for The Heights.

“The second year, I did go to The Heights,” he said. “One of my best friends had become an editor and I knew he would let me cover what I wanted.”
After discussing parts of his academic career, Ryan proceeded to focus on his career trajectory. While working in the sports information department at BC, he built powerful professional relationships with prominent BC athletics employees. Drawing on these relationships as he graduated BC, Ryan was able to secure an internship with The Boston Globe—which would prove to be the final destination in his job search.

“If it weren’t through that connection through sports information, I frankly have no idea what would have happened,” he said. “It was very simple—my path was utterly atypical.”
Using his personal experience as a backdrop, Ryan went on to highlight perhaps his most sincere advice concerning careers: each individual’s career is so unpredictable that students should never get lost in planning their every move.
“People always ask me what they should be doing to get a job with a big newspaper,” he said. “This is the question I dread. I don’t know how anyone does it. I just know how I did it.”
After joining The Boston Globe in 1969, Ryan went on to work as the beat writer for the Boston Celtics throughout the 1980s. Moving on to a role as general sports columnist, he covered all four major Boston sports teams through championship seasons and reported on 11 Olympics and 20 NCAA Final Four tournaments.
Moving on from the discussion of his career, Ryan turned the focus of the discussion to contemporary issues in sports journalism, changes over time in his work, and his outlook for the future of printed press. He first focused on the art behind the work that has defined his career.

“‘Sports writing’ consists of two words,” he said. “The second word is much more important than the first. Writing is distinct and separate from sports—it is the hard part. Pride in writing was what got me in the business.” He continued, highlighting the necessity of sports journalists to possess a natural aptitude and affinity for the art of writing in addition to their passion for sports.

Transitioning to a slightly bitter note as a question geared the conversation toward the writer-player relationship’s change over time in sports, Ryan admitted that certain positive aspects of his early career could never be enjoyed again.

“In those days there was no feeling of an adversarial relationship,” he said. “Now, players take to social media to get their name out to the public instead of the press. We’ll never have as much fun as we did.”
Finally, Ryan provided analysis on the future of print media. Signaling a large-scale move to digital news services, he indicated his belief that within 10 to 15 years, the last newspaper will have printed. While some of the audience present may have been appalled at the prediction, Ryan accompanied it with positive sentiments about the breadth of talent in journalism that continues to grow.

“There’s never been so much good writing going on as there is now,” he said. “The writing aspect will never change.”
Amidst the predictions, analyses, and memories, Ryan provided a lasting reminder of what drives powerful sports writing—a demonstration to the aspiring writers sitting in Gasson Hall of the inspiration behind the man who had once been in the same position.

“I soaked up every minute I was covering sports,” he said. “I love the games, the competition, watching people winning and losing. I love the stories. And that transcends everything.

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Career Conversation with Maryann C. Calia

In case you missed last semester’s Career Conversation, check out the following recap from one of the students who attended:

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Maryann C. Calia is the Statewide Community and Government Liaison for the Committee for Public Council Services (CPCS), the Massachusetts Public Defenders agency.  After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from BC in Political Science and Speech Communications and a Master’s degree in Public Relations from BU, Maryann served as the chief of staff to the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  Maryann noted that her BC undergraduate education, coupled with experience earned in government on the state and federal levels, have prepared her well for the demands of her current position. A typical day in her job includes extensive media research, drafting legislation, coalition building, and promoting the CPCS legislative agenda among chief and general counsels by lobbying for new policy and tracking pertinent budget initiatives.  Maryann focuses on legislation affecting legal representation to indigent persons in criminal and civil cases, and administrative proceedings in which there is a right to counsel.  A few of her many career successes in policy advocacy have come with her work on the Massachusetts Health Care Act, Green Communities Act, Stem Cell Research Act, and the Film Tax Credit Act, as well as the revision of the MA Juvenile Court policy on shackling juveniles.

Maryann is an excellent resource for any student considering a career in government or policy-making at the state or federal level.  As a BC grad herself, is more than willing to offer advice to BC students.

-Mackenzie Cunningham, College of Arts and Sciences, Class of 2013

BC Alumni Career Conference

This day-long program is geared for alumni who are looking to make a job transition, change career fields, or who are re-entering the job market.

WHEN: Thursday, May 2, 2013 from 9am – 4pm WHERE: Gasson Hall

To register, call 617.552.4700 or register online at

alumni career conference

BC Alumni Career Conference

This day-long program is geared for alumni who are looking to make a job transition, change career fields, or who are re-entering the job market. Information sessions, a panel discussion with corporate decision makers, and a Q&A with Cindi Bigelow ’82, CEO of Bigelow Tea, will highlight the day.

Thursday, May 2, 2013
9:00AM – 4:30PM
Gasson Hall, Boston College, Chestnut Hill Campus

To register: Call 617.552.4700 or register online at

alumni career conference