Brothers You Just Haven’t Met Yet: A Story of Networking Between Two Unlikely Members

As many of us know, a single meeting can change the course of someone’s life. The saying goes, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know”, and this couldn’t be more true for senior Turan Vural of the Alpha-Mu chapter at the University of Texas-Austin.

Last fall, Wabash alumnus Rob Shook was invited to speak at one of the chapter’s meetings. Following his talk, Vural took it upon himself to introduce himself to Shook, and the two brothers kept in touch. Below, is the story of where that meeting took Vural and how networking changed his life. The following is from Vural’s point of view:

“I started at IBM as an intern on May 21st, 2018, and am happy to say that my summer internship has turned into a part time position during the year. I am an incoming senior at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Electrical Engineering and German, minoring in business. Rob has the story right – and the message too. In addition to my duties as a DevOps Engineer on our cloud platform, I started the intern talk show on the internal radio which turned into a great celebration of company values. The community created around it led to both interns and full timers being involved in their work and with each other.

Rob helped me through his mentorship. His coming to speak at our chapter sparked my interest in being a part of IBM. Hearing about his experiences and character gave me a role model to look up to.

College can be a confusing time for many students, and although we often have the tools we need to succeed, students still lack the guidance that they’ve had up until the day they set foot on campus. It’s through alumni like Rob in our fraternity that brothers can benefit from both the training from their coursework and learn how to best apply it towards a productive career.

Having a personal mentor at IBM has been great as well. The advice and resources that Rob has connected me with have played a big part in making my internship more than just a job as a DevOps engineer – it has led to increased confidence in who I am at IBM, helped me form a clear image of a possible career here at IBM, and has given me the means to benefit from my fellow interns and coworkers as well. Probably most relatable to anyone in their early 20s: knowing Rob has helped me set goals and better bridge the gap between who I am and who I want to be as I move into increasingly more and more unfamiliar chapters in my life.

Finally, ‘networking’ is a rather ambiguous term often thrown around in Greek Life. I tried to word my statements carefully: networking is not having any kind of success or finished work given to you. It is surrounding yourself with the best people for you, so you can be the best for yourself and for others. I have been very fortunate to have Rob make me aware of resources and career opportunities, and I am happy that I have made good on it.”

From a chance encounter to an opportunity of a lifetime, both Shook and Vural urge brothers to reevaluate what it means to network. The key to your future could be a brother you to whom you have not given a second thought.

“Coming from a small college… and being president of the 14,000-strong alumni association, I am very familiar with networking and helping to connect people,” said Shook. “Here at a much larger school [University of Texas-Austin], a meeting between brothers (as a direct result of Turan’s making the effort to introduce himself to a stranger) has led to a friendship, a mentorship, an internship, and a radio program.

“All this from, ‘Hi, I’m Turan’. The lesson here? Network. Get to know people. It’s richly rewarding, and there is a fraternity full of brothers you just haven’t met yet.”

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