Carey Connect: 10 Tips to Start a Successful Student Club

Alina Predescu
Alina Predescu

Alina Predescu brings 14 years of experience in molecular biology and is currently pursuing an MBA with a focus in Healthcare Administration and Management at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School while working as a Research Technician at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Alina is passionate about bringing together multidisciplinary teams to work efficiently. With that goal she is the founder and president of Carey Connect, a student group with the mission of connecting Carey students with alumni, industry leaders and students from other universities. She is also the vice president and volunteer with the Medical and Educational Perspectives (MEP), a student organization that provides training and support for development, evaluation and commercialization of affordable medical devices designed for at-need communities. Most recently she joined the Hopkins Biotech Network as director of events and outreach to improve opportunities for students in the various Johns Hopkins Institutions.

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A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

Mahatma Gandhi

Connect! That’s what most of us look for when we join an MBA program. However, for part-time students, it is challenging to do so when you run from work to school and barely make it to your evening class. There are great events happening during the day at school, but your lunch hour is just not long enough to even make it to campus.

Networking Event

That’s the situation I found myself in as a Flex MBA student at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Last year, a classmate of mine, Tomas Cabral, and I decided to make opportunities happen for flex and online students. Through co-leadership and complementary skills, Tomas and I have made an effective team that successfully started Carey Connect. Our mission is to create opportunities for all students, including those in the flex and online programs, to network and connect with mentors, potential employers, and other peers in the industry. According to our adviser Mary Somers, who has been at Johns Hopkins University since 1989, Carey Connect is one of the most engaged and successful part-time student organizations.

So what is the secret sauce of our rapid success? Below, you will find our 10 tips to start a successful student club. 

  1. Do something you really love and believe in: both Tomas and I felt strongly about creating networking options, opportunities for growth, and community engagement possibilities for students with classmates, alumni, and industry leaders.
  2. Find a great mentor(s): Mary Somers is the reason I joined Carey and she has been a constant supporter of ideas big and small. It’s ok to go ahead with an idea whether it succeeds or fails. Both are great learning experiences.
  3. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Make it simple: We started small with the most essential need of our students: connect! Our first events were social networking gatherings at the closest venue to our Harbor East location, Gordon Biersch, at a convenient time, right after class at 9.15 pm.
  4. You are not alone. No man or woman is an island. Reach out for support: Other people want to see you succeed; all you need to know is what to ask for. In our case, Mike Doyle and Jessica Antonen from Students Services have been there every step of the way. Our faculty champions Lasse Mertins, Chris Myers, Richard Milter, and others have joined our events and have spoken with students about classes and research.
  5. Collaborate: We have worked with the Hopkins Biotech Network  [HBN] and the JHU Alumni Association on several events which have been mutually beneficial and greatly successful. 
    1. Carey Connect Post-Degree Career Transitions on Nov 5, 2016: Current and prospective students along with alumni were present to learn from panelists Charlie Mayer, MBA; Deirdre Torto, MHA; Arthur L. Edge III, MS; Jessica Jeang, MS; and John Lim, Esq./MBA who shared their background, career paths, and how they leveraged their graduate degrees in their current fields. 
    2. Networking at the Mussel Bar and Grill on Nov 11, 2016: over 70 students, alumni, faculty, and employers from JHU, the Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Carey Business School, TEDCO, and Mtech shared biotech ideas. We introduced one JHU faculty member to TEDCO and they are now working together to expand and develop their Biotech company. 
    3. Most recently, almost 300 participants joined us at the Hidden Figures  movie and discussion. This was an idea Katharina Schmidt, Co-President of HBN, and I brought to the JHU Alumni office with inspiration from  alumni Cherie Butts, PhD and Tara Gallant.  After the movie, the panelists  brought the conversation to the present relating it to the experiences facing women today.
    4. As a follow up event on learning about great women, we have another collaborative event coming up on February 25h: Inspiring Women. Please sign up!
      Post Degree Transition
  6. Be inclusive: Our events are open to all JHU students, staff, and alumni. This fosters thought-provoking conversations and collaborations. As Ronald Daniels, President of the Johns Hopkins University, mentioned in the Ten by Twenty progress report, we are One University and it is important to foster interactions across the university to promote cross-pollination of ideas and encourage new discoveries.
  7. Learn from others: Last year, I joined Medical and Educational Perspectives (MEP), a student-led organization that provides training and support for development, evaluation, and commercialization of affordable medical devices designed for at-need communities. Carmen Kut, the founder and president, has been a constant inspiration from how to write a persuasive email to working with multidisciplinary teams.
  8. Give back/Pay it forward: Last year I was part of a leadership experiential program in Italy with Mike Doyle. His hands-off leadership style and guidance helped me grow personally and professionally. This year we are bringing the Carey Connect in Italy trek to all JHU students and alumni. It is an opportunity to connect, explore Italian culture, food, and nature and grow personally and professionally. Join us!
  9. Create an inspired vision: Your dreams are your friends and your classmates’ dreams, too. Create opportunities for all of you.
  10. Obstacles are opportunity for growth: At times, you will be told you can’t do something, it’s too difficult, or it hasn’t been done before. Don’t let anyone limit your dreams!

Get involved!

For more events and activities with Carey Connect, please follow us on FB.

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