Back to School: Spring Semester Edition

Starting a new semester can be hard, especially after a long, break. Whether you’ve been working, traveling, relaxing, or doing a combination of these activities, it’s time to get back into the mode of busy, school schedules. By returning to the right mindset and taking steps to prepare, you can go from falling into that Spring semester slump to feeling motivated and ready to take on another semester! Here are some pieces of advice I have to start the semester off right:

  1. Get comfortable with your class schedule – Make sure your class schedule is all set for the Spring semester. I’ve definitely been in the position of constantly checking add/drop during the first week of classes to see if a spot has opened up in a class, so I could take it with a different professor or at a different time! Of course, it’s not always possible to do this, but it’s worth a shot! Talking to friends who have taken the classes you’re about to take can also be very beneficial. They will have an opinion about the professor they took the class with and may offer some tips for success. In addition, going to class the first day and getting a feel for the professor’s lecture style and course policies is necessary to solidify your opinion about a class when there’s still time to add/drop. Another tip to think about is, if you want to make a good first impression in a class, go up and introduce yourself to the professor or stop by their office hours to talk about the course and your goals. This is a fantastic way to start building a good relationship with your professors when you still have some free time the first week of classes.
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    PScheduler is a schedule builder created by a VT student!
  2. Start planning – The new year is a great time to revamp your planning system. Planning or journaling is a great way to organize your schoolwork, club obligations, internship tasks, or work schedule as well as lifestyle things, like meal or workout ideas, books you want to read, friends you want to spend more time with etc. Bullet journaling is a great outlet if you’re looking for freedom and customizability. It’s like brain-dumping your life into a journal! This Medium article offers helpful tips about bullet journaling if you’re interested in learning more about how to start one for yourself! It also explains how writing by hand engages multiple senses (visual, kinesthetic, and tactical) which helps to better commit tasks and goals to memory and signals to your brain that they are important. Personally, pairing my calendar on my laptop/phone with a traditional planner has helped me a lot with the organization in college!

    Planning will help you organize your school, work, and social activities! Look out for all of our exciting CWIB events this semester! Photo credit: CWIB
  3. Be open to new opportunities – The Fall semester isn’t the only time to get more involved in campus organizations, try something you’ve always been interested in, or land a summer internship! Many student organizations and local companies put out applications during the Spring semester in preparation for the next year, like the CWIB leadership application that is out now (APPLY NOW!) or the Student Success Center that accepts applications for course tutors in February to build their staff for the following year. During the Spring semester, there is also still time to find summer job opportunities With Spring Business Horizons scheduled for February 6th, you can network with company representatives looking to hire interns, externs, and full-time employees. Leveraging your own connections with friends, family, and past co-workers is also a tried and true way to land a summer internship in the Spring. Just don’t give up on the search!
    We know you are going to be a total boss this semester! Photo credit: The Aggie


We know all of you will get back in the swing of things and have a phenomenal Spring semester. With bi-weekly articles, The CWIB Chronicles is a fantastic resource for you throughout the semester, so remember to keep up regularly!


By: Allison DeSantis


Ginni Rometty: A Pioneering Force for Women in Business

CWIB Chronicles features Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM.

Women are pioneering their way through the business world as emerging leaders of major companies, and Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty is one of these women. Beginning in January 2012, Rometty became Chairwoman, President, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). According to IBM’s website, the company is committed to creating a more innovative world in which advanced technological change will be coupled with increased human productivity. That being said, Rometty is in charge of a fast-paced environment where her decisions are constantly revolved around how IBM can better society.

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Ginni Rometty has been the Chairwoman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of IBM since January 2012. She is the first-ever CEO in the company’s 100-year history.
Photo credit: IBM

IBM sustains a $79.1 billion revenue and operates on a pre-tax income of $12.9 billion, according to the company’s webpage. The main components of the business revolve around healthcare and life sciences, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and quantum computing. The company is, “Driven to discover,” stated on their website. They are in charge of over 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located over 6 continents, stressing their influence as one of the leading corporate researchers. With this responsibility comes the right leaders for the job. This is where Ginni Rometty plays a crucial role.

While she became CEO in 2012, Rometty began her career with IBM in 1981 and held several leadership positions before advancing to the top of the company. Her education from Northwestern University gave her a bachelor’s degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering, showcasing the knowledge she had acquired in order to take on the responsibilities at IBM. For example, Rometty led the “successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, creating a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts,” early on in her career at IBM, according to an article on IBM’s website

One major goal of hers that stood out, in particular, was her dedication to diversity and inclusion. To ensure these qualities actually exist in the workplace, Rometty has extended parental leave and made it easier for women to return to their jobs through a “returnships” program. Ginny was awarded the Catalyst Award in 2018 for advancing diversity and women’s initiatives, which was included in her biography on the company’s website. In addition, she strives to equip workers without college degrees for “new collar” jobs within technology. According to the same article, “The IBM-created Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) education model is a six-year program that prepares students for career success by combining high school with a community college degree, mentoring and internships — all within existing local education budgets.” This initiative stresses Rometty’s desire to increase jobs in an ethical manner.

Going off of ethics, Rometty was a part of IBM when it became the first to “publish long-held principles of trust for AI, data responsibility and data transparency, according to the same article. Ethics is crucial in a business conducting technological feats, so it is imperative that their CEO’s mindset is focused on taking these ethical boundaries into consideration. Rometty’s ethical standards were developed early in her life, beginning with difficult family situations.  

Coming from a poverty-stricken family, Rometty appreciated the concept of hard work early on. Her father left her mother and three siblings when she was 16 years old. They had to live off of food stamps until her mother went back to school and landed a good job. This inspired Rometty to take her education seriously, as she was rewarded with an honors degree and a full-time position with General Motors right out of college. A year later, she accepted an offer from IBM and her career soared from there.

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Rometty and family. She learned the power of hard work from her mother after her father left them.
Photo credit: Bloomberg

In a Makers article, Rometty said, “Growth and comfort never coexist. If you want to grow as a leader you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You welcome risk because you know you come out better on the other side.” Ginni Rometty’s words left a resounding impact on me as she has proved you are what you make out of your situation. Her passion for achieving the best for yourself and the world around you has been a leading indicator of her career success. She was named to Bloomberg’s “50 Most Influential People in the World” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business,” according to an interview on Makers.

Rometty’s inspiring drive to grow and succeed has provided an exceptional image to women of what they are capable of achieving in the corporate world. Her involvement goes beyond working at IBM, as she is co-chair of the Aspen Institute’s Cyber Group, serves on the Council on Foreign Relations at Northwestern, and is a member on the board of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, according to her biography. Rometty’s corporate and volunteer experience is a representation that women can truly do it all.   

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Rometty believes growth is crucial to a business’s success. “Growth and comfort never coexist.” -Ginni Rometty
Photo credit: Business Insider


By: Emma Harwood

Mary Barra: Driving the Auto Industry into the Future

Mary T. Barra is making history as the first female CEO in the automobile industry. She has brough great success to GM in her lifelong career there.

Mary T. Barra believes the auto industry will change dramatically in the next five to ten years and aims to be a driving force in that change as Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of General Motors (GM) Company. Barra envisions a world with zero crashes, to save lives; zero emissions, so we can pass down a healthier planet to future generations; and zero congestion, so the precious commodity of time doesn’t have to be wasted sitting in traffic according to the GM Website. Holding the position of General Motors CEO since January 15th, 2014, Barra is the first female CEO of a major global automaker. Barra is focused on strengthening GM’s core car, truck, and crossover business while leading a mobility transformation in our society through innovations like electric cars, autonomous driving (self-driving cars) and car sharing. Barra aims to put the customer at the center of everything the company does. She is truly leading transformations in the auto-industry and shaping the future for women in business!

Mary Barra of General Motors
Detroit, MI – May 9, 2018 – Mary Barra stands for a portrait at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Barra is the Chairman and CEO of General Motors Company. She has held the CEO position since January 15, 2014, and she is the first female CEO of a major global automaker.

Before becoming CEO, Barra was no rookie to working at GM, having worked there for 37 years! She served the company in many prior roles, such as Executive VP of Global Product Development, VP of Global Human Resources, VP of Global Manufacturing Engineering, and Plant Manager of Detroit Hamtramck Assembly. In fact, Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. Her true introduction to the automobile industry dates back to when she was an 18-year-old electrical engineering student whose job was to inspect fender panels and car hoods to pay her college tuition! After Barra graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1985, she attended Stanford Graduate School of Business on a GM fellowship and received her MBA in 1990.

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Mary Barra has been with GM since the beginning of her career and now she has reached the top. Photo credit: Forbes

When it came to the race for GM’s CEO position in 2014, Barra was up against three men who held executive positions within the company and were seen as strong contenders for the role. According to Forbes, it has been said that Barra has accomplished more in three years than most CEOs do in 30 years. Barra’s personality is described as quiet and her leadership style is described as team-building and consensus-seeking centered, yet concise and decisive when it comes to making decisions, according to a New York Times article.

Barra has made decisions that other GM leaders never dared, like pushing to deliver the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the industry’s first affordable, long-range electric car, in record time, beating automakers like Tesla, according to Forbes. The record earnings of GM, driven by lower costs and higher prices on strong-selling vehicles, over the past three years since Barra has been CEO prove how effective her leadership has been to the company. When asked if she had any interest in switching careers, Barra responded, “I am 150% committed to General Motors. This is an incredibly exciting time because not only do I believe we are putting the best vehicles on the road that we have been in my career here, but when I look at the opportunities we have with autonomous (vehicles), with electrification, with connectivity, I’m very passionate about it…,” according to Forbes.

2016 Wired Business Conference
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 16: Editor-in-Chief of WIRED Scott Dadich speaks with Chairman and CEO of GM Mary Barra on stage during the 2016 Wired Business Conference on June 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired)

Barra’s role as CEO of GM makes a statement in a world where just over 20 of the Fortune 500’s chief executives are women, according to the New York Times. Given the male-dominated culture of the auto industry and GM’s historical importance to the U.S. economy, the feat is even more notable. In 2017, Barra was listed number two in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women and number 5 on Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

In addition to her role at GM, Barra also serves on the Board of Directors of the Walt Disney Company, the Stanford University Board of Trustees, and the Detroit Economic Club. She is also married with two children.

Barra’s leadership of GM is breaking down barriers for women in the auto-industry and driving innovations for positive change!

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Barra wears many hats, from GM CEO to a mother of two. Photo credit: Business Wire

By: Allison DeSantis

Cover Letters Uncovered

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Not all job applications require cover letters, but knowing how to write one is still a useful skill to have just in case you need to in the future.. What is a cover letter exactly? A cover letter is used by employers to gain more insight about your resume, personality and why you would be a good fit for the job. In this LinkedIn article, Jeff Lareau defines a cover letter as, “an introduction that complements your resume, shows a bit of your personality, and addresses issues that might otherwise go unaddressed on your resume alone.” To write a strong cover letter, it’s important to address a specific person, include examples of how you would succeed at the job you’re applying for, and make yourself stand out from other applicants.

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Before starting your cover letter, make sure you research the company you are applying to. According to a Glassdoor article, it’s important to “write like yourself, but also pick the appropriate voice and tone for the company you’re applying to. Researching the company will help dictate the tone you want to use, which may differ greatly, depending on where you apply.” In addition to researching, another thing you should do before starting this document is map out your ideas and make an outline. Writing down certain details you want to include and having a rough draft ready can ensure you don’t forget anything.

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After writing your outline and researching the company, find out who will be reading your cover letter so you can address them by name instead of saying “To Whom It May Concern.” You may need to make the effort to send an email or make a call to find out, but it will be worth it as it shows your employer that you are willing to take the extra mile. Think about it, the greeting is the first thing that the reader sees, so make a good first impression by making it personalized, rather than generalized!

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Now you can start writing the body of your letter. Be sure to start off with a strong introduction paragraph, including what position you are interested in, how you heard about it, and a short thesis statement as to why you think you are qualified for the job. In your body paragraphs, you can expand on experiences you included in your resume and talk about how you can apply what you learned from them to the job you are applying for. It is not necessary to list out every single job experience you have. Try focusing on elaborating on 2-3 roles that you believe will showcase that you have the prior experience needed to get this next job. The goal of this section is to highlight the important parts of your resume! This would also be a great time to talk about your Top 5 Clifton Strengths and how you have used them in other experiences. These body paragraphs are an opportunity to showcase your personality and differentiate yourself from other applicants. Even though this is the body of the letter, try to keep these paragraphs concise and to the point. The cover letter shouldn’t take too long to read!

For your conclusion, sum up why you are interested in the job and what you hope to add to the company. In the same article by Career Advice from Glassdoor, they recommend leaving your reader with a strong “call to action [and a] reason for them to contact you.”

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You’re done with your cover letter! Before you submit, be sure to proofread for irrelevant information, typos and repetition. Don’t forget to include contact information in your letter, such as your email and phone number.


Happy Thanksgiving from CWIB!

Hello CWIB! We hope that everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and a relaxing break. College can definitely be a very stressful time, especially as finals start to loom closer and closer. Amongst all the chaos, this is a great opportunity to take a step back and be thankful for all that we have. It is hard to believe that, not too long ago, there were no organizations like Collegiate Women in Business whose sole purpose was to empower, prepare, and connect young women so that they can establish a framework for a successful future. To honor this, we decided to interview a few of our members to get their take on why they are thankful for CWIB!

Collegiate Women in Business is so fortunate to have so many talented and passionate members. The organization is what it is because of all of you! Photo credit: N/A. 

Isabel Barker is a freshman who is currently business undecided. When asked why she is thankful for CWIB, she stated, “It [CWIB] gives me the opportunity to meet other girls interested in business fields as well as prepares me for what’s to come after college! It has been really beneficial also because the speakers help to put the information I’m learning in my classes into context, allowing me to visualize the possibilities of different career paths.”

Another determined freshman, Kate Skowronek, had a similar answer. “I’m thankful for CWIB because it has given me the opportunity to meet motivated women that are always willing to give advice and share their experiences.” One thing that motivates the CWIB leadership team is hearing that the events we put on are helping our members. We look forward to our next set of guest speakers next semester and how they will make an impact on the young women in our organization.

Guest speakers offer our members real-life perspectives on being a woman in business. Photo credit: Alexis Edwards

Caroline Sisson is a senior majoring in human development. She said, “I am thankful for CWIB because of the amazing opportunities to network and learn more about how to be a successful businesswoman. Especially not being a business major, the workshops and meetings provided me with information and support to confidently pursue my career goals.” It is amazing to see how Collegiate Women in Business is able to equip women with the tools they need to be successful, even if they are not business majors.

Caroline Macri is a freshman majoring in BIT. One of the main things we promote in CWIB is women helping women. Caroline notices this and said “I’m thankful for CWIB because it has afforded me the opportunity to meet other women in business who have perspective on real-world challenges. CWIB also benefits young women by giving us an established network of support.”

Collegiate Women in Business acts as a support system, allowing women to make mutually beneficial relationships with one another. Photo credit: Alexis Edwards

Not only does Collegiate Women in Business empower women to chase after their professional dreams, but it can also assist in making them a reality! Dania Rivas, a junior in BIT, was incredibly grateful for this. She said, “I was able to visit EY on the DC trek and I grew very interested in the company after attending the panel with women who work there. I was able to learn a lot about EY’s work-life balance and the dedication of the firm to its employees. They pushed me to apply to their externship which led me to an internship for next summer.” Make sure you keep an eye out for the treks coming up next semester, you never know what could happen!

Our treks are not only a great way to network and make connections, but they are also a way to make lasting memories with new friends.  Photo credit: N/A

The individual women you meet through CWIB can also help change your life. Sara Khorramshahgol, a junior BIT major, reflected on when she first met one of the Co-CEOs of CWIB and the impact she made. “She asked me to speak at one of the meetings and even though I was a super shy freshman, she really boosted my self-confidence. That’s when I thought CWIB is like my girl tribe. Meeting her and other members in CWIB who are just as empowering is what I needed during my time at VT.”

It is amazing to see the positive impact Collegiate Women in Business has had on our members. From inspiring women to step out of their comfort zones, to even being a small part in helping our members secure their dream jobs, we continue to live out the mission our founders created back in 2014. As those final exams and projects come up, and your stress starts to be a little more than you can take, remember to take a deep breath and reflect on all of the wonderful opportunities Virginia Tech and CWIB has been able to give you!