Throughout college, there are a variety of ways that we find meaning and connection to our peers, community, and future career. Collegiate Women in Business is an amazing organization that we choose to identify with, which brings meaning into our time here at Virginia Tech. To get a better understanding of the impact that CWIB has had on members of our organization, I reached out to Andra Scaliti, Angela Zadrima, and Heather Sangalang to get their perspective on college, as well as life after graduation.
I think that all of us wonder what life is like after college, as it is an inevitability: we are all going to graduate, have real jobs, rent an apartment, and finally do things on our own, possibly for the first time in our lives. This is a scary thought for some of us, but at the end of the day, reality. Luckily, we have some amazing women who have gone through this transition that have been more than welcome to share their experiences with us. Here are their responses regarding their experiences, memories and careers.
When did you graduate from Virginia Tech, what was your major, and what do you miss most about Tech?
Andra: “What I most miss about Tech is the Blacksburg community. The sense of comradery and spirit is entirely unique and unmatched.”
Heather: “It is so hard to pinpoint only one thing that I miss most about Tech, but the first thing that comes to mind is being in close proximity to my friends all the time. We lived within minutes of each other, and jumped to “Enter Sandman” every fall Saturday together. . . Blacksburg’s tight-knit community is rare and should be cherished while you still have it.”
How did CWIB help you during your time at Virginia Tech?
Heather: “CWIB helped me feel empowered when I was at Virginia Tech. I went to the first meeting and the rest is history. The leaders and members of the organization were all ambitious, and I really wanted to surround myself with people like that. I immediately joined the Marketing Committee, then transitioned to the Magazine Committee during my sophomore year, which led me to become the Editor-In-Chief of the CWIB Chronicles my Junior and Senior Year. My increasing responsibility in the organization empowered me to know that I can do whatever I set my mind to and know that I am capable of taking on responsibility and leading and inspiring others.”
Angela: “CWIB gave me the confidence I needed to secure my job offer and make everlasting connections. I also met some of my best friends through CWIB! The women in this group are not only incredible resources but incredible people – you each possess different strengths and add so much value to the organization and Virginia Tech.”
Describe your career path since graduating from Virginia Tech.
Angela: “My career path really solidified after attending Business Horizons my sophomore year. After speaking with all of the Big 4 accounting firms, I ended up participating in an externship for KPMG that summer. That externship led to an internship offer, which I accepted and worked the summer of my junior year. The internship led to a full-time offer, and I started working as an audit associate in September.”
Andra: “Upon graduation, I started my career in New York City as a Consultant at Protiviti, a large global consulting firm, the offer for which I accepted upon my internship with the firm the summer following my junior year. My start date was not until September which allowed for a long, relaxing, and reflective summer after graduation to prepare for this exciting new chapter.”
What do you think are the most important skills to possess when going into the workforce? What are the skills that are most important to you in your day to day job?
Heather: “In my opinion, good time management and communication are the most important skills to possess when entering the workforce. Good communication is crucial because most jobs require you to work with others. Whether it’s revealing the status of your deliverable, asking for help on something, providing constructive criticism, or simply sharing your ideas, you need to have good communication skills to effectively get your points across.”
Andra: While skills obtained in the classroom are essential for workforce success, it is soft skills that often differentiate entry level employees from their peers. The pinnacle among these is professionalism. I’ve learned the single trait that stands out the most to seniors and managers is a mature level of professionalism in terms of written communication, dress, respect, and overall personability.
What is one piece of advice that you want to share?
Angela: “Put yourself first. It’s easy to become bogged down by whatever is stressing you at the moment – school, romantic relationships, friendships, family. It’s ok to be selfish and take care of YOU. Forget arbitrary expectations and don’t spend time comparing yourself to others. Everyone has a different path. I failed 2 classes, broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years, lost friends, stayed in when everyone else went out, spent entirely too much at Al’s (RIP), got my car totaled on 81, broke my foot, got tonsillitis 4 times – and I’m still here. You’re all gonna be ok. Savor every day you get to wake up as a student of Virginia Tech.”
Heather: “The one piece of advice I want to share is to always do what is best for you. As you get older, you’re going to have to make more and more decisions for yourself.. . . It is okay to make mistakes and I am confident that each and every one of you CWIB members are strong and smart enough to learn from them and move forward. Life is short and you shouldn’t spend it feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, bored, and/or not challenged. Do yourself a favor and “Be you, Do You, For You.”
It is overwhelmingly clear that these women greatly valued their time at Virginia Tech and treasure the memories that they made here. Not only did they work hard in school, they went beyond, became involved, and created lasting connections and friendships within CWIB. An underlying theme that went through all of their responses is to fully appreciate and value every day that we get to spend here at Virginia Tech and as a part of CWIB.
Lastly, I want to sincerely thank Andra, Angela, and Heather for sharing their responses with us and wish them the best of luck in their careers!
By: Paige Horn