Jan. 15, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

With unemployment numbers increasing and new job opportunities lacking, graduating college and taking the leap into the real world might be a little scarier than usual in the next few months. 

But for three seniors on the No. 11 New York University women’s basketball team, the job search is no longer a worry.  Sarah McDevitt, Chelsea Seabron and Gena Brown already have positions of employment waiting for them – something several students are struggling to do while Americans suffer through a down economy.

“It’s a huge relief, especially in this economy,” said McDevitt.  “I see my classmates pretty worried about this economy and where their job is going to come from.  It’s great to be able to focus on basketball and enjoying everything in New York during my last year.”

McDevitt, a reserve guard for the Violets, is returning to her hometown of Seattle, Wash., to work for one of the most recognizable companies in the world – Microsoft. She made a point of networking during her first few years of school, and jumped on any opportunities that came her way.

“Last year, I went to a conference for women in computer science,” said McDevitt.  “It was in October, so I missed a couple days of preseason practice, but that’s how I got a contact to get the internship, which eventually led to the job.”

McDevitt’s teammates also concentrated on making themselves more marketable throughout their time in college. 

Seabron, a reserve forward from West Bloomfield, Mich., will begin working in organization and strategy consulting at Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Va., in September.   Participating in a career preparation program through Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Seabron was assigned a career mentor, who helped her during the job search process.

“My career coach was very pivotal in helping me decide what I wanted to do,” said Seabron.  “I interviewed with Booz Allen Hamilton through MLT through our last event, and I was able to make it to the final round.  My goal was to be done with the career search by December.”

Brown, a two-and-a-half year starter averaging 5.0 points per game, was hired as a consultant Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in Manhattan just before the basketball season started.  She credits her willingness to explore lots of career paths with her success of landing one before graduation.

“I was open to different opportunities,” said Brown.  “Being in New York and going to a top business school, everyone has their idea of a dream job like working for a top Wall Street bank or the most profitable firm in an industry.  When this consulting offer came across, I weighed by options and decided banking would always be there, and I wanted to try something different.”

The trio also knows that the skills they developed as student-athletes have been helpful in boosting their desirability in the job market.  Leadership, communication and the ability to multi-task are just some of the skills employers are seeking.
“The position I’ve accepted uses a lot of leadership and communication,” said McDevitt.  “I was able, in my interviews and throughout the internship, to use a lot of the same communication skills I’ve learned working on a team in basketball.  One of my bosses over the summer also mentioned that how as a student-athlete, I’ve learned to take constructive criticism and that is a huge leg up that I know how to take it and apply it and improve myself.”

Seabron mentioned how she learned how to be a good teammate, and how that will translate to working with people in the workplace.

“You learn the pains of losing, and the good feelings that you receive from winning,” said Seabron.  “You also have to manage a lot of different priorities as a student-athlete and I really pride myself on being a good student.  I think being able to balance these different things has prepared me for going into a full-time position to be able to show up everyday ready to work.”

Brown knows her adaptability will be an asset as she makes her way into the real world.

“Things are not always going to go your way, but it’s how you respond today,” said Brown. 

McDevitt, Seabron and Brown are relieved to have the job search behind them, and are now savoring their senior season, especially since the Violets have compiled an 11-1 record.  NYU’s only loss of the year came to No. 1 Rochester last weekend.  The Violets return to action on Jan. 17 at No. 7 Brandeis University.