Forté Foundation
Career Lab Virtual Campus

Building a Winning Brand

By Valeria Tirado

April 11, 2016

I recently had the chance to attend Forté’s College Fast Track to Finance Conference in NYC on March 18, and I had a great time! I learned a lot from many successful women in business and met some awesome college ladies as well.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing speakers was Marjie Terry, who works for Great on the Job. Her presentation was called, “Building a Winning Brand,” and contained a lot of useful information that I’ll be using in my own job hunting.

Luckily, I took some notes and want to share some of the highlights of her presentation so that you can benefit from them too!

Own the room

Success = confidence = competence. These are the words that really kicked off Marjie’s presentation and they had a strong impact on the room.

Owning the room means making yourself stand out, in a good way, particularly when meeting potential employers and colleagues. Confidence is key when it comes to owning the room. Even if you don’t feel 100% confident, looking confident is what it’s all about. As the saying goes, “fake it till you make it.”

Be sure to have strong body language, stay open, maintain eye contact, and use gestures. When it comes to speaking, make sure you maintain your pace, avoid fillers, and avoid tentative language.

Have great content (your brand/pitch)

Ever heard of an elevator pitch? It’s basically a short summary of yourself, usually meant to persuade someone (like a potential employer) why they should be interested in you. They can be as short as 15 seconds, but some can be up to a minute long, although Marjie said 30 seconds is an appropriate amount.

I had some difficulty the first time I tried my pitch, but then Marjie offered us some great guidelines to follow. First, identify your areas of expertise; what can you talk about at length? Next, consider what you want to be known for; your ability to adapt, your ability to solve problems, being successful in the world of finance? Finally, think about how you can get there; getting an MBA, obtaining a job where your skills are challenged and can be refined?

Once you answer all these questions, you can use the answers to fill in this basic elevator pitch template: 1) destination (I’m interested in this position/career because…); 2) back story (I have these skills or experience relevant to this position…); 3) connect the dots (That’s why I qualify for this position…) - be sure to explain the connection between your skills/experience and the position/career in this part.

Make people love you

And the easiest way to do that is by being yourself. Nobody is going to want to hire someone who lies. If you don’t have much experience in the industry you’re applying for, then just be honest about it. If not, what happens when they ask you to work on a project they chose for you because of all this experience you raved about?

If they ask you a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t make things up, just say something like, “I don’t know the answer to that right now, but let me get back to you on that.”

Another easy way to make people love you is to be generous, and by that, I simply mean be generous with sharing information about yourself. Sure, people love to talk about themselves and being a good listener is important, but employers are also really interested in hearing about you too.

Last but not least, be transparent – speak your mind! It’s okay to disagree sometimes, in a respectful manner, and you’ll gain respect from your colleagues this way too. Nobody likes a yes-man, after all. Be your own person!

Be sure to look for any Forté events near you because I highly recommend you attend one as they are really informative and fun! Forté even offers a $250 travel stipend for their college events so you don’t have to miss out just because of money. I guarantee you’ll also make some new friends (I know I did) so you can’t lose!

Valeria Tirado is a senior at Rutgers University – New Brunswick with a major in Environmental and Business Economics. After graduation, she is interested in working with a non-profit organization like the World Wildlife Fund and eventually wants to go to grad school for Economics. Among the schools she is considering are NYU and Vanderbilt. Valeria can be found on Twitter at @valeriat94.

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5 Tips for Making the Most of the College Fast Track to Finance Conference

By Siyu Wu

February 5, 2016

I was first introduced to Forte Foundation when I attended the 2015 College Fast Track to Finance Conference. The conference was a day jampacked with various sessions that introduced me to the world of finance, and by the end of the day I knew finance was the path for me! As the 2016 College Fast Track to Finance Conference nears, here are five tips to making the most of the conference.

Meet fellow attendees.

Since I was the only one from my school attending the conference, I was really worried that I would be by myself the entire day. But luckily, I quickly met the students from other schools. The conference is a unique opportunity to interact with students with similar interests at different universities, and to hear about and learn from their experiences. In fact, I’m still in contact with some students I met during the conference, and we often exchange recruiting and interview advice.

Take advantage of time between sessions and over lunch to meet other students.

Connect with professionals (and keep in touch).

Forte works closely with many financial services companies, and you’ll have the chance to meet with employees at these firms throughout the day. This is a great networking opportunity, and all of the professionals are incredibly eager to meet every student. It is not everyday that you get to be in a room with numerous impressive female leaders and role models, so take time to get to know these professionals and learn about their jobs.

Beyond meeting them during the conference, make sure to get contact information for those you met and stay connected long after the conference ends. I found that the women at the conference were very willing to offer advice and mentorship for the participants, so don’t hesitate to email them with questions or updates on how your internship search is going.

Ask questions.

One of the best parts of the Fast Track Conference is that everyone is there to help you learn more about the financial services industry. It’s the perfect time to ask any questions you have about finance. Especially because this conference is for women, this is your chance to ask questions about gender dynamics in finance, or ask any other questions about finance that you’ve never had the opportunity to ask before.

Practice what you learn.

During the conference, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your skills in networking, interviewing, developing your personal brand, creating stock pitches, and more. But the learning doesn’t stop when the conference ends. Rather, take what you learned during the conference and practice on your own time to really hone those skills.

Sometimes, the best practice is done by teaching others. If you’re a member of a finance organization on campus, this can be a great opportunity for you to share your new knowledge about elevator pitches or investment presentations with other members while at the same time practicing your own pitches and presentations! 

Have fun (and a good attitude)!

Last, but most definitely not least, don’t forget to enjoy your time at the conference. The Forte College Fast Track to Finance Conference was a great day of learning for me, which was made possible because I went in with a positive mindset. If you’re excited to learn and eager to make new friends, you will definitely gain a lot from the conference!

Siyu Wu is from Colorado and is currently a sophomore at Princeton University, pursuing a degree in Economics and certificates in Finance and East Asian Studies. She hopes to synthesize her interest in China and East Asia with her passion for finance to eventually work in a career related to international finance and Asian capital markets.

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

By Nicole Chacin

April 15, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about the Fast Track to Finance Conference.

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Forté C2B Conference: You Define “It”

May 28, 2014

by Ali Fraenkel

Marjie Terry’s enthusiasm spread like wildfire to a group of up-and-coming female college leaders at Forté’s New York City C2B Leadership Conference in April 2014. These individuals – whose company I was in for ten wonderfully intense hours – were also on fire in various ways… passionate, instinctively special, and BOLD.

Our morning keynote focused on taking our leadership skills to the next level. You may think, “What is this ‘next level’ and how can someone know how to get me there?” It seems like a very personal idea to focus on – and it is. Marjie’s understanding of how to present the topic of leadership to our diverse group of attendees and allowing us to own it, while still distinctly bringing us together, stood out in a powerful way.

Over the course of two hours we honed in on four unique areas of developing our leadership potential: speed networking with each other, how to establish a positive executive presence, building our own characteristic brands, and perfecting a pitch. Having extensive experience in the this field as the current VP of Leadership Development at Great on the Job, Marjie guided our paths to maximizing success in the workplace based on the various stages of work experience we were in. She set an initial expectation for the session – to help us package, process, and proceed to greatness.

What I loved about Marjie’s dynamic was her ability to encourage storytelling among our group. Every lesson she taught integrated into an activity that potentially forced us outside of our comfort zones and into larger arenas for success. Together, we connected, collaborated, and conceived plans for our future short- and long-term leadership goals.

There were numerous takeaways from this session, but upon surveying the reactions of my fellow attendees and asking what advice they would pass along to a friend, we focused on five key pieces of advice from Marjie:

“Fake it ‘til you become it.”

Let your body language, tone, and presence reflect the person you are and the person you strive to become.

“Make people love you.”

Don’t hesitate to make yourself invaluable to someone. Embrace the idea of gathering a cohort of advocates who want to see you succeed.

“Be deliberate.”

Say what you mean… and present it like you really do mean it! This attitude will make a good idea contagious.

“I am an expert in…”

We’ll never be done learning, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be young and have meaningful knowledge to share in fields we are passionate about (and skilled in).

“Connect the dots.”

In an age where self-promotion is valued, maintain mindfulness around why you’re grateful if you say you’re grateful. Know how to bring your story full-circle.

A comment I had heard at the opening of our day especially resonated with me during Marjie’s time with us. We were talking about the idea of “making it” in a career. We recognized that this concept of what “it” is often gets lost in expectations, standards, and stereotypes.

For this day and beyond, our group came together and acknowledged that we define what “it” is for ourselves – both personally and professionally. As for Marjie? She helped us bring that inner “it” out.

Ali Fraenkel a part of the class of 2016 at Northeastern University in Human Services and International Affairs. Ali plans to be in the social change arena after college either through employment or a graduate program. Her dream job would be leading a global movement of entrepreneurial philanthropy and she enjoys Forté webinars.

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Forté Webinars for College Women

January 28, 2014

Forté offers webinars exclusively for college students as you prepare for your career and beyond. Regardless of your major, we help you explore your options and build a solid business foundation that will be the base of your job success.

ON-DEMAND WEBINARS

Summer Internship: Getting Ready for the Recruiting Process Webinar
Forté company representatives discuss the summer internship recruiting process. Recruiters will provide tips for preparing your resume and interviewing successfully next summer.

Career Paths: Focus on Finance Webinar
Get the inside view of careers in the world of finance and determine if this career choice is a good fit for you. Forté company representatives working in a variety of functional areas of finance will discuss their careers.

Career Paths: Focus on Consulting Webinar
Get the inside view of a consultant’s life and determine if this career choice is good fit for you. Forté company representatives working in a variety of functional areas of consulting will discuss their careers and address the pros and cons.

Career Paths: Focus on Technology Webinar
Forté company representatives in a variety of functional areas within the technology industry will discuss their careers and address topics such as what drove their interest in business, the diversity of positions available, and career progression within the technology sector.

Career Paths: Women of Color in Business Webinar
An exciting career in business can be a part of your future. But what is the business world like for a woman of color? How do I launch my career in business? Learn about business careers and how anyone can build the career of their dreams.

Career Paths: Thinking About an MBA Webinar
Whether you majored in psychology, chemistry, marketing, English literature, or electrical engineering,  an exciting career in business can be a part of your future. An MBA can give you the skills, confidence and know-how to make it happen.

UPCOMING WEBINARS

Summer Internship: Making the Most of Your Experience Webinar (Apr. 9)
Forté company representatives will provide tips and insights into making the most of your summer internship experience.

College webinars are free - all you have to do is become a member of the Forté Foundation! Membership is free too, so get started.

See all webinars »

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Join Us Today for the Forté Industry Introduction to Marketing

If you haven’t yet registered for the Forté Industry Introduction to Marketing, there’s still time!

Join us today, January 26, at 12:00-1:00 pm EST for this career development webinar that will take an in-depth look at the marketing industry.

You’ll hear from successful MBA alumnae from Forté sponsor schools and companies who are excited to share their personal experiences about a post-MBA career in Marketing.

Remember, pre-registration for the webinars is required, and you must be logged into access registration for the webinars.

Learn more and register >>

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Research Lab to Wall Street? Engineering to Marketing? You Can Make the Transition into Business!

January 24, 2012

Ever wondered how you can leverage your technical experience in the business world? Whether you majored in Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, or Computer Science, an exciting career in business can be a part of your future!

Mark your calendar for this next edition of the Forté College Webinar Series, brought to you by BlackRock, Capital One and The PNC Financial Services Group.

Tuesday, February 7th
5:00 - 6:00 PM EST
Career Lab Close-Up: Research Lab to Wall Street? Engineering to Marketing?
Making the Transition into Business

Attend this free webinar — featuring panelists from Capital One, Intel, BlackRock and Deloitte — to learn about business careers and how you can build the career of your dreams.

(Continued)

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Forté‘s Executive Director, Elissa Ellis Sangster, Presses for Women’s Gains

While women now constitute 31% of business-school classes, up from about 26% in 2001, there’s still work to be done.

Last week, Forté Foundation’s executive director, Elissa Ellis Sangster, spoke to The Wall Street Journal about how companies and schools can recruit more women and why diversity matters.

Read the excerpts from her interview and find out what she has to say about gender diversity in business schools and why the disparity still persists.

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