Lan Luan

SU alumna Lan Luan shares her "Path of Detours" at SU

By Bonnie Kong, SU Senior

Lan Luan, who received her master’s degree from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science in 2004, spoke to students about her career path this past Tuesday as part of SU’s Alumni Speaker Series. Bonnie Kong was in the audience.

Lan Luan G'04

Growing up, Lan Luan had a straight career path in mind: go to America for college, major in business, and work in financial services. However, a few detours drove her off that track. Instead of going to school first in America, she attended a university in Singapore. Instead of majoring in business, she majored in computer science. Instead of working in financial services, she worked for Microsoft. Each detour, Lan told us, made her life more fulfilling. While in Singapore, she picked up international ballroom dancing, a hobby she still continues. She majored in computer science at SU because her scholarship was limited to STEM fields. At Microsoft, she is a senior product manager, responsible for the quality of ads on Bing. Thus, where she is now is far from her initial track, but she is not complaining. She has enjoyed every moment of it and made the best of every situation. At Microsoft, Lan manages a large team of employees, but still has time to go hiking and be enrolled in Wharton’s Executive MBA program.

Lan Luan speaking to students

Lan’s experiences have defined her as a person and have taught her to adapt quickly. Although Lan’s presentation attracted a large number of international and engineering students, she gave advice that is applicable to any student. In some instances, Lan felt disadvantaged because of her accent or as a woman in a male-dominated field. But she was able to see and act beyond that. In fact, being an international student played to her advantage because she understood international markets. Additionally, as an international student in America or working overseas, she adjusted to American life smoothly because of her willingness to interact with Americans. Lan’s ability to adapt appealed to employers.

What impressed me the most about Lan’s career path was that she was passionate about her work despite straying far from her original route. She encouraged students to show authenticity and passion, qualities that are not only key to being successful in any industry, but also to being happy in life. Lan’s career path proved that there are numerous paths and opportunities in life. The right one is the one that you choose to take.

The Alumni Speaker Series continues on March 27th, as we welcome Theo Moll back to Syracuse University. Theo represents professional and celebrity speakers as Vice President of Keppler Speakers’ College and University Division. On April 4th, we’ll welcome Brian Tarrant, who is a Vice President at MC2 Events, Exhibits and Environments. His company designed the Melo Center’s Hall of Fame. Hope to see you at these great events!

Network with SU alumni! Check out our Spring 2012 Alumni Speaker Series

By Kim Brown

I am SO excited about this semester’s line-up for the Alumni Speaker Series. Along with the Office of Alumni Relations, Career Services invites successful SU alumni to share their career stories with you and to offer you some incredible connections in the fields you’re interested in after you leave SU. After a fantastic fall, we are getting ready to kick off our spring edition of the Series. Our first event is Friday, January 27th! These events are free and open to all.

Next Friday, we’ll welcome Marco Forte, ’95 and Mitch Messinger, ’92 G ’93.

Marco Forte studied Consumer Studies, when it was a major in the college we now know as Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. He’s now Vice President of Primetime Sales for ABC Television, handling national advertisers such as Apple, McDonald’s, J.C. Penney, Visa and PepsiCo.

Mitch Messinger is Publicity Director for ABC Daytime and Soapnet, overseeing national publicity campaigns including those for the multi-Emmy Award-winning drama “General Hospital.” Mitch’s undergrad major was in American Studies, then he went on to receive his Master’s Degree in TRF from Newhouse. Mitch bleeds orange; in fact, he was an Otto when he was a student here!

Meet Marco and Mitch at 1:30 p.m., January 27th, in Newhouse 3’s Hergenhan Auditorium. They will share their stories, offer advice for those of you seeking similar career paths, then leave plenty of time for Q-and-A. After the event, join us for an hors d’oeuvres reception in the lobby and a chance to network with Marco and Mitch one-on-one.

As for the rest of the Series, here’s who we have on tap!

Lindsay Adler, ’08
Tuesday, February 7th
7:30 p.m., Watson Theater

If you follow fashion photography, you know the name Lindsay Adler. We are THRILLED to welcome the very successful NYC fashion photographer back for this lecture on 2/7 and several class visits on 2/8. You can check out her website to learn more about her and to see some examples of her incredible work. Follow her on Twitter at @LindsayAdler!

Lan Luan, G ’04
Tuesday, February 21st
Time/Location TBA

Lan is Senior Product Manager focusing on International Marketing for Microsoft’s Bing. We’re welcoming her back to campus during National Engineers Week, which is very exciting. Lan was born and raised in China and received her Master’s Degree from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. She will share advice on working for one of the world’s most recognizable companies, and will offer a unique perspective for our international students interesting in following her career path.

Theo Moll, ’90
Tuesday, March 27th
Time/Location TBA

Theo is Vice President of Keppler Speakers’ College and University Diversion. Keppler’s exclusive roster of national and international celebrities and experts represents many of the most in-demand speakers on the lecture circuit today. Theo should really appeal to members of University Union and all students interested in representing professional and celebrity speakers.

Brian Tarrant, ’96
Wednesday, April 4th
Time/Location TBA

Brian is a Vice President at MC2 Events, Exhibits and Environments. He started his career in sales. It was his company, MC2, that designed the Melo Center’s Hall of Fame that greets visitors. We are hoping to hold his event in the Melo Center, to give students a rare opportunity to see it. You can read more about Brian in this feature article from SU Magazine.

Stay tuned as we finalize details on all of our alumni speakers. If you have any questions about these events, please don’t hesitate to ask! Hope to see you at some or all of them!