Management forum provides strategies for student success

Mike Montecalvo '84
The worst thing that you can say to Mike Montecalvo ’84, news anchor for WPRI and Fox News Providence, in a job interview is, “I just want to be on TV.”

Montecalvo was speaking as the moderator in the first of a series of "Bridges to Business" management forums. The forum, "Be our guest please," was held March 9 in Alger Hall. It featured a panel of five entertainment industry professionals offering students advice for succeeding in troubled times.

Event photo gallery

The main topics of discussion were career advice and the effect of the economy on the entertainment business.

Alan Chille '82
Montecalvo was joined by Alan Chille ’82, general manager of Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC); Kim Ward, director of public relations for Twin River casino; Augusto (Cookie) Rojas, general sales manager for the Pawtucket Red Sox; and Jack Mulvena, executive director for Roger Williams Park Zoo.

Chille described how he worked in the Rathskeller, the former RIC Student Union bar, as well as in RIC Programming and other jobs on campus. “Working in the Student Union at Rhode Island College was as important as my academics because it provided me a springboard into management,” said Chille. “What stands out the most is a student whose job experience ties to their academics,” he said of the interview process.

Kim Ward
Ward emphasized that students need to express a “willingness to try,” and recommended having several resumes on file geared to different positions. She also suggested specifically tailoring resumes for the firm to which you are applying.

“You are spoiled,” said Ward, “With the Internet there is no excuse for not being knowledgeable about your potential employer.”

Augusto Rojas
Ward also warned students of a common problem she has with job interview responses – people being negative about a previous employer – which she said leaves a bad impression.

After the recession hit, Rojas, said he needed “to work smarter and harder. In our business the income is disposable, consumers don’t have to spend it. We needed to focus on adding value.”

One way that students can add value to themselves is through internships, said Rojas, who said that they were a must for students – even if they aren’t paid.

“You need to get that experience,” said Rojas “The opportunities are unbelievable.”

Jack Mulvena
Mulvena graduated with a degree in romantic poetry. “What else was I to do but manage a zoo,” he said, smiling. Mulvena’s advice was to “identify organizations where you want to work. My employees gravitate to community service, for example.”

Mulvena encouraged students to make the most of their connections and networking skills to help their resume stand out from the crowd. “Beating the bushes,” he said, “is the key to getting into that interview.”

When Montecalvo got his first job in radio, he said it wasn’t because he snuck into the building and found the general manager of the station or that he graduated with a degree in communications or even that he was the general manager the RIC student radio station. It was because he served in student parliament.

It turned out that the general manager of the radio station was impressed because his political career at RIC demonstrated a broad array of skill-sets.

Montecalvo concluded that it is critical for students to be well rounded in order to get those competitive positions and emphasized that students should find a way to differentiate themselves from fellow job seekers.

The forum was sponsored by the RIC School of Management and Fidelity Investments.