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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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