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Experience leads to success for recent grad

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By Stephanie Miller


When it comes to landing a job after graduation, employers and universities seem to agree that experience is key. For recent Suffolk graduate Ashley Gentile, planning ahead was a smart move.

Gentile, 23, graduated from Suffolk in 2014 with a degree in public relations concentrated in graphic design and event planning. She said it was very easy to find a job after graduating because she pursued an internship while in school.

Along with her degree, Gentile credits most of her post-graduate success to her internship.  “The experience taught me more about the field than any classroom would,” she said.

Now working for XConomy, a web-based news publication in Cambridge that reports on technology and life sciences, Gentile puts her skills to the test. At the company, Gentile is a marketing and events coordinator. Along with scheduling and budgeting events, she also deals with the public relations for the company.

Suffolk prides itself on its location in the heart of Boston. Gentile notes that Suffolk’s location helped her in the career world because she was able to network easily in the city and make those necessary connections to move ahead.

Gentile said her degree and major weren’t very important to employers during the job hunt. According to Gentile, English majors and Greek literature majors held the position before her.

“The company cared more about my experience in the field at my internship than they did my time at school,” she said.

She believes, however, that her degree was necessary to get her foot in the door. She said school “taught the basic knowledge” that was expected of her in the field.

Gentile posed with her Suffolk diploma, ready to apply her experience to the professional world. Courtesy of Ashley Gentile.

When asked if she wished she had done anything differently, Gentile said she wished she took more business and computer science courses, not realizing at the time how useful those skills would be later on.

She also said she would have loved to start interning earlier.

“I waited until my second semester senior year,” she said. “It worked out, but I would have learned even more if I started earlier.”

Despite her wishes to be more open in her studies, Gentile said she has no regrets.

“I’m glad I picked the major that I did because it’s versatile,” she said. “I’m able to do graphics, which sets me above everyone else.”

For current students unsure of their paths, Gentile advises not to worry.

“You shouldn’t know what you want to do,” she said. “I knew as a freshman in high school that I wanted to do PR, but I’m not really doing that right now. I don’t even know if I want to do PR at a firm.”

For success, she recommends attending networking events held both on campus and around the city.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask what they do or how they got to where they are now,” she said. “Normally, it’s not a straight path.”

Gentile advises seniors not to stress about finding a job.
“Don’t be afraid to not have that all-star first job out of college. It will come when it comes. As long as you can maintain your lifestyle, continue doing whatever makes you happy.”

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Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.
Experience leads to success for recent grad