By Emma Collins ’16, Editorial Assistant, College Marketing and Communications, College of the Holy Cross
In late January, the men’s lacrosse team at the College of the Holy Cross traveled to New York City to participate in a special job shadowing day organized by Crusader Lax Connect, a career mentorship program that brings together Holy Cross lacrosse players and alumni across different career fields.
“By leveraging the extensive and diverse network of business professionals represented by the alumni network, current players [are] provided with guidance and support as they prepare to enter the business community,” says head coach Judd Lattimore.
“We formed Crusader Lax Connect as a way to give back to the school and the sport,” says Hank Prybylski ’87, partner at Ernst & Young LLP. Launched in 2014, the mentorship program already has more than 60 alumni mentors from all over the country. Each player is assigned an alumni mentor, matching mentors and mentees across diverse business fields and geographic locations. Program activities include career advice, resume review, internship support, office visits, and networking support.
While the program offers beneficial experience for the players, alumni mentors also enjoy the opportunity to give back to their community. “In many cases, alumni help their mentee take the next step after graduation,” says Lattimore. “It is rewarding for a mentor to support their mentee on the field and then in the next steps of their career.”
Looking back on his time playing for the Crusaders, Prybylski says, “Lacrosse at Holy Cross was awesome. I made lasting friendships. As my children have moved into the college age, I see so many students today not connecting with others at school. A sports team gives you an immediate band of brothers. Ringing the [Nasdaq] bell [during the job shadowing day] was much cooler than I ever thought. It brought the team together and that is what this is all about.”
Prybylski secured an internship at Ernst & Young during his junior year of college, and joined the auditing company directly after graduating from Holy Cross as an economics and accounting major. He later received a M.B.A. from Columbia University before moving into consulting as a partner in 1997. Prybylski was instrumental in organizing the job shadowing day.
“At Ernst & Young, we gave the team an intro to the company as a professional services firm,” says Prybylski. “Our recruiting team gave a presentation on how best to leverage their sports experiences in the job search process, and we held a panel of former college athletes [who shared] their experiences moving into the workforce.”
Following the panel discussion, the team separated into five groups and visited Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Colliers International, Sideline Swap and Credit Suisse. They ended the day at the Nasdaq Market Site in Times Square where, as an added bonus, the team and Lattimore rang the closing bell. “This was an absolutely amazing experience being a part of an event that has global recognition,” says Lattimore.
Robert H. McCooey, Jr. ’87, senior vice president of Nasdaq’s Listing Services unit, said that companies celebrating milestones and highlighting IPOs are invited to ring the closing bell, as well as non-profits that give back to the community.
The Holy Cross team was chosen to ring the closing bell for recently placing first in the nation in the NCAA Division I Team Works Competition, presented by Helper Helper, in recognition of their commitment to community service. For the past 15 years, the team has participated in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
After the bell ringing, the team took advantage of more photo opportunities at Times Square in front of the Nasdaq Tower Marquee, which displayed a Holy Cross video and the Crusaders logo. “Teammates had friends and family texting and calling them saying that they had seen them on CNBC and other financial television networks,” says Michael Ortlieb ’16, team captain and a political science major from Newport Beach, Calif. “It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.”
Ortlieb spent his day in New York visiting several alumni, including Prybylski and recent graduates Tanner Powers ’15 and Terry McKenna ’15.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” Ortlieb says. “To have the opportunity to meet with reputable and established firms all in one day is a true testament to the effectiveness of the Holy Cross alumni network. The young players on the team are now in a better position to succeed in the future as they have already begun to leverage the alumni network.”