About Derrick Dubois

Derrick graduated from UVM with dual degrees in mathematics and geography. After graduation, he landed a job traveling the country helping universities better the student experience. He is passionate about binge-watching Netflix and working with students. Derrick now works at the UVM Foundation connecting with students and young alumni.

Networking the UVM Way

I want to give you a head’s up about some upcoming networking events that could be in your area.  And don’t worry, the networking nights aren’t just cocktail parties where you awkwardly hand out business cards.

They are events with an agenda and a program, so it’s facilitated awkwardness (trust me, it’s much better than the alternative).

Boston Career Networking Night
January 5, 2016
Boston, MA

New York Career Networking Night
January 7, 2016
New York, NY

Alumni Social at Two Roads Brewery
January 7, 2016
Stratford, CT

Washington D.C. Career Networking Night
January 12, 2016
Washington, DC

Sign-up and get to know some fellow alumni in your area.

As a side note, I’ll be heading to the New York networking night, so I hope to see you there!


5 Things to Do Before Making Your First Student Loan Payment

Yes, it’s hard to believe. But, for most of you with student loans, your first payment is probably due this month.

How do I know?  I was in your exact shoes two years ago. 

I was on an 8-hour drive for my job (not fun) and in the middle of the 5th radio appearance of Pharrell William’s “Happy”  I realized my first loan payment was due that day. I pulled out my crappy, quasi-smart phone and tried to make my payment on the side of the road.

After navigating the worst website in history, I managed to click the payment button before my browser crashed — did I make my payment? Only the internet gods knew for sure.

When I finally got home and logged on from my laptop, it hit me. I had already signed up for automatic loan payments and my side-of-the-road payment also went through.

I made a double payment — not because of my financial acumen — but because of my disorganization. 

I ate lots of Ramen that month. This is definitely not an experience to emulate and I’m going to try and make up for it by giving you really solid advice.

Here are 5 essential things you should do before making your first payment:

  1. Read this article from the New York Times. It walks you through a lot of scenarios and links to other great resources.
  2. Get Organized. Figure out if you have federal loans or private loans (or both) and how many. It’s probably easiest to ask your parents, look at old mail, or check your email — you loan provider has almost certainly tried to contact you by now.
  3. Pick a repayment plan. There are several types and many loans have an option for income-based repayment.  Also, if you are in grad school, make sure to defer your loans.
  4. Don’t make your payment late. They are already going to get enough of your money. Don’t give them any extra.
  5. Get your free UVM Alumni Association Bottle Opener. This is our way of easing the pain of that first payment. Open your favorite Vermont beverage with it, sink into your couch, and start a Netflix binge. You earned it.

2015 bottle openers

Class of 2015 Happy Hour – Oct 3

We hear you like happy hours. That’s good because on Saturday, October 3 we’re having one just for you and the Class of 2015 — right here in Burlington.

Put this event on your schedule: 9pm on Saturday, October, 3rd at Drink in Burlington. 

2015-09-25 10_31_21-Drink - Google MapsAnd, we’ll buy your first two drinks if you tell us you’re coming. So, sign-up here.

200Ryan and I are really looking forward to seeing you there, make sure you and your friends sign up here.


Actually Useful Career Tips (i.e. Not From Your Uncle Fred)

During our course giveaway, we asked how your job search was going.

Results were really interesting.  More than 50% of those who responded have a job and about 40% are still looking or exploring options.

Hows your job search going summaryWe thought some straight-forward, practical career advice might be a useful follow-up.

So we reached out to our friend, Lisa Torchiano, at the UVM Career Center, and here’s her advice. Of course, you can connect with the Career Center directly for support – stop by drop-in hours (for those in BTV area) or make an appointment with a career counselor (in person, phone or Skype.).

If I don’t have a job yet, what should I be doing aside from applying for jobs? 

  • Don’t shy away from internships. They are great ways to build industry specific experience and do it during a specific timeline.
  • Volunteer your time. Nonprofit organizations can benefit and you can grow your skills while supporting a cause you care about.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile and use it for research and outreach.
  • Craft your elevator pitch, your explanation of what you are looking for, and share that with friends, family, professors, and former colleagues.
  • Network! Arrange informational interviews in which you can learn about industries and career paths. Alumni can be great resources for this; use LinkedIn to connect.
  • Develop a skill set that is connected with your desired next steps. Take a class, watch online videos or do research.

What are some popular online job search resources?

  • Before I even mention other online resources, I want to make sure readers know that one of the best features of Catamount Job Link is the employer contact information. This is often the hardest information to come by in a job search. This is worth a great deal both for positions you are applying for and proactive employer outreach.
  • The Research Career Fields page on the Career Center website is a goldmine of industry specific job search engines and professional information.
  • Indeed.com should also be in your toolkit. It’s a powerful search engine; strong search words are key especially in large cities. And, you can have search results sent to you every week or so.

If I want to go to grad school next year, what should I be doing now to prepare?

  • Start researching the programs you are interested in and note their deadlines. These dates creep up quickly and some may be as soon as November and December of this year for fall admittance.
  • Study for and take any required entrance exams (GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.).
  • Start writing your statement of purpose. Depending on how many schools are you applying to, you may be writing numerous different statements. It’s never too early to start.
  • Connect with professors. You will need anywhere from 1-3 letters of recommendation and often a number of those are required to be from faculty members.
  • Check out the Career Center’s Graduate School page for information on the entire application process.

Meet Matt Mues ’08 of the Boston Regional Board

I travel often for my job with the Alumni Association and I meet lots of UVM people. Matt Mues ’08 and I met this last June at a young alumni social in Boston — something he has been helping to organize since he graduated.

Matt is a passionate UVM volunteer with a cheerful persona and a knack for connecting with people. Here he is with Allison Gray ’08 and Gabrielle Duchette ’08.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.11.41 AM

Ryan and I asked him a few questions for all of you because success after school doesn’t always come easy.

Ryan and Derrick: What was your first year like out of school?

Matt Mues: First year out of school was interesting, I moved in with my grandparents and continued caddying at a golf course to make some cash while I interviewed for jobs. I didn’t rush the process but waiting till October actually paid off since companies may have turn over or budget opening when their fiscal years turn over.

200R & D: How did you get involved with the Boston Alumni Regional Chapter?

Matt: I got involved in the Boston Regional Chapter by aiding in young alumni socials and then working with admissions on the welcoming new admitted students. I found that to be very rewarding and to pay back the school for to opportunities they had given me.

200 (1)R & D: What is your favorite thing to do in Boston?

Matt: My favorite thing in Boston is all of the entertainment and social events the city has to offer. From Bruins games to museums to the charity events allow me to stay active socially all while being centrally located to public transportation and even using the bike share program is a great perk.

downloadR & D: What’s your best advice for the Class of 2015?

Matt: My best advice for the class of 2015 is to find a path in life that has the growth opportunity. Don’t put the growth responsibility on the job but rather keep your ears open to the ground and find ways to make yourself smarter and more efficient all while learning how managers think and then how directors and vice presidents interpret.