Spider Road Trips

Career exploration on the road

October 22, 2009

Every year, the Career Development Center's On-Campus Interview program brings more than 100 organizations from a variety of industries to campus to recruit Richmond students for internships and full-time positions.

But what about the students who are interested in a broad industry but aren’t sure which professional paths they want to take? What about those industries that don’t necessarily recruit on campus?

That’s where the CDC’s Spider Road Trip program comes in.

Since 2005, CDC staff members have hit the road, taking groups of up to 25 students with them to explore popular industries in major metropolitan areas.

Past trips have included Spiders on Wall Street in New York City; Spiders for the Common Good in Washington, D.C.; and Spiders in Media & Communication in New York City.

Through pre-planned itineraries, students visit businesses and organizations and meet with professionals in industry-related fields. Through partnerships with the university’s alumni relations and advancement offices, participants are also able to connect with Richmond alumni at networking receptions during the trips.

Road Trips are one of the best and most beneficial programs the CDC offers,” said Joe Testani, the CDC’s associate director. “Students get well-rounded, real-life exposure to complex industries, and they’re able to make essential networking contacts.”

Sophia McMaster, a senior business administration major with a marketing and management track, attended Spiders in Media & Communication in January 2009. Her group visited seven organizations in two days, including Random House Publishing, MTV, the Wall Street Journal, Ogilvy & Mather and Lead Dog Marketing.

“So much of my classroom experience is based in theory, and I was really ready to see what these career paths looked like in the real world,” said McMaster. “I ultimately decided that I want to pursue advertising, so I ended up applying at one of the agencies we visited on the trip.”

Sarah White, a junior political science major and psychology minor, decided to attend Spiders for the Common Good in January 2009 after hearing about it from a friend who attended the trip last year.

By visiting 11 different organizations in Washington, D.C., White was able to get a broad view of working in non-profit or government, while getting some practical advice for a job search.

“Everyone kept saying how important gaining experience through internships is,” said White. “I also had no idea there were so many different opportunities with the federal government. The whole experience opened my eyes to so many different career paths.”