Zarb Student Success Stories
Name: Brendan Rorke
Major/Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration in Management
Hometown: Huntington, New York
Why did you come to the Zarb School?
I came to the Zarb School because of how positive its reputation was. I had heard so much about the endless opportunities it was going to offer me. Being from Long Island, Hofstra was a school that was always in the back of my mind as a potential destination. I knew the Zarb School would give me the opportunity to network with local graduates of both Hofstra and my high school, Chaminade, and also the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the greatest city in the world.
After my freshman year, my primary focus became obtaining internships. I felt that this would be the main way that I was able to distinguish myself from other students and build my resume before it was time to start applying for full time positions. At first, I had a great interest in sports management, so the first internship I was offered was with the New York Cosmos during the fall of my sophomore year. I found a posting for it online and decided to personally reach out to the Cosmos’ Sales Manager. He got back to me right away, and after an initial interview, offered me the sales intern position.
Towards the end of that fall semester, I met with the Career Center on campus and talked to them about my great experience working for the Cosmos. They then shared with me that the New York Islanders were hiring interns for the spring semester, which conveniently was during the second-to-last season that the Isles would be playing at Nassau Coliseum. I jumped on the opportunity right away, and after a few rounds of interviews, I was offered a Ticket Sales/Customer Service Intern position. The experience was unlike anything I had ever experienced before, as I got to meet a bunch of players, see every home game for free, and even develop my own sales pitches for partial season ticket plans.
Then, during the summer going into my junior year, I worked as a Corporate Hospitality Student Associate at the world’s most famous arena: Madison Square Garden. I connected with a few graduates from both Hofstra and Chaminade when applying there, and was offered the position right in the middle of the Rangers’ Stanley Cup Playoffs run. My department was responsible for all operations related to suites and luxury boxes at MSG. Some of our top clients included the NBA, SAP, and ESPN. I got to see the Stanley Cup Finals, a Michael Buble concert, and even help host a pre-show party in the Rangers’ Locker Room before a Billy Joel concert. It was by far one of the best experiences of my life.
Lastly, this past summer, I decided to move away from the sports industry and focus on something that was also of interest to me: insurance. This past spring, I met a recruiter from GEICO at one of Zarb’s Leadership Council Meetings. She mentioned that I was qualified to take part in their prestigious Management Summer Internship Program, and after a few rounds of interviews, I was offered a position. The experience was incredibly rewarding, as not only did I become well-versed in all that goes on in the insurance industry, but I developed substantial leadership, presentation, and time-management skills that are crucial for success in a professional work environment.
After graduation, I will start working full-time at GEICO, as I was offered a position in GEICO’s Emerging Leaders Program and will be following the business operations track. I am one of only thirty people in the United States to be selected for the position, so I am extremely humbled by the opportunity. I learned that I was qualified for the Emerging Leaders Program after my summer internship concluded because of my degree track, leadership ability, past internship experiences, and overall performance as a summer intern. At the beginning of the school year, I flew down to Washington DC to be interviewed by GEICO’s upper management team at their national headquarters. A few weeks later, they called me and offered me the position. The position puts me on a track to become a manager in one of GEICO’s main business departments in three years time. As a management student, I couldn’t ask for a better professional position right out of school, as my goal to become a successful corporate manager someday will fortunately be fulfilled.
How did the Zarb School prepare you for your career?
In addition to the networking events, resume critiques, and career fairs held on campus, the members of the Zarb faculty have been extremely influential in helping me to prepare for my career. The faculty in the Zarb School has real-world working experience, and they continuously share what they’ve learned through those experiences in the classroom. In addition, and with the management department in particular, all full-time professors have PhDs and have attended some of the nation’s top business schools. The professors in the Zarb school always tell it to us like it is, which is something I have always appreciated. They are incredibly honest and realistic about how corporate America functions today, and they first and foremost want us, Hofstra students, to help change the world. I have been lucky enough to become close with many members of the Zarb faculty, and every single one of them has been so helpful and supportive throughout my four years in the school. I am looking forward to applying all of skills that they have taught me to my work in the professional corporate world.
What is your favorite memory/experience at the Zarb School?
I recently got the opportunity to speak with some representatives from Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in China about their plans to develop a relationship with Zarb. The school would give Zarb students the opportunity to both take classes and intern while living in China for a semester. Since the relationship was just starting to develop, I had the opportunity to talk to the representatives about my experiences with Zarb and why I felt they were making such a great investment in Hofstra. It was really fascinating to see how much interest the institution had in Zarb, and it made me proud to be a part of a top-tier school that has come such a long way.
What advice do you have for students who want to follow in your footsteps?
I would encourage students to ask themselves, “What is my brand?” It is so crucial to realize that we are always selling ourselves. First impressions are extremely important, because you can never get them back. So, make sure to get involved on campus right away, take classes seriously and learn something from them, and apply to internships as early as you can. Spend your years in school striving to make a name for yourself, because if you do, the opportunities available will be truly infinite.