Career Lab Virtual Campus Forté Foundation

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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Survive Your Semester… Like Rose

By Valeria Tirado

April 11, 2015

The time has come once again; the birds are chirping once more, the grass is getting greener by the day and the cold is no longer so bad that you feel like Jack at the end of the Titanic movie.

That’s right, spring is finally here in full force, ready to drown us in torrential rains before rewarding us with the beautiful scents and sights of a flowering May. With the onset of spring comes something else, however, something that can be both a welcome relief and unwanted burden.

Yes, the semester is nearing its end, and with this in mind, there are things that you must do to prepare for the upcoming final month. Luckily, I am here to guide you through the final month with these four helpful tips for preparing for the end.

Assess your situation.

In the hustle of school life you can oftentimes find that you haven’t taken inventory in a while, and you’re not even certain what classes you’re taking anymore, let alone what work is due in which.

In cases like this, take an afternoon off and dedicate your time instead to plotting out a work schedule. Use this afternoon to also go over what major projects are still due, which ones are complete, and what tests, quizzes or exams still lay ahead.

Having this information a month or so in advance will help you avoid the dreaded last minute rush as well as give you some piece of mind in regards to the work you’ve already done.

Study hard and study smart.

To those of you doing exceptionally in your classes, this information is probably unnecessary, but to everyone else; know that even if you’re failing there is almost always an opportunity to turn things around. Use the time you have to brush up on your studies and prepare yourself for any finals coming up.

You have plenty of time so space out your study sessions and don’t attempt too much at once. There’s no need for cramming.

Decide your schedule for next semester.

With the semester nearly over, you should have a good idea of what classes you’ll need to take for next semester. Take some time out of your schedule to sit down and, if possible, register for classes you want or need to take for next semester. It’s never too early to do so.

However, if you can’t yet register for whatever reason, simply do what research you can and make your own schedule for the next term. This way, when registry does become available to you, you’ll have most of the work done already.

Take some time off and relax.

The semester is nearly done and some of you are likely going to be returning to your homes in some far off land, away from your beloved campus and friends. Take advantage of the time you have left to go to all the places on campus you’ve been meaning to go to but haven’t had the time. This could be your last chance, don’t let it slip away!

So there you have it, everything you’ll need to succeed in the final month. Follows these suggestions and you’ll be in good standing by year’s end.

Good luck to everyone on your finals, and to those lucky enough to be graduating—good luck in the real world and congratulations on surviving the dreaded beast known as college life. Much like Rose survived the Titanic (sorry, I just watched Titanic!).

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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10 Tips On How To Survive A Semester Abroad

By Alina Tang

April 10, 2015

Before studying abroad, you will probably get countless tips on how to make the most out of your experience. However, no guidebook you read or suggestion you receive from friends and family will truly let you know what it’s like until you’re actually there.

Here are 10 things that I’ve learned along the way:

Take different routes to and from school.

Not only does this spice up your daily routine, but it also allows you to wander and discover places during the week, when you have less time to explore.

Sign up for classes that you would never take back at home.

Originally, I was planning on taking all business classes because they would be related to my major; however, due to a scheduling conflict, I ended up with a course called TV Studies. It’s now my favorite class because the professor is an absolute riot who constantly makes sarcastic remarks and isn’t afraid to voice her political views.

Use social media less frequently.

If you’re constantly on your phone, you will miss out on a lot. After a month of trying to upload my latest photos on Facebook ASAP, I realized that this can be done whenever. It’s more important to soak in a particular moment and enjoy it. One or two pictures can wait, but after a moment passes, it is gone forever.

Buy your own groceries and cook your own food.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t dine at restaurants and try the local cuisine, but if you normally don’t eat out every day, don’t do it here. You can save so much money (for more important things, like traveling) by simply preparing your own meals.

Identify the unique things in your host country and capitalize on it.

For example, even though I am not a big coffee drinker, I have fallen in love with Spain’s “café con leche” which is EVERYWHERE. It’s also much cheaper than coffee in the States, so I make sure to enjoy it as much as I can before it will disappear from my life.

Don’t book 6AM flights.

I’m telling you right now, the cheaper fare isn’t worth the lack of sleep which will make you a zombie for the rest of the day. Plus, many modes of transportation to airports don’t start running UNTIL 6AM, so you might have trouble getting to your terminal.

Participate in the events put on by your school’s exchange student network.

You might think you’re too cool for these organized activities, but it’s such a good way to meet new people, especially in the first month when everyone is new.

Acknowledge that there will be bad days.

Everyone talks about how studying abroad is an amazing adventure, but no one mentions the pangs of homesickness every now and then or the difficulty of staying in contact with people. You will feel left out, lost, and confused when all of your friends are going on with life back at home, but remember that you’re making your own memories too.

Keep a journal or blog.

A lot of people do this to update others back home, but it’s just as much for your own personal sake! Writing things down not only helps you record your experiences so you can look back fondly at them one day, but it also allows you to make sense of your new surroundings and understand why things are the way they are.

Set aside time to focus purely on yourself.

For me, studying abroad is not only a learning experience about new cultures and ways of life, but also an amazing opportunity for self-discovery and self-improvement. Besides becoming more open-minded, independent, and street smart from living here on my own, I’ve also been able take better care of myself with little things, like cooking healthier, sleeping earlier, exercising more, and reading for pleasure. As a result, I find myself feeling genuinely happier and more confident.

I hope these tips give you a better idea of what it’s like to study abroad and make you excited for your journey! You’re going to have the time of your life.

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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How Can You Deal with Ignorance?

By Imani Nichols

April 9, 2015

An unfortunate reality of life is that you will face discrimination, especially in regards to (but not limited to) the color of your skin, your gender, and/or your sexual orientation.

As a black female, I experience discrimination in regards to my skin color or gender fairly frequently, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m not saying that discriminatory happenings don’t induce an eye roll or head shake from me, especially in professional settings, but that’s all these happenings get—an eye roll or a head shake.

If you’re discriminated against for factors out of your control and if the discrimination bothers you, I want to share some personal truths about navigating ignorance. These truths can be applied to both personal and professional settings.

What’s crucial to successfully navigating ignorance is understanding that you are not wrong for being you, especially for characteristics that you did not choose. It’s also important to know that everyone you come in contact with is NOT racist, sexist, homophobic, or a practitioner of another type of ignorance. If you experience discrimination regularly, it may often feel like everyone around you wants to discriminate against you, but that isn’t the case.

This next insight is one that I’m learning to master as I get older. This insight is to simply let it go.

Although comments or gestures may be made to insult you, it’s most advantageous to yourself to not hold onto it. I’m not saying develop amnesia, but don’t let discriminatory incidents get under your skin to the point that they affect your sleeping and eating habits.

Think it about it this way, while you’re upset for an extended period of time, the person that offended you isn’t thinking about what he/she said or did. See the unbalance?

Ignorance is a part of life, but it’s only as big of a part as you make it.

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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Advice From a College Senior

By Stephanie Watkins

April 8, 2015

Looking back on these past four years, so much has changed. I’ve moved to a new city, made new friends, and had to decide some big life choices. Every step of my college career has been a part of the journey to lead me to where I am today.

But even so, there are still some things I’d wish I’d known starting my first year at UNC.

DON’T BE AFRAID

One of the biggest ways you limit yourself is by being afraid. I hate to think of all the opportunities I could have had, had I not been scared to do take advantage of them.

At the end of the day, your biggest limitation will be your own fear. Like Babe Ruth famously said, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Be confident enough in yourself and your capabilities to achieve your goals.

WHATEVER YOU ARE, BE A GOOD ONE

Another one of my favorite quotes is, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” I spent the beginning of my college career trying to fit myself into a major that ultimately just wasn’t for me. Instead of forcing myself into something I didn’t enjoy, I should have found something that excited me and made me feel passionately from the start.

Whatever you love to do will make you better. It took me far too long to learn this lesson, and I hope young women today decide to do what they love.

GET INVOLVED

Some of my best friends and most exciting opportunities have come through getting involved on campus. Putting yourself out there may be daunting initially, but just taking that first step and reaching out will help you to see all the opportunities that are available on campus.

Each club and organization on campus is unique, so you need to keep trying until you find one (or more than one!) that you connect with and feel like you can really contribute to. Get passionate and stay involved early on so that you can make an impact throughout your four years.

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Part of the beauty of college is your sudden independence and drive to do things you care about. With that independence comes a lot of demands on your time.

It takes organization and discipline to stay on top of your school deadlines, club events, and extracurricular involvements. Decide early on to make time for what you have to do, and be smart about what you want to do. If you know your limits, you won’t be overwhelmed or surprised with any deadlines.

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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Using Volunteer Experience on a Resume

By Kaitlyn Lannan

April 7, 2015

If you studied abroad while in college, you will probably agree that it was an eye-opening and enriching experience. You can use what you learned abroad during your job or internship search and it could help you to get the job!

Here’s how to make the most of what you learned.

Put your experience on your resume.

Your potential employers will be impressed by the fact that you lived in another country for several months to a year, which shows that you have adaptability skills. Put your study abroad program in the education section of your resume, where it will be one of the first things that employers see.

Continue your language-learning.

When I returned from studying abroad in Paris, I wanted to capitalize on the language skills that I gained from the integration experience.

I signed up to take a test to get a certification in speaking French at the local French Alliance, and I will put my results on my resume.

Talk about the skills that you learned while abroad in interviews or in cover letters.

Studying abroad helps people to broaden their horizons and learn many new skills that they might not have otherwise learned, so be sure to capitalize on these experiences.

For example, if the position that you are interested in requires you to be flexible and open to change, talk about how you lived in a different country where there are different cultural norms and how you overcame any challenges that were presented to you.

Keep in touch with your friends from your program.

It’s likely that you made at least a few close friends while studying abroad, and keeping in touch with them is a great way to build up networking contacts for the future. You never know who might have a connection to the job that you want!

Studying abroad is an incredible experience that can end up helping you in your job search. Using these tips can help you to land your dream job!

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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