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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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Internship Dos and Don’ts

By Casey Tsamis

March 15, 2018

Internships can be the greatest experience of your life and expose you to some amazing experiences in the real world. It’s great to have at least one internship before graduating, and
even better if you’ve had a couple more. Here is a full list of do’s and don’ts, from starting an internship to finishing it.

Do: Apply to a bunch

You have nothing to lose by applying to several internships. It’s good practice to send out a résumé and cover letter anyway.

Don’t: Try to get a paid internship as your first one

Look for experience first before money. That experience will eventually lead you to paid internships, and you’ll thank yourself for taking an unpaid internship.

Do: Ask questions during the interview

Ask what a typical day is like or what the dress code is. You want to seem interested in the job and ask important questions to your future supervisor. No question is a dumb question, either.

Don’t: Expect a virtual internship to be easy

Just because you can work remotely from your laptop doesn’t mean it will be an easy job. Make sure you give 100 percent to this and really plan your day to working on your assignments for the week.

Do: Tell your supervisor if you can’t get to something right away

If you received three different tasks you have to finish before lunch, and a different department asks for your help, it’s okay to tell them that you’re working on a couple other things, but can do it right after lunch. It’s better to communicate with people instead of promising something that you’re not sure will be done.

Don’t: Show up late

Especially in small offices, everyone will be able to tell if you come in late. If you know you’ll be a couple minutes behind, send an email and let them know you’ll be there as soon as possible.

Do: Stay connected once the internship is over

Keep in touch with people from the office once the internship ends, because you can use them as a reference once you start applying for jobs.

Don’t: Leave the internship without a thank you note

Buy a card for your supervisor and leave them a handwritten message on the card thanking them for their time and the wonderful experience you had. Also feel free to throw in a small gift if you’d like.

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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Job Opportunities in Business that are Different from Investment Banking

By Megha Karthikeyan

March 8, 2018

There are many lines of work one can do in business, but the most popular job that people go into is investment banking. Banking can be a very intense job and people often think that it is the only job when going into the finance industry. There are many different opportunities to work in business that aren’t just investment banking like finance, risk, compliance, and operations. 

Finance

Finance can often be split into treasury and tax subdivisions in many companies. Treasury involves analyzing the company’s finances and looking at how the company is doing in terms of debt, equity, and general financial health. It is a very important job because they regulate the company’s budget and collaborate with other divisions. The tax subdivision makes sure that the company is following tax regulation and analyzes the profit and losses of the company. They are responsible for making sure the financial statements that are prepared are up to par for external and internal purposes. 

Risk

In some companies, risk is a part of finance while others have it as a separate division. In this division, you do a lot of risk modeling where you look at lending structures and measure liquidity and credit risk. A lot of the work in risk requires data analysis and research skills. Doing work in the risk division will give you a broader understanding of how the company runs and give you a chance to work with different people and on different projects. 

Compliance

Compliance often has risk modeling aspects to the job but also deals with regulations and the law. They make sure that the private wealth management, securities, investment banking, and other divisions are following SEC regulations and that there isn’t any insider trading going on. Compliance can have various jobs within it like anti-bribery units as well as teams assigned to look at cryptocurrency markets and cyber terrorism. It is a very broad division with many different job opportunities, so depending on what you are interested in, compliance could be a good option for you. 

Operations

Operations makes sure that day-to-day functions of the company run smoothly, so people in this division work with employees from many different lines of work. They focus on efficiency and streamline various business processes so that divisions can do their work. This job will be great if you want to have a wide variety of responsibilities from financial analysis to designing processes. 

These are just a few of the jobs that exist in the finance industry that aren’t investment banking. Although investment banking is a great opportunity to work on deals and learn more about mergers and acquisitions, there are also other amazing jobs out there that will let you work in the finance industry. 

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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Will Young College Women Have to Walk the Gender Tightrope?

By Eileen Zhou

February 27, 2018

In the professional fields of business, technology, healthcare, and education, women have made great strides in increasing their visibility and representation. But with each hard fought triumph comes another barrier to entry. Women in the corporate world and in college classrooms increasingly feel that they are walking the gender tightrope. 

So what exactly is this phenomenon? Well first, think about a time when you had to assume a leadership position and assert yourself. You most likely had to be strong, confident, and driven. That being said, women, in the process of gender socialization, are not taught or expected to be ambitious, assertive, or even the slightest bit aggressive. They are taught to be communal and caring, having the exceptional ability to read into micro expressions and accommodate others accordingly. As a result, when women take on leadership roles and exude characteristics that make up a great leader, they often act in direct violation with their generally accepted “roles.” And experience shows that this does not always sit well in the workplace. This “violation” can often paint women as rude, self-centered, and unsympathetic. 

Now that we have established this underlying phenomenon, what can women, especially young college women, do to navigate this seemingly impossible situation? 

Think critically about your qualities and contributions as a leader or team member

Identifying and addressing the gender tightrope does not inherently mean that all women must feel the need to be assertive and overtly powerful. It is instead important to assess your brand as an individual and the value proposition you offer to those you are working with. If you are a soft-spoken but analytical and considerate individual, those are equally important characteristics that make a great leader. Above else, feeling a sense of comfort with who you are and what you offer are essential to the framework of feminism. 

Rather than only learning how to walk the tightrope, engage in active dialogue about the double standard women face

While a highly progressive period is certainly upon us, the reality is that women function by very different standards still. Rather than teaching young women how to tread carefully so as to not step on toes, it is more important to ask the hard questions. Why do organizations feel that women only become suitable leaders when companies are sinking ships, a position that makes it impossible to succeed? Why is the act of anger expressed by women viewed so starkly different than when expressed by men? These are the conversations that are to be had in order to forge a better tomorrow for all individuals in the work place.

Try to avoid committing woman on woman hate

In a society where the workplace is still an uphill battle for women, the last thing we want is for women to be their own downfall. Rather than tearing other women down and feeling the need to vie for certain positions, we should instead build each other up and encourage women to take up leadership in any way that they can. Building success requires a mutual understanding of respect. 

Eileen Zhou is a Maryland native currently attending Cornell University. She is a sophomore in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management concentrating in finance and strategy. Through her major and campus involvements, Eileen has a keen interest in strategic thinking and a future in management consulting. Although business is her central passion, she tries to foster an eclectic and interdisciplinary approach to her coursework and career aspirations!

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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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Beauty Products You Need For Your Next Professional Event

By Casey Tsamis

January 25, 2018

It’s always important to put your best face forward (quite literally) for a professional conference, networking event, or job interview. It’s sometimes difficult to find a product that will conceal under eye bags, but also seem like you’re not wearing tons of makeup. This list of beauty products will be sure to have you feeling your best and ace your next professional event.

BECCA UNDER EYE BRIGHTENING CORRECTOR-$32
This color corrector is a must-have since it can brighten any under eye area, and make sure you’re looking awake, refreshed, and ready to tackle on question that’s thrown your way. It comes in a small packaging, but the product itself lasts for months.

NARS RADIANT CREAMY CONCEALER-$30
After correcting with BECCA’s corrector, polish it off with this concealer. This is perfect to hide any blemishes or to start the first step of contouring. The applicator brush creates a smooth, matte finish that will even out different skin tones and look natural as ever.

FENTY BEAUTY MATCH STIX TRIO-$54

It’s definitely more on the pricier side, but for three products that can be thrown into your bag, it’s a steal. This trio includes a concealer, a bronzed contour stick, and a highlighter. Depending on the event or what industry the interview is for, a touch of highlighter on the cheekbones is completely okay. For all three stix, a little goes a long way, so use small amounts to start.

Drybar Travel Size Detox Dry Shampoo-$13
The travel size version of this product is perfect for fitting in your bag in case of a hair emergency. It has an amazing salon smell to it and will last for the next two days. Use this for the roots to mask any oils that may appear.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara-$24
This award-winning mascara is good for opening the eyes by lengthening the lashes and giving a dramatic, yet professional, look to the eyes. It won’t smudge or dry out either, and it’ll last for four months, tops.

It’s hard not to be nervous or intimidated before an interview or an event, but it’s proven that you will automatically feel more confident in a professional space if you believe you look your best. These products are used to enhance the features, not hide them. Show your best self and you’re guaranteed to do well.

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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Top 5 Tips To Implement Your Personal Brand

By Valia Glytsis

December 11, 2017

Thanks to those of you who joined us on our webinar about defining a personal brand (didn’t see it? Watch on demand!). While discussing branding is fun and energizing, putting into practice is critical for lasting momentum and success.

Below are some practical tips and mindset-based insights to help you stay on course as you navigate “what’s next” and continue to define who you are from the inside-out!

#1. Be the Boss of Your Thoughts.

Mindset is the glue that holds our personal brand together. The top invader of owning our brand is our mental chatter. This mental chatter shows up as imposter syndrome, playing small, feeling insecure, suffering from low confidence. Here are a few tips to tackle this inner critic when it decides to pop up and say ‘hello’ (by the way, it usually surfaces when you are courageous enough to take up more space and be BIGGER):

Name It.
This voice is completely normal and part of our human experience. It never goes away. However, you can objectify it and recognize that it is simply a piece of your thoughts, not an all-encompassing sense of self. Give it a name and a separate identity so you can remind yourself it is “other”.

Unravel It.
This voice gets scary when it takes a life of its own and begins to catastrophize our thoughts and feelings. It can only take hold of you if you buy into its narrative. Instead, allow it to unravel. Keep asking it: “And then what happens?” See how your worst nightmare eventually runs out of steam if you let it unwind. It can only go up from there when you realize that the worst case is actually kind of OK.

Ritualize It.
This voice can bleed into all aspects of your life if you allow it. Rather than have it consume you, give it its own ritual. During this time, journal about the voice, share what it is telling you out loud, read to it, and so on. By honoring it with ritual, you’ll realize that you can actually nurture it like you would do to a younger version of yourself (which is exactly what this voice represents – it’s here to keep you safe and secure!)

#2. Know What Your Stand For.

Our personal values are the fundamental point of differentiation in our brand. Even if you and I share similar strengths and passion, what is most meaningful to us and how we make our decisions is at the core of our inner truth. Revisit the branding webinar for more details on doing a personal values exercise – this work is paramount. Write out your personal values that are most prevalent right now.

WARNING: This work normally elicits thinking well into the future for “aspirational” values rather than “practiced” values. Aspirational values do not exist in our current reality and if we continue to strive for them in the day-to-day, we feel as if we are failing. Instead, be honest about your practiced values that are alive and honored in your current life chapter.

For example, give yourself permission to stand for “Excellence” rather than “Balance” right now. It is OK. In fact, it is truth and will allow you to make empowered choices and meaningful connections.

#3. Get Clear On What You Want.

All too often, I see women getting very vague and wishy-washy when asked what they want. This is detrimental to a brand. We think we are being “easy” by allowing more options and flexibility while, in fact, we are making it extra difficult for our audience to support us or open possibilities. Get very clear on what you want. And remember, this doesn’t mean you have to know what you want for the rest of your life. The magic words are: “for right now”.

What do you want for right now in your personal and professional path? For example, rather than saying: “I want a job in consulting”, you can specify, “I want a job in X company with a focus on digital strategy; I prefer a start-up environment where I can leverage my entrepreneurial skills. Working in San Francisco would be ideal.” The former tells me nothing about a personal brand; the latter tells me quite a bit.

Even if it feels unnatural, allow yourself to be targeted, specific, and clear on what you are asking for. You make yourself visible and allow others to be partners on the path.

#4. Ask Assertively and Own Your Space.

Nothing is more tragic than having a compelling brand (content-wise) and then shrinking completely when declaring your brand to the world! The magic tool here is assertion. There is a misconception that “assertive” is half way between passive and aggressive. In fact, assertive is nowhere on that continuum. Assertive is all about clarity. When you are clear, you speak succinctly with power and gravitas. A few pointers to clear up your verbal and written brand communication pronto:

Clear the Verbal Clutter.
That means no more filler words or hedging words like “just”, “kind of”, “maybe”. These words and phrases diminish your impact.

Stop Apologizing.
That means no more qualifying phrases to apologize for your opinion or the space you are taking. “Sorry to bother you but…” – sound familiar?

Punctuate and Pause.
That means take your space! Watch any tendencies to rush, pile questions, end a bold statement with up-talk, etc. If you believe that you deserve your space, your personal brand will shine. If you don’t give it its space, it will shrink in kind.

#5. Connect with Why.

Move beyond “what” you want to do and into “why” you want to do it. When we infuse our brand, our values, our choices with the power of why, we compel people with emotion, not just logic. Connecting with “why” allows for human vulnerability to be the glue between the rational objectives and professional goals we outline. “Why” engages people’s hearts, including your own.

If you have a hard time connecting with your personal mission and purpose, try thinking of it this way: A purpose is nothing more than where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger. Keep connecting to what matters to you and where you find meaning. The puzzle pieces of your brand will then be brilliantly obvious to you when you spot them! Your work is to stay true to the uniquely distinctive you.

 

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