Forté Foundation
Career Lab Virtual Campus

Wise Words: Nancy Solomon

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” - Nancy Solomon

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Wise Words: Anita Roddick

Be Different.

“Whatever you do, be different.” - Anita Roddick

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Mid-Life (College) Crisis

By Heather Ianuale

November 18, 2015

College is a time of discovery. You enter a university eagerly awaiting the fun and excitement the next four years are expected to bring. You may start school knowing what exactly you want to do with your life, or you may undecided. Both are acceptable, as you’ll have an endless amount of classes to take to help with your decisions. At least, so it seems.

I entered college a business major. I had been the vice president of my high school’s business club, had attended business conferences, and worked over the summer for a business developer. I had thought my whole life was planned out.

Things weren’t so easy, however. I soon found out business was much more difficult than I expected. My math classes pushed me, and I felt that my economics classes were boring. I wasn’t enjoying anything.

I decided to change my major to a double major in accounting and sociology sophomore year. I figured the accounting classes would get me a high paying job at a Big 4 firm, while sociology classes would be fun and keep me from going insane. Everything was great, until I realized I hated accounting, and sociology took up more classes than most majors.

I was insanely upset and worried. It seems like everyone knows what they’re doing and what they want to do, and here I was, utterly confused. I wasn’t who I thought I was. I remember thinking to myself, “I should drop out of college and become a clown. Except clowns scare me.”

This caused a breakdown where I thought everything was over. Though a rough patch, however, this moment helped me reflect on who I was, and who I wanted to be.

In times of stress, we push ourselves into overdrive to be able to handle everything and come out on top. This happened to me.

After my breakdown, I took an hour and visited a career counselor. We listed my likes and dislikes, skills, and what goals I had for myself after college. This meeting didn’t give me any outcome on a major or career. I’m still searching for what I’m supposed to do.

What it did do, though, is showed me that I’m capable of doing anything I want. My passions include marketing, writing, traveling, hotels, cruises, and event planning. I’m good at organizing, and bad at calculus. I want to be independent and successful without depending on anyone to help me keep afloat. I thought I was lost and had no clue, but I was wrong.

After the meeting, I changed my major to Mass Communications with a minor in business, as it keeps all of my interests and skills aligned. I went to some club meetings that aligned with communications instead of business, and truly enjoyed myself.

I started doing things I found fun instead of obligatory, and my world lit up.

Losing myself and my motivation helped me ignite the fire that is my passions, and I couldn’t be more thankful that I fell apart.

Heather Ianuale is a sophomore at Muhlenberg College double majoring in accounting and finance. She dreams of becoming an entertainment accountant and plans to achieve this goal by interning at as many different places as possible while in school.

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Senior Year: School and Internships

By Alina Tang

November 17, 2015

Anyone who lives in Los Angeles knows it’s hard to get around without a car. For the past three years, I’ve loved being at USC, but at times, college has felt like a restrictive bubble because of my lack of freedom. Despite the school’s proximity to downtown, it can be incredibly difficult to qualify for jobs, and take advantage of other opportunities without having a personal form of transportation.

This all changed, however, when I decided to drive my car down for senior year. Although the trek from Seattle was long and tiring, it was completely worth it. I can now take spontaneous trips to the beach, study in cafes when I get too distracted at home, and visit friends who live far from campus.

But the best part is I get to work at my dream internship during the school year.

Living so close to Hollywood, I’ve always been interested in exploring the entertainment industry. This year, I finally took advantage of my flexibility to commute and was lucky enough to land a position at Lionsgate, which is known for producing many popular film and TV series including The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga, Mad Men, and Orange is the New Black.

At Lionsgate, I am a consumer marketing intern for the company’s new network, Pop. My daily responsibilities include researching competitive materials, compiling lists of social media influencers, and looking into potential partnerships and PR events.

What this basically means is I get to have a sneak peek of Pop’s newest shows, while being part of the actual marketing campaign that pushes the shows before they air. How cool is that?!

I’m also fortunate to have a boss who really cares about my professional growth. My supervisor, Chris, not only checks in on me and assigns frequent hands-on projects, but he encourages me to work very closely with senior management.

Every week, I get to shadow different departments, sit in on team meetings, and even pitch ideas to Chris’ own boss. I’ve honestly never worked at a company that values interns this much, but it’s safe to say Lionsgate has set the standard for me from now on.

Interning 25 hours a week, however, means I have an insane schedule. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I’m in the office from 9-5, which leaves my remaining two week days crammed with classes and extracurricular activities. I would be lying if I said this setup isn’t overwhelming, but I have come to love it.

I think there’s something about being busy that just makes a person more motivated, because somehow this is my best academic semester to date. Ever since I started working at Lionsgate, I always try to finish my schoolwork right when I get home, so I can make enough time to still work out, sleep early, and hang out with friends regularly.

Perhaps it’s a sign of maturity, or perhaps it’s the fact that I simply don’t have the option of procrastinating anymore, but I absolutely love my new lifestyle. I’m very proud I’ve been able to find a great balance between school and work this semester, and I highly recommend it to other college students.

You honestly never know what you are capable of accomplishing until you go for it, so take a leap of faith.  Good luck!

Alina Tang will graduate from USC in 2016. She is majoring in business administration and plans to work in the Management Development Program at Mondelez International and gain more experience in global marketing.

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What is Financial Services: Firms Within the Finance Industry

By Siyu Wu

November 11, 2015

The first part of the series introducing the Financial Services industry gave a broad overview of the of how the financial services are commonly divided: buy-side versus sell-side firms, deals versus public markets firms, and bulge bracket versus middle market versus boutique firms. That, however, was only introducing the industry in broad strokes. This article will go into a bit more detail, introducing specifically several types of firms within the finance industry.

Investment Banks

When one thinks of Wall Street, they are often thinking of the investment bank. Investment banks performs a variety of complex and large financial transactions, and typically act as an intermediary in such transactions. These services range from facilitating mergers and acquisitions, providing financial advising for institutional clients, and serving as the intermediary between securities issuer and public investors.

Some of the big names in investment banking include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan & Chase.

Commercial Banks

Commercial banks are the banks where you deposit your paycheck or take out a loan for a car. The traditional commercial bank offers services including accepting deposits for savings and checking accounts, providing personal and business loans, offers mortgages and basic investment products such as Certificates of Deposit. Many investment banks also have commercial bank divisions: for example, Chase Bank is part of JPMorgan & Chase, and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch also provides commercial banking services.

In fact, whether housing both the investment bank and the commercial bank under the same roof as a combination bank should be legal is a hotly contested topic.

Hedge Funds

Hedge funds are an form of alternative investment geared towards sophisticated institutional and individual investors. These investors typically pool their large asset amounts to invest in a very wide range of securities. Their investments range from the traditional stocks and bonds to some very risky investments which are only made possible by the lack of regulation from the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Because of the high risk in hedge fund strategies and investments, hedge funds are open to only a select number of “accredited investors.” In the United States, laws only allow investors who have strong investment knowledge and a minimum net worth of over a million dollars to be involved in a hedge fund.

To give a glance into how large the hedge fund industry has become, a 2014 CNBC article reported that there are over 11,000 hedge funds worth a total of $2.6 trillion! One of the most well known hedge funds is Pershing Square Capital Management.

Mutual Funds

Like hedge funds, mutual funds are an investment strategy where investors pool their money together to purchase a portfolio of stocks, bonds, real estate, and other investments. Mutual funds are available to allow investors to create portfolios as a group that they may not be able to have individually. Investors in a mutual fund do not actually own the securities in the portfolio; rather, they own shares of the fund itself.

Mutual funds, unlike hedge funds, are open to all investor types, and are actually a great starting place for many beginner investors. This is because mutual funds typically require relatively low starting investments of $1,000 or $2,000 and offer diversification (which means a wide variety of stocks are purchased to lower the investment risk).

These funds are also managed by professional portfolio managers who try to pick the best investments, which means the investor can spend little time and energy on their portfolio. Some well-known mutual funds include Fidelity and Vanguard.

Investment banks, commercial banks, hedge funds, and mutual funds are only some of the most well known types of financial firms. There are many other firms that serve more specific services or client groups that we will not be able to touch upon here. But, knowing these four large categories will definitely help as you explore the industry!

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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Make the Most Out of Campus Resources

By Jordan Perras

November 10, 2015

Everyone has to visit their academic adviser at some point in their college career. Same goes for Housing, and Financial Services, and… the list goes on.

However, there are some really cool offices on campus that many students never hear about, let alone visit.

Career Services

Even if you’re not a graduating senior, you should be stopping by the Career Center pretty regularly. They can help you find internships, practice for interviews and perfect your resume and cover letter.

If you’re still on the early side of your college journey, they can even help you figure out what you want to major in.

Library Research Desk

At some point, you’re going to need to write a paper. Because I’m a Math major, this didn’t come up until my sophomore year, and I had no idea where to start.

The library research team helped me navigate my school’s databases and various resources. Without them, I would’ve been left aimlessly googling and looking around Wikipedia. (Okay, not really, but you get the idea.)

Spiritual Life Center

It is natural to deal with some pretty big questions while you’re in college. These can be questions about yourself, the world and your place in it. If you’re religious, the center can help you connect with others who identify with your faith tradition.

If you’re not, they can help you find yoga classes, traditional meditation sessions, or, my personal favorite, laughter mediation. Sometimes it’s helpful not to grapple with “what does it all mean?” by yourself.

Health Center

Especially for those of you who attend universities far from home, the health center can provide you with resources that you would normally get from your general physician. If you start to feel sick, make an appointment ASAP - they tend to fill up quickly!

And the most important thing to remember: FLU SHOTS! Many student health centers offer them for free, so make sure to stop by to get one.

Jordan Perras is a third-year student at Northeastern University majoring in Math and Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics.  She has a wide variety of interests that include history, art and literature and plans to pursue an MBA after college. She is especially interested in the role of social entrepreneurship in sustainable business.

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Wise Words: Mary Kay Ash

What you believe, remember, you can achieve. - Mary Kay Ash

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Time to Give Thanks

By Grace Chow

November 6, 2015

Stop and take in your bearings. It’s another year and you are halfway through the semester. It won’t be long until you see the snow stick and start packing to go home for Thanksgiving Break.

However, before you do so, take a moment to reflect and give thanks to all that you have. Family, friends, health—you are gifted with so much that often, it becomes an overload of sorts, one in which you inevitably overlook some boons in your life and take them for granted.

So, before you step on the plane or ride that train, give thanks not only to what you already have, but to the opportunity that you were blessed with to have those things to begin with. Know that you are beyond lucky to have the opportunity for meaningful relationships, the opportunity to stay and be healthy, and the opportunity to have an education.

In our tentative and dynamic world, nothing is constant—incidents happen, people change, life moves on. But, we can hold onto these moments and blessings while we have them.

For me, I do just that by staying connected. I initiate calls and set up lunch dates where I can keep up with old friends and acquaintances. Not only am I honing my networking and communication skills, but maintaining enriching relationships are an instrumental part of my emotional and mental health.

I take the time to go out for a run around my campus’s trails or step into the ring to box. Devoting a part of my day to these tasks is my way of giving thanks to my University for offering these opportunities, but it is also how I appreciate myself. I am worth the time and effort I put into making myself happy and healthy. I am thankful for who I am and the trek I took in getting here, so I have every reason to do what is best for me.

By being thankful for who I am, I am giving thanks to all the opportunities, the people, and the moments that got me here.

So, thank you.

Grace Chow is majoring in finance and sociology at the University of Notre Dame. After she graduates in 2018, Grace plans to go into investment banking. She dreams of starting a non profit someday.

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