This past week on October 24-25, CWIB went on a trek to Washington D.C. This trek provided a great way to improve on members’ networking skills while meeting new companies, such as Protiviti, Cvent, and Capital One, while also allowing attendees to meet other members of CWIB. Treks enable members to connect with professional companies, and hopefully, in the future, help them later down the road when applying for internships and jobs. I contacted a few members that attended the DC trek, and asked about their favorite experiences:
Billy Clarke said that his favorite part of the trek was visiting Capital One’s new campus in McLean. He described their campus as “impressive” because of the resources Capital One provides to their employees. Lauren Miles stated that she found it helpful how the trek allowed her to get to know the other members of CWIB. Emily Fusaro shared that she appreciated learning about the companies they met with, and meeting members from CWIB.
Since CWIB met with Protiviti, Cvent, and Capital One, who are companies that hire Virginia Tech graduates, attendees ran into several alumni. They got to meet with alumni who were also a part of CWIB, such as Gigi Jones who was the former CWIB CEO and Heather Sangalang who was the former Chronicles’ Editor-in-Chief. This trek not only let current members meet each other, but enabled alumni to meet the new CWIB members to further expand on the network of our organization.
Protiviti is a mid-size global consulting firm that provides business solutions for numerous areas such as internal audit, data analytics, and risk & compliance. Cvent is a privately held software service company that offers software solutions for event planning. The last company they visited was Capital One. Capital One provides numerous services in the banking industry such as credit cards, savings accounts, and loans.
When meeting these companies, CWIB sat down with each of them and learned about their initiatives through panels. The attendees on the trek learned several things from each company. The most frequent response to the question “What did you learn from the companies you met with?” was that you are not limited by your major or what you learn while in college. This is an important aspect to know while applying for jobs and internships because you should never limit yourself to opportunities just because you think you aren’t qualified or have all of the credentials checked off. Many of the employees they met with from each company expressed the amount of new skills they learned after starting their new jobs. While applying to jobs and internships, it is important to know that companies do not expect you to know everything going into a new job. It is comforting to hear from multiple employees the amount of new skills they learned after starting their job! It goes to show that you should apply for positions you may think are not a good fit for you, because as long as you express your passion and commitment to learn, companies will be convinced you have the applicable skill set to expand on! It is also important to do this to challenge yourself, because you never know of all of the possibilities that will come to you by doing so. By attending the DC trek, the members learned that it is important to step outside of their comfort zone and learn new things that may seem challenging at first.
I also asked the attending members to explain any new networking skills they learned while on the trip. Billy Clarke talked about learning to utilize the skill of maintaining his confidence in himself throughout the trip. He talked about how it can be very intimidating talking to highly ranked professionals and how it is easy to get nervous. He concluded by saying that professionals appreciate talking to students who display some level of confidence. This is an important skill to have and to practice on because when you are speaking to professionals, you want to come across as more confident than not, as you are representing exactly why you deserve the position. Some other pieces of advice the members received from the companies about networking were the importance of communicating respectfully and also following up after meeting with companies in person.
Lastly, I asked a few of the attendees why they would recommend going on the treks to other members in CWIB. Emily Fusaro explained that treks are a perfect opportunity to “get your feet wet in exploring businesses.” Meaning, that treks provide experiences to explore different companies that provide vastly different services. Protiviti, Capital One, and Cvent are all very different businesses, with different missions and services. By meeting with three diverse companies, it allowed the CWIB members to learn about different career options for future internships and jobs. It is important to keep your options open when learning about different companies, because you never know, you might become very interested in a company that you never thought you would be! Laruen Miles would recommend going on the treks because of the connections and friends you make while on them. She said it is a great way to get to know other members involved in CWIB while also making fun memories.
Overall, the trip up to D.C. provided CWIB members with great opportunities to network with VT alumni and meet with diverse companies. It is a great way to improve upon your networking skills and learn about different opportunities within the business field. While connecting with professionals from companies, you are also connecting with members of CWIB! Make sure to apply for the next trek in order to feel more involved in our organization and reap the same benefits the DC trek attendees did!
By: Ashley Mattson