From English Class to Penguin Random House: The Importance of Attending Road to the Workplace

This semester, Marist College’s Career Services has organized several trips to visit companies in New York City. These events are part of a program called “Road to the Workplace,” which allows students to network with and learn about various different companies. This semester alone, Career Services has had trips to Goldman Sachs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Horizon, and many more. On Nov. 2, I had the opportunity of going to Penguin Random House, which is a prestigious publishing company and an English major’s dream come true to visit.

Last year, I also went to Penguin Random House, so I was already familiar with the company. However, this year was a much better experience because it was only Marist students attending, as opposed to anyone in the Hudson Valley. Before going to visit the company, we were told by staff members of Career Services, Kevin McCall and Desmond Murray, what the itinerary of the day would be. We were told to be at the train station by 8 a.m. to take the 8:30 a.m. train, dress in professional business attire, bring copies of our resumes, and feel free to leave directly after the event.

On the morning of the event, I got on the train with everyone who was going and took the time to research the company. This is one of the most important things to do, because it shows that you have an interest in the company, which will then allow you to ask the right questions when it comes time to talk to the company representatives individually.

After getting off the train at Grand Central station and walking about 30 minutes to Penguin Random House, we were given a presentation by two members of the human resources (HR) team. There was also someone from the art department and another from the editorial department, who each provided first-hand experience of their roles at Penguin Random House.

The presentation given by the recruiters consisted of a detailed description of the different departments at Penguin Random House, along with the different imprints that are present in the company. This was extremely beneficial because when most people think of publishing, editorial is the only thing that comes to mind. But it turns out that there are other departments, like managerial editorial, production, subsidiary rights, contracting, public relations, and more, as well.

Although I do not have any direct experience in publishing, this is an industry that I am interested in, especially since I am an English major. By the end of the presentation, I was certain which departments I had a great interest in and which ones I did not. By attending this Road to the Workplace event, I learned about a company that I admired, figured out what departments I liked the most, and networked with the people around me.

After the presentation, the representatives from the art and editorial department each talked about their experiences at Penguin Random House. They talked about their day-to-day roles in the company, how they work with authors and other departments, and what kind of work interns would do. After this, the representatives then opened it up for questions. In any event like this, it is extremely important to come with questions, because not only does it show that you took the time to research the company, but it proves to the recruiters and professionals that you are genuinely interested.

This was one of the most successful parts of the day because through everyone’s questions, we learned a lot about the company that we would not have been able to get from their website. Every Marist student received first-hand experience and advice from the recruiters and representatives on things that were directly applicable to the company, including how to make your application stand out, the importance of a cover letter, and what their internship experience is like.

When the floor closed for questions, everyone had the chance to individually speak to the recruiters and the representatives. I spoke to both an HR recruiter and the editorial representative and got both of their contact information. Students even had the opportunity to talk to Alyssa Hurlbut ‘19, a Marist student and Penguin Random House intern. This was an amazing opportunity because students got to hear first-hand from a fellow Marist student, about what it is like to be an intern at the company.

Overall, this was an excellent experience, not only for myself, but for all the English majors who attended the trip. Going to Penguin Random House with only Marist students made the experience better, because it allowed for more close networking and I got to know people I did not know in my major. In addition, it also increased my interest of wanting to go into publishing and helped me realize which departments of publishing I like the most. In the future, I hope to attend more Road to the Workplace company visits, to both network and figure out my interests.  

Yanisa CampusanoComment