Washington, D.C. Trek Recap

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On October 11th-12th, CWIB attended their second trek of the semester to our nation’s capital– Washington, D.C. These ladies were fortunate enough to meet with Cvent, Capital One, and Custom Ink, gaining valuable advice and professional lessons from powerful women in different careers. They took away from each session a better idea of how their personal strengths can fit in any company, whether or not the job necessarily relates to their major. As long as you continue to strive for your goals, your career path will fall into place.

The CWIB attendees were truly able to connect with the professional women they met with, especially at Cvent and Capital One, as several Hokie alums were present! Each of these ladies provided excellent advice on how to stand out in an interview. Tori Pollard, a junior CWIB member, recalls that “They encouraged us to ask questions that enriched the conversation.” They stressed how crucial it is to engage with the interviewer in order to show your passion for the job. Neha Shah, Chief Communications Officer, really appreciated how highly all the employees spoke about their respective companies, while simultaneously describing the strenuous transition from college to the workforce. Hearing the realities of the entire job process from women who have already encountered trials and successes proved to be effective in helping the CWIB members grasp how they can prepare to do the same. Plus, it’s always wonderful to see what our Hokies are accomplishing in the real world!

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Despite all the wonderful experiences at each company, Shah and Pollard both felt exceptionally welcomed at Custom Ink. “They were very caring– providing us with goodies such as a bag, a book, mugs, and even free t-shirts!” Shah said. She also felt truly empowered when the employees described their company culture. “I think the idea of playing a part in [the] execution of what someone designs and creates is an amazing job and only highlights a small portion of the sheer amount of talent in this world,” Shah told The CWIB Chronicles. Her eyes were opened to all the possibilities a particular company has to offer, as each woman’s unique skill sets are irreplaceable assets to the right business. Pollard also felt inspired through Custom Ink’s networking session as “they encouraged us to volunteer for as many new things as you can going into your job, allowing you to absorb and apply new skills that you learn.” Going above and beyond with your responsibilities, as well as eagerly anticipating new business needs, will help new employees find their place in the company and show others their passion for their work.

In order to become a thriving company, obviously there have to be some obstacles along the way, but it is only when a business embraces those difficulties that they can achieve their goals. Shah was extremely humbled when she realized Custom Ink was a start-up company a few years ago, as they “heard about some of their struggles and the belief they had in making sure the company didn’t go under.” This was very powerful to her to hear about such a genuine experience. The overall tone of the company and the way the employees carry themselves truly stuck with her, as she realized she wanted to be a part of a similar culture.

The main reason CWIB attends treks is to help empower, prepare, and connect our members to careers in the real world. Every professional encounter is a step in the right direction in determining your own goals. Pollard believed that “attending these panels and networking sessions gave me an opportunity to connect with professionals and practice my elevator speech.” Shah benefitted by exploring the different business paths. “More often than not, your major doesn’t have to do with the work you’re doing,” Shah said. For example, Shah spoke with the moderator of the Custom Ink panel, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania as a graduate student in positive psychology. As a psychology minor, Shah felt “It was an interesting turn to the conversation when we started talking about Psychology and she pushed me to learn about this specific topic and reach out to her with any questions.” This perfectly shows how diverse the business world is and how various majors and minors can lead to a successful career within the broad industry.

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With hearing all this amazing information, don’t you want to apply to the next trek? Shah and Pollard highly encourage all CWIB members to apply for any and all future treks. “Treks provide you with the ability to make connections with other girls in CWIB. The experience allows you to explore a new area outside of your comfort zone,” Pollard said. “I was able to bond with all the amazing, hardworking, and empowered members on this trek,” Shah said.

Visiting an amazing city, networking with successful professionals, and growing closer to your CWIB members are just three benefits of attending treks. The DC trek did not disappoint the attendees, as they gained valuable tips and made lasting memories that will serve them well in their respective future careers. This was neither Shah’s nor Pollard’s first trek, yet they both agree it was one of their favorites! DC is an ideal location for many internships, so being able to meet some of these potential employers was a great way to get their foot in the door.

All of the attendees would like to thank Cvent, Capital One, and Custom Ink for their excellent sessions and dedicated efforts in making their experiences so worthwhile! The CWIB ladies are beyond grateful to have shared this experience together, as they grew closer to fellow members, as well as get connected with the panel of professionals at each company. As always, don’t forget to listen to Shah’s advice to “dream big and know that you can make anything possible!”

 

By: Emma Harwood 

  

Nashville Trek Recap

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Do you have an idea of what you want to do for your career, but lack the professional experience and/or connections to bring it to life? Are you left wondering what truly are all of your options after college? CWIB plans treks with the goal of helping members form their career paths a little more. Visiting real companies and networking with professional employees, all while fostering connections with your fellow CWIB members, is everything you will find on a trek. On September 20th-22nd, CWIB went on their first trek of the year to Nashville, Tennessee! These young women visited Nissan North America, Gaylord Resort, iHeart Media, and CAA (Creative Artists Agency). They gained valuable knowledge from these businesses about the corporate lifestyle, while simultaneously fostering new relationships with other empowering women in the professional world.

Sophomore Maria Keener told the CWIB Chronicles that, “the best professional experience I had was while visiting CAA. We were on the top floor of one of the buildings in downtown Nashville in a big conference room. It felt super official and was really cool to see a big office like that.” Emma Sedlack, another CWIB sophomore, agreed that the women of CAA “were all very accomplished and shared great advice.” Sometimes all you need is to see a company’s employees in action to see what their job is like and this was exactly what CAA gave our CWIB members!

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Getting a feel for a variety of businesses is crucial in determining what corporate position you could see yourself in. Keener felt that Nissan North America left a memorable impression on her. “It [Nissan] was a good view…of what kind of work they do day to day. The most valuable thing I learned was just how much work takes up your life once you’re in the corporate world.” Although work does take up a significant amount of your time, Sedlack learned the importance of “taking time for yourself when you are working.” This advice from a Nissan employee helped her come to the realization that she was “inspired to get into the corporate finance industry” after the insight that was provided. Hearing other successful women describe their journey is the perfect opportunity to discover where your own interests lie. Although Sedlack may have already known what a career in finance looked like, having the chance to listen to real women in the field gave her that confidence that she can accomplish what they have already accomplished!

Obviously meeting all these companies is excellent networking practice, but getting to do so with fellow members is what made this trek that much more enjoyable. “I made a lot of new friends that empowered me to be a woman in business,” Keener said. Sedlack also loved the fact that she was “able to connect with the other CWIB members…and also explore such an awesome city…one I have always wanted to visit!” Treks are the perfect opportunity to grow your professional and personal connections, all while participating in new experiences.

Whether this was certain members’ first trek or not, Nashville definitely did not disappoint the attendees. They even had time for some fun tourist events! Check out the picture below of CWIB sitting in on a private tasting of the perfect guacamole, specially crafted by one of the Gaylord chefs.

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Being empowered and empowering others is at the heart of CWIB’s objectives. Nashville left the attendees much more confident and career-ready than they ever imagined. Keener specifically felt that “Attending all the different meetings with such big companies was extremely inspiring, and hearing all the women already in the workforce talk about how they got there is extremely reassuring.” It can definitely be overwhelming trying to determine your career path, but by broadening your horizons of the business world, as Sedlack puts it, can lead to amazing opportunities. Nashville is one of four treks CWIB will be attending this semester, so as these women suggest, make sure to apply for the next one in order to feel as empowered as they do!  

By: Emma Harwood

 

Networking 101

Networking can sometimes seem daunting and even stressful, especially if you haven’t done it before. It can be difficult to know which relationships to form and how to start them. However, a professional network is extremely helpful and rewarding. Whether you have yet to start a conversation or just feel a little shy putting yourself out there, reading this article will hopefully lead you to build a strong network in no time.

When it comes to networking in person at events like Business Horizons or on treks, the first important thing to remember is that everyone is a little shy at first. If you’ve never tried to build your professional network, of course, you won’t be a pro at first. It might take a little time to learn which questions to ask or how to start conversations in general. Start with an introduction and find common ground. By finding something in common with the person, you form a connection. Asking a couple genuine, get-to-know-you questions before diving into the career ones will help to build a relationship that will last beyond your conversation at the event.

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Ask the right questions. It’s best to prepare thoughtful questions you would like to ask before a networking event, to make the conversation more interesting and meaningful to both parties involved. Write them down in a notebook or padfolio so you can reference them while you are having the conversation.

LinkedIn is a great tool for networking. If you haven’t already, make an account! It takes a few minutes and is simple to use. After you speak with someone at an event, make sure to connect with them on LinkedIn. This is great for staying connected with all of your peers.

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Stay in touch. Your professional network is like a plant; it doesn’t grow overnight and needs nurturing to flourish. Try to meet up with people in your network to continue the relationship and build a stronger bond. Meet up for coffee, ask for help with your resume, or get advice for “firsts” in your professional career once you’ve got a job.

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Having a professional network has many benefits. Utilize relationships you currently have and brainstorm how you can build other relationships off of those. Always keep an open mind and make sure to keep those connections on hand for when you may need them. Who knows, maybe a relationship you’re building right now will help you to get your first job or a promotion later in your career!

Make sure to come out to the Accenture Business Horizons Workshop and Protiviti Networking Event on September 4th to practice your networking! The other CWIB members in attendance will be glad to offer any advice and guidance we can!

 

What I Learned From Studying Abroad

For many of us, studying abroad is an experience we hope to fit into our schedules at some point in our college careers. Knowing I had little room in my schedule to study abroad for an entire semester, I decided to take advantage of a summer study abroad program this summer! With six other Pamplin College of Business students and our advisor, I traveled to major cities in China this May and June, visiting businesses, universities, and cultural sites. Whether you are already planning to study abroad or are considering it, I’m here to offer three valuable benefits that I have taken away from my experience.

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1) Exposure to the business world of a foreign country

As future business professionals, working abroad or with international clients/customers is a strong possibility for many of us during our careers. Taking the opportunity to learn about the business world abroad is a great way to gain that international business exposure before graduating. Some things cannot be taught within the walls of a classroom, so think about traveling to a different country and learning in a real international setting. You may even form a connection that leads to an internship or full-time job opportunity!

2) Getting out of your comfort zone

College is a time to take risks and experience new things. Studying abroad can be a great way to do those things. During this unique experience, you get to immerse yourself in a completely different culture for an extended period of time, encouraging you to practice your independence and try new things. When you are in a different country, you are surrounded by places, people, and events foreign to the ones you have at home. You are bound to learn something new at every moment. Once you’ve conquered living and studying in a foreign country, taking risks back at home may seem less intimidating!

3) The opportunity to travel in an organized, group setting

Once we start full-time careers, fitting international travel into our schedules may not be the easiest or most realistic of tasks. Take advantage of semesters with fewer credits or vacations to do a study abroad program. Studying abroad in college allows us to travel with a group of people with similar interests and visit destinations on our bucket lists; it’s like an extravagant, prolonged field trip!
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Studying abroad isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do or are just now interested in, I would encourage you to research programs offered online, attend study abroad fairs, visit the Global Education office right off campus, and talk to your advisor about the best programs for your major and academic plan!

Leaving Legacies: Class of 2018

In just eight short days, six of CWIB’s leadership seniors will be graduating! While all of their undergraduate activities and post-graduation plans differ, they all have something in common: they will be leaving legacies.

In CWIB’s final meeting of the school year, these seniors led an informative and inspirational panel for the attendees. Each of them spoke about special moments from their college career, the advice they want members to hear, and of course, what CWIB has done for them.

Cici Sobin, a future Federal Business Technology Analyst for Deloitte Consulting, opened up the panel by speaking to her saying, “prioritize yourself.” She learned this lesson after burning out from doing too much. Cici said that she would do things because they “looked good” or “to satisfy others” such as going out the night before a big exam. After that started to take a toll on her, she learned to say no to things if she did not see a true benefit to them. She admitted that “Learning to prioritize yourself will allow you to find your true passions.” After this turning point in her life, she switched majors to Business Information Technology because she looked at her friends’ textbooks and was intrigued by the material. She started to love what she was doing because she prioritized herself!

Muneeba Ahmed, a future Audit Rotation Program Associate for Capital One, talked about her motto, “be you, be confident.”  She advised CWIB members to “channel your passions into what you want to do.” Muneeba identified her passion as fashion. Whether it is at school or a professional event, she loves dressing up in cute outfits because doing so gives her confidence. She noted that the business world is “sometimes gray” and loves bringing some color into it with her wardrobe. Muneeba talked about how a work professional approached her at the Pamplin Leadership Conference and said that he/she noticed her because of her lace dress that stood out in the crowd.

Ashlin Webster, a future Marketing/Business Analyst in Economic Development at Duke Energy, advised the meeting’s attendees to “maximize your options.” Going into senior year, she had a full-time offer with the company that she interned with the prior summer. Although she was content with that offer, she wanted something more. Ashlin proceeded to search for more jobs and got a handful of different interviews. Then during the interview for the job position she ultimately decided to go with, Ashlin shared that she fell in love with it right then and there. She did not just want to settle for the offer she got from the company she interned with; she continued to search for something that made her happier. Ashlin learned that you never know what opportunities will arise for you until you keep working hard to find something greater. Her perseverance paid off!

Maddie Blevins, a future Risk & Compliance Consultant at Protiviti Consulting, shared that “it’s okay to break.” She started off her segment with talking about an internship that made her really unhappy. Maddie then came back in the fall and talked with one of her CWIB mentors to figure out how to handle this situation. She learned that it’s okay to break sometimes because you will learn what you don’t like and you will always have people to fall back on. After that summer, she attended a consulting dinner and networked with different professionals. That ultimately led to Maddie earning an internship with Protiviti, the company that eventually gave her a full-time offer! From that experience, she learned to “make opportunities for yourself and go for it.”

Ashley Roberts, a future Risk/ IT Advisory Consultant for Dixon Hughes Goodman, spoke to her motto: “do something scary.” She started out by talking about how she viewed herself as a “shy and awkward freshman.” She then talked about how getting involved in CWIB, studying abroad, and working with freshman orientation were all “terrifying things that shaped her into who she is today.” She’s proud of how far she has come and even joked that “if I told my freshman self that I can now talk in front of people, she would probably laugh.” Ashley will be sticking around Blacksburg next year to pursue her Master’s degree!

Last but not least, Annie Bokulic, a future Risk & Compliance Consultant at Protiviti Consulting, talked about how important it is to “go the extra mile.” At the beginning of her internship last summer, she asked herself, “How am I going to differentiate myself?” After careful consideration, Annie decided that her love of “going up to people and starting a conversation” was how she was going to stand out. She worked to accomplish this by introducing herself to all of the other interns, organizing a happy hour and even introducing herself to the partners of the firm! This all paid off because it was one of the partners that gave her a full-time offer. Annie ended her segment with three of her favorite pieces of advice: attitude is everything, don’t surround yourself with people who are the same as you, and believe that everything happens for a reason.

CWIB is so proud of the Class of 2018! These individuals have contributed so many things to our organization and they will be greatly missed next year. We cannot wait to see all of the amazing accomplishments you all are bound to have in the future. Please come back and speak at a meeting and we’ll see you all on our future treks!

Charlotte Trek: A Recap

A few weeks ago, Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) members trekked to Charlotte, North Carolina and visited three diverse companies, networked with Virginia Tech alum, and explored new and exciting career paths. Our outstanding peers represented CWIB on the Charlotte campuses of Red Ventures, Wells Fargo, and Dimensional Fund Advisors. Each company and its employees offered unique perspectives on business and professionalism. Read on to hear what CWIB members thought of their experience in “The Queen City!”

At Red Ventures, where intelligent innovators use data to bridge the gap between consumers and the services they need, members were immersed in a community-focused culture. On their growing campus, Virginia Tech alum introduced them to the work they do and offered valuable career advice. “The atmosphere was like no other to me,” says Sydney Woodward, “the company really embraced a ‘go-getter attitude.’ There was even a board that said, ‘Be Great People to Work With’ where employees are encouraged to take a piece of paper and do whatever it says – from grabbing lunch outside of the office to talking to someone they haven’t met before.”

 
During the CWIB visit to Wells Fargo, trek attendees spoke with more empowering professionals on careers in banking and the numerous paths within the industry. Their visit to Dimensional Fund Advisors expanded on their exposure to the finance industry – members heard from high-level employees and learned about the fast-paced world of investing. Tori Pollard, Sophomore CWIB member, and Business Information Technology (BIT) major found Dimensional Funds to be her favorite visit as it offered a company culture that seemed like an enjoyable place to work. Sydney Woodward found the visits to both companies highly informative since those are the types of firms she will be working with as a Financial Planning major!

Outside of the company visits, the trek attendees networked with other CWIB members. “It is always extremely empowering when you’re in this professional atmosphere and you are actively engaged,” says Woodward. Pollard, echoes her sentiments. “I had such a great time getting to bond with other CWIB members… this was my first trek and hopefully not my last.” Both women enjoyed exploring the city of Charlotte as well. Pollard states “Charlotte was never a place I had considered for an after-graduation job, but it is definitely on my radar now – it is an incredible up-and-coming city for young people entering the workforce.” Woodward even fell in love with the city and it is now her number one location to live after graduation!
 

Congrats to all Charlotte Trek attendees on seizing opportunities to expand your network and knowledge. Thank you to the companies who hosted CWIB and don’t forget to keep an eye out for these amazing opportunities throughout the following semesters!