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A Priceless Opportunity

Written by Jennifer Segal

Sarah Flade
As Sarah Flade ’14 walked into the long, brightly lit conference room full of senior-level MasterCard executives, she felt like they were all eagerly awaiting her presentation. Flade was there to present the competitive research she had been working on for the past two months regarding large banks and credit unions. She took a deep breath and remembered how hard she had worked for that moment and all the training she had acquired through her internships and undergraduate experiences at Ithaca College. It was finally showtime.

“Because we are a small, tight-knit community, fellow Ithacans root for each other.” - Sarah Flade '14

Now an assistant analyst at MasterCard in Purchase, New York, Flade started her job at the credit card company the August after she graduated from Ithaca College. Unlike most college students who spend their senior year applying for jobs and trying to decide on the next step in their lives, Flade had known since October of her senior year that she would be working at MasterCard, where she had interned the summer before she began her senior year.

During the spring of her junior year, Flade attended a two-day networking trip to New York City hosted by the Ithaca College School of Business. As part of this trip, she had the opportunity to meet with alumni and visit major companies like Facebook, Madison Square Garden Company, and Macy’s. Though she didn’t know it at the time, the networking event would ultimately lead to her first job after graduation.
A Valuable Connection
As part of the trip, Flade participated in an event that was attended by alumni who were in the finance field in New York City. During the event, she met IC alumna Kelly McNamara ’05, a senior auditor at MasterCard. Flade and McNamara talked about all things Ithaca and formed a deep connection.
“Ithaca College has such a great alumni community that is extremely willing to help out. Because we are a small, tight-knit community, fellow Ithacans root for each other,” Flade said.
When she returned to Ithaca, Flade followed up with McNamara for a summer internship opportunity. She obtained an interview and was subsequently offered a paid internship at MasterCard in the digital solutions department.
A Prime Position
In her current role, Flade researches marketplace trends and examines specific digital solutions at other banks. She meets with marketing, development, legal, and other departments to gain insight on how to develop digital product solutions for MasterCard. She also interacts with senior executives when she presents her competitive research.
A Rich Experience
Flade learned early at Ithaca College that she should take advantage of every opportunity presented to her. She attributes her success to her internship, which ultimately led to her current position. She also became involved in Habitat for Humanity her freshman year at IC, serving as both a volunteer coordinator and vice president of the IC chapter.
Because of this experience, she stood out among the interns at a MasterCard Habitat for Humanity build. She was even interviewed for a video of the build that was filmed by MasterCard and posted on the company’s website.
“I definitely went into the internship with the project management, teamwork, and communication skills that I gained at Ithaca — as well as leadership skills from campus organizations like Habitat,” Flade said. “Plus, that alumni networking night helped me get the internship, and for that I am thankful.”



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