Making the Grade in the Windy City
Alex Maas ’15 and Ryan McGlynn ’14 didn’t have to worry about whether or not they would get along as roommates when they started their new jobs in Chicago. The two had already shared their Psi U fraternity house while students at Syracuse University, along with their third roommate and fraternity brother, Matthew Victor ’15. The recent graduates have hit the ground running in their careers, and are excited about being part of the SU alumni group in the Windy City. Maas (at right in the photo) and McGlynn (at left) recently took some time from their busy lives to answer some questions.
Why did you choose to attend Syracuse University?
Alex: I’m originally from Chicago and come from a Big Ten family. Almost everyone I knew went to school within driving distance from my home town, but I knew I wanted to experience something new. I have some family in upstate New York, so I figured I would give Syracuse a look, and it was a perfect fit. From the Whitman School’s direct admission to the business program, to a top tier sports program, and a beautiful campus, Syracuse had it all for me.
Ryan: At a very young age, I realized I was not going to make it as a pro baseball player. Naturally, I thought being a sports broadcaster would be the next best thing, so I only looked at schools with great communications programs. With the Newhouse School being one of the top-ranked communications programs in the country, and the fact that I visited during a beautiful day over the summer, my decision to attend ’Cuse was easy.
How did you end up in Chicago?
Alex: When it came time to find a job, I interviewed for positions all over the country during my junior and senior years, trying to find the perfect fit. But I was most comfortable coming back home to work in Chicago. It didn’t hurt that the Cubs are playing some pretty good baseball nowadays, as well.
Ryan: I ended up in Chicago because of my job. I applied to jobs in a number of big cities because I wanted something new and to be in a city with a lot of young people. This just happened to be where I got my dream job.
Tell about the work you’re doing now.
Alex: I am in a rotation analyst program at MB Financial Bank, a middle-market bank serving the Chicago area. I had interned at the bank before graduation, which is how I got the job offer and was able to get familiar with the company before accepting the full time position.
Ryan: I am in a rotational program at Edelman, the largest public relations firm in the world. This structured program offers a unique training ground, teaching tools of the trade across a variety of practices within the agency.
How did your Syracuse University education help prepare you for your career?
Alex: Although the analytical skills I learned at school have proved important at my current position, I would have to say the most important skills I use on a daily basis are interpersonal. Anyone can learn how to crunch numbers and deliver reports, but being able to work with people as part of a team plays a much bigger role. These are lessons I learned not only in the classroom at SU, but also as president of my fraternity, along with being a member of the SU club baseball and golf teams.
Ryan: At Edelman, I am developing a wide range of skills and knowledge along with a vast network of connections from rotations in corporate technology, digital analytics, new business, consumer, media services, and planning. I am constantly calling upon what I learned in my Newhouse classes, along with my work on the communications staff at Jerk Magazine and Hill Communications at Syracuse.
What was your most memorable Syracuse University experience?
Alex: Probably the most influential experience while at Syracuse was my time studying abroad in Hong Kong during my junior year. The program was so diverse and included organized time for travel, a semester of classes at a local university, and a five-week internship where I worked for a compliance firm in downtown Hong Kong. That experience taught me different ways to view the world and different cultures, as well as developing an appetite to explore the unexpected.
Ryan: If had to narrow it down, it would be the opportunity Syracuse provided me to go abroad to Madrid, Spain. Abroad gave me the chance to travel the world with friends and visit some of my best friends who were studying in different cities. I even met one of my best friends here in Chicago abroad. He did not go to SU, but went abroad through the university’s program, and this kind of opportunity to meet different people makes it very meaningful.
You have both been eager to be involved as alumni as club members, donors to the senior campaign, and working with admissions at career fairs. Why is it so important for you to stay connected?
Alex: Although I have only been out of college for less than a year, it feels like an eternity since I was walking Marshall Street or University Ave. I have seen how valuable a strong alumni group can be from events such as SUccess in the City and the send-off events before I left for college. I want to be able to give prospective students the same outlet for questions that I had when deciding schools. I also want to get involved with the professional network of Orange alums in Chicago. It’s really cool to see how open and eager local alumni are to helping each other through making connections or offering advice.
Ryan: It has been important to stay involved for a number of reasons. First, Syracuse made me feel at home for four years, giving me memories, friends, and learning experiences. Being less than a year removed from all this, it is fun to stay involved, and nice to give back. Another reason is just the ability to build a great network by staying involved. The Syracuse alumni base is so powerful in New York City, but I want to have that same thing here in Chicago.
What has been the biggest transition between fraternity life and the real world?
Ryan: No doubt, it’s how much cleaner our apartment is, compared to our living situation in the fraternity. But we’re definitely having just as much fun.