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Dinner with Alumni

Dinner with Alumni

The Dinner with Alumni program brings students and alumni together through a series of dinners scheduled during the school year. These dinners are great career networking opportunities for students to interact with current experts in the field and will fill up fast! This event is for current students only, and you must register in order to attend.

For more information contact EmilyAnn Walrath

For Students

To register for an upcoming Dinner with Alumni, please visit our Events page

Business casual is proper attire for this dinner. Not sure what this means? Business casual clothing is crisp, neat, and should look appropriate. Just remember that you want to represent yourself positively in front of the host and the other dinner guests. 

Use common sense; avoid tight or baggy clothing, sneakers or jeans; business casual is classic rather than trendy. Khaki pants, neatly pressed, and a pressed long-sleeved, buttoned solid shirt are safe for both men and women. Women can wear casual pants or skirts. In addition to tailored shirts or blouses, tailored knit sweaters and sweater sets are also appropriate business casual choices. Wear a leather belt and leather shoes. Athletic shoes are inappropriate.

The host is paying for your meal, not AU. Sending a thank you card is both an expected courtesy and an important part of successful networking. Know that follow-up letters keep your name current should opportunities arise in an organization and/or field.

Please send the card to your host to specially acknowledge and thank them for dinner.

Don't forget to exchange contact information with the host before leaving!

You must let us know if you can no longer attend; no-shows will not be allowed to participate in future dinners.

Cancellations need to be submitted to EmilyAnn Walrath or 202-885-5962 at least 24 hours before your dinner. Please include your name, contact information, date of dinner, and name of the dinner host.

One way to receive more detailed information about an occupation or career is to conduct an informational interview. The dinner you are attending is like an informational interview. Informational interviewing is the process of talking to professionals who are employed in a career field/industry that is of interest to you.

The following guidelines will help you have a successful dinner experience.

1. Know What You Want to Accomplish

The primary objectives are to:

  • Investigate a specific career field.
  • Narrow career options.
  • Obtain advice on where you might fit in an organization.
  • Learn the language and important issues in the field.
  • Broaden your network for future reference.
  • Create a strategy for entering your field.

2. Conducting the Informational Interview

Before the Dinner:

  • Research the host's employer or organization.
  • Write down questions you wish to ask.
  • Learn something about the person you will be interviewing.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Bring copies of your resume to distribute only upon request.

During the Dinner:

  • Share what information you expect to learn.
  • Initiate the conversation, since you are the interviewer.
  • Request referrals to other individuals in the field or in related organizations.

*Remember that this is an information-gathering event, not an employment interview.

After the Dinner:

  • Send a thank-you note.
  • Evaluate your style of interviewing.
  • What could you have done better?
  • Evaluate the information you received.
  • How does it relate to your plans?
  • Map out your next step.

3. What to Ask Your Host

Make a list of questions you would like answered by the host about a career field or organization. To gain the most information, use open-ended questions to engage your host. Listed below are sample questions to help you prepare for your dinner.

Questions about the Field:

  • What types of positions are available in this career field?
  • What general skills do people need to perform their responsibilities (e.g., organizing, supervising, writing)?
  • What background is required?
  • What kind of training or education do you recommend?
  • What characterizes a typical entry level position in the field?
  • What is the outlook for entry-level professionals?
  • What are some alternative methods of entry into the field?
  • What is the future of this field in terms of new and expanding opportunities?

In addition, ask about other information that may be helpful (e.g., critique of resume, job-seeking tactics, names of other professionals in the field).

Questions about the Organization

  • What are some short and long-term goals of the organization in the areas of growth, new products or services and expansion of facilities?
  • What is the philosophy of the organization and what types of training programs are available?
  • Can you describe an entry-level and a mid-level job?
  • Can you describe your job?
  • What is a typical career path from entry-level to top management?

For Alumni

If you are interested in hosting a Dinner with Alumni, please fill out this questionnaire [PDF]   

There are three types of conversation styles for hosted dinners:

Structured

  • Create your own agenda, identifying clear goals and objectives
  • Send plan to OAR at least 48 hours prior to dinner
  • Plan sent to students by OAR in preparation for dinner

Semi-structured

  • Loosely planned conversation
  • Option to send agenda to OAR for forwarding to students
  • Unstructured
  • Casual conversation that develops organically
  • No agenda needed

Unstructured

  • Casual conversation that develops organically
  • No agenda needed  

Alan Luba, SPA '71

Amy Lampert, SOC/BA '94

Bradley White, SPA/BA '99, WCL/JD '07

Brandy Corcoran Carlson, Kogod/BSBA '92

David Teslicko; SIS/BA '09, WCL/JD '12

Diana Pak, WCL/JD '12

George Whitehouse, Kogod/BS '69 

The Honorable Judge Gerald Lee, SOC/BA '73 WCL/JD '76 

Jolene McNeil, SPA/BA '97

Jonathan Day, SPA/BA '94

Jordan Haverly, SPA/BA '09

London McCloud, Kogod/BSBA '02

Michael Pasko, SPA/BA '08

Penny Pagano, CAS/BA '65

Sara Nieves-Grafals; CAS/BS '75, CAS/MA '79, CAS/PhD '80

Suzanne Ffolkes; SOC/BA '84, SOC/MA '85

Tyrone "Ty" Harris, Esq., SOC/BA '72, WCL/JD '75