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Make Time To Say Thank You, Take Time To Recharge

By Nicole Chacin

May 19, 2015

As the school year comes to a close, I am taking the time to say thank you. What an immense privilege to write for my peers on subjects that affect our lives as female aspiring business leaders this year and last! It has been an exciting journey that has allowed me to challenge stereotypes, search for concrete answers, and understand history’s perspective on female professionals in the world.

This investigative, inspiring journey was made possible through the support of the Forté network, which today is more than 65,000 women strong. Special thank you to my innovative internship advisors Bianca, Mariska, and Suzannah, as well as to my colleague Julianne for their guiding words and continued support.

The personalities I have studied and have been delighted to share with you are examples of exemplary female leaders who span from the 1900s to the 21st century, they were hard working, determined, and had a vision they wanted to live out much like the women of Forté.

These women whose accomplishments seem larger than life all had a starting point (small or large) in their education or career that set them on a trajectory for success. Consistent efforts and focused vision established their name and leadership style.

One of the prominent similarities I have noticed between all of these diverse women is the emphasis they placed on one or a combination of mental, physical, spiritual, and social rejuvenation. If you look closely, note how these women took time to find their voice amidst the clutter of life. With a million and one things to do, they set aside time, even if sparsely, to look inward, to be alone, to embrace the loud silence and refill themselves after emptying so much of themselves for others, in their work, and in their social spheres.

Much like a battery, it is not possible to recharge if there is no outlet, no outside energy source. I hope you are taking time to find your voice amidst the noise of outside forces, so that not only can good things come your way, but good things can also flow through you as a result.

As you approach the exciting summer months, consider where and when you will recharge and what resources you may need to do that effectively.

Taking a break is very different from recharging. Sometimes you really need a change of scenery, or to make a point to unplug electronics and engage in an person conversation; these are some of the healthiest ways to recharge.

These actions collectively will lead to a healthier you, a more effective channel through which all of your intentions and goals can be met. So as you look inwards, please do not forget close friends, family, mentors, and even your spiritual community who can partner with you in your efforts to rejuvenate.

For those unsure of where to start, my belief is that no step is too small. On a personal note, I take 10 minutes each week to reflect and make a mental Ven diagram of my progress. I designate the left column all the things I am grateful for and the right column all the things that need work. In the middle, I place the overlapping items that I am grateful for that still need work, whether that be skills, studies, work, or relationships. This is a great exercise for self-examination and can inspire other small steps that can be both informative and healing.

So as we close the academic school year, I urge you to take time to say thank you to those you met along the journey, pat yourself on the back, and proactively plan ahead for a summer in which you can actively choose how you will recharge before the next journey, whether it be another school year, internship, job, or volunteer experience.

Take charge of the next steps and let your unique voice be strengthened.

Nicole Chacin is a Chicago native and student at the George Washington University where she studies business administration. Nicole aims to obtain a dual masters degree in Law and Business Administration by 2017 and ultimately dreams of working in health policy and administration.  This is Nicole’s 2nd year writing for Forté as she had the opportunity to learn about the organization through the first Forté C2B Leadership Conference.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Summer Internship

By Kaitlyn Lannan

May 18, 2015

If you have locked down an internship for this summer, congratulations! An internship is not only valuable work experience in your field, it can also become the launching pad for your future career.

Here’s how to make the most of your time as an intern!

Be curious.

Don’t be afraid of asking questions, whether to your supervisor, other members of your team, or even your fellow interns. It is always better to clarify something you aren’t sure of before working on it instead of making mistakes later on because you weren’t sure about something.

Also, if you find that you are being given tasks like making copies or stuffing envelopes, ask what they are being made for. You might learn about an interesting upcoming event or program that you could sit in on.

Take the initiative.

If you see an area of the company or work structure that is lacking in some way, take the reins in fixing it! Make sure to ask your supervisor before doing so, but if you have completed all of your assigned tasks and you see something that you could make into a personal project, ask away!

Most supervisors would love to see this kind of initiative from an intern, and this kind of experience looks great on your resume and in future job interviews.

Branch out from your assigned role.

For example, if you are an intern in the marketing department, take the time to sit down with someone from the IT department to learn about what they do. This shows that you are passionate about learning about the company in any way that you can, and you might even gain a new skill!

While focusing on the tasks that you are assigned is important, taking the extra time to learn something new is sure to be appreciated by your supervisor.

With a little extra work on your end, you can make your summer internship into an incredible work experience. Showing that you are passionate about learning about the company and other positions might even land you a full-time role!

Kaitlyn Lannan is a junior at Northwestern University. She is majoring in economics and communication studies and plans on attending business school in the future. Her dream job is becoming the Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 500 company. You can find Kaitlyn on Twitter at @KaitlynLannan.

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Make the Most of Your Summer

By Valeria Tirado

May 15, 2015

Summer is finally here. Well, almost. Many of us are in our last weeks of school and I’m sure we’re all excited to finally have a break from college. I know I am!

I’m sure a lot of you already have plans for the summer, but if you’re like me and just like to go with the flow then you might not be sure what you’re doing yet. Not to worry—I have compiled a list of just some of the dozens of things you can do this summer!


This one probably goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway. It doesn’t matter if you think you live in the most interesting city in the world, there’s still the whole rest of the world to explore.

This summer, try going somewhere new. Whether it’s to a different continent, country, state, or even just a new city, you’re bound to find something interesting. Try checking travel websites for exclusive student discounts on flights, or get some friends and take a road trip somewhere.

Traveling can be a little pricey, but if you can afford it then definitely do it because it’s awesome.

Catch up with friends and family

Speaking of friends, make sure you take the summer to catch up with good friends from your hometown. See what’s new with everyone’s life and let them know how yours is too. Don’t neglect your family, either, since I’m sure they’re ecstatic to see you after such a long time.

Remember you’re only home for a few months and possibly won’t see them until the next summer. Take advantage of the summer by spending time with your loved ones.

Head to a park

It’s always good to stay active during the summer, but I’m not just talking about going to your town’s park. If you’re into thrill rides and adventure, head to an amusement park!

Look online to see where there’s one near you and ask friends if they want to carpool. If you’re more into water or just want to cool off from the heat, try searching for a nearby water park too. Many parks these days even include both amusement parks and water parks.

If you’re planning on going often, many places offer discounts for buying a season pass. You’re always bound to have lots of fun at parks, no matter which one!

Get artsy

I don’t necessarily mean go paint or draw, I just mean get creative. It may not be everyone’s thing, but I think we all have our own ways of being creative.

If you like to sing, go sing your heart out and maybe seek out nearby karaoke nights. If you like to act, see if there’s a community theater you can participate in. If you like to paint or draw, go buy some supplies and get to work; maybe there’s even an art show to display your work at!

Personally, I like expressing myself through music and love playing instruments, particularly the drums. If you like music too, pick an instrument up and start learning. Try finding others who share your interests too!

I hope these ideas help you figure out what to do with your summer. If anything, just be glad you don’t have to deal with school again until September. If you’re taking summer classes, don’t forget to make time for having fun! Happy summer everyone!

Valeria Tirado is a junior at Rutgers University – New Brunswick with a major in Environmental and Business Economics and an Anthropology minor. She plans to get a Master’s from Rutgers in Food and Business Economics and attend NYU Stern for Economics after graduation. Valeria is the captain of her intramural volleyball team and can be found on Twitter at @valeriat94.

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Choosing a Summer Job

By Imani Nichols

May 14, 2015

If you’re currently a college student, you’ve probably secured a summer job already. If not, you’re probably looking.

Regardless of which situation you’re in, I have some insights about summer employment in college. So far, I’ve spent all of my collegiate summers working. When thinking about where to work, there are some important factors to consider.

There are four important factors: housing, travel, salary, and resume building.

Where are you going to live if you take job X?

If you live in location X, where will you work? How far will your summer housing be from your place of work? Summer jobs for college students sometimes offer free or discounted housing – especially if you’re working for a college.

During my first collegiate summer, I found housing on my school’s Facebook page. During my second collegiate summer, I found a job that offered free housing.

How are you going to travel for this job?

Can you afford to travel for this job? If not, how will you gather funds? Summer jobs are excellent opportunities to explore different locations. If you are traveling to an unfamiliar place, make sure your research it as much as possible to ensure that it’s safe, affordable, and near work.

When you finally decide upon a place to work for the summer, how will you commute to work every day? Will you walk? Will you take public transportation? Will you drive? Travel and transportation are critical.

What’s your budget?

In order to afford housing and travel expenditures, you need money, right? Salary is important because it sets the frame for where you can live and how you can live.

Your salary is important in budgeting housing, transportation, utilities, food, savings, and entertainment.

What do you get long-term from the position?

Last, but not least, is resume building. How can job X help me build my resume? College is an important time to try on different jobs and explore a variety of interests. Think about the skills and experiences that you can get from a summer job that can help you as you think about what you want to do post-grad.

Summers between semesters are important and exciting and you can use these four factors as starting points to consider when thinking about where to work.

Imani Nichols is a student at University of Virginia graduating in 2017. She is considering Media Studies or American Studies as her major. After college, Imani plans to consult for a management consulting firm in Chicago and earn an MBA. She enjoys Forté webinars and working out.

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Making a Good First Impression at Your First Day on the Job

By Kaitlyn Lannan

May 13, 2015

About to start a new internship or job this summer? It can be a nerve-wracking experience to walk into your new workplace for the first time, but there’s no need to worry. Use these tips to make your first day unforgettable!

Dress the part.

Make sure you know what is acceptable to wear on the job in your office before you start. If you are unsure, think about the culture of the company.

If it is a young company like a technology startup, try dressing in business casual on your first day, and you can always dress down as time goes on. At a more established company in a field like banking, your best bet would be business formal.

Ask lots of questions.

Your first day is your chance to learn as much as possible about your new position, and your new manager will appreciate that you are trying to set yourself up for success. It’s also better to ask questions now to clear things up than to have to ask them later on.

Don’t worry about annoying your supervisor with questions—they most likely expect you to be curious about your tasks. If you feel that you are asking them too many questions, try asking the other interns or someone else on your team for the answer.

Meet as many people as you can.

Even if you don’t remember all of their names, it’s a good idea to introduce yourself to the people you will be working with for a substantial amount of time. Taking the initiative to meet them shows that you are friendly and excited about working for the company.

Your team will remember your eagerness to get to know them, and it can’t hurt to make new acquaintances and friends right off the bat!

While it can be intimidating to start a new job or internship, these tips will help you to succeed during your first day on the job. Research the company before you start to gain some further background knowledge and get excited about your first day!

Kaitlyn Lannan is a junior at Northwestern University. She is majoring in economics and communication studies and plans on attending business school in the future. Her dream job is becoming the Chief Marketing Officer at a Fortune 500 company. You can find Kaitlyn on Twitter at @KaitlynLannan.

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Opportunity, Access, & Skill-Building: The C2B Conference

By Nicole Chacin

April 15, 2015

The 2014 C2B Conference in Austin, Texas was a powerhouse of successful women learning from each other and sharing perspectives. Check out Forté‘s other college conference—College Fast Track to Finance Conference—held on May 1, 2015 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

The College 2 Business (C2B) Conference brings together distinguished career professionals from top companies and representatives from prestigious MBA programs for female university students from around the country for one full day. Under one roof, these young female scholars have the privilege to learn, explore, and take the next step in their academic and professional journey through this transformative conference and forum for women by women.

The attendants at the conference convened at the University of Texas on November 14, 2014 for a full day of activities, which included a panel from Great on the Job, a Business Market Simulation, and a Company & Graduate School Expo.

Lauren Dawson is a pre-business major studying finance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Between investing her time outside of her studies, working with the startup lab at UNC and being involved with Carolina Women in Business, Dawson has a specific direction she wants to take after graduation.

The conference offered for Dawson an opportunity to go outside her comfort zone and gain practical experience, playing the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in an impromptu business case simulation in a high-tech company.

“It was a great eye opener, I got to act as CFO in my company which was comprised of 6 other female participants from other schools. Actual mentors from different companies around the area came in to assist the teams. My group’s mentor was a marketing professional from Dell,” said Dawson.

Unlike any project or learning experience in college, what Dawson found unique about the conference was that she found herself working side by side with women whom she just met and whose skills they had to strategically utilize, working against the clock, to make key decisions to achieve results for their respective company. This experience she realized is not far from what any business internship or starting position fresh out of college would require.

Laura Márquez, like Dawson, is a pre-business major sophomore at Emory University. Márquez has interest in Film & Media Management as well as Information Systems and Operations Management and she is currently minoring in Spanish. A highlight for Márquez was also the Business Simulation.

“I really enjoyed competing in the market simulation. Since there was a time constraint for each quarter, it prompted us all to quickly divide up responsibilities and conquer! We divided responsibilities according to our individual strengths, which can sometimes be daunting,” said Márquez.

The market simulation also served as an informal ice-breaker. The women realized they all had unique skills to offer and encouraged each other to take the lead.

Dawson, who found herself working with female engineering majors in the simulation, was pleasantly surprised to see how the conference encouraged female leaders from all backgrounds—not just business—to consider how business skills and perspectives lead to success in the workplace.

“I made at least 10 new connections from the conference, not all of them business majors. After the panel we were able to talk to recruiters one on one. Being just girls, made it easier to relate because finance is such a male dominated industry,” said Dawson.

Márquez also felt that the make-up of the conference was particularly helpful and empowering.

“I’ve applied to a few other conferences in the past but what really interested me about the C2B Conference was its mission to get women interested in business. There’s something very special and powerful when a group of young women get together to learn,” said Márquez.

Dawson found that even non-business majors attending the conference were being informed of skills they could apply in any future academic/professional situation.

“I definitely would recommend this program to non-business majors. The program showed how as a female, you have to self-consciously reveal yourself to the world and market your skills to be an active player,” said Dawson.

Both attendants agree that the conference is an excellent opportunity for college women regardless of major. It will leave you feeling inspired, confident in your skills and direction, and provide tailored resources provided by powerhouse women for your further growth.

Learn more about the Fast Track to Finance Conference.

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A Minor with a Major Impact

By Alina Tang

April 14, 2015

Have you ever wanted to take a class offered at your university, but it was completely unrelated to all your major’s core classes? Whether it’s Design of Steel Structures in Civil Engineering or The Performance of Healing in Anthropology, we’ve all gone through a phase when we’ve wondered what it’d be like to explore other courses and career options.

One of the coolest things about my university is the number of interdisciplinary majors and minors available for students. Plenty of my peers in Marshall have decided to supplement their major with an additional major or minor related to business; for instance, cinematic arts, communication design, and computer science. Others have decided to be Renaissance scholars and pursue areas of study quite unrelated to business—although these days, it seems business is applicable anywhere and everywhere!

As I was registering for my own classes during fall of my sophomore year, I suddenly had the urge to pick up a minor myself. While I adore Marshall, I realized that I wanted to explore classes in other schools and get an idea of what non-business students were up to.

Since my interests have always aligned with the humanities department (English, history, politics), I decided to research minors in the Dornsife School of International Relations and the Annenberg School of Communications. What I discovered was the best of both words: the Global Communications Minor.

Essentially, the Global Communication minor is a joint program consisting of courses offered by both schools. In the IR classes, a student can learn about anything from global challenges and transnational diplomacy to Asian security and European integration.

At the same time, he or she could be studying communication technology and culture or censorship and law in the Communications classes. When I heard about this amazing combination, I couldn’t wait to jump right into the program.

For me, this minor is especially appealing because it relates directly to my interest in global marketing.

Because business is becoming increasingly cross-cultural and international, it is important to have background knowledge about many different countries and cities. I have always been fascinated by how products from the U.S. are completely altered (localized) in order to become popular in another country—for instance, how McDonalds features McVeggies instead of hamburgers in India, a country in which the cow is sacred, or how Haagen-Dazs has turned into a luxurious sit-in restaurant in China and even offers mooncakes on its menu.

Someday, I hope to combine my American upbringing with my Chinese heritage and language skills, and dive into industries that I’m interested in, so I can figure out how to make their products also a hit in China.

I realize that such a feat will require a great deal of research, hard work, and commitment, but I am quite certain that the Global Communications Minor will help me do so.

Alina Tang will graduate from USC in 2016. She is majoring in business administration and plans to work in the Management Development Program at Mondelez International and gain more experience in global marketing.

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Curing Senioritis (Just in Time for Finals!)

By Stephanie Watkins

April 13, 2015

Okay, I’ll be the first one to say it—senioritis is real, people. You start the semester thinking, “It’s my last semester as an undergrad, I’m going to give it my all and do my best in my courses.” But then, the months start ticking away, graduation is so close you can almost taste it, and oops! There goes all of your motivation. 

One thing that’s unavoidable about being a student is finals week. While you may have amazing plans for after graduation, or you may be ready to just relax and not be a student for a bit, you have to get through finals to get that diploma.

Daunting as it may seem, it is possible for seniors to stay motivated and get through finals with flying colors. The secret? Well… there is no secret. But there are some great tips below to help you along the way!

Enjoy learning.

For some seniors, this may be the last time you sit in a classroom as a student for a while. While it’s easy to wish your time away, try and think of the chance you get to study something in depth from someone who’s an expert in their field.

If you start to treat going to class as an opportunity to learn as opposed to a chore you have to complete, it makes it a lot easier to stay motivated towards the end of the semester.

Make a study group.

Studying for finals by yourself can lead to boredom, distraction, or a bad case of the “I’ll Just Watch Netflix in Bed” syndrome. Get your friends together to study, as chances are they’re feeling the same way.

Not only is this a chance to get together and motivate one another academically, it’s an opportunity to spend time with your friends before you all start parting ways.

Go to office hours.

Sometimes all you need is just a little extra encouragement from your professors to keep you going at the end. I find that especially in classes that I struggle with, going to office hours can be extremely helpful. Your professor can help you understand concepts more in depth, convey their passions and interests on a deeper level, and generally become better acquainted with you.

It makes studying a lot more meaningful if you feel a connection to the material, and chatting with your professor can help make that happen.

Take scheduled breaks.

Having some sort of structure or schedule can be incredibly beneficial, especially when you’re a second semester senior. While it can be easy to make lists of things you have to do, it can also be easy to find ways to put those things off. As weird as it sounds, scheduling breaks or “fun time” into your schedule can actually help to keep you on task.

By having a pre-scheduled break, you’re able to look forward to something while you work, and set goals of what you want to have done before you take breaks.

Find your perfect study spot.

You’re a senior! By now you should have a favorite place you go to study.

If you haven’t found one yet, then there’s no better time than the present! Go to an old favorite, or explore new places. Maybe there’s a coffee shop just outside of campus that could be a change of scenery, or maybe you want to go study in the University botanical gardens/arboretum to take in some of the fresh spring air.

Whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable and energized, do it! You’re in the homestretch, so make studying as fun of an experience as you are able.

Senioritis is a problem many college seniors face, but thankfully there are ways to get past this epidemic. At the end of the day just remember you are so close to being done!

Keep focused on your end goal, follow the tips above, and you’ll be well on your way to acing your finals and getting that coveted diploma.

Stephanie Watkins is a senior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduating in 2015. Her major is in Management and Society and her dream job is to be a marketing and social media consultant which allows her to travel all over the world. Stephanie’s spirit animal is Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec and you can find her on Twitter at @StephanieWatki5.

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