BERKELEY – The Field Club at California Memorial Stadium was bustling with activity on a Wednesday evening last month for the annual “Bears To Business” event, where area professionals take time to meet with Cal student-athletes to discuss their chosen fields and offer possible internships.
Over 60 student-athletes were on hand to talk with approximately 25 professionals in fields that ranged from insurance to real estate to health care. Student-athletes were able to gain insights about different careers as well as the job-seeking process. In some cases, professionals discussed summer internship possibilities with the student-athletes.
“What we do is offer then the opportunity to have dinner together and learn more about their profession, get some insight into what it takes to transition from a student-athlete to real-life professional,” Cal Director of Student-Athlete Affairs Paul Savage said.
Student-athletes may have more constraints on their time than the typical student because of the combination of their sport and academics, and the time needed to devote to each. This may make it more difficult for student-athletes to devote the energy required for the career exploration process.
The Bears To Business event brings career exploration to the student-athlete.
“It’s just hard to make connections, even with professors,” Cal swimmer Scott Farley said. “You have really close connections with your teammates and coaches, but not so much in the business world. It’s great to have events like this where you can get your name out there. It was a good chance to have a conversation and talk with professionals. I feel like you don’t really get that chance very often.”
One thing Cal student-athletes learned at the Bears To Business event is that they have a lot of qualities sought by potential employers – the ability to work as part of a team, dedication, time management and work ethic are all traits student-athletes exhibit on a regular basis that are valued in the real world.
“I do think that student-athletes are unique in that regard,” said Cal senior Jordan O’Reilly, a forward on the field hockey team. “We have to manage a full-time job, especially at Cal with the rigors academically that we have. So I do think we set ourselves apart. It’s just knowing how to frame your experience in the right way to show how you’ll be valuable to your employer.”
For more on the Bears To Business event, watch the accompanying video.