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Business Books to Read During Breaks

By Mairead Tuttle

January 16, 2018

Winter Break presents the opportunity to relax, celebrate the holidays, and curl up by the fire with a good book. Below are four suggestions of books that will entertain you and teach you something about the business world or economic landscape.

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco
Considered one of the best business books of all time, Barbarians at the Gate tells the story of the hostile takeover of RJR Nabisco in 1988. At the time, it was the most expensive takeover in history. The book, written by investigative reporters Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, details hour-by-hour negotiations of a leveraged buyout. The incredible detail in this book is a snapshot of one of the most important moments in American business history.

Barbarians at the Gate not only gives insight into the business practices of private equity firms and large corporations, but also highlights the importance of individual personalities in business decisions. Any person interested in working in the financial industry or private sector in general can learn from the choices made by people like RJR Nabisco CEO Ross Johnson or investor Henry Kravis. The book deftly illustrates the consequences that the actions of one person can have on the future of a business and the interests of its shareholders.

The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career
This career guide was written by Hilary Kerr and Katherine Power, founders of the fashion and style website Who What Wear. The book gives helpful and practical tips for starting your career. It is particularly helpful for those interested in working in the fashion and beauty industries, though its advice can be applied to almost any career path. The authors’ tips can also apply to any stage of a career, even one that has not yet started.

This book is particularly inspiring because its authors are female entrepreneurs who left jobs that were no longer fulfilling for them and forged their own career paths. They started small with their first website and now run a portfolio of sites that cover fashion, beauty, and home design, in addition to a clothing line meant to provide an alternative to professional women who are not drawn to the typical black pencil skirt and blazer. Their websites reach millions of women across the world every year, and the career advice the founders give is greatly valuable. 

The Wisdom of Finance
Harvard Business School professor Mihir A. Desai weaves together complex financial concepts and classic stories from literature in this book. The author also pulls from Broadway musicals and Biblical parables to explain the ways in which terms and ideas that might seem reserved for Wall Street are, in reality, inextricably linked to our everyday lives. A person who finds herself struggling with a concept like options trading will likely find their connection to Jane Austen illuminating.

This book also helps to dispel some of the many myths that surround Wall Street and the financial sector. As its title suggests, the book demonstrates that investment banks and hedge funds are about much more than just numbers. No matter a person’s opinion about Wall Street, he or she will surely find a chapter in this book that changes a previously held opinion. The diversity of the author’s points of focus proves that finance really is an essential part of our lives, whether we realize it or not.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics
This book’s author, Richard Thaler, was recently awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in developing the field of behavioral economics and finance. Misbehaving gives varied examples, from the National Football League to the department store JCPenney, to illustrate situations of what conventional economists would term “irrational” behavior. Behavioral economics is a relatively young field of study, and reading about it from one of its founders is the most effective way to learn about it.

Thaler is also the co-author of the book Nudge, which focuses on “nudges” that firms can use to push people toward certain behaviors. The book has been incredibly popular in the United Kingdom in recent years, and was used by government officials to justify policies that were deemed by some to be paternalistic. Evidently, Thaler’s work has had an impact on economics and politics, and any person interested in these fields will find his book engaging.

Mairead Tuttle is from Pennsylvania and is currently a French and Economics major at Mount Holyoke College. Through her economics classes, she found a passion for business, and hopes to someday work on the management side of the fashion and beauty industries.

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An Unconventional Way to Plan Your Future

By Mairead Tuttle

January 11, 2018

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit my school’s career center on a class trip. I had, of course, been to the career center before, but only for one-on-one meetings with specific aims. Because I was visiting with a class of first year students as their writing mentor, I expected a generic presentation on how they can begin to plan for their futures, such as taking the first steps in applying for an internship or participating in summer programs that will give them an advantage in a job search or graduate school application process. When the career center staff member leading our session told us what we would be doing that morning, I was taken aback: we would be making “vision boards.”

Initially, I scoffed at the idea. The concept of a vision board was something that I had only ever seen in movies about vapid characters, none of whom seemed to have any intention of looking for graduate school programs or forging a bold career path. As each person in our career center session was sent to page through magazines and pick a patterned cardboard square to use for a background, I began to think about the other tasks that I could be accomplishing during the next hour. Why was I wasting my time cutting out pictures and inspirational phrases from magazines when I could be doing practice problems for my GMAT or finishing up a paper for another class?

To my surprise, as our session went on, I began to understand the value of creating a vision board. By the time I had completed my board and it had been framed, I felt calm and clear. However, it also led me to question why I had put certain pictures on my board. Looking at the image of the beautiful Irish countryside that I had positioned in the center of my board made me realize that international travel was one of my future goals. It also inspired me to research international entry-level jobs in my field of study. I could also point to different pictures and phrases on my board that confirmed my love for the fashion and beauty industries, which reassured me of my ideal career path.

Having my vision board displayed prominently in my room reminds me of my goals every day. When I am struggling with a difficult paper or fretting over my packed calendar, the board gives me a visual reminder of the place I am working toward. The career center staff member who led our session told us that she creates a vision board every season. This is a path I now also plan to take.

Winter break gives us much needed rest and relaxation, and presents the opportunity to think about our futures without the added pressure of classes. Taking an hour or two to create your own vision board can help to make your thought process clearer, and might even reveal an unexpected academic or career passion. While conventional methods of planning for the next semester or for life after college are incredibly important and useful, adding a vision board to the mix can inspire you in ways that you did not see coming. 

Mairead Tuttle is from Pennsylvania and is currently a French and Economics major at Mount Holyoke College. Through her economics classes, she found a passion for business, and hopes to someday work on the management side of the fashion and beauty industries.

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What Kinds of Classes Should You Take in College?

By Keana Bloomfield

January 9, 2018

Picking classes each semester can be stressful if you have tons of options to choose from, but using this to your advantage is key to learning new skills and getting a wide breadth of knowledge.

If you are going into business, it is very important to take analytical courses like statistics or calculus. The math skills you learn in these courses will help you with higher level financial concepts in the future. In many statistics classes, you will learn how to analyze data using Excel which is useful for financial jobs, where you will be handling a lot of data. Getting a strong base in Excel will also help you in your job search because it is a technical skill you can put on your resume. If you aren’t a “pure math” person, there are other classes in your school that will still give an analytical component to your academics.

For example, this past semester I took an intermediate microeconomics course that combined calculus concepts with business and economic ideas. I learned how to make different budget lines and how economic systems work. Having this analytical knowledge will be important in your business career.

In addition to the technical math skills, it is also beneficial to take liberal arts courses that focus on writing. At any job, writing will be a key component of your work whether that’s writing memos, making an investment pitch presentation, or even writing emails. Being able to practice your writing in classes through essays and analyzing different readings will prepare you for how to write at your job. Even if the writing you do isn’t directly translatable, having the ability to take information and then write a critique on it or analyze it from different perspectives will broaden your mind and let you think critically. This is a skill that many people overlook but is very helpful in the workplace. You can find good writing classes in your English department or in history classes.

I’ve taken a few religious studies courses where I had to write multiple papers on comparing ideas within the religion and it really shaped my writing abilities. Being able to communicate via writing is incredibly important and taking classes that emphasize that will give you a chance to grow.

Not only is written communication important, verbal communication is key as well. The first few steps to getting a job or internship is the interview, so taking classes on public speaking or classes that require oral presentations will make you more comfortable with speaking in front of people you don’t know. The drama department at colleges generally offer introductory public speaking courses or acting courses. Even though this may not be the type of speaking you will be doing in your job, just practicing how to speak clearly and confidently will be useful.

I’ve taken a few classes including statistics and women and gender studies that had oral presentations and I gained a lot from learning how to present to a class while working with a team.

Another great tip is to take classes that seem interesting. I know this sounds cliché but college is the time to explore. A lot of business majors think that only taking finance and math related courses are helpful but figuring out your interests is also a key part of college.

I took a criminology course my first year and it was so different from what I was studying. I learned a lot about juvenile crime through a sociological perspective.

This past semester I took a civic leadership course in UVA’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and I learned so much about the tools necessary to be a strong leader. Every school has these gems of classes so be sure to take a few before you graduate!

Keana Bloomfield is a senior at Bryn Mawr College, a liberal arts college located outside the city of Philadelphia.  An English major and Economics minor, Keana has completed journalism opportunities at KYW Newsradio 1060, WHYY and the Philadelphia Inquirer, while also having developed financial acumen as a 2016 Girls Who Invest Scholar, an organization dedicated to putting more women in the investment management industry, and as an Asset Management Intern at PNC Financial Services within their Wealth Management division. As she completes her final year as an undergraduate, she hopes to become further immersed in the finance and business industries for both her professional and personal development.

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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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Transferrable Skills of a Writing Mentor

By Mairead Tuttle

December 7, 2017

My work as a writing mentor has been one of the most rewarding parts of my college experience. My school’s writing center has not only been a wonderful place of employment, but also a source of personal growth. While helping my fellow students improve their own writing, I have developed transferrable skills that I know will help me greatly in the professional world.

Working as a writing mentor has helped me to improve my own writing. Writing is a skill that is important in every field, but is especially relevant in industries in which communication is key. As someone who is interested in marketing, working with pieces of writing that span academic disciplines has helped me to see writing skills are not only important for English majors. All academic disciplines need to “market” their findings. Effective writing can solidify a business plan or explain the gravity of a scientific finding. Witnessing the ways in which students across disciplines convey their messages has helped me to strengthen my own written (and spoken) communication skills.

While it might not be the first skill that comes to mind when you think of “writing tutor,” time management has been very important throughout my time in my job. As is likely the case at most colleges, my school’s writing center has appointments that must end when the hour (or thirty minutes) is up. When a student brings in twenty pages of her senior thesis, I immediately know that we will be unable to read over every word, or even every page. Therefore, I quickly need to figure out a way to structure the session so that it is productive as possible. Situations like this also arise in the professional world, where the stakes might be higher and the time even shorter. Working as a writing mentor has allowed me to develop the skill of creating a productive plan at a moment’s notice.

Another skill that I have developed while working as a writing mentor is to always lead with the positive and offer constructive criticism. There is often a positive element of a negative situation and a silver lining to every cloud. The same is true with writing. Despite the fact that an essay might be rife with grammatical errors and have three unrelated theses that are all unclear, beginning the session by pointing out what the writer did correctly sets a positive tone for the remainder of your time. The student knows that you intend to be productive, not purely critical for an entire hour.

This skill is one that is quite valuable in managers in the professional world. Employees who are constantly berated by their supervisors are not likely to be very motivated workers or have a positive affinity toward their workplace. If a student has consistently used an incorrect verb tense, I tell her constructively so that she will not make the mistake again in the future. If an employee has unknowingly used the incorrect terminology in a report, a manager must tell her so that she too will know what to do in the future.

No matter what type of assignment or skill level of the writer, I always enjoy the time I get to spend working in my school’s writing center. The lessons that I have learned there will stick with me for many years to come, and throughout my career, I will think back to the skills I developed during my time spent there.

Mairead Tuttle is from Pennsylvania and is currently a French and Economics major at Mount Holyoke College. Through her economics classes, she found a passion for business, and hopes to someday work on the management side of the fashion and beauty industries.

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Creating an Academic Bucket List

By Aury Cifuentes

December 5, 2017

We might all have those quirk college traditions that everyone is encouraged to experience before graduation. As a current senior, I am missing a few, such as jumping into the only fountain on campus. Yet regardless of your class year, everyone can have an academic bucket list! (No fountain required).

Below is a sample bucket list but you can make one with as many points and goals as you would like to accomplish this semester.

1. Contribute to the class discussion at least once per class

This means even when you know the answer, there are awkward silences, or you just do not feel like sharing, being proactive can not only help you recall certain concepts but clarify the content for someone else. This has a snowball effect that could inspire someone to participate when you need it most.

2. Go to office hours once per month (or as needed)

Let’s say you grasp everything perfectly, why would you make the trek to your Econometrics’ professor’s distant office? Because you never know whom you will need to know in the job market or academia. Faculty typically have access to research opportunities and certain elusive alumni that are only accessible through connections, so unless you network, you will never know.

3. Work with someone outside your immediate friend group
I am not encouraging you avoid your friends for group projects, but inviting someone new to join your power group can have its benefits. One of them includes preparing for the workforce where everyone from various backgrounds and ages will be trying to create a deliverable with you!

This bucket list is pretty brief as all of the above are big commitments depending on the type of person you are. Overall, there is no right or wrong way to list your wants for the semester so go ahead and start writing!

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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Diversity Conferences That Made a Difference In My First Year

By Megha Karthikeyan

November 30, 2017

One of the best tips I have for women getting into the finance industry is to attend diversity conferences and externships. You will be able to learn a lot about the company culture of the places you want to work at and understand the various divisions and opportunities at the company. It is also a great way to network with other college students from around the country.

Goldman Sachs Women’s Leadership Camp

Last year, I attended the Goldman Sachs Women’s Leadership Camp where I learned a great deal about the company culture, business principles, and the divisions at Goldman Sachs. I attended the conference in Salt Lake City which is one of their biggest offices. To apply for the conference, I had to submit my resume and then complete a Hirevue, which is Goldman Sachs’ online interviewing system. This came in very handy this year when I was applying for the Goldman internships because they use Hirevues to evaluate summer analysts, so I already had practice using the system.

At the two-day conference, I learned about the many divisions Goldman Sachs had through open networking sessions where representatives from the many divisions spoke with us about their jobs and day-to-day work life. I gained a lot of insight about what Goldman Sachs was looking for when hiring summer analysts.

Another benefit for this conference were the resume reviews that the recruiters did for us while we were there. Since this program was for first and second years in college, they helped us edit our resumes and told us what recruiters look for when reading a resume. We also got a chance to do practice interviews where we learned to tell our story and speak to our activities.

This conference gave me the chance to meet college women from all over the country and network with employees at Goldman Sachs. I recommend anyone interested in working in finance and banking to attend a conference like this one because it is very informative and exciting.

Deutsche Bank’s Rise Into Success Conference

This past May I attended Deutsche Bank’s Rise Into Success conference for people of diverse backgrounds including minorities and women. This program took place in New York City and I got a chance to learn more about Deutsche and its company culture.

One of the great aspects of this conference was the session where we did a practice interview with professionals at the firm. I was assigned to a Vice President in Global Markets who gave me practice questions which she would ask to interviewees. I got insight into what sorts of questions were asked during Deutsche interviews and got to practice my speaking skills.

The Rise Into Success program also set up networking lunches and sessions where we got to speak with former interns and employees about their experiences at Deutsche and what they like about the company. It was great to hear about the different divisions in Deutsche and meet people from all over the world who work there.

Programs like this will help women interested in finance expand their options and learn about the different jobs that are out there in the banking world. Since this program is only for first years, it is a great opportunity to start networking for that third year internship.

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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Balancing Academics and the Job Search During Your Senior Year

By Mairead Tuttle

November 28, 2017

When your senior year of college begins, you can already picture yourself walking across the stage at your college’s commencement ceremony. As you attend graduation information meetings and check off your required courses, it can feel like your final months of school are simply an obstacle to starting your career. I know this feeling first-hand. For the past several weeks, I have learned how important it is to strike a balance between my academic work and my post-graduation job search. Here are four strategies I have used (and will continue to use) to work toward achieving this balance.

1. A digital calendar:

The most helpful organizational tool in balancing my academic work and extracurricular activities with my post-graduation planning has been a digital calendar. While many people have likely used this tool for years, I have always appreciated my paper planner, and will probably always find myself with a new one each January. As I started adding more events to my calendar, I realized that my planner could no longer fit everything in my day. Switching to a digital calendar has allowed me to plan every block of my day. Furthermore, I have the ability to quickly add or modify an event, which are changes that will then appear on all of my devices. My preferred platform is Google Calendar. I like that I can have separate calendars for different parts of my life (such as academic and job related activities) that appear simultaneously to me but can be shared separately with others. My calendar also keeps me from feeling overwhelmed by my academic work. When I can see a clear block of time that I know I can fill with course readings, I feel more in control of my schedule.

2. Scheduling:

Generally, scheduling helps me to organize my day and my life. This might seem like an obvious fact, but it is not one that I have always understood. Searching for jobs can be an overwhelming task. Scheduling a set amount of time during which you will look for jobs can help to make the process seem less daunting. Rather than telling myself that I will find a few hours during the weekend to look for jobs and then forgetting about it, I put those hours on my calendar to ensure that I follow through with my job search. It can also help to further specify those hours. Rather than just writing “search for jobs” on my calendar, I add what particular industry I will research. For example, from 1:00 - 2:00 on Saturday, I will look into entry level jobs in the marketing field. This will not only help to narrow my search results in an employment database, but also give a sense of focus and purpose to my job search.

3. Career Center visits:

Visiting my college’s career center always leaves me feeling more certain about the future. This is especially true when the future seems like it is approaching more quickly than I could have ever imagined. Depending upon what college you attend, your career center will likely offer different services. I am lucky enough to attend a college where the professional staff in the career center offer advice and guidance on a wide variety of topics ranging from a simple question about my resumé to the decision about which graduate school path to take. If you are able to do so, setting up a meeting to speak with a career advisor one-on-one can be a great help in balancing your academic work and job search. You will hopefully narrow your job search after this meeting, while being reminded that you are still a student (which is what gives you access to the career center in the first place!).

4. Drawing connections:

During the first few weeks of my senior year of college, I have found myself thinking about how the work I do in class will connect to my eventual career. This is not always the most productive train of thought, but it can be incredibly valuable. By reminding myself that the homework I need to complete will soon help me in a professional setting, I realize how truly important it is to finish my college career strongly. Take a few moments before starting an assignment to gauge what elements of it will be useful in your professional life. You can also think back to internships or jobs that you have had already, and recall the knowledge you gained in class that you used in those settings.

Graduation is quickly approaching, but it is not here yet. Employing even one of these strategies can help you to think toward the future without forgetting about the present.

Mairead Tuttle is from Pennsylvania and is currently a French and Economics major at Mount Holyoke College. Through her economics classes, she found a passion for business, and hopes to someday work on the management side of the fashion and beauty industries.

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