Commencement 2012 - Smooth sailing into career for business major
Ericka Tavares, 401-874-2935
When graduating senior Mary Arnold looks out of the window in her office, the view that welcomes her is of picturesque Narragansett Bay. The setting is ideal for this sailor who now works as the marketing assistant to the chief marketing director at Hinckley Yachts, a name synonymous with the highest levels of yachting.
“I am already in the real world,” said Mary, 22, who will graduate in May after taking only one night course in her last semester, allowing her to work practically fulltime for an employer who specializes in yacht building and yacht services. “I can see why people say the real world’s scary but I’m glad I was prepared.” She smiles and mentions the new apartment she’s rented. “I don’t have to move home with my parents.”
Mary landed her job after an unpaid internship the previous fall, which placed her in Hinckley’s Portsmouth office two days a week. When Roe O’Brien, the marketing director, found out she would only be taking one course starting in January, she hired Mary to work four days a week.
“It will be five days a week as soon as I can do it,” Mary said.
At Hinckley, Mary, a business major who grew up in Newport, R.I., became immediately and thoroughly involved in what had been a one-person marketing department. She said she has learned so much and, best of all, she appreciated her employer’s trust in her abilities. Now, she is a dedicated member of the staff.
“I am extremely thankful for this amazing opportunity. What I enjoy most about my job is working for such an extraordinary person. Roe has taught me so many important lessons and has been a great mentor,” Mary said. “What I think about now all the time is what market influences cause someone to aspire to a Rolex instead of a Timex?” she said, referring to Hinckley’s upscale image. “What makes someone recognize brand excellence? I enjoy communicating about the heritage and the performance qualities of these boats. It inspires me.”
It will come as no surprise that while at URI, Mary was also very involved. Holding dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland, she loves to travel. She studied abroad her sophomore year in Australia. In addition, she was a member of the URI Sailing Team and a URI 101 mentor for business, which groups students by majors and is led by faculty members and senior or junior mentors. The experience made her realize how much she loved teaching and it motivated her to become a teacher’s assistant for the graduate assistant who taught the URI 101 mentors.
She praised the College of Business Administration’s Passport Program, a student career program that helps juniors and seniors make the transition to employment and self-sufficiency. If she had a message to impart to fellow students, she would advise them to get involved and network, to make connections for the world beyond college.
“I always looked a year ahead,” she said. “I would worry, ‘What if I can’t find a job?’ But the more I networked, the more I discovered all sorts of connections.”
Her favorite business event on campus is Business Career Day when nearly 100 business alumni return to Kingston and talk about the work they are doing and meet with business majors in breakout sessions.
“I love Career Day. I was so inspired by the stories,” Mary said. “And now I look outside my window and I am inspired. What could be better inspiration for marketing to boaters?”
URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.