Our Visit to Discovery

Magner Company Visits: Where the Students Meet the Employers

By the time the nearly two dozen Brooklyn College students from the Television and Radio, Marketing, Film, and Business Management departments completed their visit to Discovery Communications in late January, many were persuaded that it was the type of company they would like to work for or with.

“The possibility to use your major and, with the assistance of the Magner Center, adapt it to your present needs, is what opens opportunities for young people,” said Adria Alpert Romm ’77, Discovery’s head of human resources and its global diversity officer, in welcoming the student delegation. “You may have yet to discover what you really want.”

The former cum laude student was talking from experience. She majored in sociology, thinking she would be a social worker.

She wound up working for NBC, among other companies, before starting at Discovery Communications, a mass media company with more than 4,000 employees in 40 offices around the world whose programming and TV stations reach close to three billion viewers in 220 countries. “In human resources I found another way of helping people,” she said.

“If you are a finance major and want to work with us, perhaps you could be part of our production team as a manager,” she said. “But after a year interning with us, you may not only gain the experience you need to include on your résumé, but you may prove you have talent for areas you had not explored. And like most companies, ours needs as much talent as it can get.”

Her remarks were followed by presentations from Katlyn Higgins, a development specialist at the Discovery Channel, who evaluates and develops some of the new projects submitted to them and does research on how to expand Discovery’s audiences and ratings.

Then came Sarah Russell, who majored in advertising and marketing at a small school in Pennsylvania and eventually became a producer at Animal Planet.

Recruitment Coordinator Melanie Ruderman and Recruitment Associate Carla Rampersad later explained the ins-and-outs of internships and described the company’s culture as one of the most friendly in the corporate world. Discovery was named as one of the best companies to work for by Working Mother, Forbes, and other publications.

“Discovery pays its interns in addition to giving college credit,” explained Rampersad.

“We look for candidates with a 3.00 GPA who show focus and don’t apply to many different positions.” clarified Ruderman.

The visit to Discovery was one of four scheduled by the Magner Center for January 2017. The company visit program, established in 2006, has taken students to visit nearly 100 organizations.

“For students who haven’t been exposed to a professional work setting or to a specific career, these company visits open their eyes to the possibilities available to them,” said Magner Center Director Natalia Guarin-Klein. “Many of our visits are made possible thanks to our alumni working at those companies, which helps to build up the students’ confidence in achieving similar success,” Guarin-Klein added. “But it is fundamentally a chance to showcase to employers the type of talent Brooklyn College produces.”

“My plans after graduating are to get a job in a major network where I could work in pre-production,” said Amanda Rodríguez, a television and radio senior who added that Rampersad and Ruderman provided the advice she was looking for and have encouraged her to submit an application.

“Discovery has been one of my favorite company visits,” said marketing senior Samantha Quesada, pointing out that the company’s values and, what she called versatility in positions, give people room for creativity. “I appreciate the fact that they are keen on retaining talent,” said Quesada, who seeks to work as a marketing strategist.

“Listening to Alpert Romm was so inspiring and helpful,” Rodríguez said. “She shared her unusual path to Discovery and television and encouraged us to keep our minds open for opportunities in many fields, not focusing strictly in one job category but choosing a job where we can grow.”

Brooklyn. All in.