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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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What’s Your Major: Environmental and Business Economics

By Valeria Tirado

April 6, 2015

Economics? Sounds like a major headache to me; at least that’s what I first thought when I stumbled upon this major.

By my junior year I knew I wanted to do something in business, but transferring to the business school at Rutgers that late in my college career meant staying for at least an extra semester or two since some general requirements I took wouldn’t transfer over. I thought I would have no choice but to do this until I went to talk to my advisor about it.

He said, “Why transfer to another school when this school offers a business-related major?” That’s when he told me about Environmental and Business Economics. I wasn’t too interested at first but then I researched it and found that it was actually very interesting!

Economics is defined as “a social science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services and with the theory and management of economies or economic systems.” Sound boring? I can see why it would be boring to some, but I actually find it very interesting learning how economies work and why and how certain factors affect the economy.

Many companies like to hire economics majors because we have a good understanding of how certain things in a business work (ie. profit maximization, forecasting, etc.) and can help them succeed.

I chose the business economics option of my major so not only do I learn about economics, but I am also well-rounded in other areas of business like management and marketing.

Although my focus is on business economics, environmental economics is also an important aspect of my curriculum.

What’s environmental economics? It’s basically taking what you know about economics and applying it to environmental issues such as the costs and benefits of alternative environmental policies to do with air pollution and global warming. This may not seem relevant to a business but it actually is.

Businesses want to find the most efficient way to operate and that’s what economics is all about. Nowadays, being environmentally conscious is part of being efficient. Some companies don’t know how to do that and that’s where environmental economists can help out.

I think economics, business, and the environment all relate to each other very well and that’s part of the reason I chose this major. They’re not all treated as separate things but instead they’re treated as all part of the same system.

Plus, it’s great that just this one major teaches me so much and makes me well-rounded in the area of business. I think Rutgers is only one of a few schools to offer this major at the moment—and I don’t know why. I feel like a lot of people would be interested in it, and it’s a unique major that would stand out to employers.

What kind of jobs can you get in this major? Well, my advisor said there are a variety of choices to choose from. They range from being a financial analyst to environmental consulting, and you can choose to work for the government or in a private sector.

According to him, it’s also a pretty desirable major since the unemployment rate for this major’s graduates (within 6 months of graduation) is only 1%.

I’m not exactly sure what kind of a job I want to have yet, but as long as I’m putting my knowledge about business economics and the environment to use then I’ll be happy!

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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Following Up After an Interview

By Kaitlyn Lannan

March 9, 2015

These days, many interviewers expect a follow-up thank you note after an interview. Some companies have even been known to discard your application, even if you were an otherwise good candidate, simply because you did not follow up with a thank-you after an interview.

Needless to say, it’s an important part of the interview process. Following up can also be important if you are looking for information on the status of your job application.

Here are some of the best follow-up strategies:

WRITE A NOTE

Send a thank-you as soon as possible after the interview. Email or write a personalized note to the interviewer recapping what you discussed in the interview, why you think you would be a good fit, and express your gratitude.

Including what you discussed in the interview will help the recruiter to remember you.

CHECK THE PROCESS

To follow up about the status of your job application, check on the company’s website to see if there is a general careers email address or a phone number for job candidates to call. If you choose to call, make sure that there is not a “no phone calls” policy, or you risk getting your application immediately rejected if you break the rule.

If you have the contact information of the person who interviewed you, it could also be a good idea to contact them to see if they know where you are in the application process.

SHOW INTEREST

Be persistent, but not annoying. The tricky part with following up with companies after an interview is to show them that you are interested in the position, but not to annoy them with the amount of times that you contact them.

Try following up twice, any more than that and you will probably not get a positive response.

It can be frustrating to have to follow up with a company that you were hoping to hear from soon after submitting your application or interviewing, but following up and sending thank you notes can keep your name at the top of the pile and get you noticed by recruiters.

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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Have You Considered A Career In Finance?

By Nicole Chacin

March 4, 2015

According to a recent Forbes poll, the primary goal of college undergrads is to major in a discipline that will enable them to be financially well-off. Even so, the number of women studying finance is not the same number as their male counterparts.

In fact, women do not even occupy half of the classroom seats or corporate suites for finance. In 2013, women only make up 11.4% of the Chief Financial Officers of the Fortune 500. Yet inherit in the study of finance and the jobs within this field, are a thorough understanding of how to achieve financial independence and gain skills to make and manage money. So why are more female undergrads not studying finance?

While a management degree will lead to a general overview of business functions and principles, a finance degree is highly concentrated and focused. It provides big picture perspective and broad understanding of how to manage money—whether for individuals, institutions, or organizations. Finance also handles instruments such as stocks and bonds, which change economic markets.

Coursework in finance involves math and statistics as well as business principles. While some might classify finance as more of a technical discipline, it happens to have many client-facing positions for management leaders.

Ruth Porat, who has a bachelor’s in economics from Stanford and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, has transitioned from advising several clients and managing operations for just a few, to instructing and overseeing the inward operations of thousands during her career at Morgan Stanley.

She has helped companies such as Amazon and Priceline go public, advised the Treasury Department on the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and oversaw the inward operations of Morgan Stanley’s many employees and affiliates around the world, all while being conscientious of the public image of the company and its finances.

Investment banking and commercial banking businesses all started under a single roof as there was very little regulations until the 1930s, and the banking industry came under scrutiny with new legislation that was passed. These great empires with political and financial clout were originally built by men from exclusive old boy’s clubs; now decades later we have only a few handful of brilliant women who have taken the initiative to add diversity and new leadership in the world of finance in these top leadership positions.

One of the key resources that helped Porat join the ranks of history of these other brilliant female CFOs is her finance degree. Porat has paved the way for the next group of female management leaders.

No one says that a finance major leads to a c-suite office, yet finance does provide a female undergraduate confidence and perspective to explore countless career fields in business that require a blend of technical and practical business understanding which finance provides.

And no one says that a business degree by itself is enough to obtain a reputable position in a company or a high paying salary. Finance provides an economic worldview that is both practical and tangible to the consumer and student who will need to know how to manage their money in light of how the world is managing its money.

To explore exciting career opportunities and network with students and professionals to learn how finance can be a valuable resource for your academic and professional journey, apply to the Fast Track to Finance Conference for undergraduate women, which will be held at Boston’s Federal Reserve Bank on May 1, 2015.

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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4 Tips to Strengthen Quantitative Skills

January 8, 2015

by Nicole Chacin

When trying to improve quantitative skills, it is important to give yourself varied materials in segments to absorb and learn at a reasonable pace. Cramming learning materials in such a way is much like heavy lifting when your muscles are overworked or out of shape; more often than not it will be very exhausting and may not produce the results desired.

The following 4 tips will address just how students can choose cost-effective resources at their disposal for a strong approach to improve their quantitative skills in business.

Read Business Oriented Materials such as Journals, Articles, and Blogs

Becoming familiar with the language of business is pivotal to being able to advance in your study of business concepts and models. The vocabulary of business is not the typical vernacular you hear every day and requires familiarization.

By reading these materials you will also strengthen qualitative understanding of business such as the climate of the marketplace, the key movers and shakers, and the way policy affects business here and all over the world.

Pick at least one business role model in the industry you want to enter and examine how they became successful.

There is a great deal we can learn from leaders in business in the way they got started and how they advanced in their industry. Great leaders were all students at one point, and it was their decisions at this key time in their life that paved the way for their future successes.

Studying at least one role model is not just good to boost your morale and inspire you, but it will remind you that you are more than capable of achieving all that you intend to if you take the right steps to prepare yourself.

Pick up from the library or purchase a copy of a prep material book in a subject you need work on.

If your background is not business, math, or science it can be difficult to dive into business studies. To help facilitate the transition, a lot of students take time during the summer or during their breaks to brush up on some old math concepts and learn some basic statistical concepts.

I have found that the materials students use to study for AP tests in Math and Statistics are great for preparing for business classes in college. There are a great deal of prep materials for students in college or post college to pick up and peruse. You may even find your campus offers certain discounts to purchase these materials if you ask your career center or business school advisor.

An even more targeted approach would be to pick up the exact textbook from a course you will be taking and get a head start on the material so you have a strong start and not such a steep learning curve to circumvent.

Look online to see videos for certain math concepts performed on paper or in a classroom setting.

There are many websites which students can use to review their calculus, algebra, and geometry concepts with practice problems and detailed solutions. There are certain courses online students can audit or take free of charge to enhance many other quantitative skills.

Community colleges also offer summer enrichment programs for those who prefer a classroom setting in person. In fact, if you want to brush up on a specific mathematical or statistical concept, you can look at the online non-profit, Khan Academy, which has pre-recorded video tutorials for students at no cost to you.

As great as these resources are, a college education and obtaining a degree are the ultimate accreditation you can receive for your hard work as a student.

Quantitative studies can be very exciting when you have a confident approach to tackling them and have good inspiration and guidance along the way. Happy studying!


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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Networking Your Way Through College

December 10, 2014

by Siobhan Bauer

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a college student is how available people are to be a resource for you. I have been surprised on multiple occasions by the willingness of others to answer my questions, connect me with their colleagues, and share their own career stories.

I have also learned that there are an enumerable amount of opportunities available to you on campus. Whether you are looking for a job, a research position, a volunteer role, or simply just more information about a field that sparks your interest, there are countless people on campus that can help you.

However, with thousands of other students around, it is on you to take the first steps to begin building these connections—a simple email is often all it takes to get the ball rolling. Networking can be a daunting task when you are just starting out, but as a college student, you are in one of the best environments to start making connections and learn how to be an effective networker.

Below are some networking guidelines that I believe will help set anyone in the right direction.

1. Do your homework!

Know who you are emailing. Before you reach out to a professor/advisor/staff member, look them up! If it is a professor, read up on some of the research they have completed. For university staff members, read up on what work their department does, and the role they play in their workplace.

Doing some research will help you be able to articulate in your message why you think they will be able to help you, and ultimately why you are reaching out to them.

2. Have a clear objective.

Why do you want to connect with someone? When you first email someone, make sure you present a clear and concise objective. Always let them know you are a student, and connect your educational and career goals with what they do. Tell them why you think they would be helpful for you to get in touch with, and hopefully, they will be happy to do so.

3. Don’t be afraid of rejection.

It is important to realize is that you have nothing to lose when you start networking – in the sense that reaching out does you no harm and it will not set you back at all.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to a lot of people! Although some people may not email you back, or may not be the kind of resource you were looking for, do not get discouraged!

You may run into an instance when a position isn’t available but even if you don’t qualify right off the bat, they now know your name, know you’re interested and you’ll have a leg up the next time you reach out.

All in all, learning how to network is a powerful tool in both your time as a college student and in preparation for your career in the future. Spending the time to practice those skills while you still in school with help you be ahead of the game when you begin setting up your career.

Networking has played a huge role in my undergraduate career – and the first time I put myself out there and got in contact with someone on campus led me to the job I’ve had for over two years.

During my freshman year, I struggled with my newfound free time, and the large gaps in my daily schedule. In high school, my day was packed morning to night with school and extracurricular activities, so my first year of college was much slower moving.

Unsatisfied with my empty schedule, I took a chance, expecting very little to come of it, and emailed the head baseball coach, expressing my interest in getting a student job in the athletic department. He graciously passed my inquiry along to the appropriate party, and after a couple of more emails and a short interview, I was hired in to do Public Relations and Communications in the athletic department and have been here since.

This job has provided me with many opportunities to network even further, which has led to additional employment opportunities and an even longer list of job experience.

….and all it took was one simple email!

Siobhan Bauer will graduate in 2016 from the University of Washington in Medical Anthropology. Siobhan plans to pursue an MBA with a career in health care or hospital management.

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Breaking Out of Traditional Business Jobs

December 9, 2014

Many students are intrigued by the broad field of business, but aren’t especially attracted to many of the traditional sub-fields, such as banking. Here are jobs in some new areas to consider if this applies to you!

1. Try working at a startup.

Startup culture is relatively new, and many people find that they enjoy working in the fast-paced, collaborative environment that is often offered at companies within the field. Almost any traditional business job can be applied to working at a startup.

For example, this past summer I worked as a marketing intern for an educational technology company, and I was able to do a lot more hands-on work and make more of an impact than I might have been able to at a bigger company. However, be prepared to put in a lot of hard work!

Here are the top 15 startups to work for according to Business Insider.

2. Apply technology to traditional jobs.

If you have an interest in computers and technology in addition to business, you are in luck. In today’s technology-crazed society, employers are always looking for candidates who know how to code and who have a strong knowledge of different computer programs.

Having these skills can really open up your job opportunities, particularly within the IT division of a company or within the digital marketing sector.

3. Put your social media skills to work as a social media strategist for a company.

If you love Facebook and Twitter, why not put your skills to use while getting paid for it? Take coursework in digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization to land a job in this area. Social media is becoming more and more essential to companies hoping to stay relevant, and you can help!

The job market is constantly evolving. By gaining some new skills, particularly within the technology field, you can really broaden the job opportunities available to you. Good luck in your job search!

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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The Changing Culture of Women in the Sports Business

December 4, 2014

by Siobhan Bauer

Professional and collegiate sports make up a sector of business that has been a historically male-dominated culture. In the grand scheme, few women hold executive business roles in the sports world. However, this trend seems to be changing.

Athletics is a great venue to watch how the culture of women in business is transforming, and how there is positive momentum growing for the expansion of women in sports business roles.

I have noticed this growing change through working in both professional and collegiate sports. I have seen that within the larger umbrella of the sports business, there are visible differences between different levels of athletics – specifically these professional and collegiate levels. Through my experience in both of these environments, I have noticed that the business side of college sports is much more progressive than in professional organizations.

The ratio of men to women in this sphere of business is largely driven but the fact that the culture of sports has generally catered to men. But the college athletic business is unique because men’s and women’s sports are governed by the same body. Athletic departments at universities are working to promote sports of both genders, where you find that there are many more women in leading roles in the athletic departments of educational institutions.

At a university, it is not uncommon to see women in athletic director roles, associate positions, in operations management, as sports writers, or as medical staff. When I began working in professional sports, I noticed that the ubiquity of female employees was absent. I was not necessarily surprised, but it was definitely shocking to experience such a stark dichotomy first hand. 

It was really my first work experience where I often found myself being the only woman in the office. But I realized quickly that I could learn a lot from working in a male-dominated workplace.

Being in this kind of environment, I found that I more readily sought a female role model, and that I actively reached out to other women in the office.

Because there were so many more women in the collegiate offices, I had taken women in upper positions for granted. When I moved over to the big leagues, the value of women in executive roles became so apparent to me, and I truly recognized the importance of talking and connecting with the women in these positions.

There are many examples that the culture of sports is changing and it is creating promising evidence that the business of sports will also change. One aspect of sports culture that is transforming rapidly is the demographic of viewers. Women are starting to make up a much greater percentage of fans, and I believe that this is one reality that will begin to have a large impact on the growth of women in the field.

More notably, there are a growing number of women in executive roles. Lesa France is the CEO of the body that manages all NASCAR race tracks. Sue Falsone was the head Athletic Trainer for the LA Dodgers, and the first and only head trainer in any of the major American sports leagues. Kim Ng is the Senior Vice President for Baseball Operations in the MLB, and Jeanie Buss is the President of the Los Angeles Lakers. In 2012, Shannon Eastin became the first female football referee.

This list denotes only some of the influential women who have begun to challenge the norm of this male-dominated field. It is old-fashioned to think that sports is still a man’s world and I think it is only a matter of time before people will no longer be surprised to women in leadership roles.

Photo Source: Daily News

Siobhan Bauer will graduate in 2016 from the University of Washington in Medical Anthropology. Siobhan plans to pursue an MBA with a career in health care or hospital management.

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