Tuesday, March 13

There is a common saying. “He shoots, he scores,” and boy did we score on day 3 of the CIE trip. Not only did we have the opportunity to visit the NBA Headquarters, but we also scored the chance to meet with people working in the consulting and insurance industries, not to mention the insight we gained from networking with highly successful and talented alums working in the New York area at an alumni social event later this evening.

Before we could have a sip of our morning coffee, we got a sweet taste of what it’s like to work as a consultant in the New York area. For someone like me who has heard of consulting but never really knew much about the profession, I must say that I was incredibly intrigued. I think what is most interesting about this industry is the unique relationships consultants build with their clients. It is interesting to see the dynamic of these relationships and truly get a glimpse of the people skills that are needed for any business to thrive along with the technical skills.

We are all insured in some way (at least I hope we are). Whether it’s homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance, or health insurance, it is important to have some type of coverage because, let’s face it, life is just a little too risky. But after attending our afternoon insurance panel with Marsh and McLennan, an insurance agency, I learned that there is a lot more that goes into this risky business than simply calculating premiums and deductibles. I learned that data analytics plays a large role in the insurance industry. Companies are always going to face risk, but what is their best form of coverage against that risk? The answer to this question can be found in data analytics, a growing field in the insurance industry that insurance agencies, like Marsh and McLennan, are using to support their proposed insurance plans and ensure billion dollar companies that they are indeed, properly insured.

When most people hear the word basketball, they tend to think of the game itself, or the NBA, or players like Michael Jordan. But it is also important to consider that basketball is not just a sport– it’s a business, and a pretty big one. Thanks to Ed Winkle ’86, the vice president of global partnerships at the NBA, we got a closer look into this business and the vast amount of opportunities that exist for future internships and careers in the NBA. There are so many components that make the NBA the multibillion industry that it is, and our visit to the NBA Headquarters allowed me to see this first-hand. Ed’s work experience in Asia for 15 years before coming to the NBA was also inspiring. Ed said that he never would have pictured himself working abroad, and because of this, he emphasized the importance of taking risks and having an open mind because it is often the unexpected opportunities that lead to the greatest experiences. Also our NBA snapbacks were a plus– thanks to Ed and the NBA for the wonderful gifts!

When you talk to people about college, many will ask you what you’re majoring in, what your future career plans are, and what you hope to gain out of these four years. At our alumni social event later this evening, I finally found the answer to these questions. College isn’t simply about learning– it is about being a part of a larger network of people who have different majors than you, but the same ambition to fulfill those dreams. Standing in a room full of Illinois Wesleyan alums who graduated in the 1960s, all the way until now, made me realize that I truly am a part of a group of people who graduated from the same school and have achieved success in their field.

We all share the Illinois Wesleyan experience. We’ve all been to Shirk, ate at The Dugout, and found a second home in Ames, yet we’ve all ended up somewhere different. That is the beauty of college. It is having a pool of mentors all around the country, and all around the world, who were once in our footsteps, who share the same roots yet have planted their success in different industries, in different parts of the world. This strong alumni network is one that I can only hope to be a part of when I too find that same success.

To top off this incredible evening was a visit to Fox News, which was truly a dream come true for an aspiring broadcast journalist like myself. Not only was my jaw dropped the entire time while visiting the Fox Newsroom, I felt even more inspired to continue working toward my dream after the visit. A huge thank you to Tariq Khan ’93 for allowing us to have a sneak peek behind the screens!

– Vi Kakares ’20

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