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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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Senior Perspective: Everything I Wish I Knew About College

By Casey Tsamis

February 6, 2018

When I first entered my freshman year of college, I didn’t understand where I fit in and what opportunities were there for me. I knew it was a good school for my major, and that’s about it. It took me years to understand the ins and outs of college, so as I start my last semester as a senior, I’ve come to realize all of the important details that I wish I could’ve told myself entering my freshman year. 

Appreciate what your school is known for
If your school is known for its football team, theater program, or anything of the sort, go check it out. It’s amazing to witness the raw talent of students at a young age. You may really enjoy it and continue to go back afterward. 

Start interning early
It’s definitely worth it to start interning freshman or sophomore year. Experience early on in your college career will pay off when you start looking for internships going into junior or senior year.

You can still join other on campus organizations while being a college athlete
At times it will be hard to balance, but it’s great meeting people outside of your sports team, or even the sports department. It’s possible to commit 100 percent of yourself to both organizations, and you’ll learn so much about yourself and what you’re passionate about by exploring more than just one option.

Take unusual classes. You may be surprised
I took an Animal Advocacy and Outreach class as a journalism major, and it was eye opening. Some classes may seem a little strange and not something you would generally lean towards, but it’s good to go out of your comfort zone and take a risk on something that seems unusual.

Go to as many conferences as you can
Forbes 30 Under 30 and Her Campus are just two conferences out there, but there’s a wide variety of conferences college students can attend in their area. This is great for those who are still looking for a career path since the conferences are broken down into a wide variety of interests. It covers so many different career options and you’ll begin to find out what you’re interested in and what you can go without.


Study abroad. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
Take a chance to see the world and explore. There won’t be many times that you get to do it again, especially for a whole semester. 


Get a mentor
I found my mentor my sophomore year, and she really helped me get on track with what I want to do and how I can get there. Even things like registering for classes or making tweaks to your resume, it’s great to have someone guide you and help you out when you need a little boost.

These four years will truly be the best time of your life. You are your own person and have so many positive things to look forward to. Take chances and go out of your comfort zone. Appreciate college for all of the opportunities you will receive and the social privileges you’ll get to experience.

Casey Tsamis is a senior journalism student at Emerson College in Boston, MA. She is a Division III athlete as well as the Vice President of her sorority, Xi Gamma Nu. Casey spends her free time exploring the latest fashion and beauty trends, and her dream job is to work at Too Faced.

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New Year, New You

By Aury Cifuentes

February 1, 2018

Happy New Year Forte friends and beyond! May 2018 be YOUR year and if you made a New Year’s resolution keep on reading for some great tried and true tips on keeping them! If you are not a fan of resolutions and instead crafted some goals for 2018 then the article still holds true so you are in luck.

1.    Write it out!

While you might have done this already, writing your goals has been scientifically proven to be much more effective than just thinking about them. So grab your favorite pen and whether it is on a sticky note, planner, or poster writing can help you achieve what ever is on your mind. For example if you are trying to be healthier this year and one way to do that is to stop late night snacking, there is a tip to place a post it on places reminding you of this goal. But there are endless ways to really write things into existence so feel free to get creative with this one.

2.    Phone a friend

What if you and your best friend have the same resolution? While you might find a new gym buddy sharing your resolutions with your friend group is also a great way to create some friendly accountability. And for those of us with a slight competitive streak this can turn into a contest but remember to respect everyone’s limits and abilities when comparing your progress!

3.    Make a plan!

Let’s say you have a huge goal in mind but making a plan on the small steps you will take to achieve it is just as important. Maybe you need to meet with some key people or mark your calendar accordingly and that is where a plan can be your hidden trick to staying on track. This can also be useful for those of us who might need an extra app or two to do this planning and managing for us.


Remember, whatever your resolutions to keep and open mind that the mentality toward accomplishing them is just as important and any of the tips above. If you made goals for the year all of the above still apply so go get those dreams!

  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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Three Tips to Kick Off Your Spring Semester

By Megha Karthikeyan

January 18, 2018

With spring semester right around the corner, it is good to set goals that relate to academics, career, and personal/social life. Fall semester was a whirlwind of signing up for new activities, trying out for clubs, and adjusting to classes after a long summer break. Spring semester can be as hectic if you don’t set goals and have a plan of action.

Here are some tips that can help you get organized and succeed this upcoming semester:

Start your work early and don’t put off assignments.

I know this is easier said than done, but spring semester can get busy because you don’t have as many small breaks as you do in the fall semester. It is easy to put off doing readings but once you stop doing one assignment, it adds up. From the first day of classes, look ahead at your syllabus and see what you need to complete each week. Try to do your assignments in advance so you aren’t rushing the night before to do it. If you have any free time, try to get ahead on readings and homework.

I feel like spring semester classes can also be tougher because you may be taking the second level of a course you took in the fall. This makes advanced preparation even more crucial. Set a goal for yourself to not fall behind and try your best to follow through with it.

Keep applying for internships, programs, and scholarships.

Although fall recruiting is over, a new round of recruiting opens in the spring semester. Many people may have put off the internship search in the fall, but once spring hits companies will start filling up positions. You don’t want to put off applying for an internship until May because by that point most companies will have already hired all their interns.

January is the perfect time to start contacting recruiters and attending informational events at your school. Build up your network with these people, so when applications open in February and March, you have a contact person at the company you want to work at. Spring semester is also the time to look for conferences and workshops to attend that will help you build a skillset. Many leadership, tech, and finance conferences happen in the spring and summer, so looking early and turning in that application will help you in the long run.

Spring semester is also when scholarship applications are due for many schools. Look into what scholarships your school offers and start writing essays and collecting references, so when the application is due you aren’t scrambling to finish it. Starting early also gives you the chance to ask questions and contact the scholarship center at your school to get more information.

Set aside time to work out, spend time with friends, and do fun activities for yourself.

With all the academic and career related work you’re going to be doing, it is easy to get burnt out. Make sure you set aside time for yourself to relax and enjoy college. Working out can be a great way to relieve stress and maintain a healthy body, so going to the college gym or taking an exercise class can be a great option.

Hanging out with friends is also very important. College is the time to meet new people and connect with others, so set aside time to grab a bite to eat.

Finally, have some time for yourself. This can be taking 30 minutes to meditate, do yoga, or even watch your favorite Netflix show. Winding down and concentrating on something that isn’t academic or career related can help you refresh for the next day.

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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