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UK and US-based alumni share experiences to help each other and next generation

Alumni from the UK have been connecting with current students as well as their US-based counterparts at a reception in the heart of New York's financial district.

This is the first time UK-based graduates from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have joined a #DMUglobal trip, with a special itinerary organised by the Alumni team.

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The aim of the event, held at the Stone Street Tavern, was to enhance networking skills, establish professional contacts and share experiences.

Sarah Darrall, who studied for her postgraduate diploma in Inter-Religious Relations at DMU, described the reception as "brilliant".

"I wanted to come on the trip to pick up tips from social action projects," said the Publications Lead and Project Manager for the Motor Neurone Disease Association in Northampton.

"Reaching out into the community to get volunteers can be difficult, so I hope to pick up ideas that I can take back and use in the UK."

Recent Business Management and Economics graduate Ben Barr, who has a "dream job" with Big Four accounting firm Deloitte, thought the event provided a great opportunity to interact and share experiences.

"It's great to meet people in the same field," he said. "I am having a fantastic time."

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Talking shop with Ben was Francis Minien, a Project Manager at the Bank of New York Mellon.

He said: "I like the concept of paying it forward and what I do paves the way for other people behind me."

Francis "fell into finance"- in a role with Bournemouth -based JP Morgan - after graduating with an undergraduate degree in History and Media Studies and a master's in Photography, crediting "hard work aligned with a passion to travel" for getting him to where he is today.

Having attended last year's reception for US-based alumni, as part of the 2017 #DMUglobal trip to New York, Francis said the event is an "interesting way to link back up with education."

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2017 Product and Furniture Design graduate Sarah Wharton, who works for County Display in Leicester, wanted "to find out what it's like to work in New York", while 2016 Business Administration graduate Adrianne Galvez thought it was a "great way to get my foot in the door in New York".

"I have this as a starting point for making connections in a new city," said Adrianne, who owns a photography business and works full time at Photoshelter, but plans to return to DMU in September for her master's.

"As an entrepreneur an MBA is invaluable," she added.

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Among the current students making the most of the opportunity to mingle were Contour Fashion student Carys Gill, who said: "It is a great opportunity to network with people who have already been through university."

New York-based Footwear Design alumna Sarah Sclarandis was delighted to attend the event, having being unable to make it last year. "It's good to get back in touch," she said.

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With a CV boasting names such as Banana Republic and Donna Karan, she now has her own company, Sclarandis.

Bob Ferguson was equally pleased to reconnect with his roots. Having studied for a telecoms HND at the then Leicester Polytechnic, his career took him to London, Miami and now New York where he works as a Client Director with Japanese telecommunications company NTT.

"For me it's a brilliant angle," he said. "The college system didn't have a big alumni fraternity when I was there, so this is great."

Posted on Wednesday 10th January 2018

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