Making the Most of Campus Connections

Making the Most of Campus Connections

For Dan Cowan ’08, career success started with an early-morning wakeup his senior year.

At the time, Julie Snow, then serving as a leadership gifts officer in Babson’s Development Office, was looking for a student volunteer to give an admission tour to an alumnus and his daughter at 8 a.m. on a Saturday.

“Knowing that not many students wanted to work that timeslot, and that the networking may be valuable in my job search, I volunteered,” Cowan says. His instincts were correct; following the tour, Snow asked Cowan about his career goals and ambitions.

“I remember sitting on a bench outside of Reynolds with Dan, saying ‘We’ve got to get you a job,’” she recalls. “The only alumnus I knew in sports marketing was Bill Allard ’83, who had just become CEO of Athletes’ Performance. So I called him.”

From Connection to Career

As a Red Sox fan, Cowan had heard of Athletes’ Performance. The company, now known as EXOS, designs and delivers performance game plans for the military, corporate wellness programs, and elite athletes around the world, including the 2014 World Cup champions, NFL draft picks, and members of Boston’s own Red Sox.

When Cowan and Allard connected, there were no open positions at the company. One month later, however, an entry-level marketing position opened up, and Allard asked Cowan if he’d be interested in applying. Two weeks after graduating from Babson, Cowan joined the company as an assistant brand manager in its Phoenix, Arizona, corporate office.

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Eight years later, Cowan is still with the company, now working as a brand manager, leading the day-to-day marketing and branding needs for EXOS’ tactical, international, professional baseball, and local programs. As the company has grown and evolved, so have Cowan’s responsibilities and opportunities. “It’s a very entrepreneurial company,” he says. “As an athlete who came from a business school focused on entrepreneurship, EXOS has been a great fit for me.”

Cowan stayed in touch with Allard during the early years of his time at EXOS, grabbing the occasional lunch and touching base when their schedules aligned. Allard has since moved on to a new company, but for Cowan, it’s fun to reflect on how simply saying “yes” to a tour turned into a connection that sparked a long-term career.

“If I didn’t wake up early one Saturday morning, I wouldn’t have my job. I wouldn’t have gotten the inside track to get my foot in the door. I wouldn’t have met my wife, had my daughters,” he says. “It’s always the fun things that lead to the rewarding things.”