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Bill Simmons to be honored at this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards

By Iris Moore
MS Broadcast Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

In graduate school, networking has become a term on which so much value has been placed. Whether it be at job fairs, via social media, or during a casual conversation on the T, your ability to recognize, create, and act upon business opportunities has become a determining factor for the success of your professional future. However, the skill of networking is only half the battle. You’ve heard it before, “it’s all about who you know,” and unfortunately, it’s true.

Thankfully, we are in graduate school; and, an advantage of being in graduate school at an institution like Boston University, is the numerous opportunities made available through the university, which can help you improve your networking skills and maximize your professional relationships and connections.

This Thursday, September 18th at 5:30 p.m., the College of Communication (COM) is hosting the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards at the School of Management. The event, which is free and open to the public, will honor some of COM’s most accomplished alumni. Previous alumni recipients who have attended the event include: – Co-Host of Market Place Morning Report and American Public Media, Jeremy C. Hobson (‘04) – White House Photographer, Peter J. Souza (’76), – Bravo’s Executive Vice President of Development & Talent, Andy Cohen (’90). The list goes on. If you have time, check it out here.

Not only is there an open bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres, but you will have the opportunity to practice your networking skills with some of the most successful COM graduates. Why not check it out? I mean, who knows…. maybe you’ll end up talking to The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, who is one of this year’s Alumni Award recipients.

http://media.jsonline.com

For those of you who don’t know, Bill Simmons is the Editor-in-Chief of Grantland.com, a sports and pop culture website owned by ESPN. He began his career working for the Boston Herald covering high-school sports and doing freelance work for the Boston Phoenix. While living and working in the Boston area, Simmons completed his M.S. in Journalism from Boston University.

After gaining notoriety from his online column, “Boston Sports Guy,” Simmons was hired to work as a writer on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Eventually, he was hired to write full-time for ESPN. This marked the beginning of Simmons’ unmatched, colorful career in the sports journalism world.

Simmons is considered one of the country’s most read sports writers. In 2007, he was named the 12th-most influential person in online sports by the Sports Business Journal. Simmons is also the author of The Book of Basketball, a New York Times No. 1 Bestseller. Even if you’re not a sports person, Simmons is definitely a highlight at this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Interested in signing up or finding out more about this event? Go here.

Why BU COM?

I pretty much knew I was going to BU the moment I got the acceptance email. As someone who is interested in public relations, it was difficult to find many programs that actually offered it as a course of study. Boston University was among the few – and the only one I applied to that actually called it what it is: public relations (not strategic communication).

But what really stood out to me? When I came to visit, I could tell the professors actually cared. They wanted to instill knowledge in you and help you succeed. Furthermore, I knew that if I went to BU, I would have a greater chance of coming out on top with a stronger competitive edge in the job market. The community of alumni was stressed as being one of the best, and I knew that being in Boston would give me many more internship opportunities than the other colleges I applied to.

Practical Experience... and supportive, high-fiving professors

But my number one reason for applying to BU in the first place? Being able to have the opportunity to build my portfolio. The emphasis on applied work was important to me when I have had zero public relations experience. PRLab, the oldest student-run PR agency in America, would give me a chance to work with an actual client and build a media kit. Because I’m in PR I can speak wonders of the program, but I’ll also note that it’s not the only program which is applied. From the friends I’ve made in other programs, I know none of them regret coming here. And I know they’ll all come out with work they can show off to their future employers.

Meet Kendall Salter

I had never seen Boston University. Never set foot in the classroom. Never seen the city. Never met a professor or sat in on a class. I had no idea what to expect.

This is part of the reason I decided to come to the College of Communication in the first place. The adventure was too exciting to pass up. There comes a point in everyone’s life when the chance to pick up and move everything becomes extinct, and I didn’t want that to happen to me. When presented with the opportunity to pull up long-established, southern California roots, I took advantage of it, knowing full well potential complications that could ensue.

Here’s the best part: I’ve never regretted my decision. Part of the reason I took the proverbial leap is that the administration here at COM was incredible. The amount of resources at our disposal is significant, and everyone here — from faculty on down — is willing and able to help students on a daily basis. The atmosphere you will find here at COM is welcoming, exciting, creative and most importantly, challenging. There are people here to help you. Very wonderful, smart, talented people. So please do yourself a favor and take advantage of it.

Classes are taught by a faculty steeped in professionalism and hell-bent on making you a success. Nobody phones it in at COM. Every day is as tough as the next, and every day is as great of an experience. The things I learn in the classroom go far beyond any traditional tests or essays. Seriously, folks: don’t think about the grade. Learn all you can, work hard, and the rest will take care of itself. You may not always succeed, but when you don’t, it will be a learning experience you won’t forget.

I can’t speak highly enough of our professors. I’ve had long visits in office hours, spoken to some on their home phones, received emails from as far away as Iceland, and have never been turned down when asking for more advice. They are here to help you. They are the best their respective fields has to offer — prize winners and innovators held in the highest esteem. If you aren’t getting all you can from them, you’re missing out.

COM is hard. It’s supposed to be. It should be. That’s how I learn, and if you appreciate being pushed to the extreme reaches of your potential, you will flourish here at B.U. The city of Boston has so much to offer people in this field. It’s a major media market with countless job opportunities, and B.U.’s alumni base is enormous. There’s art and entertainment, culture, music, sports, plays, productions, great food, walking paths, parks, lakes, beaches, boats, trolleys, and more. You will never discover everything, but you’ll dig up plenty of hidden gems.

B.U. has lived up to almost all of my expectations. I’ll be sad to leave it, but much better for the experience. Everyone here is working to help find what it is you are best and and push you past what you thought was your creative limit. I can pay COM no higher a compliment than that.