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10 Tips All Freshman Need To Know

By Vaneza Paredes

October 16, 2018


1. It’s OK to be undecided about your major

If you happen to be one of those people who has their entire life figured out-well lucky you! But for those of you who have absolutely no idea what you want to do in life, don’t fret. College is a time for exploration, so take advantage of the first two years by taking care of your general education units first. Try out a Freshman seminar class, or a leadership class to discover some of your interests. Don’t stress too much, you’ll find your calling in no time.

2. Get involved immediately

One awesome aspect of college is that there are so many different clubs, organizations, and ways to get involved on campus. Love playing soccer? Try out for an intramural team. Want to meet amazing ambitious women? Join a sorority. Sign up for new clubs/organizations during a club fest. You’ll be able to meet new people, and start discovering what you really care about.

3. Homesickness is normal

For many of you, it may be your very first time away from home. If feelings of homesickness start to kick in, know that it is a completely normal occurrence. Going out with friends and staying active can help combat some of the intense feelings of homesickness. Know that it’s OK to call home every so often, and you may also want to try finding things in your new hometown that remind you of home.

4. Find out what your campus has to offer

Many students are unaware of all the benefits their college campus has to offer. Most colleges have some sort of recreation center to work out in, that may even offer student discounts for yoga classes, or private trainings. Many colleges also have a health center, that offer free therapy sessions. Look around at flyers posted and take advantage of all the student discounts you can rack up. 

5. Get Organized

College can be incredibly stressful-from running around from class to class, clubs, jobs, and so forth, so finding your own personal organization techniques that work best for you is key to managing your time. Whether that involves using a planner, downloading a homework schedule app, or buying a small whiteboard for your desk-find what works best for you and stick to it.

6. Sit in the front

Research has found that students who sit in the front of the classroom, typically tend to do far better academically compared to those who sit in the back. I learned this in a random psychology course I took my Freshman year and have always sat up in the very front since hearing this tip. Give it a shot, it can’t hurt. 

7. Explore your college town

If you have moved to a new town, take advantage of the weekends by going out and exploring what the town has to offer. Try out a new café, spend an afternoon at the beach, or go out with friends to a new dance club. If you didn’t move to a new town, take advantage of having background knowledge, and show your new friends around.

8. Freshmen 15 is real

With so many food options available in the dining hall, tempting late-night treats, and the occasional stress-eating-yes, the Freshmen 15 is incredibly real. Don’t fret however, it’s totally possible to avoid. Going to the market and stocking up on healthy snacks such as apples and peanut butter is an excellent option for when hunger strikes. Try heading to the gym every so often as well, as working out can also help manage stress.

9. Remember to relax

Speaking of stress, college can be an incredibly stressful time in your life, and it may be easy to become overwhelmed. Remember to breathe, and practice self-care activities. Journal about your experiences, put on a face-mask, go shopping, do what you need to do to unwind. While school is incredibly important, nothing is more important than your mental health.

10. Be Open

And last but far from least, try to be as open as possible. Be open to trying out new clubs, open to meeting new people, and open to everything college has to offer. You only get to be a freshman once, so remember to be open to all you can.

Vaneza Paredes is an incredibly optimistic junior English major at Loyola Marymount University. Aside from being a student, she also works as a writer for LMU’s yearbook. When she isn’t writing or working, Vaneza can probably be found curled up, happily engrossed in a romance novel. Her dream is to write her very own novel in the near future.

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Make College Easier: Know Your Professors

By Shreya Prabhakar

October 9, 2018

30,000. That’s the total number of students that attend my university. To put that number into perspective, that’s 150 times the size of my entire ``high school. To say that college was a big jump for me would be a massive understatement.  Everyday I constantly pass by students I’ve never seen before and professors that I’ve only ever heard about. 

College tends to be a place where students are constantly surrounded by the unknown. Whether it’s a big public university or a small liberal arts college, the number of opportunities, services, and experiences at your disposal is infinite. For a lot of students, this can be rather discombobulating, not only socially, but also academically. Wherever you end up, people always emphasize the importance of finding your own niche. This can mean anything from finding your own group of people that share similar interests or finding a major that hones in on your unique skillset. This is crucial. 

College is your time for trial and error. You’re at an age where you’re trying to figure out what you want to pursue from thereon out, while still having access to ample resources readily available to guide you. The task of self-discovery and future planning may seem daunting, but there’s one failproof tip that’s bound to work for anyone – know your professors. 

Every single one of your professors teaches to see their students succeed. Even if they’re tough on the grading, or less lenient towards extensions, they all just want to push you to learn and grow. In your path towards becoming a doctor, lawyer, journalist, meteorologist, or even a performing artist, your professors are by far your most valuable resource. Here’s why:

Better Class Performance

Having a conversation with your professor and establishing a connection with them will motivate you to perform well in their class. When you don’t have that connection, you’re more likely to become complacent and settle with the progress you’re making, or the lack thereof. Speaking with your teachers will also make you more comfortable in reaching out and asking for help. If you have a question on a concept or want to seek advice on how to perform better on the next exam, you’ll be less hesitant in directly asking the professor. After all, they are the ones that write the exam, so what better resource is there? This will guarantee greater progress in the course learning. In fact, sometimes you don’t even have to visit them during their office hours for them to get to know you. Sitting at the front of their classes and participating in class discussion, will automatically help you stand out so that by the time you do get that one-on-one time them, they already remember who you are. 

There is another undeniable perk to allowing the professor to get to know you. Throughout the course, they’ll be able to grasp you’re work ethic and desire to improve, which can help tremendously in the final stretch. In many cases, if you’re at the very cusp of an A- and B+, they may take into consideration your profound effort and round your grade up. Ultimately, being acquainted with the professor means there is someone other than yourself holding you accountable for your work, not to add pressure, but to show you that your effort isn’t going unnoticed. 

Internships and Job Opportunities

Professors are often the most knowledgeable about the jobs and internships available in their respective fields of expertise. Not only that, they’re also well-acquainted with the education and experience needed to pursue those opportunities. So, you can always reach out to them for the most comprehensive breakdown of what to pursue in order to land your dream job. Many of the faculty simultaneously conduct their own research while also teaching, so starting a conversation with them may even open up doors for you to contribute in their studies. 

It’s also important to remember that everyone has a story that’s much more unique and expansive than you’re aware of. You may find things out about your professor that you never expected, which can lead you to many more pleasant surprises. I once emailed a member of the business administration department that was conducting research in the ethics of gender disparity in the corporate world because I was interested in learning about her findings. Upon reading her bio, I found that she oil-painted and conducted her own showcases in her free time, which coincidentally was something I was looking into around that time. So, what was supposed to be a query about her research, turned into an opportunity for me to gain advice in a passionate hobby of mine. You never know where conversations will take you, so don’t miss out on a chance to have them!

A Valuable Connection

Finally, getting to know your professor will allow you to not only create a bond that’ll push you to perform better, but will also help you establish a lifelong connection. This can mean anything from a LinkedIN connection to a valuable letter of recommendation later on. So, once you’ve introduced yourself to faculty, continue to keep in touch with them. They always want to hear how they’ve helped in any individual’s path and some day, you can become an example for their successive students as well. Don’t forget to thank them for their help and acknowledge what you were able to accomplish because of it. 

College doesn’t have to be a never-ending test of what you want to do and whether you have the skillset for it. It doesn’t have to be a journey that you embark on and struggle through on your own. It can be incredibly rewarding and a million times easier if you take that first step and develop a relationship with your professors. They are first and foremost your allies and as long as you show that you’re seeking their guidance, they’ll guarantee a helping had in return. So, don’t wait. The next time you pass by your professor, start with “Hello!”

A native of Greensboro, NC, Shreya Prabhakar is pursuing her undergraduate education in Biology and Economics with a minor in Chemistry as a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, soccer, traveling, and painting. Her dream job is to be the CEO of a hospital.

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The Declassified Finance Survival Guide: Navigating Finance Recruiting for Undergraduate Women

By Anagha Mulpur

September 25, 2018

If I could define one trait that helps women succeed in recruiting for finance positions, it would be tenacity.

Finance recruiting season, the lesser-known fifth season of the Earth, runs for nearly eight months, from March of your sophomore year through October of your junior year (for a traditional four-year degree). At its best? Exhilarating. At its worst? Stressful and discouraging.

Throughout this period, students run a rat race of keeping up with emails, meeting professionals from all over the industry, and in general casually ponder questions like “why am I here?”, “what drives me?”, and the all-encompassing “where do I want to be in five years and why?”.

My Recruitment Experience

An important distinction to make is that recruitment may not look the same for everyone. Universities can largely be broken down into target, semi-target, and non-target schools. These labels are mostly based in firms’ interactions with the school: how many alumni from that school are present within banks, whether the school hosts on-campus visits and interviews, and the general standing of the school’s business and liberal arts programs.

For the University of Michigan, banks began to come to campus in February. I, as a Political Science major, was not well-versed in finance. I applied for a diversity program and was accepted, and there I received mentorship and banking training. I did two rounds of interviews, which included a superday (a day full of final round interviews back-to-back) at the company’s headquarters. Three months later, I excitedly accepted a capital markets offer, having gained some experience with interviewing and networking along the way. Let me show you how I did it.

Square One

The first thing I learned was that it can be difficult to distinguish between the various branches of a bank if there has been no prior experience or interaction with the world of finance. I know that I felt overwhelmed walking into that first company event and seeing posters designating areas for investment banking, sales and trading (securities), capital markets, corporate banking, and other divisions.

Having gone through that confusion, my general advice is to:

1. Talk to an older student in the industry to help you understand the basic setup of a bank, and
2. Read up on it online- Mergers and Inquisitions is a favorite blog of mine for learning the basics.

You can also ask people at the recruiting events, but you don’t want to waste time learning fundamentals: rather, you should aim to learn what their motivations for working in their division are. Never miss a networking opportunity!

This leads me into my second piece of advice: optimize time spent networking.

Networking and Building Relationships

What is networking? Networking is, simply put, the process of establishing mutually beneficial relationships with people in your field of interest. The key to good networking is (paradoxically) to avoid making it seem like networking.

There are two parts to establishing this kind of relationship, and those are professional and personal.

Professionally, during networking events you need to have an “elevator pitch” for who you are and what you care about. At this stage of the process, the why of your interest doesn’t matter nearly as much, since you’re there to learn. You want to demonstrate your excitement to learn and your work ethic.

In my opinion, the personal part of this equation matters more than anything else. Being a good cultural fit for your dream bank will put you above and beyond the rest of the applications, and establishing a personal connection with a professional will ensure you get boosted through the process.

Demonstrate your confidence in yourself and be outgoing when you speak to everyone. Many people will subconsciously be running you through the airplane test (“if I was stuck with them for 5 hours in an airport, would I still be alive at the end of it?”).

The crucial final step to networking is to always follow up with your contact! Sending a quick thank you note and perhaps referencing something memorable you spoke about goes a long way to cementing a professional relationship with the people you met.

You can also include a quick “ask”, which can be asking for a brief coffee chat, scheduling a phone call, or even just asking to be connected to other people in more specific positions within the same company. Remember to always be cognizant of their time- they get emails like we get texts, so it’s easy for yours to fall through the cracks if it’s not short and sweet!

Next Steps- What Now?

So, you’ve read up on different divisions of finance, networked with some professionals to get a feel for the day-to-day environment, and understood where you think you might begin to fit. What do you do now?

One unique opportunity that we as women have is diversity pipelines aiming to bring top performing women into the banking spotlight. These processes require a typical application (see: Forté essays), resume drop, and sometimes rounds of interviews. They usually offer accelerated interviews and/or direct offers at the end of the program; I’ve experienced both.

These pipelines are extremely robust and not only are they a way to secure an offer, but they connect you to top female talent within your divisions of interest. They will most likely become your mentors and friends, so it’s extremely important to take advantage of the situation.

The best places to begin to look for these opportunities would be on bank and consulting firm websites, by contacting campus recruiters and attending career fairs to ask about such opportunities, and through older women in business who may have attended them in the past.

Networking is a crucial component of this process, because it puts a face on your resume and shows them firsthand what your passions are and why you’re applying before they even read your cover letter.

Moving Forward

Congrats on finishing your survival course! You’re ready to go out there and kick some butt.

This is a great place to start for most freshmen and sophomores who are interested in getting ahead. For upperclassmen, networking is more important than ever! You’ll hear about valuable information first if you take the time to make personal and professional connections within your field of interest, as you may not necessarily have advantages like diversity programs.

Throughout this period, remember to take plenty of personal breaks and enjoy your life and hobbies. Your confidence and health will shine through and make a bigger difference than anything, so go ahead and be that fascinating and talented woman you’ve always been meant to be.

Finally, although this period may seem overwhelming, remember that it’s an exciting beginning to what will be a shining career. These days will pass sooner than you would believe- trust me. I’ve been there.

Anagha Mulpur is a junior studying Political Science at the University of Michigan with a Sustainability scholarship, intending to enter finance full-time. Her dream job would be antique book collector and seller: there’s no feeling like holding a hundred-year old book’s pages in your fingers, and no sight like a well-kept personal library.

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What Does it Mean to “Lean In?”

By Aury Cifuentes

March 29, 2018

Leaning In has been a phrase used for a while in which there is suggested power dynamic to a woman’s role in the firm. Our Women in Business organization at TCNJ did a series of articles for Women’s History Month and there are various implications to what this phrase can mean in a collegiate setting. 

Last semester, Women in Business introduced “Lean In Bingo” as one of our icebreaker activities, but the takeaways were greater than simply networking. The bingo board was available online as a supplement for those familiar with Sheryl Sandberg’s book and her concept of creating mentorship “circles” for women and allies. During the activity, some of the squares were intentionally a bit more difficult but for a good reason. Squares such as “is looking for a leadership opportunity” or “knows how to write code” were among other quirkier ones such as “is a twin.” This simple game had research behind practically every topic on the board, and some of the statistics were truly eye-opening. 

For example, HBR explored how women tend to only apply for jobs in which they meet 100% percent of the qualifications while their male counterparts apply even when they just reach 60%. Thus the leadership square highlighted this disparity and the differences in approaching an application whether for a job, internship, or internal position. Further, the coding square represented the lack of women represented in the tech sector. The other day, Sandberg replied to a Quora question via her official account that she does not know how to code, but she is learning just like many women out there. Although non-profits like Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code are targeting the youngest demographics, in general, there can be benefits to anyone at any age that is willing to learn something new.

Ultimately, “Leaning in” can mean something different for everyone. To some, it involves redefining and challenging certain internal biases of yourself and others. While the unlearning and re-wiring can be difficult, it is unique for every individual too. We run the risk of not achieving our full potential if we are not regularly evaluating our strengths and weaknesses while remaining proactive even in the face of adversity. All of this is exhausting work and can carry an even more substantial burden on people of color who deal with additional systematic stressors throughout their lives. 

When negativity takes over, it seems like there appears to be little to no change in society, school, or the workplace but in reality, change is happening. That change will not only shape history but also inspire others to keep fighting the good fight regardless of the seemingly glacial pace. This change can be in the context of gender equality, environmental initiatives, or even the next unknown movement on the brink of being a national success; the fact that it is a different focus for everyone diversifies our chances of making progress toward the greater good.

Similar to the gradual preparation in studying for a big exam, while an all-nighter might seem lucrative when the alternatives to studying are much more appealing just because it works for a classmate does not guarantee similar results on your test day. It is important to realize that college is a time to find your learning curve and maximize your time relative to what you believe in, whether or not you agree with the message behind Sandberg’s movement.

Even though “Leaning In” is rarely talked about explicitly during lecture, various organizations on campus are hubs of not only social change but also professional development for those interested in turning the conversation into action. I encourage you to not only find that organization but also find your unique contribution as a member, alum, or naturally curious individual and share it with someone. Lastly, inclusion, whether on a collegiate, corporate, social, or political scale, can be created when everyone can promote equality at any level they can influence.

Aury Cifuentes is a very bubbly senior at The College of New Jersey. As an Economics major with a concentration in Social Justice she is happily working on a capstone project, internship, and thesis this year. When she isn’t studying, Aury is actively participating in the community through the Bonner Service program and working closely with her E-Board as president of Women in Business this year.

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Tips for Networking

By Megha Karthikeyan

March 27, 2018

Business students have heard the buzz word “networking” plenty of times, but many don’t realize the significant role it plays in recruiting and getting internships. Big banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and Barclays travel to college campuses all over the country and the world and host information sessions, coffee chats, and even mock interviews. Many have “discovery days” where students can visit the offices and attend workshops with recruiters. A lot of this information is given at networking events, making them very important. It can be confusing to figure out what events to go to since college students are very busy, but if you have the time, it is beneficial to attend as many events as possible. There are ways to maximize your time at networking events which I’ve broken down below. 

Information Sessions

Information sessions can be hectic because there can be tons of students with a few recruiters. Usually recruiters will have a panel or presentation that discusses the company and different job functions with people giving their personal anecdotes of how they got to the company and why it was the best fit for them. This is the time to write down the names of the people whom you’re interested in talking to, along with some basic content that they said. If there are multiple panelists, it can get confusing to figure out which person said what, so bringing a notebook can be very helpful. 

After the presentation ends, recruiters will often talk about “discovery days” or conference programs they have that will give you greater exposure to the company. These require applications, so paying attention to deadlines and requirements is important. The recruiters may end by going over internship timelines along with how the selection process works, and then open the floor for questions. Although it is important to ask questions, in crowded events like information sessions, you may not be able to get your question in. Don’t worry if this happens! At the end of these events, there will be time to speak individually with recruiters or at least get into smaller groups to ask your questions.

When this happens, it can be stressful because everyone is vying for the attention of the recruiters and it can seem competitive. Be patient, listen to others, and feel free to chip in to any conversations others are having while being respectful and not interruptive. If you can get a few minutes of one-on-one time with a recruiter, use that time to ask any specific questions or introduce yourself. Start up a conversation to connect yourself with the recruiter, and at the end, ask for their business card. 

The key part of getting the business card is using it. Make sure to thank the recruiters you spoke with and even refer to specific points in your conversation, so they remember who you were amongst the many students that came. 

Coffee Chats

Coffee chats are by far my favorite form of networking. They are usually one-on-one with a recruiter or an analyst and you can gain so much information from a short, 20-minute conversation. When companies come to campuses, they will have sign ups for coffee chats, so sign up as soon as possible. They often have a finite number of time slots, so getting yourself time with a recruiter is important. 

I recommend bringing a copy of your resume to the coffee chat. Since this isn’t a formal interview, you can often ask the recruiter or analyst to look over your resume and ask them for any improvements or tips. It will show them that you are prepared and give you valuable insight. Since coffee chats are so personal, it is crucial that you come with questions in mind. From personal experience, these chats are driven by you, not the recruiter. They won’t have a presentation or elaborate talking points, so it is expected that you come up with good questions for them to answer. They can range from logistics questions about the application to division specific questions about company roles. 

Because this is a one-on-one conversation, making a good impression and building your connection with the recruiter is important. They will be more likely to remember you since you did a coffee chat than someone they met at an information session. However, this will only happen if you keep in touch with them after the coffee chat. Getting their business card, asking questions and getting them to put you in contact with other analysts is a good way to maximize your coffee chat connection. 

Mock Interviews/Prep

Some firms will offer interview prep sessions or even mock interviewers with recruiters. These are useful to go to because you get more insight into what interviews will be like and you get a chance to practice. If you’ve been to the information session, attended a coffee chat, and then attend the mock interview, you will be showing a greater interest in the company. Even though it is a practice interview, it is important to have some preparation done beforehand. You aren’t expected to ace the mock interview or be an expert, but showing that you are trying your best on the mock interview will send the signal that you are prepared and care about getting the internship. Some people are afraid of doing mock interviews because analysts or recruiters from the company are interviewing them and they don’t want to mess up, but these interviews are the time to get feedback and tips for improvement. As long as you try your best and seem prepared, you will come out with stronger interview skills and a greater connection with the recruiters. 

Megha Karthikeyan is from Vienna, Virginia and attends the University of Virginia. She intends to double major in Economics and Commerce at the McIntire School of Commerce with finance and information technology concentrations. Megha will graduate from UVA in 2020. She hopes to work in the finance industry as a finance or risk analyst, but is also looking at working in investment banking.

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Conferences to Make You Stand Out

By Aury Cifuentes

March 22, 2018

The College to Business Leadership and Fast Track to Finance conferences were two of the many highlights of my sophomore year. Not only was I able to reconnect with old friends but also I got to take part in an inspiring environment filled with future leaders and mentors. If you have the opportunity to attend, please take a notebook and channel those nerves into excitement as everyone at your table will be just happy to be there as you!

Location is important and for me both of these conferences took place in the city. While I did have an later exam that same afternoon for one of them, experiencing the travel and early wakeup call was like a practice session if I one day decided to work in NYC. Once I arrived check-in was a breeze and I quickly obtained my nametag with various other goodies to find my table and start the day. Our keynote speaker was only a few years older than everyone in the room and it was inspiring to hear her story as she crafted her international schooling and language competencies from abroad to land her dream job in the M&A department of Barclays. While the old saying goes practice makes perfect, there was a range of activities from an IPO Simulation and elevator pitch with your table that prepared you for the ultimate networking session at the end of both sessions.

Everyone was prepped with resumes and a cute Forté tote to try and visit every table with a range of recruiters, deans, and analysts of well known companies. With all the practice from the morning and afternoon sessions, many of us felt much more confidant to go out and ask about the range of opportunities for the upcoming summer and even potentially after graduation. Quite a few MBA programs were represented as well as a range of industries from banking to product management. The best part of each experience is that Forté does not just make the introductions but instead the foundation helps you continue the conversations with the people you meet and friends you make. All conference attendees gain access to amazing online webinars during the rest of your undergraduate career as well as the career center online posting hub and blog! Thus the all-access pass behind each conference is true to its name and opportunities continue presenting themselves to take your involvement a step further whether as a Forté campus rep, becoming a contributing writer, or even engaging in the blog posts!

        Thus, if you are presented with the opportunity to attend or know someone who would be a great fit for the conference please spread the word as the deadlines for both conferences in different cities is soon. You do not want to miss what can be one of the many highlights of your college career and you may even meet your future employer before you know it!

Aury Cifuentes is a very bubbly senior at The College of New Jersey. As an Economics major with a concentration in Social Justice she is happily working on a capstone project, internship, and thesis this year. When she isn’t studying, Aury is actively participating in the community through the Bonner Service program and working closely with her E-Board as president of Women in Business this year.

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Why Every College Student Should Volunteer

By Megha Karthikeyan

March 20, 2018

Doing community service is important, and here are my top three reasons why all college students should volunteer:

Give back to your community.

There are so many organizations that are centered around college towns that need extra help, so providing your time will go a long way. Joining volunteering based clubs is a great idea because you can pick the organization based on what need it addresses. There are so many opportunities to volunteer like tutoring young children, serving meals at soup kitchens, spending time with the elderly at nursing homes, and working at a hospital. At the University of Virginia, I volunteer for CASH, a tax preparation organization that does tax returns for free for low income individuals. Since I am interested in finance and business, this was the perfect volunteering opportunity for me because it not only combined my interests, but it helped me make a significant economic impact on the community. Getting to know the local community where your school is located through volunteering will help you understand what the culture is like outside of your college bubble and give you a chance to interact with people you would otherwise not have a chance to meet. 

Build teamwork and communication skills.

Many jobs look for teamwork and communication skills and it can be difficult to get those skills from your classes, so volunteering with a group can help with that. Putting on volunteer projects and working on an assignment can involve working with many different groups of people from the executive team, to school administrators, to other members of the club. Being able to communicate the needs of the project to all the people involved and then working together with them to implement the project can help you gain both communication and teamwork skills. Sometimes problems can come up while volunteering, so brainstorming solutions with other members of the team and helping each other out during those situations can build up teamwork skills. Additionally, interacting with different members of the community through volunteer work can open your eyes up to more perspectives and build your communication skills. 

Good resume builder.

Doing community service is a good way to build your resume because it can show your interests outside of your coursework and internships. There are also opportunities to have leadership positions in volunteer based clubs, which can be something you showcase on your resume. In behavioral interviews, interviewers can ask about activities on your resume and being able to explain how you made an impact on your community through volunteering is a great way to keep up conversation with them. In my Goldman Sachs interview this past October, I talked about my experience as a volunteer tax preparer and what impact I made in the local Charlottesville community. Many companies now focus on corporate social responsibility, so showing the company that you also believe in doing good for the community will help them see you as a potential employee. 

Megha Karthikeyan is from Vienna, Virginia and attends the University of Virginia. She intends to double major in Economics and Commerce at the McIntire School of Commerce with finance and information technology concentrations. Megha will graduate from UVA in 2020. She hopes to work in the finance industry as a finance or risk analyst, but is also looking at working in investment banking.

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Social Awareness: More Than A Trend

By Aury Cifuentes

February 8, 2018

From the boardroom to the classroom, an echo of changing times can no longer be ignored. Statements about harassment, diversity, and the ties between the politics of all are not always easy to understand. While it might not be easy to trace a story back to its earliest instance or beginnings cultural awareness is now more than a brand builder. Companies like Uber, Google, and Microsoft are making strides in their company policy and hiring decisions in the hopes of alleviating some of the strife these allegations have caused their bottom line. Yet justice for the victims is often indirect and forward looking while forgetting the present. 

Education is certainly a huge step forward as prior practices were not proactive enough to change the behavior instead favoring keeping taboo topics under wraps. These instances are now useful case studies for MBA programs as highlighted in a recent NYT article “Business Schools Now Teaching #MeToo, N.F.L. Protests and Trump.” Yet any individual involved in business whether as consumer, shareholder, or employee should feel some type of accountability on an issue that can impact them directly. 

As an undergraduate, these difficult conversations were a regular part of my philosophy and feminism courses but they can extend beyond the typical humanities classes (professor and student permitting.) Depending on whether your school follows technical or liberal arts curriculum can affect the access to learning about the concepts and subsequently your awareness level. Yet with the invention of the World Wide Web, (barring from changes in net neutrality) a formal education on how to cater your emotional intelligence and experience a new level of “woke” are not impossible. Patriarchal concepts tie closely to sexual harassment claims or political debates about birth control. While discussions of equality transcend beyond affirmative action and discrimination. For those inching toward graduation or looking to land an internship or job with a notable company, becoming familiar with their stance on the issues presented above can serve as a useful metric of the workplace culture extending beyond the formal interview.

Overall, this article is not trying to champion one issue over the other but raise awareness to the importance of these issues as part of a greater cultural movement that will change the antiquated way of doing business in the future. Technology has only accelerated this process and could change our original methods of communication in the next 10 years completely. As a final point, no single person can be an expert in every socially charged topic but there is a bare minimum of respect and empathy that should be extended to every individual in business and beyond. So kudos to anyone already becoming well aware of their own power and privilege who is willing to use their voice for the greater good of those who might not be regarded in the same respect because of institutional barriers and social constructs.

Aury Cifuentes is a very bubbly senior at The College of New Jersey. As an Economics major with a concentration in Social Justice she is happily working on a capstone project, internship, and thesis this year. When she isn’t studying, Aury is actively participating in the community through the Bonner Service program and working closely with her E-Board as president of Women in Business this year.

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